Blind pilot flies halfway round world | world | Hindustan Times
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Blind pilot flies halfway round world

Miles Hilton-Barber left London on March 7, 2007 and flew more than 21,000 kilometres to raise funds to fight blindness in developing countries.

world Updated: Apr 30, 2007 09:09 IST

A blind British pilot landed his microlight aircraft in Sydney on Monday to complete a record-breaking flight halfway around the world.

Miles Hilton-Barber left London on March 7 and flew more than 21,000 kilometres to raise funds to fight blindness in developing countries.

"It's the fulfillment of an amazing dream," the 58-year-old adventurer said after touching down at Sydney's Bankstown airport. "I've been wanting to do this flight for about four years."

Hilton-Barber flies with a sighted co-pilot but relies on speech output from his navigation instruments to steer his course, directing the plane from a wireless keyboard.

"I've wanted to be a pilot since I was a kid. Now I'm totally blind and I've had the privilege of flying more than halfway around the world. The big deal is not me doing this, it's raising funds," he said.

Hilton-Barber, who has been blind for 25 years, hopes the trip will raise some $ two million for the charity Seeing is Believing, which works to cut the incidence of preventable blindness in developing countries.

In 1999 Hilton-Barber completed the "Toughest Foot-race on Earth" 250 kilometres across the Sahara Desert before running in the "Coldest Marathon on Earth", the Siberian Ice Marathon.

He has climbed Mt Kilimanjaro and Mt Blanc, Africa and Europe's highest mountains, and set the Malaysian Grand Prix lap record for a blind driver in a 200 kilometre per hour Lotus.