FORMER student of The Armidale School (TAS) Sam Bailey is preparing to fly back onto TAS grounds next year, as the first ever quadriplegic to fly a helicopter.
Mr Bailey attended a TAS rugby dinner last Saturday and announced to members of the community that TAS was earmarked to be one of his first destinations as a helicopter pilot.
Mr Bailey intends to continue to fulfil his dreams and inspire young people along the way with the assistance of Helifirst.
“I want to do this because I love flying, also because so many people have told me that I can’t do it,” he said.
“But the main reason is because I have a vision of flying a helicopter onto a school oval and speaking to kids to inspire them to fulfil their own dreams and I want TAS to be apart of that dream,” he said.
Mr Bailey has secured the Commonwealth Bank to sponsor his endeavours and has completed all the neccessary preparations.
“I have done the exams and the flight lesson, we are now just waiting to wrap things up and sign off on the contracts that will get me up in the air,” he said.
Mr Bailey attended TAS as a boarder and during his time at the school he was part of the undefeated 1985 first XV rugby side that historically beat Sydney’s premier rugby school St Joseph’s College.
After completing high school in Armidale, Mr Bailey worked in the Northern Territory as a jackaroo.
A car accident during this time left him immobile from the waist down, with only 40 per cent lung capacity and limited use of one of his arms.
Mr Bailey has since gone on to fulfil his dream of becoming a farmer despite his injuries.
Mr Bailey, along with his wife Jenny, continue to inspire people across Australia as they visit a wide range of communities sharing their story.
“It is very humbling to be asked to return to a wonderful school to talk to people about my story and be part of a community that offered me overwhelming support when I was trying to pick up the pieces of my life,” he said.
Once Mr Bailey’s project is up and running he plans to fly to his primary school at Croppa Creek followed by his flight to TAS.