Last month, we were 21!
Paul Tizzard wrote to Richard Branson in October 1996 with the idea of fear of flying courses to help the public. Sir Richard immediately loved the idea and with the support of Steve Ridgway (CEO Virgin Atlantic) gave the go ahead.
Here is a picture from September 1997 at the official launch of the programme with the key people at the time.
From left to right:
Capt. Norman Lees, Freda Angus (General Manager), Steve Ridgeway (CEO), David Landau (Psychotherapist), Lois Diplock (Ground Staff), Dawn Dart (Aviation Medicine), Paul Tizzard (Programme Creator), Ruth Davies (Customer Service Manager)
Our mission, from the outset was as Capt. Normal Lees put it, 'Let's get people flying!' His passion was to help people to get flying - no matter what airline.
We started our courses with some simple ideas which have remained in place ever since - no matter how big the courses have got. The first five years, we ran courses without flights despite being offered them by Steve Ridgeway at the beginning - we wanted to keep the courses small and friendly. Of course, over the years, the courses have evolved but the DNA remains the same.
1st November 1997, the first official courses ran. we set up our courses with a few simple aims that we have stuck with ever since – no matter how big or small the course is.
- To give you back control of how you travel
- To keep the staff ratio high so that our courses feel as friendly and as welcoming as when we started with just 8 delegates on 1st Nov 1997
- To treat you as adults who are professional, capable people that just happen to have fears/phobias
- To give you honest facts about flying safety
- To give you tried and tested psychological techniques and approaches
- To pamper you while you are with us – hence, we give you proper food and refreshments all day included in the price
- To make your day fun as well as informative
- To make sure speakers are carefully vetted so they are not just knowledgeable but also empathic
- To after you in the way you would expect from a Virgin offering
We are really sorry that we do not have any courses to offer you at the moment but we are working on it...
Virgin Flying Without Fear Creator