Name : António de Sousa Faria e Mello
Age : 61 years old.

Courses :

Portuguese Air Force Pilot Course (Officer).
DC3 - First Officer Course
F27 – FO Course
B737 – FO Course
F27 – Captain Course
F27 – Flying Instructor Course
B737 – Captain Course
B737 – Flying Instructor Course
B737 – Simulator Instructor Course
Flight Safety Officer Course (ICAS – CAA)
Aircraft Accident Investigator Course (Cranfield Univ-UK)

Licenses :

Private Pilot License with Instrument Rating
Commercial Pilot License.*
Senior Commercial Pilot License.*
Airline Pilot License fully rated.*
Type Ratings :
BOEING 737 (200 Adv).*

(*) – Cancelled due to my handicap condition.
Flying experience : Almost 6.000 hrs


1960 – I start flying in the Aero Clube de Portugal and got my Private Pilot License.

1962/66 – Join the Portuguese Air Force and got my Military Pilot wings.

1968/70 – Join the Civil Aviation Authority, as a Pilot and Examine.

-/Nov.70 – Transferred to Mozambique (ex/Portuguese colony), still working with the CAA.

Dec.70/July 1977 – Joined DETA – Mozambique Airlines. First as First Officer, flying DC3, F27 and then B737 (trained in Western Airlines – California), then promoted to F27 Captain and flying Instructor. Shortly after I was promoted to B737 Captain. Later on, Flying Instructor and Simulator Instructor (B737).

19 July 1977 – The tragic results of a spinal operation bounded me to a wheelchair for good.

- /December 1977 – Re-operated in London.

10 January 1978 – Admitted to the rehabilitation hospital.

19 May 1978 – I was discharged from the rehabilitation hospital and decided to be a farmer in the South of Portugal.

-/September 1984 – I sold the farm and was readmitted to the Portuguese CAA. I was trained as a Flight Safety officer and Aircraft Accident Investigator (Cranfield University – UK).

I start looking, all over the world, to pick up information, concerning handicaps, already flying.

-/ June 1987 – Got hold of an article in an Aviation Magazine about Rode Rodewald’s Flight around the world (first wheelchair aviator to do it). Also there was a reference in the article about the CALIFORNIA WHEELCHAIR AVIATORS and his President Bill Blackwood (s.Diego).

-/October 1987 – Decision to fly to S.Diego and meet Rode Rodewald, Bill Blackwood and the CWA community. Flew back to Portugal with all the necessary information. Start fighting hard with the Portuguese CAA to get back my PPL and Instruments rating.

-/November 1989 – I get my Medical and I am cleared to start my flying training. I “solo” fly after 3 hrs and get back my License.

1991/mid 1992 – I fly a Cherokee 180 (with hand controls), as much as I can. I get back my Instrument rating. Contacts to go to the States and buy myself an aircraft for long range flights. Decision is made to fly to Nevada and stay with Jim Kerr, who will help me finding a suitable aircraft.

-/September 1992 – Off I go to meet Jim in Carson City. We find in a Beechcraft Bonanza F33A in Oklahoma, 22 years old with no accident history and upgrade avionics.

I decide to buy it. While it will wait for a remanufactured engine and some extra equipment, including the hand controls (with STC) and have everything , installed, I decide to return to Portugal.

mid November 1992 – I fly again to the States . Jim and I start breaking the engine and have all the equipment checked.

We left Carson City to cross the States till Bangor (Maine) for the long range fuel tanks installation ( we have dinner together in the Thanksgiving Day)

Then we proceeded to S.John’s.

02 December 1992 – I start my “solo” crossing of the North Atlantic, via Ponta Delgada in Azores, arriving Lisbon on the 4th.

15 August 1993 – I decide to “solo” fly from Lisbon to Rio de Janeiro and back, crossing the SOUTH ATLANTIC ( to this day, I am the only wheelchair aviator to have crossed “solo” the South Atlantic).

15 June to 23/September 1995 – FLIGHT “SOLO” AROUND THE WORLD

Starting in Évora (Portugal) to Sal (Cape Green)/Bissau (Guine)/Abidjan(Ivory oast)/Libreville(Gabon)/ Windwoek(Namibia)/ Cape Town(SoutAfrica)/ Maputo (Mozambique) /Seychelles/Colombo(Sri Lanka- to this day, I am also, the only wheelchair aviator to have crossed “solo” the Indian Ocean)/Singapore/Jakarta(Indonesia)/ Darwin(Australia)/Brisbane/Honiara(Solomon Islands)/ Tarawa(Kiribati)/Majuro (Marshall Islands)/ Honolulu(USA)/SJose/Minden/ Estevan(Canada)/Pembroke/Moncton/S.John’s/Ponta Delgada(Azores-Portugal) /Évora. Covered 28.372 n.m in 212 hrs 32 minutes.

-/June 1998??? – I start n Portugal with the Eagle’s Day Program. Up till now I flew, in my Bonanza with 178 kids suffering from cerebral paralysis.

-./July 2000 – I attend the first Eartrounders’ meeting at Oshkosh.

-/August 2001 – I attend the second Earthrounders’meeting at Vienna.



1996 – “ORDEM DO INFANTE D.HENRIQUE”, given by the President of the Republic.

1996 – “MÉRITO AERONÁUTICO”, given by the Commander in Chief of the Portuguese Air Force.

1996 – “POLARIS AWARD” given by IFALPA, on the grounds of Airmanship and Personal Heroism.

1997 – “TISSANDIER PRIZE”, given by the International Federation of Aeronautics.






  © Antonio Faria e Mello - Wings of Stubbornness - 2003