Freedom Of Flight, Free
When he lost the use of his legs in a surfing accident, as with anyone in that position, Jim Kaler's life changed dramatically. He was no longer the pilot of Gulfstreams and Falcon 50s for a good-sized corporate flight department but that didn't mean he wanted to be restricted to piloting a wheelchair for the rest of his life. Within two years, he was back in the left seat of a Cessna Cardinal and the immense sense of freedom and independence it fostered gave him a mission in life. He started Able to Aviation, a non-profit group with a simple aim: to introduce (or re-introduce) those with physical disabilities to the wonders of flight and to do it at no cost to the student pilot. Although Cessna probably didn't have handicapped accessibility in mind when it designed the 177, the low-slung design and the massive pilot door minimize the greatest obstacle most people with mobility issues face when it comes to airplanes -- getting in without help. "The Cardinal is ideal for our purposes," said Kaler.