Arming The Disabled With Control
The right arm of a disabled pilot has lots to do. Rudder and brakes are controlled with a rod that clamps to the pedals, enabling the full range of movement and combinations for air and ground handling. The device is STC'd and, with some practice, does everything your feet can. The pilot's right arm fits through a loop on the bar allowing simultaneous control, engine and instrument adjustments. Kaler said that once pilots are qualified, they fly with no restrictions. He said flight is a powerful motivator and tonic for the disabled. "Learning to fly inspires hope by getting someone out of the wheelchair and into the pilot's seat," Kaler said. "It provides emotional support by developing self-esteem and self-confidence through the liberating sense that they are out of their wheelchair." Since the program began two years ago, 20 people have started and there are now 10 actively pursuing their certificates. The curriculum covers all the regular material and also includes lessons on adapting to the hand controls. Those who finish the course can continue flying as a hobby or the group will help them pursue an aviation career.