Two Paralyzed Pilots Take to The Skies

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Justin Falls is a quadriplegic pilot who learned to fly with help from Able Flight, a non-profit organization whose mission is to offer people with physical disabilities an opportunity to learn to fly; an extremely rewarding experience that may have once felt unachievable for people who use wheelchairs due to a spinal cord injury.

Justin’s Zenith STOL CH 750 light sport aircraft is equipped with custom controls that incorporate throttle, rudder and brakes into one control stick, which he operates with his left hand. He controls the ailerons and elevator with his right hand. His right hand and right tricep muscle are paralyzed, so there is also a custom attachment on the right stick that allows him to grip it more easily.

In one of his videos Justin notes that we often fixate on the things we can’t do instead of focusing on and appreciating the things we can do. This serves as a good reminder for both able-bodied individuals and people with disabilities, to count our lucky stars. 

Justin Falls
Justin Falls flying his custom Zenith STOL CH 750.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what I can’t do. ‘Cause I can fly,” Justin says.

He and his friend Johnny Ragland, a paraplegic pilot, recently took to the skies and created this not only visually pleasing, but educational and inspiring video for Johnny’s YouTube channel, WheelieGoodPilot:

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As Justin mentions in his video, “This may be the first time in history where a quadriplegic pilot and a paraplegic pilot get out of their wheelchairs, squeeze into a small airplane together and take to the sky.”

Justin hopes to reach 1000 subscribers on his YouTube channel so he can apply for a YouTube partnership. If you hop on his channel, please be sure to click the subscribe button to not only help him reach his goal, but also help circulate his inspirational videos.

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Ariana Rayment is an instrument-rated private pilot from Tacoma, Washington. She discovered her love of flying through her former purchasing role at Glasair Aviation. She loves the Reno Air Races, where she stands alongside Jeff LaVelle as his crew chief and pals around with her friends in Sport Class.

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