July 28, 2009
By Dave Hirschman
Mal Zachary was making a bank deposit when he was shot and suffered a severe spinal injury. Despite paralysis in both legs, he earned a sport pilot certificate two weeks ago. Zachary’s flight training held some perils, too. On a mock checkride with his instructor, the single-engine SkyArrow aircraft they were flying lost power and made a forced landing on a highway near Atlanta, Ga.
“Being in aviation is an extraordinary gift,” airshow performer Mike Goulian said in presenting Zachary’s wings. “I hope you have an amazing career.”
Jeremy Maddox, also of Georgia, soloed after just 11 hours of flight training and earned a sport pilot certificate in 37 hours. “Jeremy uses a wheelchair,” former TV newsman Miles O’Brien said in presenting the Able Flight Wings. “But he’s a pilot.”
Jessica Cox, an Arizona woman born without arms, learned to fly an Ercoupe using only her feet to manipulate the controls. She’s the first pilot with such a physical limitation ever granted an FAA certificate.
Airshow performer and aerobatic champion Patti Wagstaff pinned on Cox’s Able Flight wings. “Aviation is a metaphor for achievement,” Wagstaff said, and commended Cox for achieving a goal that no one had ever reached before.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman joined AOPA in 2008. He has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates. Dave flies vintage, historical, and Experimental airplanes and specializes in tailwheel and aerobatic instruction.
Continuing significant orders to the training market shows that Piper Aircraft is making progress in its three-year plan to gain market share in that competitive arena.
L-3 Aviation Products plans to join the general aviation ADS-B world with its Lynx MultiLink Surveillance System. The new products will be “specifically tailored to fit the panel and budget of today’s general aviation aircraft and pilots,” said Larry Riddle, vice president of sales and marketing.
It was a big day for the newly resurrected Mooney International Corp. Mooney president Jerry Chen handed over the keys to the first airplane to roll out of the Kerrville, Texas, manufacturer’s newly reactivated factory site.
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