Wounded warrior gets new wings

July 21, 2010

Tammy Duckworth, a former U.S. Army UH-60 Black Hawk pilot severely wounded in Iraq in 2004, is now an FAA-certificated private pilot in fixed-wing aircraft.

Duckworth passed her checkride July 19 at Manassas Regional/Harry P. Davis Field in northern Virginia, and she hopes, eventually, to return to helicopter flying. Her husband, Bryan Bowlsby, is an instrument-rated private pilot.

“Tammy is a very rare person, and she was fun to teach,“ said Ben Negussie, Duckworth’s flight instructor at Dulles Aviation in Manassas. “She’s incredibly self-disciplined and hard working. She’s got a great sense of humor, and she made my job easy.”

Duckworth lost all of her right leg and most of her left when her helicopter was struck by an insurgent-fired rocket-propelled grenade. She currently serves as an officer in the Illinois National Guard but her amputations prevent her from military flying. Duckworth lives and works in Washington, D.C., where she is an assistant secretary at the federal Department of Veterans Affairs.

Learn more about Duckworth in the AOPA Pilot feature, "Something to overcome."

Dave Hirschman

Dave Hirschman | AOPA Pilot Editor at Large, AOPA

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large 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.