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Aviation Instructor Soars Over Adversity

Despite being paralyzed by gunshots right at the outset of his aviation career, Quincey Carr refused to give up on flying airplanes, and he has since earned a commercial pilot’s license and begun working as a part-time ground instructor. Carr gets around on the ground by wheelchair and flies airplanes using special hand controls. He has continued his flight training even after getting his commercial rating, saying that being a pilot and lover of aviation define him more than anything. “Right now, I’m an instructor for ground school,” Carr said recently while with a student at the fledgling flight school in Hayward, Calif., where he now lives and works. “The idea, though, is I’m going to become a certified flight instructor so I can teach inside the plane too, flying from the instructor’s seat.” Ultimately, he would like to join the California Fire Service. “Quincey has an unbelievable knowledge about flying,” says the flight school’s owner, Abel Cavalie. “He has a passion for aviation. We’ll kid around, and I’ll say, ‘How about business school?’ or, ‘Hey, you could make tons of money as a dentist!’ I tease him because we all know that’s not going to happen. That’s what I love about him. He knows exactly what he wants to do. And in spite of what happened, he keeps going. I really respect that.” Carr, now in his mid-twenties, has been fascinated by aviation since he was around 9 years old, when his parents both worked at Alameda Naval Air Station and he would watch the airplanes and collect model planes. He already had his private pilot’s license at age 17, and even after ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time and being shot a age 22, he continued on, with the encouragement of friends, fellow pilots, his church, and his mother.

June 16, 2009

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