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Able Flight scholarship winner becomes instructor

Plans to teach ‘adaptive flying’ to fellow amputees

At first, Steven Curry had no idea how badly he was injured.

Photo courtesy of Steven Curry.

The powerful blast from a bomb hidden inside a concrete wall tore through the Humvee in which Curry and several fellow U.S. Army soldiers were traveling in Kirkuk, Iraq, and the impact left him dazed and disoriented.

Curry, then an infantry soldier, had previously sought out Army helicopter crews during deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan and asked them about learning to fly. But Curry’s injury in 2006 led to a below-the-knee amputation of his left leg and seemed to put flying permanently out of reach.

A chance 2014 meeting with Adam Kisielewski, however, convinced Curry to pursue civilian aviation. Kisielewski, a former U.S. Marine whose left arm and right leg were amputated after war injuries in Iraq, later became a civilian pilot with sport and private pilot certificates and an instrument rating.

“Adam’s injuries are a lot more extensive than mine,” Curry said. “Seeing him fly so well and confidently with one arm showed me that I ought to be able to fly with two arms.”

Curry used the GI Bill for flight training at Aviation Adventures in Manassas, Virginia, and at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. He recently became a flight instructor with a scholarship from Able Flight, the same organization that had helped Kisielewski (and many others) get started in flying.

Kisielewski is scheduled to pin on Curry’s Able Flight wings during a ceremony at 10 a.m. on July 27 in the Theater in the Woods at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin.

Curry, 38, has logged about 300 flight hours and plans to fly professionally.

He also hopes to teach “adaptive flying” to others with disabilities in the future.

“My first few flights were kind of rocky because I had to figure out how to use my prosthetic on the rudder pedal and brake,” he said. “That kind of specialized knowledge could really be helpful to others in similar situations.”

Able Flight CFI Steven Curry during a pin ceremony administered by mentor and fellow Able Flight scholarship recipient Adam Kisielewski (center left). Photo by David Tulis.
Dave Hirschman

Dave Hirschman

AOPA Pilot Editor at Large
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.
Topics: Scholarship, People

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