Students Are Building a Plane for Disabled Flyers
ACE (short for the Aerospace Center for Excellence) has just partnered up with Able Flight – a company that provides scholarships to disabled people wanting to learn how to fly. One of the aspects of this program is building a plane specially designed for disabled flyers. It’s going to be a modified version of Zenith 750.
ACE will later use this homebuilt aircraft to train the recipients of the Able Flight program.
“Our mission at ACE is to engage, educate, and accelerate the next generation of aerospace professionals,” commented Ed Young, executive director. “Able Flight’s success in engaging and educating individuals with disabilities in flight training is unparalleled. We have the opportunity to truly change lives by combining our core competencies.”
Mike Zidziunas, president of the aero club says that the aircraft is going to be named “Spirit of Lakeland” and built only by high school students, under the thorough supervision of adult mentors. The estimated build time is 100 days.
If the revamped Zenith 750 proves to be a successful project, they are willing to build a whole fleet of them. This will mean that these planes will become more available not only for the Able Flight pilots, but for the students that built them as well.
“The Zenith 750 is a really good machine for the disabled,” Zidziunas notes. “The height is good for getting in and out with wheelchairs, it’s a center stick. They even have modified them for hand controls for people who don’t have the use of their feet.”
Also, these mods don’t mean that able-bodied people won’t be able to fly the new 750. Students, SUN ’n FUN volunteers, and other people can fly the plane when it’s available. Zidziunas says that the main goal is to create a flying club around the new Zenith 750.
Norfolk Aviation fully supports the idea – pilot learning programs should be available for as many people as possible. The joy of flying is simply indescribable, and everyone should experience it in life at least once – that’s why we appreciate the effort of ACE so much. Stay tuned to learn more about other innovations in the industry. We always cover important news and events, so follow Norfolk Aviation on Facebook so you don’t miss a thing!