Wounded Veteran Becomes Pilot

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Curated by
Whitney Bailey
Content via AbleFlight
Curated by
Whitney Bailey

AbleFlight is an organization created by pilots that provide scholarships to people with disabilities who have the desire to learn how to fly an airplane. The mission of AbleFlight is to “offer people with disabilities a unique way to challenge themselves through flight and aviation career training, and by doing so, to gain greater self-confidence and self-reliance.”

Marine Lt. Andrew Kinard was originally supposed to be a Marine pilot but decided his calling was to lead an infantry on the ground instead. During his first deployment to Iraq, Andrew was injured by an IED. He became an above the knee amputee.

Andrew states during his recovery he skipped over questioning if he was going to be okay and went on to think about what was to happen next. Andrew decided to get his pilot license. He describes the sensation of flying as ‘unconstrained mobility’.

“And if I might sort of interpolate what it felt like from being in a wheelchair to driving again, then how much more freedom and how much more independence do I feel when I go from being on the ground to in the air.”

Andrew says that flying is doing something he never did before he was injured, and that is deeply satisfying for him. He hopes that his flying experience will show someone who has been newly injured that the sky's the limit.

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