Guest Blog: John Robinson - AV8 4 ALL

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After earning my Sport Pilot's License through Able Flight in 2015, I quickly realized that accessible general aviation options for disabled pilots were very few. It inspired me to create AV84ALL (Aviation for all) with the goal of providing more opportunities in general aviation for persons with physical and other disabilities.

Our goal with AV84ALL is to foster a community of disabled aviators and disabled aviation enthusiasts to participate in the mainstream world of general aviation through education, hands-on training, and inclusion, to overcome the many obstacles we face.

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Recently, we have banded together for a common goal with EAA Chapter 1083, to build a Zenith CH 750 Cruzer in Salisbury, North Carolina. The EAA chapter members launched the Zenith build on September 10, 2016 at Rowan County Airport (KRUQ).

Rowan Area EAA Chapter 1083 was formed in 1993 and serves to encourage participation in aviation related programs, and to help others experience the thrill of flight. The chapter is committed to assisting AV84all.org with this build, and is looking forward to having a new flying club full of fellow builders, pilots, and enthusiasts in the area. EAA Chapter 1083 President, Jack Neubacher said, “When I was first contacted by Zenith about helping John with this special project, I felt it was a great chance to help with one of the most important missions of our chapter -- to encourage, educate and promote aviation for all.”

I'm excited about what the group build project will do for this organization. EAA Chapter 1083 is literally making a dream come true for AV84all.org. Without their help it would take a lot longer to get this project off of the ground and they are making flying for disabled people a reality. This group build project is the first step in allowing pilots with disabilities to form a flying club with a Zenith aircraft. Other future goals I have for AV84all.org include a ground school, trial flights, flight training, simulator sessions, and more.

Charles Stites, The Executive Director of Able Flight, is optimistic about the opportunities this project will establish for people with disabilities in many different areas. He said "It's wonderful to see this project come together, not as an Able Flight project, but as an initiative of someone who has been through our program. And it's especially gratifying that Zenith Aircraft, a company that also supports Able Flight, has generously chosen to  work with EAA Chapter 1083 to help make this possible. I am hopeful that the success of this project will inspire similar efforts throughout the country."

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Zenith Aircraft will provide an engineering review to help customize this Zenith CH 750 Cruzer to better fit the needs of the pilots with disabilities involved in this project. Sebastien Heintz, owner of Zenith Aircraft states, "One of the wonderful things about experimental amateur built airplanes is they can be fully customized by the builder to make it one of a kind. The new EAA Maker Edition of SolidWorks is a tool that will be used for the customization of the needed hand controls for this group build project. This computer-aided design software offers a huge advantage to the owner/builder/pilot when building their own aircraft, and especially for those who have a specific purpose in mind."

I encourage aviation enthusiasts to become a member of an EAA Chapter in their local area. EAA Director, Charlie Becker states, “EAA’s mission is to grow participation in aviation and our chapter network delivers on our mission in so many ways and what Chapter 1083 is doing is just another great example. Not only will the members of the chapter get to learn and build, but the finished aircraft will create a wonderful opportunity for pilots with disabilities.”

Help is needed to make this project a reality for all pilots with disabilities. Tax deductible donations are being accepted now for kit parts, tools, engine, and avionics for this project at www.av84all.org.

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