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Purdue University Uses Flight Design Hand Control Option

Able Flights
Able Flight scholarship winners include Korel Cudmore and Jermaine Strachan. Korel is hearing impaired and Jermaine is a wounded veteran.

Flight Design and its Colorado dealer Peak Aviation Center in conjunction with Able Flight have supplied a Flight Design CTLS with hand controls to the Purdue University Department of Aviation Technology. The system allows disabled students to earn their sport pilot certificate. Training of four students in the CTLS and another plane, a Sky Arrow 600 light-sport aircraft, took about five weeks, and it’s anticipated their wings will be awarded at EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2011.

Hand controls in Peak Aviation’s CTLS allowed two students who don’t use wheelchairs to train full time in the aircraft. Veteran Jermaine Strachan is a two-time recipient of the Purple Heart and still capable of flying an airplane with rudder pedals. Korel Cudmore is hearing impaired. She requires a side-by-side training aircraft for communicating with her instructor. 

Able Flight pays the cost of aircraft for the students. Charles Stites, the executive director, said thanks to the success of their joint program with Purdue in 2010, the university asked them to send more students this year. He hopes that intensive use of the hand-control-equipped CTLS will take place when the aircraft returns to Peak’s Colorado Springs facility, thanks to Purdue’s first experience in working with students and the CTLS.

Al Mathews of Peak Aviation Center said, “Our flight instructors found that the controls worked well and especially appreciated the hand brake on the stick when taxiing on a gusty day.” The CTLS brake is normally positioned in the center console where its operation requires the same hand as used on the special rudder control. Peak Aviation’s mechanic installed the hand controls as well as moving a new hand brake control to the joystick.

Flight Design USA is the U.S. importer of the Flight Design CT and MC series of light-sport aircraft from Germany and has delivered more than 330 special light-sport aircraft to customers through its network of distributors and dealers. The complete hand control system retails for approximately $4,000.

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