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EAA Chapters Provide a Special Flight

 

Lightspeed Aviation Foundation
Jay Martin and Bud Rogers in Jay's specially equipped RV-8A.

Lightspeed Aviation Foundation
Bud Rogers is lifted into the cockpit using a special overhead rail system designed by Jay Martin.

Lightspeed Aviation Foundation
Jay and Bud, ready for their special flight.

October 18, 2012 - EAA Chapter 93 of Madison, Wisconsin, and Chapter 1389 of nearby Middleton co-hosted an EAA Young Eagles and Eagle Flights event last month at Morey Field in Middleton, Wisconsin.

It was the first Eagle Flights event for either chapter, allowing members to share the wonder of flight with new and former aviators, young and old, but no flight that day was more special than the one Bud Rogers took in Jay Martin's RV-8A.

Bud is a longtime pilot and member of Chapter 93 who unfortunately suffered a stroke that has left him wheelchair-bound with limited mobility. He was fearful he'd never have an opportunity to fly again. His fellow chapter members were determined to see to it that Bud returned to the air and see his heart-warming aviator's smile again.

Jay, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin, stepped forward to offer a flight in his RV-8A. Jay directs the UW Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology (CREATe), whose mission is "to engage in engineering research, engineering design, and engineering education that will assist in providing additional independence to individuals with disabilities."

Jay's research ranges from advanced wheelchair systems to biomechanics to orthopedic implant research and design. A part of his group works on movement issues, hence the group's adopted name, "Moovability."

Jay's RV-8A is no ordinary airplane; it's designed so that people with disabilities can get inside relatively easily. For this purpose Jay engineered two systems: one using an overhead lift and the other using a gantry-type overhead rail system to lift and place a person in the passenger seat - in essence, an extension of the Moovability theme that Jay calls "Moovairbility."

After arriving at the airport the day of the flight, Bud was carefully lowered into the RV-8A's cockpit using the overhead rail system. Members from both chapters watched as Bud's smile illuminated one more time as an aviator prepared to fly. Jay attached the specially engineered canopy to the RV-8A, crawled into the cockpit with Bud and they taxied off. In no time the two were screaming skyward.

This was certainly a special flight to remember, with both chapters working together to reach beyond what is ordinarily possible.

Contributed by Pete Buffington, Chapter 93
Photos by Skot Weidemann, Chapter 93

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