Teen amputee’s first solo flight

2013-07-13 00:00

FIFTEEN-YEAR-OLD Jonathan Wing does not let the fact that he is an amputee stop him from living life to the fullest.

Jonathan, who lost his leg when he was seven years old in an accident with a lawnmower, did his first solo flight at the PMB Aero Club yesterday morning.

His father, Craig Wing, was a mixture of nerves and pride as he watched his son take off on his own for the first time.

“Look at him, flying a plane two years before he is allowed to fly! He really is an inspiration. When I got my plane in 2005 I took him up with me. He’s only done around 10 hours of flying with his instructor prior to this. He just loves flying,” said Wing.

Jonathan flew once around the grounds. There was no air traffic when he took off, but when he was about to land another plane was getting ready to take off.

This made Wing a little nervous for his son: “Your first flight is very intimidating; I was hoping it would be clear for him.”

The landing is the most difficult part of flying, but Jonathan landed smoothly and a proud Wing repeated that it was “perfect”.

Once out of the plane, Jonathan could not stop smiling: “I’m as happy as anything! I was a bit nervous to begin with, but once I was in the air I was fine. I’ve always wanted to fly. I grew up around aeroplanes and as soon as I could reach the pedals I decided to fly.”

His instructor David Bond prepared him well for his solo flight. “He knew he wanted this so he was a very disciplined and determined student. He always came prepared,” said Bond.

One of the concerns for Jonathan, being a leg amputee, was using the rudder pedals. They balance the aircraft in turns, and Bond was worried that Jonathan might have trouble, but Jonathan had no problems.

“It’s the same,” said Jonathan about flying as an amputee. “There’s no difference when I’m flying with my leg.”

“We build up the student to the point that they can go solo … they are trained to handle any emergency,” said Bond.

Jonathan also does cart racing on a national level, and at school he participates in target shooting and canoeing. He would like to be a commercial pilot or an engineer depending on how his flying progresses and how well he does in school.

Bond was very proud of his student: “It’s really rewarding to see a student achieve their dream.”

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