Posted: 9/30/2009 08:11:59
The short version of a long story is that in 1965 I told the Doctor giving me my Student Pilot's physical that I have a slight hearing loss (that is what I had been told by Doctors - it was actually a severe hearing loss). The Doctor's response was, "Oh, you do fine don't make trouble for yourself, don't put that on the form." 25 Years later the FAA sent me a SODA even though I didn't ask for one. I guess they figured 25 years was demonstrated ability. I have considered becoming an instructor before and even passed the Commercial written exam. But getting a 2nd class medical was problematic. Now we have LSA. I could be an LSA instructor in about 18 hours (fly 15 hrs in an LSA and take the tests - I figure about 3 hours). I have the knowledge, and I've already introduced over 25 kids to flying - I am a Young Eagles Flight Leader. Some of those kids discovered that they are "Aviator Spirits" with me introducing them to "who they really are." English is my second language and I use it very well - well enough to fake my way through 25 years of 3rd class medicals. American Sign Language is my native language. As far as I know, there aren't any Deaf Instructors. I would like to be one. I suspect there is Grant money available for Deaf/disabled science/aviation education. Please network with me to identify the institution/school that will make that happen.
Greg Lawrence EAA #600006
Web Site Email
Posted: 10/1/2009 10:17:34
I don't have the knowledge to answer your questions but I do encourage you to persue this gaol. Hopefully, someone here who has intimate knowledge of the regs and the deaf communtiy can jump in here and assist you. From my perspective, being deaf should, in no way, be a handicap to being a proficient LSA instructor (and God knows we need as many of them as we can get)
NC22375 out of 07N
Posted: 10/2/2009 06:40:40
I have been a private pilot (ASEL) since 1966, a powerplant mechanic since 1972, and in 2008 earned my CFI-SP Airplane certificate. I am completely deaf in both ears without my Cochlear Implants. With the CIs I easily pass the FAA 3rd class medical but let my last one expire because I fly only LSA these days. I know a few ASL signs but do not sign since I am not really part of the Deaf community. I suggest you connect with the Deaf Pilot's Association at http://www.deafpilots.com/ and let them know your plans. A majority of the DPA's membership is Deaf and most of them use ASL as their primary communication method. You should receive a good bit of encouragement from them. They have an annual fly-in in a different part of the country every year which is usually well attended including some deaf pilots from Europe. I've attended two of their gatherings and it is a good group to get to know, especially if you are fluent in ASL. Good luck with your aspirations.
Thom Riddle EAA#676777
Posted: 10/2/2009 08:27:42
Thank you Thom and Jerry (no pun intended, just the way it is).
I was a member and attended the fly-in, about 1997, of the International Deaf Pilots Association on the Outer Banks, NC. Fine organization and the fly-in was well attended. Monday after Airventure I went to Manatowoc and found one person who told me 6 people has showed up. "The squeakiest wheel gets the most grease". Deaf don't make a lot of noise. I also attended the one Forum on Deaf Aviation at Airventure. Great presentation by Magneto Mel and had a Sign Language interpreter. But, it wasn't well attended. I sat next to Joe Balzer in the Authors' Corner all week and saw him and others do media interviews and give presentations all over Airventure. Jenny my Hearing Dog got some attention. So, here on 365 I'm trying to make some noise. In 1997 there were about 20 Deaf who had a PPL. Mel said that there are now over 130. Deaf think spatially and mostly right brain - ideal for pilots. Many thousands of Deaf and hard of hearing people are now potential LSA pilots and EAA members. Flight schools and manufacturers would do well to listen carefully to the little noise we do make.
Posted: 10/10/2009 09:32:54
I must confess that before reading Gregory's messages I never imagined that deaf people were allowed to fly, or would want to fly. But (thinking about it) that way of thinking was due to some limitations in my own imagination and perspective. So you are doing the right thing by bringing some attention to the subject. Maybe you should contact NAFI or the EAA to see if they would run a magazine article on the subject. I would be really interested to know more about the things you need to consider, or obstacles to be overcome as a deaf pilot. Are you basically prohibited from Class D and Class C airspace because of the inability to establish two way radio communication?
Posted: 10/10/2009 09:34:38
Forgot to mention, are you aware of Able Flight? They seem to be doing some impressive things bringing young people with disabilities into aviation, using LSA type aircraft.
Posted: 10/22/2009 10:53:14
...Are you basically prohibited from Class D and Class C airspace because of the inability to establish two way radio communication? ...
What do you do at towered airports if your radio fails? You request light signals.
Deaf pilots can do the same thing. In Class B you probably won't get permission to fly into their airspace much less land at their airport, but many Class D and C regularly accommodate deaf pilots when traffic permits. I have a friend who is deaf and was a commercial pilot with instrument rating and flying for a living before he lost all hearing in both ears. His hearing malady is not correctable with Cochlear Implants so he is completely and permanently deaf. Obviously, he is no longer flying for a living. Sometimes I fly with him as his radio man when he wants to fly into Class C or Class D airports.
Posted: 11/6/2009 08:16:50
Our Chapter 180 President told me yesterday that he has a friend who is a VP at Cessna. I asked him to forward the attached Project Proposal to his friend. I am asking my friends here to send this proposal to people you know who are LSA manufacturers, distributors, or dealers. It is an opportunity show GA in a very good light - reaching out to Deaf - by highlighting Light Sport Aviation and raising awareness of people across the country. I am mailing this proposal to manufacturers, Distributors, dealers, EAA, AOPA, Able Flight, and DPA. However, it would be good if they received it from other people also to show wide support for the effort. In the Proposal I explain why Deaf people make excellent aviators, state that the objective is for people to realise "If that Deaf girl can do it, I can to" or "If that old guy (me) can do it, I can too."
Posted: 11/25/2009 03:10:40
I think it's awesome you want to become a Flight Instructor in the Light Sport category, and since you already have a Private Pilot certificate, it might be the fastest way for you to become a CFI and teach others how to fly in light sport aircraft.
However, I just want you to be aware that Deaf pilots aren't limited to being able to become a CFI in the Light Sport Category, but they can also become a full-fledged Certified Flight Instructor if they want. So if your real goal is to be able to teach others how to fly in Cessna's and Pipers, don't cut yourself short. I think you will just need a Commercial certificate with an Instrument rating and a 3rd class medical certificate and have passed the Fundamentals of Instruction written test (or be able to substitute that test with a teachers credential for 7th grade or higher, or an evidence of regular teaching in college).
Source: FAA Order 8900.2 , - See Chapter 7, Section 15 (on page 7-130), and see parts 100(b), 103, and 103(a).
Hope that helps.
Posted: 1/16/2010 04:20:24
Greg, a tad late to this party but...
Do you still get third class medicals? How well can you communicate in an airplane with people with normal hearing? Reason I ask is because you can instruct with just a third class medical in LSA airplanes. Otherwise, seems like you could do the LSA thing, but someone with more knowledge than me will have to address that.
Posted: 1/20/2010 13:36:03
I think it is wonderful that you want to help deaf pilots get in the air! I'm currently a Sport Pilot CFI and teach in J-3's. I'm not deaf but I see no reason why you cannot acheive your goal.
Keep up the good work and Bravo! to you.
Posted: 2/4/2010 15:55:23
Here is an update:
90 on Knowledge test and 92 on Fundamentals of Instructing.
Went to Sebring Expo TBO AOPA and Dan Johnson referenced the article and I have been helping Deaf people all over this country and in Columbia by VP (Video Phone) and Email.
A week ago I flew a Paradise P1 and talked with the principals of the Paradise Aircraft Company. Best trainer I've ever seen. Behaves exactly like an airplane should when its flying and when it is stalling. It is much bigger than a 150, 152 or 162, faster than my 172 and uses half as much gas and mogas at that. Paradise has already modified and delivered a P1 for Dylan Redd who is paraplegic. http://www.aviationbull.com/2009/feb/03/dylan-finds-paradise
High Point is this Email Reply from a pilot in Columbia who is loosing his hearing:
Thanks a lot for your beautiful response to my message. Your words are powerful and they made me look for a tissue ( don´t get me wrong, but I think, we pilots are so sentimental).
Nothing more true than what you said, I should hold to that feeling a make the universe take care of my dream. I have great memories and a lot of respect of all my flight instructors (most of them Americans, like you) to whom I always be grateful, I got the best of them in my short time learning to fly, but I can tell you, you gave me the best advice a flight instructor could give, and now I can say, that even I haven´t had the opportunity yet to flight with you, you gave me the greatest lesson ever!
Some day I wish I could give the same advice to my daughters, this world will be better with people that approach all the challenges like you.
GOD bless you always.
Say hi to your beautiful dog, she is an amazing being too, just like you.
Posted: 2/6/2010 23:47:00
Modified: 2/6/2010 23:49:12
I was one of the group of Deaf pilots that flew into Manitowoc MTW Myself and another deaf pilot Jon Leach from Houston flew a C-172 to MTW for EAA airventures 2009 & deaf pilot 2009 fly-in held at MTW
I'm deaf, & left Arm amputee & skydiver & A&P mechanic
bought my own Cessna 172...
I too would like to become a CFI but right now I don't have the extra $$ burning holes in my pockets to get the required ratings, the cost of flying, skydiving, hanger and up keep on my Cessna keeps me broke$$
Posted: 9/12/2010 04:44:20
Just sent this Email message to my VP (Video Phone) students and friends:
In the traditions and lore of the First Nation's People the hawk is a messenger between the spirit world and the physical world. There are people of the Mockingbird clan who only know me as Deafhawk, they would not know who Greg is. Once again I am in the role of messenger between the Deaf world and the hearing world. Kirby has booked the equipment for us to fly in October. I will be flying for four days with the Chief Instructor of Cessna. I have been amazed by the number of pilots who have expressed surprise that Deaf can fly because they don't know that anyone can fly without using a radio. The basis of Visual Flight Rules is “see and avoid” and that foundation that has served very well for almost 100 years has been eroded by pilots depending upon traffic advisories for avoidance. I have plenty of examples and I think we can have some influence on the emphasis at 280 Cessna Pilot Centers for whom Kirby Ortega is the Chief Instructor.
What I need to learn from you, my students (it is a well kept secret that we learn more from students than we teach) and friends are the best and worst examples of communication between Deaf students and instructors. The objective is for a Deafie to be able to call a CPC by VRS (person answering the phone knows what VRS is and what to do), schedule discovery flight or instruction, get the VP number of 1 or more pilots to be a mentor and if a Deaf (native ASL user) Instructor is not available, have a hearing instructor who has been trained to communicate with Deaf. Nobody can hear very well in an airplane and everybody will benefit from more clear non-verbal communications in the cockpit. So, please respond to this message and share your experience so that I can take it to the hearing world.