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Commercial Pilot with Limb Loss Fights to Make His Dream a Reality

Nov 1, 2023 |

Showing tremendous perseverance in the face of opposition, Zachary Anglin is recognized as the world’s first commercial pilot with a quadruple amputation. Although the road to the cockpit has not been easy, Zachary knew from the time he was a child that he wanted to be a pilot. He recently appeared on the Jennifer Hudson Show and Jana Hayes shared his story for The Oklahoman 

Zachary was born without hands or feet in Nigeria, but he grew up in Wisconsin with his adopted parents. He was denied five times by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), but continuous phone calls eventually resulted in him being allowed to take a Statement of Demonstrated Ability (SODA). Finally passing his medical, Zachary was given one opportunity to attend flight school at Spartan College of Aeronautics and Technology (Tulsa, OK) where he graduated in 2019. 

With a few modifications, like seat adjustments and a seat pad to position himself closer to the controls, he can fly an airplane as well as any able-bodied pilot. Today he is even a flight instructor at Spartan College and has been a commercial pilot for four years. 

Over the years Zachary has taught over 200 flight students and helped other amputees reach the left seat. “I’m looking forward to showing the world that you can break any barrier you want to, but you’ve got to have faith and determination to do that,” he said. 

If you are interested in learning how to fly or exploring a career in aviation, check out the scholarships available through Able Flight and the EAA’s Adapt to Fly Scholarship.