THE BANTAM B22J {ADAPTED FOR PARAPLEGICS}

The idea of making the Bantam aircraft accessible for disabled people was born in New Zealand when Tiffany Perry of Hamilton New Zealand wanted to fly.

She broke her spinal cord in a skiing accident leaving her paralyzed from the waist down. It was her dream to fly and the inventor of the Bantam Max Clear from New Zealand made her dream come true by inventing the adapted controls so that the aircraft could be flown by using hands only. {She is flying her Bantam for 5 years now}

The rudder controls at the feet controlling the rudder and the front wheel were removed where the disabled person is strapped in to give more space for their feet.

The rudder control lever was now placed on the left hand side and combined with the throttle control and easily accessed with the left hand. The joystick in the middle remained untouched for the instructor to teach the disabled person to fly the craft. You will also notice that at the instructor side the foot pedals are still there for use by the instructor to override the student when training the student.

The inventor Max moved the stabilizer on the left hand side slightly to the front to create more space to get in the craft. By doing this he had to cut the bubble in the front slightly to get the stabilizer to fit but this had no effect on the strength of the structure nor did it make the aircraft look very different from the original. Actually, if you don’t look carefully you won’t notice the difference.

Local disabled paraplegic André Goosen went solo on the 10 of April 2003 and finished his training recently with instructor Alec Green from the Lowveld Aeroclub.

André went solo after 14hours and had to do 15 solo hours more to qualify for his MPL. His license was issued on the 28th of May 2003 after he has successfully done the flight test at Pyramid flying school with Brian Young. He is the first paraplegic to qualify at Lowveld Aero club in Nelspruit.

It’s a dream that became a reality for André. His Motto in life is: Life ain’t over yet and if you can’t walk there, why not fly.  

Thanks to Andrew Pappas and his son’s Kuen, Terence and friend Nick for assembling the aircraft.


Lowveld Aero Club Nelspruit South Africa hosts disabled aviators.

 

On the 24th of January 2004 the Old Nelspruit airport was taken over.

No, it was not a military coo by vigilantes but disabled enthusiast aviators in wheelchairs “taxiing” to the waiting aircraft.

 

Local Bantam pilot André Goosen decided it’s time for his fellow wheelchair friends to feel the joy he is experiencing and with the help of local pilots and sponsors he organized a day for them to get exposed to the joy of flight. “I’m trying to plant the seed that was planted into me after flying the Harvard at the 2001 airshow” Goosen said, and that is wanting to fly.

 

Group Photo

 

Participants looked on while the aircrafts were inspected and they were told the details of safety and what all the instruments are there for. With big eyes they were given a helping hand to get in the different aircrafts. There were 8 three axis Bantam B22J’s, 2 Cheetahs, a Robin R22 helicopter, a Piper Cruiser and 4 Trikes all the way from Drome Z.

 

One by one the aircraft took off and the route was over Nelspruit town and surrounding areas. Participants now had a birds eye view from what Nelspruit looks from above. Some comments were: “Gee man, is a rugby field really that small”, and “There are a lot of pools in Nelspruit”,

“Wow , that’s my house, better get dad to clean the pool”. Well, those big eyes subsequently turned into amazement and for those who reckoned flying was for birds only had to think again.

 

Flips was until 08h30 and for the early birds there was a chance to fly more than once. Some participants actually flew three aircraft and that was the seed that was meant to be planted Goosen said. I’m sure to soar the sky free as a bird is not only meant for able people and that we will see many more disabled enjoying this freedom he added. Currently there are two disabled students training on Goosens aircraft and they come as far as Johannesburg to train here at Nelspruit airport.

 

After the flying experience the participants enjoyed boerewors rolls {That's cooked sausage on an open fire} and a drink at the Lowveld Aero Clubs clubhouse.

 

Goosen said that this day was only made possible by the sponsors, the local pilots and the use of the facilities at Nelspruit airport and on behalf of all disabled participants he would like to thank them for there unconditional support and help. He said that more venues like this one is definitely on the agenda. Life isn't over yet.

 

DAASA {Disabled Aviation Association SA} was recently established and they will represent the disabled aviators locally and internationally.

André Goosen

Nelspruit

South Africa

+27 13 7434545

+27 82 6773494

goosena@iafrica.com  


www.flightability.com

www.scottstrikecenter.com