By Josh Wilder, 2018-05-10
I learned of Freedom’s Wings International in 2008 from a news segment about disabled pilots soaring through the sky. I visited their website and was surprised to read that they held free flight events in my home state of Pennsylvania. Flying at one of their events seemed as far outside of my comfort zone as things got but the opportunity seemed too serendipitous to ignore.
I scheduled my introductory flight a few months in advance and surprisingly was not nervous about it. I was not even nervous when the day arrived and I was sitting in the cockpit. In retrospect I think that it just did not feel real. The thought of soaring through the sky in a sailplane did not feel real when a four-inch gap on the ground stops me in my tracks. Soaring was indeed real though. It was also a lot of fun.
Freedom’s Wings International is also an inclusive organization that offers opportunity to the population they serve. In my world this is just as important as the flights they provide. Securing employment is difficult for many individuals with disabilities. Freedom’s Wings International provides meaningful volunteer experience which looks fantastic on resumes. As a quadriplegic who works to make it easier for individuals with disabilities to secure employment, I simply cannot overstate how beneficial your time spent volunteering with Freedom’s Wings International will be. So if flying is not your thing then just volunteer. I have for 10 years and have only flown once.