Florida State University Panama City senior Jason Jernigan will undertake five weeks of flight training at Purdue University in Indiana to show that his deafness is not a handicap.
Jernigan, of Youngstown, is the second deaf person to train with Able Flight to learn flight and ground operations. He is one of six men who have been chosen from across the country to win a scholarship for the third year of Able Flight-Purdue University flight training.
“I want to fly because it is one of my life goals,” Jernigan wrote in an email interview. “I really never thought I would get the opportunity. I want to conquer the challenge. I also want to show people that deaf people can do anything a hearing person can do.”Well who doesn't want to learn how to fly an airplane? If you're up to the task, why not? Ask Stephen Hopson who made aviation history by becoming the world’s first deaf pilot to earn an instrument rating, which actually requires the use of a radio when flying though inclement weather.
Jernigan will leave Florida on Saturday for the program. He has no prior flight experience, but he has played a flying computer game. He believes the biggest challenge will be communications between him and his instructors.
“I will use sign language, iPad, a computer and UbiDuo machine,” Jernigan wrote. “Mostly I will use an UbiDuo (communications device). … [I]t should help greatly with both my pre-flight and post-flight briefing with my instructor.”
The university will benefit from expanding their training to include people with disabilities, according to Charles Stites, the executive director of Able Flight.Good luck, Jason. Hope the skies will be friendly for ya!