Putting The Flight Back Into The Pilot

by Pete Buffington

MADISON, WIS. – EAA Chapter 93 of Madison, Wis., and Chapter 1389 of Middleton, Wis., hosted a joint chapter EAA Young and Old Eagles day and barbeque in September 2012 at Morey Field in Middleton.

Jay Martin, member of Chapter 1389, and owner of an RV-8A, and Bud Rogers, member of Chapter 93, paired up for an out-of-the-ordinary Eagles flight. Rogers was injured in an ultralight accident 10 years ago, and is recovering from a recent stroke, making him temporarily wheel chair bound. Everything combined, he had doubts if he would ever fly again, but in the spirit of EAA, Chapter 93 made it happen.

Martin, a mechanical engineering professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, directs the Center for Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology (www.uwcreate.engr.wisc.edu). He does research that ranges from advanced wheelchair systems to biomechanics, and orthopedic implant research and design. A part of Martin’s group works on movement issues called “Moovability” (Wisconsin=Holsteins=”Moo”).

One of the reasons Martin built his RV-8A is because it has a design that is relatively easy to provide access to people with disabilities. Martin has engineered two means: one using an overhead lift, and the other using a gantry-type overhead rail system, to lift and place a person in the passenger seat of an aircraft. This is essentially an extension of the Moovability theme, which Martin calls “Moovairbility.”

Once Rogers was lowered into the cockpit, Martin attached the specially engineered canopy to the RV-8A, and climbed into the cockpit, and off they went, making this a most memorable occasion for all.

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