Conquering the Skies With Vision Loss
“It’s like you enter a whole different world.”
By Chloe Ranshaw
“I didn’t know what to imagine but my dad told me to imagine a rollercoaster”, says Kaiya Armstrong. She remembers the first time she ever stepped foot in a plane, a small Cessna aircraft, as a person with vision loss during an event hosted by Foundation for Blind Children. “It was a lot smoother than a rollercoaster”, Kaiya finishes her thought with a laugh.
If you’ve been following Kaiya’s journey, you know she lost her vision when she was 14 years old but is currently training to pilot a plane from Phoenix, Ariz. to Washington D.C. Kaiya describes the ground and in-air training as amazing. She loves it. “Tyler’s [Kaiya’s in-air instructor from Leopard Aviation] got me to where I do everything. The taxing, the takeoff, and the flying”, shares Kaiya. As for landing, that’s next on the agenda.
But, Kaiya is ready to jump that next hurdle. She looks forward to every training session for the peace she finds in the air. “It’s like you enter a whole different world”, says Kaiya wistfully. It’s silent apart from the engine and while Kaiya struggles to find the words to describe the blissful experience, she doesn’t struggle to describe what she looks forward to most. Color.
Kaiya’s favorite part of flying is color. As someone experiencing vision loss, Kaiya can’t see the aircraft’s dashboard but can see the earth’s colors below. “This very last time we went, we flew over a little lake. I remember thinking how blue the water was”, explains Kaiya. With her flight path set, Kaiya can’t wait to see the colors of Colorado Springs, Kansas City, Louisville, and Washington D.C.
About Leopard Aviation, FBC’s flight training school partner:
Leopard Aviation is a family-owned and operated flight school. Our mission is to produce the best-trained pilots in the sky while maintaining a fun and professional training environment. We know that great flight instructors train great student pilots who go on to be great CFIs themselves — and the cycle continues.
Leopard Aviation flight school is certified to provide flight training under Part 61 of the FAA guidelines. We provide flight instruction in the best aircraft available with the latest technology; the Cessna172S Skyhawks with a glass cockpit with state-of-the-art G1000 avionics, GFC700 autopilot, and ADS-B in and out for the added situational awareness and safety.