A University of Oklahoma student born with only one hand has been recognized as the top pilot at the university, according to a May 17 news release.
Eric Gaffney earned this year’s Department of Aviation’s Stick and Rudder Award, which is presented annually to the student who demonstrates “the most readiness for flight,” the university said.
Gaffney, whose father is an American Airlines mechanic, initially feared he wouldn’t get medical clearance to fly professionally. He sought a degree in biochemistry before switching majors. He was able to get medical exemptions removed by showing he could fly solo, operate cockpit controls from both seats and operate manual flap systems.
The Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, native commented that flying with only one hand doubles his workload and makes him work a little faster and a little harder.
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