Story by Sean Gustafson
On Sept. 3, 2011 five veterans tested a new type of paraglider over Sun Valley, Idaho. What made this an event noteworthy was that all five of these veterans are suffering from spinal cord injuries (SCI).
The veterans were able to participate in the paragliding by means of a set of specialized chairs called “Phoenix 1.0” and “Phoenix 1.5.” The “Phoenix” chairs were made from one inch aircraft aluminum tubing allowing for a sturdy 35lb craft.
These chairs were the product of four months of researching and testing from four University of Utah students under the direction of professor Don Bloswick.
Mark Gaskill, of ABLE Pilot, provided the training for the chairs an organization committed to help people with spinal cord injuries, amputations, and neuromuscular diseases into flying-type actives.
To see test runs on the “Phoenix” chairs, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y9j33A0UV8A