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Pilot with a Disability to Salute MossRehab with Flyover in Adapted Airplane July 1

Jun 23 2020


On Wednesday, July 1 at 12:15 pm, employees of MossRehab Elkins Park will be outside to cheer on Sean O’Donnell--a pilot who has been paralyzed since 1995--as he performs a flyover to honor the therapists, doctors and nurses bravely serving the needs of persons with disabilities throughout the COVID-19 Pandemic , including those working in the unique, CORE+ rehabilitation unit strictly for patients with COVID-19. O’Donnell’s plane, a Skyarrow LSA, was the first aircraft ever designed with a hand control option by the factory, allowing functions traditionally controlled by a pilot’s feet to be controlled by a pilot’s hands.


July 1 was chosen as the day for O’Donnell’s flyover as it marks the halfway point in MossRehab’s 120th anniversary year and is the day when employees will celebrate being named a Top Workplace for the 10th straight year.

Paralyzed in 1995 in a motor vehicle accident while in high school, O'Donnell, an accomplished engineer and motivational speaker, earned his pilot’s license in 2007 through Able Flight, a national scholarship and training program dedicated to the idea that persons with a physical disability can change their lives by learning to fly or training for a career in aviation.

“I am happy to offer this unique salute to the staff at MossRehab: A pilot with a disability, flying a plane adapted for pilots with a disability, over an institution dedicated to helping those in the community with disabilities despite the hazards of COVID-19,” said O’Donnell. “Both myself and Able Flight would like the current patients and staff to know that no matter what gets thrown their way, there is always a way through it and even the loftiest of dreams can be possible!"

O'Donnell was the second Able Flight scholarship award winner to earn his pilot's license. Since then, he has over 500 hours of flying time, completed 2 cross-country barnstorming tours and he continues to make his adapted airplane—which features hand controls for functions traditionally controlled by a pilot’s feet—available to the Able Flight program to be used to train pilots with disabilities. O’Donnell also devotes his free time and resources to being a positive role model in aviation.  When he's not flying, O'Donnell works for Phenom, an Artificial Intelligence and HR Tech company in Ambler, PA. and travels to motivational speaker appearances…with over 500 bookings over the past 23 years already under his belt.

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