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A Soaring Christmas?

The following message was received from longtime SSA member Fredric Mann:

ûI have been flying gliders for the last 20 years and while a joy in itself, nothing has given me more pleasure than my membership in and flying almost weekly with Freedom's Wings International, an SSA division. Incorporated in 1980, Freedom's Wings is dedicated to getting physically challenged individuals out into the countryside and teaching them "the joy of soaring."

Flying two specially equipped, but rapidly aging Grob 103A's with hand controls linked to the rudder pedals, (the modification to the Grob has been approved) our two paraplegic CFIG's, as well as able bodied members, teach paraplegic and other disabled adults and teens that they, too, can master something that they would never have imagined was within their capabilities. I can't tell you the joy that I felt when I heard one of our members, paralyzed from the waist down after an accident, tell a news reporter "Down here, I'm stuck in this (motioning to his wheelchair) Up there, I'm as good as anyone." I can tell you that he is certainly that, and more.

While based at Van Sant Field in southeastern Pennsylvania, Freedom's Wings has extended its activities to others, periodically disassembling the planes and transporting them to exhibitions and flying programs in Atlanta, Toronto, and other locations up and down the east coast. We have participated in programs with The Paralyzed Veterans of America, the Eastern Paralyzed Veterans, The Pennsylvania Center for Adaptive Sports, The Parolympics, and The Canadian Disabilities Foundation. We've put a lot of hours on these planes.

With one of the two Grobs requiring extensive fiberglass work, we find ourselves in great need of another plane as a replacement, and to subsequently help expand our program. We have reviewed the classifieds monthly with no success.

As our funding has been limited, I would like to ask if there is a charitably motivated owner of a relatively low hour G-103 who may consider donating the plane to this great SSA division. As we are a fully certified 501(c) (3) nonprofit organization, a donor may receive the full tax benefits associated with this type of contribution and the knowledge that their generosity will help bring a very Merry Christmas to our fabulous sport and to a unique and exceedingly worthwhile cause.

Fredric R. Mann, II
e-mail: fmann@aol.com
Tel: 215-751-2198 day
215-985-9442 evenings

Posted: 12/18/2002 By: General News

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