Thirteen-year-old Joseph might possibly love aviation more than any other teenager in Auburn, Washington. Joseph was born in China and spent his first 11 years in an orphanage before he was adopted by single mom Joanne and brought to the U.S. That flight changed his life in more ways than one. Joseph had his first flying lesson shortly after because his newfound passion for airplanes was so great.
The special thing about Joseph, though, is that he was born with microphthalmia, a condition where his eyeballs are extremely small and he can only see light. He also suffers from what is most likely institutional autism from his extended time in the orphanage. But Jacob loves airplanes, and his dream is to design instruments to help blind people become pilots. He trains with the Washington Wing of the Civil Air Patrol, and flight instructors have told his mom that he has the ability to “fly by the seat of his pants,” an aviation phrase meaning he has a terrific sense of his body position and movement in space.
Knowing how important aviation is to Joseph, Joanne found doctors at the Casey Eye Institute in Vancouver, Washington who could potentially help improve his vision. But his autism makes car trips difficult – he can fly, but has trouble riding in a car. Joanne spent her entire savings on the adoption with very little income to spare. She had seen an Angel Flight West booth at an aviation trade show and gave us a call. We’re so glad she did. We’ve now flown Joseph and his mom twice and look forward to flying him again in the future!