Paralyzed Pilots Fly Again

April 1, 2024

Retired Capt. Stewart McQuillan has developed the first FAA-approved device designed to enable pilots with paralysis to operate helicopters. A veteran of the Royal and U.S. Air Force, McQuillian created the system after becoming paralyzed.

He recently presented the new technology at Heli-Expo in Anaheim, CA. “Whatever I do with my thumb, the pedals will match it,” he demonstrated. (See accompanying video) “There’s a quick connector that goes to the pedal and it holds the leg on the pedal. It’s a little bit like going from a bicycle to a unicycle so once you master it, you got it for life, you know?”

One of his primary objectives is to help paralyzed veteran facing mental health challenges, including panic, depression and thoughts of suicide. “It’s not the end, all you gotta do is find us and we’ll try to help you. Whether you’re military or civil, we’ll get you going again. You do have a future,” said McQuillan.


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