A blind woman is flying a plane 2,000 miles across the US, starting in the southwest and ending in Washington DC. Kaiya Armstrong, who lost her sight seven years ago, is approaching the final leg of her journey after pitstopping in Louisville on Monday. The 21-year-old, who has been training for months, is flying in stages.
Kaiya is due to reach her final destination on October 13.
She is being guided in the single engine Cessna 172 Skyhawk by pilot Tyler Sinclair, who helps her to keep the plane level with verbal cues.
The flight started at Falcon Field Airport in Mesa, Arizona on October 7 and Kaiya landed in Colorado Springs Airport later that day.
On October 8, she flew to Kansas City, Missouri – before setting off on Monday, October 10 for Louisville, Kentucky.
Kaiya and Tyler take off for Washington DC for the final leg tomorrow.
Describing how she planned the journey, Kaiya told Fox10: “I’ve had to go through extensive ground school and in-flight training just to figure out all the ins and outs and all the details.
“They were able to get me a poster of the inside and an exact replica, and I was able to Braille it at home, so I put it up on the wall or on the table and I just sat in front of it and practised for hours.”
Kaiya learned she had an autoimmune disease in 2014.
She describes the day before the life-changing diagnosis, which started with a bike ride, as “just like any other”.
But Kaiya had to return home early from the ride after her vision became blurry, before visiting doctors the following day.
She said: “I got out for a bike ride…but I had to come back early because my vision got really blurry, and we found out the next day from doctors that I had an autoimmune disease.”
Supported by the Foundation of Blind Children, Kaiya’s adventure is part of ‘Flight for Sight’.
The organisation challenges those with poor vision to accomplish challenges once thought impossible.
Previous events Flight for Sight has supported include individuals hiking Mount Kilimanjaro and sailing the Caribbean.