ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- With a cane in one hand and an interpreter on the other, 15-year-old Katie Inman makes her way to the hangar. Her shirt, reading “People Reaching Outrageous Potential,” seems only fitting.
"If she wants something, she will go for it,” said Katie’s dad, Kevin Inman.
Four months ago the Inman family met Linwood Nooe, the founder of Operation PROP. Fast forward to Tuesday and Katie is touching the wing of a plane no one ever imagined she’d be about to fly.
"The whole idea is to introduce people with disabilities to opportunities that they may not have even thought about,” Nooe said.
Operation PROP, a nonprofit group, has organized more than 300 flights for those with disabilities. But this is a first.
Like her mom and grandma before her, Katie is both blind and deaf. She suffers from a genetic form of optic nerve atrophy. Similar to how Helen Keller did, she communicates mostly through tactile sign language.
Tuesday evening, seated in the co-pilot chair, Katie had one hand on her interpreter and the other on the steering wheel of the Piper PA-28 Warrior aircraft.
It was a bird’s eye view for a girl who lives her life not held back by her limitations.
"We're on top of the clouds,” Katie exclaimed.
The Inman family motto is, “Only the sky’s the limit.” But now, in this moment, even that is within reach.
"Katie is capable of doing anything with her faith, with her energy, and with her determination. She is a very strong young lady,” said Katie’s mom, Tracie.
Katie is scheduled to have her second cochlear implant surgery on Thursday.
Operation PROP is hoping to meet with the Florida School for the Deaf and Blind this week to see if it can work flights like this into the regular curriculum.