The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America


Soaring spirit

Blinded in crash, he teaches others to fly

Barry Hyde didn’t allow his blindness or other devastating injuries he sustained as a passenger in a 1998 plane crash to rob him of a career in aeronautics. Pronounced dead-on-arrival when being airlifted, Hyde, then 26, not only survived but became a groundbreaker: He was the first blind student at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University (Daytona Beach campus) in its 85-year history. Hyde earned a master’s degree last May, with a perfect 4.0 grade-point, and is working on a doctorate in business administration with aeronautical specialization.

Barry Hyde, with guide dog Lincoln,
Barry Hyde, with guide dog Lincoln, visits vintage aircraft at the Collings Foundation Estate in Stow, Mass., where he was the keynote speaker at the Flight for Sight event last June. The fundrasier benefited the Schepens Eye Research Institute in Boston.
According to the Federal Aviation Administration , Hyde is the only blind advanced ground instructor and instrument ground instructor in the world. He teaches ground instructors preparing for certification as a private pilot, instrument pilot, commercial pilot, air-transport pilot and flight instructor.

Hyde had been ready to begin his commercial airline career, having completed more than 1,600 flight hours, when the crash occurred.

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February issue


Embracing diversity