AirVenture Stop On 40,000-Mile Journey
It is a dream flight of "firsts"; the first diesel-powered
aircraft to fly around the world, a Diamond DA42 Twin Star; the
first Scandinavian team to fly around the world in a light
aircraft; the first flight whose main sponsor was a
technology-leading hearing instrument manufacturer.
But perhaps the most important first is Johan Hammarstom, a
young man with dreams of becoming a pilot -- and, who has
congenital hearing impairment of both ears -- who is rewriting
aviation history by becoming the world's first hearing impaired
pilot to complete a round-the-world-flight in a light aircraft. The
historic trip began March 15, 2006, and is set to wrap up August
31, 2006 at Barkarby airport, Stockholm, Sweden.
Along with other crew
members, and close friends, Henrik Ejderholm and Martin Hakansson,
this team of experienced pilots already had 35 years of accumulated
flying before beginning the World Flight for Hearing this past
"I not only wanted to fly around the world, but I also wanted to
show the world that although I had a hearing impairment, I am able
to achieve my goals in life," said Hammarstom.
For Hammarstom, this historic flight is the culmination of many
years of effort, beginning with the recurrent message that,
according to European rules, the hearing impaired without flying
experience cannot earn a pilot's license.
Hammarstom, whose childhood dream was to become a pilot, was
rebuffed time and time again over the years. After many
dispensation application rejections, he found an audiologist
professor who helped with special testing to prove to the medical
board of the civil aviation authorities that he would be capable of
flying in instrument conditions with the right technology. The
dispensation application was finally approved and Hammarstom
completed his pilot training.
Through World Flight for Hearing, Hammarstom says he is
determined to de-stigmatize hearing impairments and inspire other
hearing impaired to reach their life goals.
During the five-month 40,000 mile tour through 40 countries --
of which 29,000 miles have already been flown -- Worldflyer's team
plans to land in 50 cities, engaging in numerous activities,
including speeches at hard-of-hearing organizations and schools for
hearing impaired children.
The mission was to create attention and exposure around hearing
impairment; there are more than 120 million people around the world
with hearing impairments.
"Since this was the first round-the-world flight with a hearing
impaired pilot, I believe that I could contribute to changing
attitudes towards hearing impairments," said Hammarstom.
"Ultimately, wearing a hearing instrument should not be considered
to be more odd than wearing a pair of glasses."
So far along his historic flight, Hammarstom -- who has rapidly
become an important influencer in the Scandinavian aviation
community -- has: founded the first Swedish Airpark; been buy and
selling aircraft for four different companies; been running a
company working with aircraft rentals, and consulting in the GA
field in Scandinavia.
When he's not flying, Hammarstom, who is 29 and holds a master's
degree in computer systems, is currently working as area operations
manager in the medical IT field. He earned his soaring license in
1992, single engine aircraft license in 1996, multi-engine and
instrument rating in 1998.