HomeTop StoriesHow a quadruple amputee overcame countless rejections to make his pilot dreams...

How a quadruple amputee overcame countless rejections to make his pilot dreams take off

Although born without hands or feet, Zach Anglin says the only limbs he’s ever longed for are wings. 

Anglin, 25, told CBS News that he always wanted to be a pilot. No quadruple amputee has ever held a commercial pilot role, but that didn’t stop him from dreaming. 

“From the time he was born, he was a disciplined and determined child,” his mother Patty Anglin said. 

When Anglin turned 18, he applied to a flight school that turned him down. That happened again, and again, and again — in all, Anglin was turned down by over a dozen flight schools. 

“Obviously, nothing worth having comes easy,” Anglin said. “…My wife will tell you, I’m a little bit hard-headed.” 

Finally, he applied to the Spartan College of Aeronautics in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The school said yes, and while Anglin was thrilled, he realized his fight to fly was just getting started. 

He didn’t just need to get into school. He had to get approval from the Federal Aviation Administration to take the flying lessons. He was rejected five times, and finally, Anglin gave up. 

“I was like, this is not for me. This is impossible to do,” Anglin said. 

However, his mother wasn’t letting him give up on his dream. 

“She’s like, you’re not done yet,” Anglin remembered. 

“I said: ‘You can never succeed until you’ve learned to fail,'” Patty Anglin said. 

It was the boost Anglin needed. He kept at it, including calling the FAA almost 200 times, until they finally cleared him for one takeoff. 

When Anglin was given the opportunity to show his potential, it became as clear as a blue sky that you don’t need hands to have wings. 

After graduating flight school, Anglin now teaches the same course that so many told him he couldn’t even take. 

“My story isn’t just for amputees,” Anglin said. “We all go through trials and tribulations. The word ‘impossible’ is an illusion behind the word ‘possible.'”  

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