Prosthetic Categories

First Female Pilot Amputee Paves the Way for Future Pilots

    Maj. Christy Wise, a United States Air Force Academy (USAFA) graduate, is the first woman amputee to return to flying duty. Wise lost her leg about five years ago in a boating accident while on vacation after coming home from deployment to Afghanistan.

     Major Christy Wise is the first female pilot amputee to return to duty.

    She spent eight months in rehabilitation, where she re-learned how to walk, run, and do the sports she loved.

    After her amputation, Wise wanted to help people in similar situations, which led to the creation of "One Leg Up on Life." Wise and her twin sister started a non-profit organization to help provide prosthetic limbs to amputees in Haiti. It was during this time when Wise realized that she wanted to go back to flying.

    She knew from the start that achieving her goal won't be easy, but she was set on it. Wise went through all the same emergency procedures and check rides. She also passed her physical fitness test. In the end, she accomplished her goal.  

    While doing the tests, Wise learned a valuable lesson: standards are not adjusted for amputees. However, she and many others can accomplish anything.

    Wise said in an interview that she owes a lot of her strength to the five men amputee Air Force pilots who went before her. They paved the way for Wise and taught her the steps to get back to flying. In 2016, months after her amputation, Wise returned to the skies.

    Currently, Wise is passing on her knowledge and strength to future pilots while also inculcating in them the reality that anything is possible with dedication and a little hard work.