Twelve-year-old Ryan Rusk is living out a lifelong dream of flying a plane.
“I just like going up and seeing stuff”
It’s a dream difficult enough for most twelve year olds, but even more difficult for Ryan.
“Ryan was born with optic nerve hypoplasia,” his grandmother, Annette Fisher, explains. “We actually started discovering it at three months. He was not following voices or people in the room and his eyes were jumping.”
Ryan is Blind, but he’s getting help from a new technology — called E-sight. The device enhances Ryan’s partial vision.
“It’s a camera that is in real time,” Annette says. “That brings it in and sets it so that its right where he needs to see it with where his vision is.”
Ryan’s Grandmother knew about his passion for flying and discovered the young eagles. A group that gives kids a chance to actually get in the cockpit. Now, thanks to Young Eagles and E-Sight, Ryan can see out the window of a plane.
“I just went up, and I could see more than I could see before,” says Ryan. “I had never been in a plane before”
“He was able to look out and see where the river was, because they fly towards Chillicothe,” his grandmother says. “Got to see where the river was and he could tell the difference in things even from up in the air with the E-sight glasses on. He’s never held back. He’s always done what he wanted to do, but this really opens it up more in what he can see now.”
With the progress in technology, there’s still hope that Ryan can have a future in aviation.
“Everything’s changing. They’ve got cars that are going to be driving themselves real soon. I don’t know that he’d ever be able to do it on his own, but there’s a chance that he would be able to be a co-pilot. We’ll just have to wait and see.”