A Swedish hard of hearing pilot is circumnavigating the earth

Johan Hammarström is a Swedish hard of hearing pilot. His life dream was to be an airplane pilot. His initial attempts to apply for pilot license were thwarted because his hearing loss is about 65dB. Regulations in effect at the time allowed maximum hearing loss of 45dB.
He fought the authorities, and was successful in getting permission to have pilot license after an audiologist tested him and proved that he can clearly understand instructions from control towers under the circumstances in effect in airplanes.

(In USA, there are deaf airplane pilots. But they are restricted to flying in areas without radio contact.)

Now, Johan Hammarström is flying around the world and is trying to raise consciousness of the world to the hard of hearing, and to raise the aspirations of hard of hearing youths.

Today Johan Hammarström is in Israel, about two weeks after starting his journey.

This evening (27 March 2006) he gave a presentation about his project and his struggles in Bekol’s Wolf Chagle’s center of accessibility for the hearing impairment. The room was packed full with attendants. Two people from the Swedish embassy came as well. One of them told us of her childhood experience with fingerspelling signs and how the hearing schoolchildren learned them in order to communicate without the teacher noticing.

Hammarström’s presentation was made accessible by assistive listening devices (for those hard of hearing, who understand English) and by a notetaker who listened to the English lecture and typed in Hebrew (for the deaf and/or those who do not know English).

Addition from April 4, 2006: an article in Haaretz’s Web site about Johan Hammarström.

Author: Omer Zak

I am deaf since birth. I played with big computers which eat punched cards and spew out printouts since age 12. Ever since they became available, I work and play with desktop size computers which eat keyboard keypresses and spew out display pixels. Among other things, I developed software which helped the deaf in Israel use the telephone network, by means of home computers equipped with modems. Several years later, I developed Hebrew localizations for some cellular phones, which helped the deaf in Israel utilize the cellular phone networks. I am interested in entrepreneurship, Science Fiction and making the world more accessible to people with disabilities.