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Deaf woman hopes to earn a pilot license through a scholarship

Instructor Andrea Hynek and Julia Velasquez enjoy a flying lesson in the high skies.

(Fox 59/WTTV VIA NNS)

A deaf California woman with a passion for high heaven hopes to earn her pilot’s license next month through a special program at the Purdue University Airport.

As Julia Velasquez is preparing to take the test for the coveted license in July, she says that the seven weeks of opportunity, made possible by a grant, is a dream come true.

“Ever since I was little, I have always been fascinated by the sky. I have always wanted to fly,” said Velasquez through a circuit-breaker, Fox 59 reports.

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“There is a lot of teamwork,” said Velasquez. “A lot of the communication.”

(Fox 59/WTTV VIA NNS)

The ninth annual Able Flight scholarship program funds pilot lessons for persons with a physical disability and is hosted in West Lafayette, Ind. Velasquez is one of the four students in the program this summer, and all are eager to hopefully earn their licenses within the next few weeks.

“We do the same things as everyone else,” said Velasquez. “We want to be equal. We want to come up with creative solutions to make it work.”

To that end, although most of the Purdue flight instructors are not trained in sign language, they are embracing creativity in instructing the students.

“I didn’t know sign language when I first met Julia,” instructor Andrea Hynek, a rising Purdue senior, told Fox 59. “I wanted to communicate with her as well as I can, so I learned the [alphabet], and that helps a lot.”

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Of spelling words to Velasquez or the writing of instructions, Hynek and Velasquez have established multiple methods of successful discussion of takeoff to landing.

“There is a lot of teamwork,” said Velasquez. “A lot of the communication.”

After hopefully earning her pilot’s license, Velasquez says her next dream is become an astronaut. In the meantime, she hopes to help other deaf people to earn their pilot licenses, as well.

According to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, currently there are approximately 200 deaf pilots in the entire country, Fox 59 reports.

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Janine Puhak is an editor for Fox News Lifestyle. Follow her on Twitter via @JaninePuhak

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