Some of you remember Lydia, the young lady we found in a market last year with an arm contracture.  Well, a year on she has been busy building and maintaining aircraft and today is undergoing flap surgery to start the repairs to her right wing.

Before going to surgery our team of West African girls sent to the workshop for an oil change...

then selected some suitable tools

before putting her wing in the vice and drilling two #30 holes

and installing some clecos...

Lydia then said goodbye to the aircraft on her way to the hospital

Surgery is today - and she will be in hospital three weeks as flaps of skin and muscle are transplanted from her back and leg as part of the reconstruction of her right wing... err arm.


Please send wishes of speedy recovery that we can read out to her, she flies really well and with the work on her right arm we hope we can get her to use the throttle and go on to become the first disabled pilot to be trained in Ghana.


Building and flying aircraft are a part of the pre-and post-surgery recovery for this young lady.  Thank you to all at Zenith for helping us to help young people like Lydia here in West Africa.  You can read more  at and


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Comment by Jonathan Porter on July 7, 2011 at 4:53am

Thank you all for following.... we have some ups and downs, and this has absorbed several hundred additional hours than planned.  Sadly infection affected the leg donor site and the reception site on the arm, result, we lost over half of the skin graft.  Fortunately, we have new course of anti-biotics started and a thorough clean of the unit underway.  She is brighter and shinier than a couple of days ago - we will see the state of play again on Friday.


In this image you can see the muscle.flap donor site from her back, the work on her arm and the skin donor site on her leg.  SHE IS ONE BRAVE KID - and all of this so that she can fly medical care to her own people!!! Now, that is brave and we love her to bits!!


You can see more of Lydia flying and all that we do in the documentary 'The Calling' showing at 10am on the Monday and Friday of Oshkosh and the DVD will be available there too!

Comment by Mike Ethridge on July 6, 2011 at 7:56pm

Lydia give all us an update and let us know how you're feeling.

Mike & Dawn

Comment by Jonathan Porter on June 26, 2011 at 2:25pm

Lydia is sitting by me in Hopsital, doing well, she wants to say

"Thank you plane builders for caring for me.  I wish I could come to OShkosh this year but hope next year instead.  Thank you for helping me to get better.  Today I played Angry Birds on Dad's laptop when he visited."

Actually it was Mrs H who suggested video games.... so thanks to Mrs H!

Comment by Mike Ethridge on June 25, 2011 at 11:39am

You're in our prayers Lydia and we look forward to a video of your first solo flight.

Mike & Dawn

Comment by Jonathan Porter on June 18, 2011 at 3:10am

Cleco's, rivets, snips and some filing later....

Lydia is currently in and out of consciousness  - she was calling 'Alpha Alpha Runway one niner' and other ATC instructions last night...  she has to return for flap transfers from thigh and back tomorrow... We really appreciate the team support!  Thank you all!


As you may see, the Drs have achieved about 80 degree opening on the right arm, surgery on the hand will be in a few months, once recovery from the release is healed...


If you would like to help please visit , thank you.





Comment by Andre Levesque on June 16, 2011 at 11:10am

All the best Lydia and keep smiling, you're an inspiration to us all.


Comment by Sebastien Heintz on June 16, 2011 at 8:10am


We wish you a successful surgery and a great recovery - we'll be praying for you.  I'll expect you to take me flying when I make it to Ghana!

Comment by Normand Lambert on June 16, 2011 at 7:21am


Keep your eyes on the ball and your wing level !

May this surgery get you flying in no time. Speedy recovery and best wishes !




Comment by Luiz Guerreiro on June 16, 2011 at 4:16am
As we say here in Brazil, "boa sorte" - " good luck". Hope to have fast recovery!
Comment by Bryan Ekholm on June 16, 2011 at 2:50am


I hope your surgery went well.  It's good to see young people involved in projects like building an airplane.  I have had many young builders helping me with my 701 project and they will all have their names in the builders logbook.  My youngest daughter Holly, who is nine years old, helps me a lot when she's not busy with school or playing with her friends or sisters.  She and her four sisters wish you well and hope you have a speedy recovery.  Keep your spirits up and set your goals high.


Bryan Ekholm,

Annandale, Minnesota. USA

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