Man Born with Quadruple Limb Difference Makes History by Becoming a Pilot

Zack Anglin
March 7, 2024
Hanger Clinic

Born in Nigeria with limb difference in his hands and feet, Zack was adopted at a young age by a caring family in Wisconsin. Little did they know he would one day make history as the world’s first licensed commercial pilot and flight instructor with quadruple limb difference.

Zack was born in Nigeria with limb difference in both hands and feet. At a young age, he was adopted by his parents in the United States and raised in Wisconsin.

“I was born a quadruple amputee, which means that I’m missing both my hands and feet. I grew up with 18 brothers and sisters, so I had to adapt. My mom told me I didn’t realize I was missing my hands and feet until I was eight because I was always trying to keep up with my siblings. We grew up on a farm. I watched my brothers and sisters climb trees, play football, and ride horses, and I thought I could sit and watch them or adapt and learn how to do it my way. I chose to join them.”

Zack’s passion to help himself and others came in part from his adoptive parents. His mother runs an orphanage in Liberia, and his dad is a sheriff, both helping other people better their lives.


“My love for flying started at a young age. I would ride in the truck with my dad and drive to the airport to pick up my mom, and I would see these big airplanes taking off and landing. I would ask my dad where the airplanes were going, and he would tell me they were bringing families together.”

It was then Zack decided he wanted to be a pilot. While no person with quadruple limb difference had ever held a commercial pilot role, he never stopped dreaming.

“I applied to multiple flight schools but kept getting told no. And then, I was finally told yes by the Spartan College of Aeronautics in Tulsa. They took a chance on me.”

But the battle to fly continued. Zack had to get permission from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to take flying lessons. After five rejections, Zack finally received the approval he needed. His ingenuity and determination were boosted by the dedication of his Hanger Clinic prosthetist Scott Stromberg, CPO, who custom-fit Zack’s prostheses and ensured his devices worked perfectly in the cockpit. In 2019, Zack earned his FAA license.

“I am the world’s first quadruple amputee licensed commercial pilot and flight instructor. When I fly, I use things differently and must adapt. There are times when turbulence is bad, and I need to manage the plane appropriately. The fact that I can safely fulfill my dream is an incredible experience.”

Zack Anglin

Today, Zack is a husband and father and giving back to other students as a flight instructor at Spartan College.

“When I learned to fly, I had great instructors. Now, I get to be that person for my students and feel like I have a purpose. If I was able to overcome all the obstacles I faced to fly, they see the opportunities that lie ahead for themselves. I love to see their eyes light up as they pass their tests and check rides. The future is full of endless possibilities.”

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