Flying Blind

By October 24, 2014 August 19th, 2015 No Comments

UPDATE: Jim has been getting a lot of press coverage after the video premiered. Links are included below.

On September 9th, Jim Platzer called us with a request. A life long pilot, he needed someone to document him flying an airplane, taking off and landing, and a local advertising agency had recommended us. The project sounded fairly straightforward, but in all honesty, our schedule was pretty packed. However, about ten minutes into the phone call Jim mentioned an important detail: he was blind.

A few hours later, we were in the hangar of Sweet Aviation’s Smith Field. In an afternoon we filmed Jim taking off, flying, and landing three times, and caught some moments between Jim and his affable leader dog. But why the exercise?

As it turns out, Jim suffers from retinitis pigmentosa, which has spurred him to become a motivational speaker. His topics often focus on overcoming obstacles and limitations, especially in the business world. Judging by what we saw, we’d say he’s an authority on the topic. Others agree. He’s been invited to speak at Audi, Sweetwater Sound, Purina, and the Lincoln Motor Company.

Jim needed footage of his flight for his presentations. We felt it could go a step further and quickly collaborated with him to create a project that did more than simply document his flight, but also tell his story in a short, meaningful way to peak the interest of visitors to his website and engage his audiences during his talks.

The result has inspired spontaneous applause at every event since.

Updated on November 26th, 2014: 

The Atlantic: “…which is why I noted this video about what it is like to land the same kind of airplane I’ve been flying, if you can’t see at all. Watch and admire. People are capable of a lot. Early happy Thanksgiving.”

Planelopnik: “None of that seems to bother Jim as he expertly handles the plane while following directions, calling out for speeds and, in truth, lands a Cirrus better than some pilot’s I know with 20/20 vision.

Journal-Gazette: “What Jim Platzer did, though, was not for Jim Platzer. He insists that. “This was not a stunt,” he said. “This wasn’t just to have a blind man fly,” he said. No. What happened at Smith Field on Friday, there was something bigger going on.”