WINTERSVILLE - CarolAnn Garratt, the female pilot who has flown around the world three times, will be at the Jefferson County Airpark Friday to promote awareness of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis, otherwise known as Lou Gehrig's Disease.
Garratt, who resides in Ocala, Fla., is a former manager with a Fortune 500 company who has been flying since earning her private pilot license in 1978 and her instrument rating in 1980. In 1996, she completed her commercial license and bought a Mooney in 2000. Her mother died two years later of ALS, prompting Garratt to embark on a mission to raise money to find a treatment, if not a cure, for the deadly degenerative disease that attacks motor neurons in the brain and spinal cord.
The general public will have an opportunity to meet Garratt and hear her talk about her experiences at 7 p.m. in the Ralph Freshwater Terminal at the airport.
Garratt has circled the world three times - flying solo in 2003, and with co-pilots in 2008 and 2011 - to raise money in the fight against ALS. The 2008 flight was completed in a world-record 8.5 days in a single-engine aircraft.
She has written books about all three of those flights - "Upon Silver Wings I," chronicling the seven-month 2003 flight; "Upon Silver Wings II," detailing the world record-setting 2008 flight, and "Upon Silver Wings III," her 11-month journey around the world.
To date, she has raised more than $340,000 for ALS research.
"CarolAnn's effort brings worldwide attention to ALS and the nearly half a million people who are living with this disease across the globe," said Steve Perrin, CEO and chief scientific officer of ALS TDI. "ALS has no prejudice to race, age, gender or ethnicity. The prognosis is the same worldwide; no effective treatments and no cure are yet available. The funds raised through this effort will go toward changing that reality as soon as possible and bring real hope to ALS patients today."
Garratt, who built her first plane in 2006, owns and flies several aircraft, typically logging more than 400 hours a year including flying students with the EAA Young Eagles program, the sick and needy with Angel Flights and instructing cadets with the Civil Air Patrol.
Chapter 859 of the Experimental Aircraft Association is hosting Garratt's visit, her second to Jefferson County.