By Janice Wood
DALLAS LOVE FIELD, Texas — FBO Business Jet Center recently hosted Fly Days, a one-day event for special needs children and youth provided by Challenge Air, a non-profit organization.
During the event, held Nov. 3, 104 special needs children were given flights in both single and multi-engine aircraft provided by volunteer pilots from the Dallas and Fort Worth area. In total, more than 200 Challenge Air volunteers, including 26 pilots, conducted over 100 flights in 24 aircraft staged on the flight line at Business Jet Center,
According to Challenge Air Executive Director April Culver, nearly 1,200 special needs children are flown each year during Fly Day events hosted in 10 different cities throughout the US. Culver said many non-profit agencies are involved in each event and provide various activities including a reptile petting zoo, face painting and arts and crafts projects.
Business Jet Center, besides hosting the event, provided fuel at cost and arranged for the appearance of Brek Shea, one of the star players for FC Dallas of the MLS professional soccer league. Shea is also an artist and shared his talents in a painting activity with special needs children and their siblings.
The mission of Challenge Air is to build self-esteem and confidence of children and youth with special needs through the experience of flight. Headquartered in Dallas, Challenge Air coordinates a nationwide network of nearly 3,500 volunteers who serve as pilots, ground crew, fundraisers and planning committee members.