Thursday, April 18, 2024

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This Saturday you may want to look to the clouds; around 50 kids may be taking to the skies over the beach with a group of local pilots who want to “give them a day away from their ordinary struggles,” according to Davis Knies, a travel agency owner and pilot who volunteered for a similar program back home in Birmingham, Alabama.

The idea? To give sick or developmentally challenged kids an airplane ride, because what, after all, is better than flying high above your everyday life? The group behind this special “Kid’s Day” at Avitat at the Boca Raton Executive Airport is Vital Flight, a Pompano/Deerfield-based group of volunteer pilots with the right kind of wings, the feathery kind that have been earned providing free air transportation “for individuals with compassionate, humanitarian or medical needs.”

But this, Saturday April 9, is all about the kids.

A group of 16 local pilots (with the support of 60-70 volunteers!) will give free plane rides on their own dime to the kids who have signed up. Another group of doctors, dressed as pirates, will be the “boarding agents,” passing out pirate boarding passes for a very special plane ride.

“These are four-to-six seat private aircraft,” Knies says. “The people at the FAA have been fabulous to work with and the guys at the Boca tower, the people in Palm Beach who control that area—they have set it up for us to fly down the coast at 1,000 feet. These kids will get a view most people never get.”

Knies says there is just something about the way a kid’s eyes light up when he or she sees an airplane. And there is something about being untethered, even for a short time, from sickness and isolation and confusion.

“The idea is to give them a day away,” he says. “To take their heads into the clouds and have a good time.”

If you would like to help, either as a pilot or a volunteer or with a donation, please call Jeri Stetz at 954/821-0809 or visit vitalflightkidsday.org

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