Centennial Airport hosts special-needs youngsters

October 4, 2018 by  

Late in September, Centennial Airport hosted ‘Denver Fly Day’, offering a chance for special-needs youngsters to take to the skies with veteran pilots who volunteered to make their day a special one.

The event is part of the Challenge Air for Kids and Friends program, which was begun in 1993. The organization’s mission is to change perceptions about the abilities of young people with special needs, according to its CEO, April Culver, who believes giving them the chance to fly, not merely as a passenger but also as a pilot, is a gift that helps them gain confidence. About 100 young people took part, acting as co-pilots on 30-minute free rides, with experienced pilots at the controls.

Culver noted that many special-needs children cannot play team sports or participate in other group activities, but at least once, they can fly a plane. Taking to the air helps them realize they are not as limited as they may have thought, and can accomplish almost anything if they work hard. She also said that the week after the event, when their friends say they played soccer on Saturday, the budding fliers can say they commanded an airplane.

Through the Challenge Air program, up to 35,000 youngsters in 36 states have co-piloted aircraft. Since 1993, the event has been held at Centennial Airport nine times. Organizations like this can use brochure printing to keep people informed about their programs.