Grace adores horses, play dates, and her big brother Taylor. No surprises there for a vibrant, outgoing six-year-old. But what about her love for takeoffs, handling flight controls, and yelling “Clear prop!” out an open cockpit window?
It all makes sense once you know Grace’s story. Her father, Rob, died of cancer at age 43. He was an Air Force pilot who went on to fly widebody cargo jets as a UPS captain. Mom Gayle is also a licensed pilot so aviation runs in the family.
“We heard about Flight1 from Brooke’s Place,” Gayle said. “It’s a perfect fit for Grace since both her parents have a love and passion for aviation.”
Grace became a Courageous Flier during a December visit to the Aviation Tech Center. She brought her Daddy’s uniform hat and plenty of excitement. “She took the controls with no hesitation whatsoever,” her mother said. “It was an emotional experience for me because I know how much Rob would have loved teaching her to fly.”
The youngster’s enthusiasm carried over to her flight with instructor Dave Remondini a few months later. Grace looked the part, showing up in a flight suit given to her by Rob’s Air Force buddies and proudly wearing her Flight1 wings. She loved piloting the Skyhawk and was even confident enough to advise other pilots that the airplane was on approach for landing. That’s a big step considering talking on the radio is often intimidating for adult pilots!
Story by Russell Goutierez; Photos by Steven Fleenor
[learn_more caption=”About Flight1″] Flight1 works with children ages 5 to 18 and there is no charge to participating families. Our 501(c)(3) public charity meets costs through fundraising efforts, sponsorships, and contributions of money, time, and/or services. Flight1 has earned the GuideStar Exchange Seal and uses 100% of contributions toward program expenses. All staff members are volunteers. Sponsor a Courageous Flier or volunteer to work with us today![/learn_more]