It was a crisp summer morning, and the sun bathed the spacious runway of the Indianapolis Executive Airport in golden hues. Ordinarily, it might seem strange to see so many people—parents and their children of all ages—wandering the airport runway that is usually reserved for airplanes and motor vehicles. But that day, on August 1, Montgomery Aviation was hosting the 9th annual Open House, Fly-In, and Air Race, in which Flight1 participated as a partnering exhibitor.
This free outdoor event, organized by Sean White, Communications and Marketing Director at Montgomery Aviation, was open to all visitors and kicked off with an air race performed by the Sport Air Racing League. For the rest of the day, families and their children explored the various display aircrafts, booths, bounce houses, and other games and activities on the runway.
Up above, the sky was speckled with paragliders, drifting carefree in the clear blue expanse. Applause would break out after each successful landing. In the mid-morning, one woman began singing the national anthem and time seemed to stand still as people paused to look up at the sky. A lone paraglider was up in the blue sky, decked in red, white, and blue and carrying the American flag.
At the Flight1 booth, program director Hope Neely provided program information in an effort to connect with and serve more children in the Down Syndrome community. The Flight1 booth was especially popular among the children for its craftable Foam Plate Gliders—affectionately dubbed, FPG-9.
Flight1 is a non-profit organization dedicated to children ages 5 to 18 who have experienced health challenges either personally or through a close family member. Children will have the opportunity to fly a flight simulator and eventually fly a real plane or hot air balloon, alongside a Certified Flight Instructor and parent or guardian. The organization aims to help these children discover and build their self-confidence through the joy of flight.
Written by: Monica Cheng