The third consecutive Children’s Flight took place at Grand Central Airport on the 30 August and 1 September 2018. The Children’s Flight is the brainchild of Felix Gosher and Michael Ferguson its inspiration came from a song that is performed by Michael called “Paper Plane”.
The song speaks to the ability within everyone to achieve their dreams no matter how big or daunting they may be.
As in the past the aviation community came together, in a way that can only be described as inspiring, to treat children to an unforgettable day of fun flight and most of all an outpouring of love.
Pilots made their aircraft and time available to let young ones from adverse circumstances experience the wonder of flight.
Aircraft waiting for the Children
The initial Children’s Flight took place in September 2016 and was a he success, that day one hundred and fifty children were taken on their first flight. Felix wanted to share this gift with more and more children and as a result Children’s Flight 2017 swelled to well over Four Hundred Children. This year Felix and Michael dared to dream even bigger and planned to fly, feed, love and inspire over One Thousand Children.
Felix approached the South African Airforce to get involved in the innovative but unfortunately they opted out and the Children’s Flight was temporarily homeless as AFB Waterkloof was to be used as the field of dreams. Rather than give in to adversity Felix approached the management of Grand Central Airport. Gary Renault (CEO), Sarah Thepa (Airport Manager) and their dedicated team welcomed the Children’s Flight back to its proverbial home with open arms.
"Filed of Dreams" Grand Central Airport
With a venue secured it was time for fundraising and planning, it always amazes me how the community can pull together for the benefit of others when requested. In a relatively short time sponsors for everything that is needed to make the event a success were in place and it was a big “GO” for Children’s Flight 2018.
As the event was being held over two days it was decided that the first day would be predominantly helicopter flights and the second day the reminder of the children will be flown in the large array of fixed wing aircraft.
Helicopter activity on Day One
A wonderful programme was put to keep the children entertained during the day with face painting, paper plane building and many other activities planned for the little ones. The child minders from the various homes were also invited join in the activities, these people do amazing work taking care of these precious little people, sometimes on a very limited budget.
Both Friday and Saturday were closed off with an amazing “airshow”, some of the top aerobatic display pilots and teams, including top skydivers made the time to come and entertain the children and judging by the screams form the kids it was definitely well appreciated.
Displays over the two days
Three of the biggest aircraft present was a de Havilland Dash 8 from Cemair, Delaney the beautiful DC3 owned by Menno Parsons and flown by Derek Hopkins and Robin Mumford and Just Love Missions Antanov AN2 flown by father and son team Mark and Jon-Marc Hill, Robin came all the way from Namibia to be part of this amazing event.
Cemair de Havilland Dash 8
Jon-Marc and Mark Hill
Derek Hopkins and Robin Mumford
Volunteers from the Pretoria Boys High Aeronautical Society
An event of this magnitude would never become a reality without the generosity of the many sponsors who gave selflessly of not only their resources but their time as well; volunteers numbering in the hundreds had to be trained on flight line safety and every other aspect required making the innovative the success it ultimately was.
After the final aircraft was safely on the ground a tally showed that a total of 850 children and 284 care givers were treated to flights in the multitude of aircraft made available for this very Nobel cause. Well done Felix and Team you guys have made a difference in all these young lives.
Please Browse our Gallery of this Amazing Event