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EAA’s Make-A-Wish Day at AirVenture Allows Wish Kids to Experience the Wonders of Flight

July 20, 2016 - For more than 25 years, the International Federal Partnership (IFP) and EAA have invited five Make-A-Wish children and their families for a fun-filled day at AirVenture on Saturday, July 30. This year’s activities will include tours of the Federal Pavillion, air traffic control tower, and rides in various aircraft. The families will also view the afternoon air show and meet EAA CEO and Chairman Jack Pelton.

One of the children attending the Make-A-Wish day is Ericka. Ericka is 15 and was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Her wish was to go to New York City to see Broadway shows.

“We are so excited to go to EAA with Make-A-Wish. We have lived in Wisconsin for 21 years and have never had the opportunity to go as a family,” said Dyson Doerfler, Ericka’s mother. “Thank you Make-A-Wish for making another dream come true.”

Make-A-Wish believes that wishes make life better for kids with life-threatening medical conditions and can positively affect children’s mental, emotional, and physical health. Wish granting can also help strengthen not only the child’s family, but the community they live in as well.

Wish kids and their families will enjoy a variety of activities. Starting off the day, each child plus two of their family members will ride in EAA’s 1929 Ford Tri-Motor, one of the world’s very first airliners. During the flights, Wish kids will get the opportunity to come forward to the cockpit and fly it as copilot. After everyone’s flight is finished, EAA’s Director of Young Eagles will present the kids with official Young Eagles certificates. Next, the kids will experience the joy of light-sport aviation by riding in an ultralight.

The kids will also have another flight opportunity during the day, this time in a Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. This helicopter is used by the Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and Office of Air and Marine (OAM) in various operations along the U.S. border.

The families will tour the Federal Pavilion, where government agencies from the U.S. and Bahamas are represented. The IFP has worked closely with Make-A-Wish for more than 25 years. Agents will educate the children and their families about what their agency does. They will also give aircraft tours and rides on the National Park Service’s 1903 Wright Flyer simulator.

"The International Federal Partnership has been a partner with EAA for the past 23 years. We look forward to the Saturday event supporting the kids and their families," said IFP Chairman Greg Mantz. "This partnership brings together the best of EAA and IFP that continues to grow every year and one the IFP will support forever."

Families will also go on a behind the scenes tour of the air traffic control tower. The control tower happens to be the best place to watch the air show, which will just have started at the beginning of the tour. FAA controllers will show them around, and they’ll get to experience what it is like to be in control of the busiest airport in the world during AirVenture.

The group will finish watching the afternoon air show in the Performer’s Tent along with Pelton. This tent is in front of the flightline, and is where air show pilots and their families watch the show, prepare to fly, and relax after their performances. Wish kids will be able to meet several of the performers, who are among the best in the world.

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