Sky Kids take flight with Bruce Haffner, other volunteer pilots

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by Catherine Holland

Video report by Bruce Haffner

Posted on April 16, 2013 at 12:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Apr 16 at 1:00 PM

GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- For the second year in a row, Bruce Haffner and nearly two dozen Valley pilots teamed up to give some special kids -- Sky Kids -- an adventure they'll never forget.

Sky Kids offers kids with special needs the unique opportunity to go up with Valley pilots and experience what it's like to fly.

"It's not often you get to do something that makes you feel really good," Haffner said after Saturday's event.

About 83 kids and 20 pilots, including Haffner, took part in the second annual Sky Kids' first Fly Day, and everybody had an incredible time. In fact, it's hard to know who had more fun -- the pilots of the kids.

"That event is just an amazing thing," Haffner said.

"I had a kid, he turned to me and he said -- he's about 15 years old -- and said 'This is the best day of my life,'" pilot Steve Snyder said in between flights Saturday.

Haffner took three kids up in the Fort McDowell Casino News Chopper. Two of them have leukemia. The third is fighting muscular dystrophy. By the time they landed, all of them had decided that they want to be helicopter pilots when they grow up.

"It was really cool," Haffner said.

“This is a life changing event for these kids and they’ll remember it forever,” Bill Antonucci, founder of Sky Kids, a 501c(3) charity, told the Arizona Aviation Journal last year.

Sky Kids relies on volunteers, donations and sponsors to run free events like Saturday's Fly Day.

For more information on Sky Kids visit SkyKidsAZ.org.

 

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