A Saturday to RememberWritten by Mark Riordan
Challenge Air inspires its passengers using the wonder and beauty of flight
At 5:30 a.m. on one particular Saturday last January, our alarm went off—something that doesn’t normally happen on the weekend—and I rolled out of bed and pulled up the weather forecast for Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE). Good weather was forecast, so off to the shower I tottered.
Today was the big day down south, Challenge Air’s annual Fly Day, whereby pilots from all over Florida arrived in their planes to take children and youths with special needs and their families for a flight up and around South Florida to inspire them with the wonder and beauty of flight.
My fiancée, Donna, and I live in Vero Beach, so we had a 40-minute flight ahead of us to get to FXE in time for the early morning pilot briefing. I would handle the flying portion and Donna would be my chief loader, assisting in getting the kids in and out of the planes and handling all the ground work necessary to keep the flights running smoothly. So it was a quick cup of coffee for each of us, and we were off to the airport to get N41208, our venerable Cherokee Six, headed south.