Challenge Air - Making Spirits Soar!

Challenge Air's Mission

Challenge Air builds self-esteem and confidence of children and youth with special needs, through the experience of flight. Since 1993, Challenge Air has enriched the lives of children and youth with special needs through its unique aviation programs. Challenge Air’s mission reflects the life-changing impact the flight experience has on children, families, donors, sponsors and communities as a whole.
“At Challenge Air we believe that special needs children must be provided with opportunities to expand their individual perspectives and renew their faith in themselves,” said April Culver, executive director for Challenge Air. “Parents have told us time and again that the knowledge their children obtain after a day with us often manifests itself into a passion to learn more and pushes them further than they ever have before.”

Our Role

The 2014 event was staffed by more than 150 volunteers from various organizations who helped throughout the day. The event couldn’t have been successful without the many volunteers and 22 planes that helped 123 children experience the gift of flight. Weather cooperated and everyone had a wonderful time.
Volunteers provided plenty of activities in the hangar while the kids waited their turn. The kids and their families got to play games, get face-painted, dance, and meet guide dogs and others in helping areas. Our club cooked hamburgers and hot dogs served with chips. In the past, our club volunteers have also helped direct traffic and perform other support activities to help make the event an experience for the kids and their families to remember.
“My husband, daughter, and special-needs son attended the event at McKinney National Airport,” said Mrs. Hughes, mother of a child who participated in Fly Days. “They were pleasantly surprised by the size, scope and organization of the event. They didn't expect balloons, activities and food, but enjoyed them all. Of course the flight was the highlight of the day. My autistic son, Lain, enjoyed flying and according to my husband, made his ‘sad sound’ when the flight ended. The pilot let my 12-year-old daughter ride ‘shotgun’ and he let her take the wheel and fly the plane for a few minutes! All three enjoyed the flight and talked about seeing the world from above. They had a wonderful experience.”

Challenge Air 2017

April 8th at McKinney Airport-This is an unforgettable growing experience that allows special needs to fly in and in most cases, fly a plane.  The pilots donate their planes and the fuel to take these special people up for a flight. Our club furnishes lunch for over 500 people that day. We cook hotdogs and have chips and cookies.  Put this on your calendar.  Go to for more information.  Contact: Terry Sanner

Challenge Air 2016

This year's fly day was held on on May 14 at the McKinney Regional Airport. It was an unforgettable experience that allowed special needs to fly in and in most cases, fly a plane.  The pilots donated their planes and the fuel to take these special people up for a flight. Our club furnished lunch for over 500 people that day. We cooked hotdogs and had chips and cookies.  

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