As Drew peaks into a plane window, Kaelyn stands on the tips of her toes with a clipboard and pen in hand to get a better view.
In this one image the excitement felt by the 9-year-old (now 10) and his 6-year-old sister becomes clear. When the two got the chance to experience the joy of flight on a warm and cloudless day, their interest in the aircraft came through in different ways.
Of the siblings, it was expected Drew would enjoy the planes more than his sister. “Drew has always been intrigued by how things work,” says his mother, Angie. “He loves to build with legos, lincoln logs, kinnects, and erector sets.” Drew loved seeing the various parts of the planes and learning each of their functions. However, he did not want to fly the plane; this would be his sister’s job. And Kaelyn was glad to do it. Angie added, “Kaelyn was “so excited to be involved in something that seems bigger than life.”
In becoming Courageous Fliers, Drew and Kaelyn were able to spend a day where they did not have to feel their loss. Their father died of cancer in 2012 at age 35 and their mother says how ”all [Kaelyn] remembers is her dad being sick and fighting to get better.” But lost in the moment with Flight1, it was easy to see their confidence building. Drew could not stop asking questions about the workings of the plane and Kaelyn was already mapping out the direction she planned to fly.
With Kaelyn flying the plane and Drew doing his aircraft research, these two made the perfect team. Being able to work with and fly a plane has not only given these siblings a memory without sickness but has also given them inspiration – Kaelyn is now thinking of becoming a pilot!
– Kristine Ambrosch
Photos: Steven Fleenor