Kids with disabilities become pilots

A Belton group let kids with disabilities take the controls of airplanes in Killeen on Saturday.

KILLEEN - The Flying Vikings are a nonprofit that was founded by a pilot who wanted to help kids.

The group lets kids with disabilities fly airplanes, which they say gives the kids a sense of freedom.

"I was doing so good," Matthew Molina said.

Matthew Molina may be in a wheelchair, but when he's soaring above the earth, nothing can keep him down.

"Half the kids we have here today are immobile with wheelchairs and we're giving them the controls of a real airplane and they're flying them," Flying Vikings founder Paul Hansen said.  "And that to me is where it's, it's a blessing.  It's pretty awesome to see it happen, that's the thing."

Thirty kids showed up to the Skylark Airfield in Killeen on Saturday to fly for free.  They climbed onto Cessna aircrafts and took over the controls once they were in the air."

"I was flying!" Molina said.

For some it was their first time.

"I was flying good," Molina said.  "Like a man.  And I was like the good children."

But for all of them, it was special.

"It was awesome," Matthew's dad Chris Molina said.  "I was scared for him, I thought he was going to be scared but he was talking the whole way.  He's like, 'Let's go do this, baby.'  You know, he was just having a great time."

Today wouldn't have been possible, though, without donations.  In all, the event would have cost about $6,000.  But pilots donated their time and their planes.  Local restaurants donated their food and Home Depot donated arts and crafts.

But flying was still the best part.

"I like going up high," Calleigh Morrow said.

Her grandfather, Pete Morrow, said, "She's just, she was elated.  You know, by getting on that plane and going up there.  She was so happy."

The Flying Vikings say they're able to fly at more airports than ever before.  They were recently in Houston and next year will go to Orlando and Nashville.

They'll be back in Killeen June 11, 2017.

The Flying Vikings are funded mostly on donations and those interested in donating can do so on their website.


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