by Airman 1st Class Jamie L. Coggan
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
3/2/2009 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. -- Cassy Eubanks, an 18-year-old Tucsonan battling bone cancer, toured the base Feb. 20 as this month's participant in the Pilot for a Day Program.
The purpose of the program is to give local children with serious illnesses a day completely devoted them and their interest in aviation.
Cassy brought along her mother, Marcia, father, Shawn, and sisters, Brianna and Lauren. Her day started off meeting her host pilot, Capt. Jennifer "Tuzzi" Schoeck, an A-10 pilot with the 358th Fighter Squadron, along with Senior Airman Cobie McClain, 358th FS aviation resource manager.
Captain Schoeck took Cassy back to her squadron, where Cassy put on her new flight suit, complete with a personalized name tag and squadron patches. There, Cassy and her family checked out life support gear and looked through night-vision goggles.
After finishing up at the 358th, Captain Schoeck took Cassy and her family to the D-M Fire Protection Flight to meet the Airmen and see the fire trucks.
At the next stop, Cassy got to sit in the cockpit of a real A-10 jet on static display.
From there, the group visited the 79th Rescue Squadron's hangar, where Cassy and her family checked out an HC-130 rescue aircraft. Cassy got to tour the inside of the plane before heading to the 55th RQS, where she toured an HH-60 Pave Hawk helicopter.
During lunch Cassy said she really enjoyed being able to tour the aircraft. "I have been on commercial airplanes," she said, "but nothing like this real military aircraft. It's just amazing."
The group then headed to the 355th Operations Support Squadron. Cassy got to experience the A-10 flight simulator, a system that replicates flying an aircraft over a virtual map as realistically as possible. After her mock flight, their visit ended with a brief tour of the control tower. Then, Cassy and her family headed home.
"It was a fantastic and very emotional experience being able to make her day special," said Captain Schoeck. "She was really into aircraft maintenance, so to for her to be able to see three (different aircraft) was just amazing for her and for her family."
Staff Sgt. Joshua Adams (right) of the 355th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, shows Pilot For a Day Cassy Eubanks (second from right) along with her family A-10 78-0706 during their visit to Davis-Monthan AFB on February 21th, 2009. The Pilot For A Day program is designed to help children with disabilities or serious illnesses enjoy a day focused on them and their interest in aviation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Noah R. Johnson) Hi-res
Pilot For a Day Cassy Eubanks, 18 years old, flies an A-10 flight simulator during her visit to Davis-Monthan AFB on February 21th, 2009. The Pilot For A Day program is designed to help children with disabilities or serious illnesses enjoy a day focused on them and their interest in aviation. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Noah R. Johnson) Hi-res