Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Arizona boy discovers D-M as May Pilot for a Day

by 2nd Lt. Sarah Godfrey
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

5/24/2010 - DAVIS-MONTHAN AFB, Ariz. -- Nathan Hoffman, an eight-year-old who recently underwent a heart transplant surgery, toured the base May 21 as a participant in the Pilot for a Day program.

The Pilot for a Day program gives local children with serious illnesses a special day for themselves and their family to enjoy, focusing on military aviation on the base.

Nathan, accompanied by his mother Eredka, father Shane, and older brother Seth, started out his day meeting host pilot Maj. Erik Axt, an A-10 instructor pilot with the 357th Fighter Squadron.

Major Axt brought Nathan and his family to his squadron, where Nathan was presented with a personalized flight suit complete with name tag and the 357th Fighter Squadron patch. Col. Edward Kostelnik, the 355th Operations Group commander administered the Pilot for a Day oath, where Nathan was ordered to have fun and ask lots of questions. While at the 357th, Nathan and his family checked out life support gear and night vision goggles that A-10 pilots use.

Then Nathan and his family visited the Davis-Monthan Fire Protection Flight where he got to ride shot-gun in the truck and spray the hoses.

From there, the group visited an A-10 static display and then an HC-130 rescue aircraft at the 79th Rescue Squadron.

Before the group enjoyed Nathan's favorite meal of pizza and soda, they stopped by the control tower.

"My favorite part of the day was walking on the catwalk at the tower and seeing the airplanes take off," said Nathan.

The group then headed to the 355th Operations Group. Nathan experienced the A-10 flight simulator, a system that replicates flying an aircraft over a virtual map before he and his family left the base to return home.

"It was a real pleasure showing these kids all the incredible things we do here at D-M," said the major.


Note: Related pictures will be uploaded soon.

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