WNYT.com

Veterans and children with disabilities take flight at the Saratoga County Airport

Posted at: 10/13/2012 11:22 PM
By: Dan Bazile

BALLSTON SPA - They say it's similar to taking to the skies like a bird -- using a craft with no engine to soar for hours. Don White wanted to know what that felt like.

He says, "Anything that levels the playing field, I’m all for."

Leveling the playing field for people with disabilities like him. The Ballston Spa man is confined to a wheelchair. This is his first flight as part of a program by the flying club, "Adirondack Soaring." It's the forth year the organization has partnered with Freedom Wings International at Saratoga County Airport to give free glider soaring experience to vets and kids with disabilities.

Richard Fucci from Freedom Wings International tells us 'for them it's the thrill of a lifetime to have an opportunity to experience soaring flight.".

Juergen Klingenberg from Adirondack Soaring says, "We love to do it. We love working with freedom wings. It’s the pleasure we get out of seeing the smiles on the faces of these individuals."

White was smiling as he got into the glider and was strapped in, and off he went into perfect blue skies and sunshine. Newschannel 13 photographer Alex Clarey tagged along on a different glider. From the vantage point of an eagle and a clear day, it didn't matter where he pointed the camera, you almost see forever.

Klingengerg explains, "It’s just amazing peace because in a glider there's very little noise when you get up there."

They were cruising at about 2,500 feet, traveling pretty fast. Eventually they had to come back to earth. White says it was even better than he expected.

"It’s very addicting... I definitely want to do it again."