Sky high: RMIT supports families at annual FunFlight day

More than 300 families took to the skies last month as part of an annual FunFlight event in Melbourne.

Held at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) base in Point Cook and using aircraft from the RMIT Flight Training school and Point Cook Aviation Club; the FunFlight event saw dozens of pilots, instructors and volunteers work together to provide a day of fun in the sky for families touched by adversity.

Families were invited from a range of charities including Western Chances, Heart Kids, Very Special Kids, Create Foundation and Legacy.

Enya Moretti from Altona Meadows and her children Ivan and Kristy attended the day for the first time this year through their involvement in Very Special Kids.

Moretti said FunFlight and RMIT had created an amazing day out for her son Ivan who had suffered an accident three years ago.

“[The event] is really important…to bring him out for a day and make him feel a part of a community still, after losing so much of his eyesight and mobility,” she said.

“To let him know we can still do this stuff and there are people out there who put it on from their hearts, is a really beautiful thing and a beautiful gift to be a part of.”

Enya and Ivan Moretti

Tahlia Squires said she had been working with the Create Foundation for 10 years as a young person out of foster care and was attending the event for her second year.

“I’m bringing my kids along now too…I think what FunFlight does is fantastic and events like this give the kids something to look forward to," she said.

“My four-year-old is definitely an aspiring pilot now.”

After entering into a partnership with FunFlight in 2017 to provide aircraft and instructors for the annual event, 2018 marked the second year of participation for RMIT University.

RMIT Senior Manager of Aviation and Flight Training Mike Heffey said RMIT got involved because it was a leader in the flight training industry and was supported by exceptional resources and highly qualified and skilled flight instructors.

“We knew that with a little effort we could make a big difference to young families through FunFlight. It’s a wonderful initiative,” he said.

The Farrugia family from Melton get set to fly

FunFlight Director Joe Ghaly said working with RMIT had allowed the organisation to go from 74 passengers in 2016 to more than 300 this year.

“Our partnership has allowed us to triple the number of smiles in just two years,” he said. 

“With this sort of growth, we couldn’t run our event without our amazing volunteers who bring their enthusiasm for aviation together with their passion for community.

“I’m privileged to be a part of this motivated team that enables families touched by adversity to create positive new memories.”

Kevin Ta from Point Cook found out about the event from Western Chances and brought his daughter Isabel and son Neo to enjoy the day.

“Once we settled in the air it was cruisy and amazing – it was really nice up there.”

Kevin Ta with children Isabel and Neo

Ghaly said FunFlight had taken almost 12,000 families to the skies in 2018, thanks to 16 aero clubs around Australia, 160 pilots and hundreds of volunteers.

 

Story: Shelley Brady

03 December 2018

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03 December 2018

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  • Aerospace & Aviation
  • Society

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