On Saturday September 18, 2010, nine seriously ill children enjoyed a very special day, as the National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR), with the support of Erasmus Medical Center-Sophia, hosted a Highflier’s Day.

The Highfliers Foundation (Stichting Hoogvliegers) helps handicapped and chronically and terminally ill children experience the joy of flying. The foundation arranges flights for the children throughout the year and from every airport in the Netherlands, with professional pilots offering their free time, helicopters and aircraft for the children’s enjoyment.

Last weekend, NLR played host to these highflying children, who arrived at NLR Amsterdam early in the morning and immediately began ‘training’ in NLR’s HPS helicopter simulator and Grace cockpit simulator. In the helicopter simulator, with the James Bond theme song playing in the background, the children flew from Maastricht-Aachen Airport and had a great time!

In the Grace simulator, the children took off from Schiphol Airport and then flew over their own homes. They also flew over the mountains around Innsbruck Airport. Under the guidance of NLR instructors, the children not only learned to fly but also how to communicate with air traffic control. After stepping out of GRACE, each child received a DVD recording of their flight and of themselves as pilots.

'Ko Piloot' in front of NLR Cessna Citation

‘Ko Piloot’ in front of NLR Cessna Citation

The children and their parents then had lunch at Schiphol Airport’s JetSupport, where they also enjoyed a great view over the airfield. Then, after lunch, the ‘real’ work began: the children boarded the NLR’s PH-LAB laboratory plane and flew over the Netherlands.

The day was a great success and the children enjoyed themselves immensely, as did the NLR volunteers, as their reactions show:

‘When the children said this was the best day of their whole lives, that really says it all. This is what we did this for.

‘What was really great to see was that some of the children really seemed to have a talent for flying. With only a few pointers and a bit of help, some of them were able to land the Fokekr 100 airplane all by themselves!

The NLR is active in various socially relevant areas, such as the environment and safety. As part of its ‘Corporate Community Involvement’ policy, NLR was delighted to be able to share its knowledge, facilities and network with the HighFliers Foundation.

For more pictures see: https://www.stichtinghoogvliegers.nl/fotos-en-tv/77/n-l-r-schiphol