By Michael Abeyta

CENTENNIAL, Colo. (CBS4) – Saturday the Centennial Airport was busy as usual, but some planes weren’t carrying the usual business passengers headed for the Denver Tech Center. They were giving aerial tours to some boys and girls.

Jeffrey McClary III (left) (credit: CBS)

“It feels like I’m flying, and it’s cool,” Jeffrey McClary III said.

Saturday was Challenge Air Denver Fly Day at Xjet. Pilots volunteered their time and talents to take youngsters with special needs under their wing as a co-pilots.

(credit: CBS)

“Our mission is to build confidence and self-esteem through the gift of flight,” said April Culver, the Executive Director for Challenge Air.

(credit: CBS)

Jeffrey has been around planes his whole life. His dad is in the Air Force, but even he couldn’t help but be thrilled by the experience.

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“The airplane was small up there and also a good view of the mountains” he said.

“He was all smiles. He had a really good time. He was like, ‘Wow, I can see our house. I can see the reservoir. I can see Ikea from the runway,'” said Jeffrey’s dad, Jeffrey McClary Jr.

(credit: CBS)

It’s also a special day for parents because for one moment they get to see their kids feel free like any other kid would.

“Honestly, you would never know that he had a learning disability or social disability. You would have no idea just because of how enthralled he was with everything,” McClary, Jr. said.

This is the ninth time they’ve done this at the Centennial Airport, and it’s completely free for the families that get to take part.

Michael Abeyta is a 4th generation Coloradan and a Multimedia Journalist for CBS4. His stories can be seen on CBS4 News at 5 & 6. He is on Twitter! Follow him @AbeytaCBS4.


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