By Geoff Flossic
A unique rainbow-painted Learjet took to the skies on Feb. 13. The passengers’ faces were as bright as the paint job on the outside of the plane.
Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado made dreams come true for some courageous children who are fighting life-threatening illnesses. The foundation brightened their day by giving the children a ride in Dream Chaser III, painted in the brilliant color scheme just for the children.
International Jet Aviation Services, based at Centennial Airport, sponsors the flights. This is the third flight they’ve done. The first one took place in 1990.
“At that time, we were just celebrating our 10th anniversary and Make-A-Wish was having their 10th anniversary,” said Lynn Krogh, cofounder and president of International Jet. “We thought, ‘What can we do with an airplane that would be giving back to the community and helping a children’s charity?’ We came up with the idea to paint it rainbow colored and make it special just for them.”
The jet used for the flights is a Lear 35. IJAS, which offers executive air charter services, aircraft acquisition, sales, leasing and management, charters the Lear out to companies and individuals throughout North America.
The Dream Chaser project is a volunteer effort by International Jet employees who help with the transformation of the plane. The project wouldn’t be possible if not for the help of the company pilots, mechanics and other employees who donate their time to help brighten the lives of children. Various outside companies and individuals also help with the fuel costs and other support.
“I’m very excited to do the flight,” said Jeff Delein, the pilot in command. “It’s neat to be a part of making a kid’s dream come true, and to see the smile it puts on their faces.”
The children were able to meet with the pilots and sit in the cockpit of the plane.
“We went fast,” said Jarrod Johnson of Commerce City. “We got to see the mountains and Children’s Hospital.”
Robert Jackson of Littleton enjoyed the flight as well.
“I liked the flight and going up in the air,” Jackson said. “I saw lots of buildings and Coors Field.”
Face painting was part of the day’s activities, as well as an up-close look at fire trucks and police cars.
“This is very exciting,” said Joan Mazak, president and CEO of Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado. “How many kids get to ride in a Learjet? It’s great that International Jet does this for us.”
Dream Chaser will be stopping in Colorado Springs; Albuquerque, N.M.; Phoenix; and Orange County, Calif. to make the wishes come true for other youth as well. Prior to the Make-A-Wish tour, the Lear made a special flight on Feb. 10. Onboard at that time was Airport Journals’ Jesse Lips, who was severely injured in a motorcycle accident last year, and has made a remarkable recovery.
“It was just awesome,” Lips said.
This year marks the 25th anniversary of Make-A-Wish Colorado. The organization grants the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions, to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy. The foundation has granted more than 2,300 wishes to eligible Colorado children since it was founded in 1983. Make-A-Wish is the largest wish-granting organization in the world, with 71 chapters in the United States and its territories, and 27 international affiliates on five continents.
For more information about Make-A-Wish Foundation of Colorado, call 303-750-9474 or visit www.wishcolorado.org. For more information about International Jet, headquartered at 12401 Aviator Way, visit [http://www.internationaljet.com].