“This experience inspired me to keep striving for my goal of being a pilot. My passion for aviation is stronger than ever before.”
ATLANTA, Ga. (November 2017): Wish Kid Hunter Powell loves flying and has aspirations of becoming a pilot. “Ever since I was really young, and even before I had ever flown, I was fascinated with airplanes,” said Hunter. Kids Wish Network, a children’s charity that grants wishes for kids with life threatening illnesses, learned about Hunter’s love of aviation. They partnered with Delta to make Hunter’s dreams takeoff, and help him “keep climbing” to reach his career goal.
Hunter has Lyme disease, and although he received antibiotics after being bitten by a tick, over time Hunter became fatigued, had headaches and was running high fevers. After receiving another unsuccessful round of antibiotics, his family sought out medical specialists for different treatments.
For Hunter’s wish, Kids Wish Network flew his family to Atlanta so that Hunter could experience the realistic flight simulator at the Delta Flight Museum… destination happiness. Upon arrival, Hunter’s excitement accelerated – it was time to activate Hunter’s wish into full motion. Hunter entered Delta’s flight training simulator, and departed on a memorable state-of-the-art virtual flight experience, practicing takeoffs, flight paths, adverse weather conditions and precision landings. “I loved how realistic the flight simulator was,” said Hunter. “It felt like I was flying an actual jet and had passengers on board. It was really awesome that I could fly to any major airport in the U.S. and even control the weather.”
Hunter earned his wings, receiving a Flight Simulator Certificate for his special accomplishment of successfully navigating the A320. “Receiving the certificate was such an unexpected surprise,” said Hunter. “I love it so much… I have it on display in my room.”
Delta Flight Operations Intern Hampton McDonald presents Hunter with a special Flight Simulator Certificate for his successful aviation mission.
Delta Flight Operations Intern Hampton S. McDonald guided Hunter in his training on the simulator. McDonald said, “Delta invests in the community, and it was wonderful being able to help Hunter and gift him with this experience.” As a fellow aviation enthusiast, he’s also now a mentor for Hunter, as well as an inspiration in following his dreams. “I have great admiration for Hunter, and despite all of the adversity he’s faced, his skills were very impressive and he has lots of potential. Not everyone has the easiest path in making their aspirations real, and the training was an amazing experience in which he can build off of to achieve his goals.”
The family also experienced Delta Flight Museum’s guided tour of Delta’s history and glimpse into future innovations, exploring rare aviation artifacts, airplanes and interactive exhibits. “The Delta Flight Museum is here to educate the public about Delta’s aviation history, and it was our pleasure to show Hunter and his family around our historic hangars,” said Delta Flight Museum Manager of Development Cherea Thomas. Hunter’s favorite exhibit was their 747 Experience. He and his family went on board The Queen of the Skies, a high-tech jumbo, touring the interior of retired Ship 6301. Hunter said, “I was so excited that I had the chance to be on board the first-built 747-400. Delta is retiring the remaining 747s in their fleet at the end of the year.”
Wish Kid Hunter and his family enjoying the Delta Flight Museum.
“Each wish is special, and it’s such a magical experience when our Wish Kids are able to live out a life’s passion,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Anna Lanzatella. “We’re also so appreciative of Delta for making Hunter’s wish so amazing and furthering his aspirations of becoming a pilot.”
“Watching Hunter fly in the flight simulator of Delta’s pilot training department was the absolute highlight of the trip,” said his mom Tanya. “He was right at home in the cockpit, and loved every minute of it. Hunter has been passionate about becoming a commercial airline pilot since he was 8 years old, and it was a dream come true for him.”
Hunter stands inside a jet engine turbine display during his special tour of the museum.
Hunter landed the perfect wish… In addition to his memorable aviation experiences, his family enjoyed beautiful accommodations at the Wyndham Atlanta Galleria, and outstanding dining at The Capital Grille, Hard Rock Café and Medieval Times Atlanta. They also experienced a fun afternoon at the World of Coca-Cola museum.
Hunter’s dream coming true further fueled his love of aviation and career path. “This experience inspired me to keep striving for my goal of being a pilot,” said Hunter. “My passion for aviation is stronger than ever before.” For Hunter… the sky’s the limit.