Pilot for a Day Program History
Published February 22, 2008
The original "Pilot for a Day" program began in December of 1994, organized by Captain Rory "Ox" Blackburn at Randolph AFB, Texas after visiting his wife at a local hospital. He noticed children who had to deal with chronic or even fatal illnesses.
The concept has since spread to several bases across the country. The program focuses on children who have serious or chronic conditions that have robbed them of some of the joy of their childhood.
Believing some special attention would help these children, the captain came up with the idea of bringing the children and their families to Randolph and making them honorary members of the 560th FTS. There is a section in Hangar 12 (Randolph AFB, TX) dedicated to photos of past "pilots for a day."
The "Pilot for a Day" program is made possible through the help of private donations which helps pay for the children's flight suits and other expenses.
The North Dakota Air National Guards "Pilot for a Day" program invites children of all ages, military or civilian, to be a guest of the 119th Wing for an entire day. In so doing, we strive to give each child a special day and a break from whatever challenges they may face.