It’s not quite the Christmas season yet, but pilots and volunteers at United Fantasy Flight are hosting a fundraiser in Ahwatukee Foothills at the end of the month.
My Wine Cellar in Ahwatukee will feature a wine tasting on Oct. 25, where guests can buy tickets for drinks and appetizers to benefit the holiday flight event for kids in November.
United Fantasy Flight started in 1991 in London, where pilots donated a 727 airplane to take children from orphanages to a small town in Finland and a trip to a real reindeer farm near the Artic Circle. Capt. Bob Miller, of Ahwatukee, was one of those pilots who flew on the first trip.
“It made a lasting impression on me and the other pilots,” said Miller, who then got the idea to offer the same experience to kids on a local scale.
Miller, a United Airlines pilot of 24 years, has been flying and organizing the fantasy flights since 1996 in Phoenix, catering to underprivileged kids in schools.
This year, the flight will take nearly 130 kindergartners and first-graders from Children First Academy and Concordia Charter School.
“It’s a real flight in every aspect, from departure screens and boarding passes,” Miller said.
The kids will board the plane and fly for about 45 minutes before landing in the “North Pole,” simulated near Gate C at Sky Harbor International Airport in Phoenix.
From there the kids get to spend a couple hours mingling with Santa, volunteers, public service officials, and can enjoy face painting, food, balloons and, of course, presents.
“It’s a special day for these kids as many are very underprivileged, some are homeless and would not have the opportunity to have a Christmas experience like this,” Miller said.
The fundraiser at My Wine Cellar, 5030 E. Warner Road, will be from 6 to 9 p.m. on Oct. 25. Tickets can be purchased at the door.
For more information about the flight or how to donate independently, call (602) 315-1141 or visit unitedfantasyflight.com.
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