Young Burn Survivors’ Dreams Take Flight

General Aviation News
September 13, 2010
By Janice Wood

Involved in a devastating car fire in April 2004, 9-year-old Walter Gomez, Jr. and his 7-year-old sister Ebony will fulfill their dreams of flying by taking the controls of a Bonanza in the skies above Los Angeles Wednesday, Sept. 15.

The free flight will be made possible by the non-profit Children’s Burn Foundation, which is dedicated to helping children who have suffered the pain of burn injuries heal and reach their full potential, in partnership with Van Nuys Airport businesses Aerolease Group, Clay Lacy Aviation, Signature Flight Support and the Airtel Plaza Hotel.

A full day is planned for the Gomez family. After a tour of the airport, including a visit to the fire station and inside a corporate jet, the children will depart with pilot/aircraft owner Dan Katz for a flight over Los Angeles during which each child will have a chance to fly the plane. Following their flight, the children will join their parents for lunch at the Airtel Plaza Hotel.

On April 18, 2004, Walter Gomez, Jr. (then 3), sister Ebony (then age 6 months) and their parents were involved in a car accident while heading home to Azusa, Calif. Their car was hit, spun out of control and burst into flames, causing severe burns to all but Ebony, who miraculously escaped physical injury. Since then, the family has undergone years of reconstructive treatment and therapy. Today, they actively participate in camp experiences and other programs through the Children’s Burn Foundation.

Founded in 1985, Children’s Burn Foundation provides support services and reconstructive treatment to children who have been severely burned, and their families, and works to prevent other burn accidents through its prevention and education programs.