A group of Feilding children were treated to an awesome aerial experience by police staff and pilots as part of the Blue Light take a kid flying day.
There was an air of excitement as the 25 children and parents gathered at the Taonui Aerodrome during the school holidays for a scenic flight around the region.
Feilding constables Allan McLean and Mike Linton, senior constables John Samuela and Allan Wells, and frontline support officer Lilly Sabyan supported the event, which has been running since 2014.
McLean says the event was possible with the support of Manawatū pilots supplying their time and planes.
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"It was a fantastic day out with the children experiencing something they may have never done before, and a big plus was the positive engagement with police staff," he says.
"The invite was also extended to parents as it can be beneficial for them to attend. The parents ensured the tamariki were safe in the plane and, most importantly, it created a special moment between the parent and their child."
The children were aged 8 to 15 years and came from schools in Palmerston North and Feilding. A large number had previously had involvement with the police for various reasons. Depending on the individual, the flight was offered as a reward or as a chance to see police in a different light.
"They were very excited, as were their parents," McLean says. "There were some children that we'd been struggling with in regards to gaining their trust and confidence and on the morning of the flight we were greeted by them with huge smiles and high fives, which was awesome."
Feilding man Dave Wiseman initially helped set up the event and this year it was run by Graham Donald. Both are members of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of New Zealand, and through this group they get fellow aircraft owners to help out.