Brian Armas and Vic Velasco dreamt of flying, like many young boys.
Unlike children their age, however, the two 11-year-olds are burdened with serious illnesses which move them farther away from their goal of someday becoming pilots.
But they have not given up dreaming--and they both got their wish.
Brian, who has been diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia last year, piloted a simulated Philippine Airlanes flight from Manila to Singapore on Oct. 3. He was accompanied by PAL Captain Jojo Nomorosa using the brand new A320 simulator, which also has his parents onboard.
The simulation "allowed Brian to experience all the phases of a flight, including occasional air turbulence," PAL said in its website.
"With his eagerness to learn, Brian had no qualms asking about the complex control panels, flight procedures and the simulator's virtual display," PAL added.
The flight was made possible through Make A Wish Foundation Philippines, a non-profit organization which grants wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions.
In January, the same group allowed Vic to receive flight lessons from pilots of Fliteline Aviation School in Plaridel, Bulacan.
Despite neuroblastoma, a cancer which caused malignant cells to damage his right eye, Vic flew an actual plane around Plaridel's neigboring cities. He was accompanied by Captain Marcus Francisco as co-pilot.
Vic was also given a certificate of course completion and welcomed an "elite member of the aviation community," with a gold wings pin.
"Only pilots who have flown an airplane are given and have the right to wear 'wings'," Vic's trainer Captain Rommel Flores was quoted in the Make A Wish Foundation website as saying.
"And even without your right eye, you can still teach," the pilot told Vic.
The foundation said Vic's dream of flying "has been fulfilled and he can now look forward to becoming an aviation instructor someday."
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