Children rise above themselves during Wheels and Wings at Twente Airport

As many as 40 sick and disabled children will experience an unforgettable day during Wheels and Wings: they can be pilots for one day by piloting an airplane themselves from Twente Airport! Wheels and Wings takes place on Saturday, July 6 and is organized by a unique collaboration between the Highflyers Foundation, Rotary Wheels and Wings Foundation and the Lions Club Enschede Adversa.


“The goal of the day is for the children - often students from the school of the Roessingh Center for Rehabilitation - to forget their worries for a while and experience something unique that is not available to most people,” said Ronald Spanjers of the Hoogvliegers foundation. The foundation has been active for 17 years from various airports in the Netherlands, and now flies for the second year in a row from Twente Airport with children from the target group. During the flight, the children are actually allowed to operate the controls themselves. Children who must be transported lying down or sitting in their own seats because of their illness can be transported in the special ambulance plane. Spanjers: “It remains fantastic to see that grin from ear to ear of a child who has just emerged from the plane.”

New forms of mobility

Back on the ground, they can enjoy a car show with exclusive cars, have their picture taken with a real KLM crew dressed as an F16 pilot, or see all the contraband intercepted by customs at Schiphol. The children can also learn something about the transition to sustainable mobility: the Green Team of the University of Twente will demonstrate their Formula Student car, a racing car that runs on hydrogen. “That fits in perfectly with Twente Airport as a breeding ground for sustainable aviation and new forms of mobility,” said Laurens Esveldt, airport harbor master.

Benefit rally

The day will be made financially possible by money raised from the Wheels and Wings rally, a benefit tour driven from Twente Airport on the same day. Jeroen van Vugt of the Rotary Wheels and Wings Foundation: “It's already wonderful to drive along the country roads of Twente on a beautiful summer's day. But all the more so when you know that in doing so you are immediately doing something for charity.” Both oldtimers, youngtimers and contemporary cars and motorcycles (hybrid, electric, hydrogen) can participate in the ride, which will, among other things, take you past the historic warbirds at Nordhorn-Lingen Airport.

Are you now thinking, “I also wish these children a fantastic day”? Register for the rally or make a donation at

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