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A 14-year-old AvGeek-in-training gets the aviation experience of a lifetime

Aug. 01, 2021
3 min read
A 14-year-old AvGeek-in-training gets the aviation experience of a lifetime
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When it comes to traveling with kids, our motto here at TPG is "start 'em young." When it comes to building a love for aviation, 14-year-old Kael Wilson puts even the most experienced AvGeek to shame.

Wilson, who has a severe blood disorder, recently got to fulfill his wish of getting a jump start on his future career as a pilot by visiting FlightSafety International in Columbus, OH, and training in its best-in-class $20M flight simulator — all thanks to the organization Make-A-Wish.

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Wilson is "obsessed with flying," according to the organization. And that's no surprise considering his family history: Wilson is a fourth-generation AvGeek who got hooked "from traveling a lot and my dad,” he said. Wilson's great-grandpa and grandpa were both pilots, the latter serving as an instructor and pilot for the regional airline Republic Airways.

Wilson in the simulator with his father, Chris, who is a pilot for Delta. (Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish)

Wilson's father, Chris, has been flying since 1999. For the past 16 years, he's been a pilot for Delta based out of Detroit, flying a Boeing 717.

Wilson wants to keep his family’s legacy alive by becoming a pilot as well.

That's where Make-A-Wish came in. When Wilson asked for a gaming computer and Microsoft Flight Simulator 2020 so he could start training for his pilot’s license, Make-A-Wish not only granted the wish but took things one step further by giving Wilson the chance to go to FlightSafety International and experience a state-of-the-art simulator first-hand.

Wilson said the best part of the trip was flying the new Longitude (a business jet produced by Cessna) and getting to fly with his dad and grandpa. "It sounded like you were in a real plane,” said Wilson, who flew the aircraft from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

Wilson navigating takeoff from SFO with a little help from his co-pilot and father, Chris. (Photo courtesy of Make-A-Wish).

“He did pretty well for his first time ever flying a jet,” noted his father.

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Wilson's favorite places to visit thus far in his young career as a world traveler are China and San Francisco. His most memorable flight to date, he said, was flying from Hong Kong to NYC in business class on one of United's Boeing 777s.

When asked what Wilson loves most about flying his answer was simple.

“All of it," he said. "To see the landscape when you look out the window, how everything is so small when you’re up in the air, discovering the cities and tall buildings.”

We couldn't agree more.

Despite the ongoing pandemic, life-changing wishes like Wilson's continue to be granted on a daily basis all around the country, according to Make-A-Wish. The organization has granted more than 6,500 wishes since March 2020. Learn more about Make-A-Wish by visiting wish.org.

All images courtesy of Make-A-Wish.

Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
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Best card for premium perks while traveling
TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
4 / 5
Go to review

Rewards Rate

10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
5X5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel.
2X2 Miles per dollar on every purchase, every day
  • Intro Offer
    Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel

    75,000 bonus miles
  • Annual Fee

    $395
  • Recommended Credit
    Credit ranges are a variation of FICO© Score 8, one of many types of credit scores lenders may use when considering your credit card application.

    740-850
    Excellent

Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,400+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and our Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023