American Airlines hosted It's Cool to Fly American mock flight at O'Hare for children with autism and their families in partnership with Clearbrook

  • The McCarthy twins pose with first officer Greg Gruchot

    The McCarthy twins pose with first officer Greg Gruchot

Updated 10/25/2019 3:58 PM

On October 18, 2019, American Airlines hosted its ninth It's Cool to Fly American mock flight for children with autism and their families in partnership with Clearbrook, an organization dedicated to providing innovative services, opportunities, and supports to people with intellectual/developmental disabilities.

Pilots, flight attendants, TSA agents, and other airline staff--many of whom do this year after year-- volunteered on their day off this make this event as real as possible for the participants. The mock flight included checking in, going through security, boarding, taxiing the runway, refreshments, and even simulated takeoff and landing (the plane did not leave O'Hare Airport). Close to fifty families signed up to participate, some even travelling from Urbana, Illinois for the event. Prior to boarding, pilots and the crew mingled with the crowd, taking pictures with the kids wearing pilot hats and coats. They even stayed late to for pictures in the cock pit once the plane arrived back at the gate.


Clearbrook would like to thank American Airlines for their generosity and continued willingness to host such an incredible and much needed event, as well as the staff and crew who sacrificed a day off to volunteer. They would also like to extend their appreciation to ABC 7 Chicago for capturing the event. For a full recap, tune in to channel 7 on Sunday, October 27, at 8:00 a.m.

For more information event, please contact Tracy Hellner, Autism Resource Specialist, at 847-385-2622 or


What started in 1955 as a parent's response to the unmet educational requirements of their children with special needs, Clearbrook is now a leader in the field of intellectual/developmental disabilities. Clearbrook is committed to creating innovative opportunities, services and supports for people with disabilities. Each year, we serve over 8,000 children and adults--as well as their families-- in over 160 communities throughout northern Illinois. Clearbrook provides personalized children's, adult day, employment, residential and clinical services at more than 50 locations throughout the Chicago area and is the largest provider of home-based services in the state of Illinois. Employing more than 900 people, we're proud to report that 92 percent of every dollar raised goes directly into programs and services. For more information, please visit

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