ATLANTA - “It blew up more than I thought it was going to!”
Zaron Mack, 13, still can’t quite believe the reaction he’s received since Good Day Atlanta featured him back in August. The Kennesaw eighth grader is an aspiring pilot who hand-makes incredibly intricate paper airplanes — and his passion for aviation inspired many viewers to reach out with offers of support and encouragement.
One of those viewers was Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport general manager John Selden, who invited Zaron and his other Jessica for a private tour of the world’s busiest airport last week.
“We pretty much got VIP service from the minute we got there,” says Zaron. “He took us around the airport…first it was this one big hill at the airport, where I could pretty much see everything. And we played a little bit of a guessing game to see who knew the most airplanes…I was keeping track of the points, too, and I won!”
Mack also got the chance to slide into the cockpit of an Airbus A321, an eye-opening lesson in the kind of commercial jet he’ll probably be piloting one day.
“In the smaller planes, I can say, ‘Okay, I know what this means, and that means,’ and I pretty much know 95-percent of the whole entire dashboard. But in the bigger plane like that, I pretty much know, like, 25-percent of the dashboard.”
Mack says the experience did nothing but strengthen his desire to take off on a career in aviation — and it’s just one example of the many people contacting the Mack family, offering to take Zaron on facility tours and actual flights.
Says Zaron Mack of all the attention, “I’m humbled by it.”
Click the video player in this article to check out some pictures and video of the future pilot’s visit to the airport.