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Pilot, passenger reunion at Sydney airport

Brett Costigan, 7, of New Waterford sits excitedly as the co-pilot to businessman and pilot Dimitri Neonakis at the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport on Friday while preparing for a flight around Sydney that also included one of Brett’s brothers and a cousin.
Brett Costigan, 7, of New Waterford sits excitedly as the co-pilot to businessman and pilot Dimitri Neonakis at the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport on Friday while preparing for a flight around Sydney that also included one of Brett’s brothers and a cousin. - Sharon Montgomery-Dupe
SYDNEY, N.S. —

Brett Costigan, 7, of New Waterford sits excitedly as the co-pilot to businessman and pilot Dimitri Neonakis at the J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport on Friday while preparing for a flight around Sydney that also included one of Brett’s brothers and a cousin.

Through his charity Dream Wings, Neonakis has been providing free rides to children with disabilities and with special needs with his airplane — he now owns a Cirrus 22 — since 2017 and had previously taken Costigan, suffering from spina bifida, for a spin in August 2018. However, Neonakis, who has in that time taken 420 children and their families on more than 350 flights — couldn’t get Kostigan out of his mind and wanted to take him for another journey.

But he didn’t have contact information for his family and so ended up putting the boy’s photo on Facebook on Tuesday, looking for help identifying him. More than 1,300 people shared the photo in just a couple of hours. Neonakis was able to connect with the family and on Friday and not only had his airplane at the Sydney airport, waiting for Kostigan, but also bags of presents as well.

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