Volunteer pilots transport families in need
By Alyssa J. Miller
A 1-year-old boy from
Theresa Germano, an Angel Flight East volunteer based at Wings Field near
Once the child’s mother put him on the wing of an aircraft, and he “stood proud as a peacock,” said Bill Gift, Angel Flight East volunteer mission coordinator, adding that the baby even recognizes the pilots who transport him.
Angel Flight East volunteer pilots shared stories like this Sept. 11 with the more than 3,000 spectators who attended the Wings ‘n Wheels event at Wings Field. More than 30 aircraft – including warbirds, a J-3 Cub, a Cessna 180 and 195, a Blue Bell Air Eclipse jet, and AOPA’s 2010 Sweepstakes Fun to Fly Remos GX – and 40 cars filled the airport’s ramp.
The event also featured a hot wings cook-off among five local restaurants as a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization. Spectators purchased voting tickets and tasted wings for 50 cents apiece. The proceeds were used to help Angel Flight East continue to “facilitate free air transportation to medically and financially distressed families in the community.”
Angel Flight East pilots flew their aircraft in for the event to talk to fellow pilots about their missions and educate the nonflying public about how GA serves communities. Charles Schlumberger, an AOPA and AOPA-Switzerland member who bases his Cessna 340 in Manassas, Va., displayed photos and captions of his missions. Schlumberger manages air transport projects for The World Bank, but when he’s not traveling the world, he has transported premature twins, flown victims of Hurricane Katrina to stay with relatives in the Northeast, evacuated a family from
“Behind every mission, of course, is a story,” said Schlumberger, who enjoys transporting children. But for the joys of each volunteer mission, there are some difficult ones as well, he noted. In some cases he has learned that someone he transported died a few days later. Once, he was scheduled to fly a sick patient to attend a wedding, but the person died three days before the flight.
About 425 Angel Flight East volunteer pilots from
Source: AOPA ONLINE