I wish to thank Charles Spence for his fine and informative article reporting on the Angel Flight tribute dinner in Washington, D.C. (Capital Comments: Tribute dinner shines light on GA’s humanitarian efforts, June 9 issue). He writes that missions are flown in “all types of aircraft from four-place single-engines to corporate jets.” I can attest to missions involving single adult passengers, or cargo rather than passengers, being flown in two-seat trainers such as the ubiquitous Cessna 150/152. (See photo of myself, a trusty 150, and three coolers of blood I delivered last February to BFI from Sequim Valley Airport.)
Also, two regional organizations of Angel Flight America, Angel Flight West and Angel Flight Southeast, allow experimental or homebuilt aircraft to be used for missions not involving passengers, such as flying medical supplies, blood and other tissue, and service dogs.
In my home state of Washington, pilot members of Angel Flight West fly nearly 20 missions a month transporting blood for the Puget Sound Blood Center. They fly from community airports near blood drives happening throughout western Washington, including threatened airports at Blaine and Anacortes, to BFI or RNT where a van meets the plane to deliver the blood to the lab.
These missions began in May 2005 after the Washington State Ferry system announced that, for security reasons, unattended parcels could no longer transit Puget Sound. Angel Flight West stepped in to assist and mission numbers increased dramatically when lab personnel realized that so much more could be done with the blood because of the time-saving factor of the blood being flown in for processing.
As mission numbers climb in Washington, so does the need for Angel Flight West to recruit more pilots to fly these missions. If a pilot flies an experimental able to accommodate two or three coolers with the following dimensions, 27″ x 16″ x 18″ (the size of the larger coolers used by PSBC), Angel Flight West would love to hear from them. For more information, go to AngelFlightWest.org.
Thank you, Mr. Spence, for your story.
Command Pilot/Washington Wing Pilot Recruiter Angel Flight West