The Veterans Airlift Command (VAC), based in St. Louis Park, Minn., has received a donated Eclipse Jet to benefit the Veterans Airlift Command, which provides free air transportation to post 9/11 combat wounded veterans and their families for medical and other compassionate purposes through a national network of volunteer aircraft owners and pilots. They rely solely on the contributions of donors for finances, aircraft, and pilot services.
The VAC received a donation of an Eclipse Jet earlier this month, and to complement the donation, the jet manufacturer Eclipse Aerospace has agreed to upgrade the aircraft to Total Eclipse standards and return the aircraft to active service. The VAC will use the aircraft in their mission of transporting wounded veterans and their families to locations in which they can receive proper medical care.
VAC Founder and AirBoss Walt Fricke says, “This is further proof that the aviation community is made up of great Americans whose generosity knows no bounds. This aircraft will supplement the work of some 1,800 volunteer aircraft owners and pilots in support of our mission. It is the perfect combination of world-class jet efficiency and a mission-capable bird. Our donors and passengers deserve no less.”
As part of their donation, Eclipse Aerospace will match donations made to service the Eclipse aircraft with one dollar of donated parts and services for every one dollar donated to the VAC through a capital campaign kicked off to fund this effort.
“As a wounded war veteran, I know first hand how important the support of your family is in your recovery,” says Senator Bob Dole, Honorary Chairman of the National Advisory Board of the VAC. “For those soldiers and their families who sacrifice so much for our great nation, an organization like VAC is a Godsend.”
“This is yet another example of the generosity of the private aviation community. Moving our wounded warriors and their families with dignity to and from medical treatment centers is mostly only accomplished effectively in private aircraft,” states Peter Bunce, President of GAMA. “The 1,800 volunteer pilots and aircraft owners who make up the the Veterans Airlift Command are to commended for their selfless service to those who have given so much on our behalf.”
“The support does not stop with Eclipse Aerospace,” said Mason Holland, CEO and chairman of the company. “The essence of our Eclipse family are our customers. Eclipse type rated pilots are needed to fly these volunteer missions. So when Eclipse reached out to the Eclipse 500 Owners Club, our customers joined in our effort and are donating trained pilots and services to fly Eclipse missions for the VAC — how cool is that!”
“Our club members are proud and committed to fly the donated Eclipse on behalf of the Veterans Airlift Command wherever and whenever we possibly can. It is truly an honor to do so,” added David Green, president of the Eclipse 500 Owners Club. “We also look forward to volunteering our own aircraft in pursuit of this noble mission.”
For more information: VeteransAirlift.org, 952-582-2911