Jun 272015

Ever wonder what happens after you get your Private Pilot certificate?  Sure, there’s the $100 Hamburger or going up to practice landings. But wouldn’t you rather have a purpose for flying?

There are several ways you can use your pilot skills and knowledge to both keep you proficient, safe, give you that sense of wonder and freedom that only the skies can offer, and allow you to give back to your community.

General aviation in the United States is an extremely important part of our economy, our national pride, and our collective sense of duty.  For-profit and non-profit organizations alike use GA pilots to run businesses, save lives, develop our youth, and keep our country beautiful.

For example, the Civil Air Patrol uses private pilots for Search and Rescue missions as well as for developing young cadets before they transition into a military branch if they so choose to. Angel Flights offers transportation to people in need of medical care at no cost to the patient. Several flying clubs and organizations offer introductory flights to kids who go on to become fighter pilots, airline pilots, and even astronauts.

The organization that I love volunteering for is called Pilots N Paws. Through a network of pilot volunteers, we offer transportation to animals in need. Many animals who can’t find a permanent home in their respective cities are often welcomed in towns hundreds of miles away. Sadly, the inconvenience of traveling can sometimes be prohibitive.

But, for pilots who love animals, it’s an opportunity to give back, get up in the air, and help out a furry little friend.

Kimmi is one such friend. A beautiful golden retriever rescued from Old Dog Haven, a Seattle-based non-profit organization that rescues dogs who are sometimes considered too old to be placed in permanent homes. She’s being adopted by Karl, a dog lover with interesting ties to aviation.

A while ago when I was ferrying airplanes to build up flight time, I had to provide potential clients with written estimates for the cost of ferrying their aircraft. I found an invaluable website (www.gcmap.com) that could plot a great circle route anywhere on the globe. A great circle route is a route that gives you the shortest distance between two points on a globe. I was able to quickly put together a preliminary route and come up with a cost estimate to send to clients.  This was especially useful when plotting routes outside the U.S. where online or paper aeronautical charts would have been costly to obtain if they even existed.

It turns out, Karl is the developer of that website!  So it is with great pleasure that I am offering to transport Kimmi from Everett, WA to Redding, CA. From there Karl will rent a car and take Kimmi to her permanent home a few more hours away.

On the way back after dropping Karl and Kimmi off, I picked up Brando, a very sweet and friendly pitbull who was headed to Bend, OR.  Christine was taking Brando into her no-kill shelter.  She has a soft spot for pitbulls and would love to find a permanent home for Brando, so if you’re looking for a new best friend, you can contact me and I’ll hook you up

And if you want to get involved in volunteering, check out Air Care Alliance “the voice of public benefit flying”.

Safe flying!


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