Since I started flying, one of my goals was to be able to do compassion flights, commonly referred to as “angel flights.” There are various organizations that organize these flights. With all the missions that Cloud Nine performs, there are three groups:
1) Those who need the flights
2) Those who organize the flights
3) Those who perform the flights
Cloud Nine is group three. Angel Flight East, who I work with, would be group two. Their job is to connect people in group one with people in group three. These flights are primarily to support medical patients who need transport. While insurance may cover treatment, it almost never covers transport.
This flight was performed on Tuesday, August 18th. Flights during the week are frequently difficult to fill. The afternoon before, I’d gotten the eMail regarding the flight request. It still wasn’t filled, and was likely to go unfilled. I accepted the mission, and made plans for the flight the next day.
This was a relatively short flight, but a perfect example of why these flights are necessary. My passenger was a cancer patient, undergoing treatment in Philadelphia. However, she lived in New York. She needed to be able to get back and forth between Philadelphia and her home. The 2-hour flight would have been an 8-hour drive, and staying in Philadelphia for the duration of the treatment would have been cost prohibitive.
The flight was an easy one after some talk with ATC, and we couldn’t have asked for much nicer weather for the trip. Although storms were predicted for the afternoon, the morning left us with clear skies. The best part was that two hours after takeoff, we had arrived at our destination, and my passenger and her husband were able to return home for a relaxing day. The stress of long trips is not something that anyone undergoing treatment for major medical conditions needs.
My passenger and her husband, in Watertown, NY.
I was glad to have this be the first mission performed under the Cloud Nine Rescue Flights name. Although I have been performing charitable flights for the past year, this was a perfect example of what Cloud Nine does – responds to flights in need on short notice. It was also a great example of how General Aviation (the term for us “small” aircraft) serves as a force for good.