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Angel Flight Pilots Work Together To Make It Happen ! “Angel Flight Mission of May 4th 2017”

On May 4th 2017 we were to be the 3rd leg of a 3 leg Angel Flight…. all the way from  Grand Rapids MN to Philadelphia PA. (Our part would be from Akron OH to Philly) Our passenger, 4 year old Evelyn Stone would be flying with her mom, Sarah.  First leg pilot (Bob Helfferich) would be flying them in a Cessna 177 from Grand Rapids MN to Gary IN, where Second leg Pilot (Richard Lawrence) would be flying them in a Piper Arrow to meet us in Akron OH….. from there we would fly them (in our Cessna Cutlass RG) onto their destination, Philadelphia PA. (A very long day of flying for little Evelyn and her mom)…… but on the day of the scheduled flight…. weather forecasted would possibly be a problem (Rain with pretty good winds) covering most all of the middle leg area and some of ours…… not unsafe weather….but the type that would make for quite a rough ride for little Evelyn at the altitudes we would need to be at due to Evelyn’s dependence on supplemental oxygen. This was not a last minute surprise, so a backup plan was put into place….(Worked out by all Pilots involved in coordination with the Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic and Central mission coordinators) including our Airport Manager, Kenny Painter (whom is also an Angel Flight Pilot who flies a TBM 850….. a very nice airplane that is pressurized and capable of much higher altitudes along with being much faster) …….  The back up plan would be this…… if the weather ended up as forecast……. Bob (1st leg Pilot) would still start off the day and bring Evelyn and her mom to Burlington WI (Bobs leg would be unaffected by weather), at that point, Kenny  Painter would meet them there in his TBM 850 (Along with Captain John as his Co-Pilot) and then they would continue the flight all the way to the destination of Philadelphia PA. This would eliminate the second leg (Richard Lawrence) and the third leg which would have been ours…. thus eliminating the rough rides that Evelyn and her mom would have had otherwise …..plus it would make their flight time for the day shorter due to the much faster TBM 850.  So, as it worked out, the weather on the day of the flight was as forecasted and the backup plan kicked in and little Evelyn and her mom made it to their destination in pretty good comfort ! Although Richard and myself (Nevin) did not get to fly this mission (Captain John went along with Kenny as Co-Pilot) …… we were very happy knowing that little Evelyn and her mom made it to their destination safely and in comfort. (We as Angel Flight Pilots always put the safety and comfort of our passengers first and foremost)……. We are also very proud of how Angel Flight and Angel Flight Pilots work together to get things done (Our passengers in general are dealing with things that are stressful enough …… so we do not want them to be stressed in any way with the flight ….. we want them to be able to enjoy it)

     I (Nevin) am happy to say that we (John and I) are scheduled to fly the first leg of little Evelyn’s flight back home on May 10th….. so I will get to meet her ! (and her Mom)  Stay tuned for that story and pictures once the flight is completed !

     In closing….. I would like to say a Great Big “Thank You” to everyone involved in making this flight work out…… Angel Flight (for coordinating all our flights) Bob Helfferich (for flying the first leg)  Carl (for being Bob’s co-pilot) ….. Kenny Painter (for being able to step in at short notice and make the backup plan work)  …… Richard Lawrence (for being originally set up as the middle leg pilot and for helping to coordinate the back up plan) Captain John (for flying with Kenny Painter as Co-Pilot)…… and to little Evelyn (for being such a CUTTIE !)  …. and to her mom Sarah (for understanding and accepting all the changes)

  Here are a few pictures of the day………………..

Evelyn with her Mom Sarah
Evelyn with her Mom Sarah  “LOVE THOSE SMILES !”


Pilot’s ………. Kenny (Airport Manager at our home base Luray and the one who helped to make the backup plan work), Carl (Bob’s co-pilot) and Bob (Here is a little info about Bob)…… he started flying in the Air Force in 1959…..left active duty in 1965 and went to work for United Airlines (But still flew in the Air Force Reserve until 1973)…… Retired from United Airlines in 1999……. Flew for Djurin Aviation from 2006 until 2016…….. has completed around 210 volunteer flights…….. (Bob says he has basically flew for a living for 57 years….BUT….. Never had a job !)….. I can relate to that ! Carl (Bob’s co-pilot) has over 25000 hours flying as well….. and also a commercial airline pilot !
Evelyn and Captain John at “FRED’S” ….. Place of the World’s Best Burgers !
Captain John, Evelyn, and Kenny


Back seat ready for Evelyn and her Mom in Kenny’s TBM 850
Captain John, Evelyn and her Mom, Sarah

Photos provided by Sarah (thru Richard Lawrence) and Captain John

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