A Time to Reflect ……..

Hello from Captain John and Nevin!

     We know first hand how easy it is to unknowingly take things for granted, this is because of the amazing passengers that we have had the privilege of flying thru the past many years. They, because of their strong will and positive attitudes during tough times, have shown to us time and time again, that in life, the simple things are the most important… such as love, compassion, goodwill, the beginning of a new day, being able to get out of bed in the morning…… and I could go on and on. These things come free, but yet they are priceless, even so…… too often, they are taken for granted. Because of this, we feel that our passengers give us so much more than we give them, by showing to us the importance of the simple things, the things that really make the most difference in one’s life!  For this, we would like to say “Thank You” to all our extended family…. our Angel Flight Passengers!

     Now on to a confession…. for pilots that love to fly, being grounded for a period of time is very hard, it actually makes our feet start to hurt from being on the ground to long, and due to our instrument failure, we have been unable to make any Angel Flights since October. Now this may seem bad, but we have found good in it… we have had the time to reflect on what it takes to allow us to do each and every flight, things that we knew, but, too often have taken for granted. As with any flight,  an Angel Flight Mission is much more than us just driving to the airport and taking off in 49Bravo. Our part is actually easy, we just do what we love and see that everyone ends up safely where they need to be. But the fact of the matter is many things need to be done by many people, other than ourselves before we can even take off! It is with this thought that we would like to take this time to reflect on these folks, without whom our flights would not be possible.

     You know, we do not really fly, it is our airplane (49Bravo) that does that, we just go along and give her input and directions. But with that being said, none of this can happen if 49Bravo is not kept in good shape, and for this, we owe all the credit to our wonderful mechanic, Doug Carlock! For anyone that knows about flying, they know that keeping an airplane safe and airworthy takes a lot of doing. There are many things that need to be done on a timely schedule, and every year a complete annual needs to be completed. Doug has been taking expert care of 49Bravo for many years keeping us safe in the air. With Doug’s care and expertise, we can lift 49Bravo into the air, knowing with confidence, that our airplane is in tip-top shape! Many times, Doug has been waiting back at the hanger for us after we may have relayed to him that day about something that did not seem quite right during the flight. He has committed so much of his time to us, and for all this we want to say a great big “Thank You” Doug, for not only being a great mechanic but also for being our great friend!

     Another important aspect of our flights we may take granted is the fact that we can not fly without having the proper amount of fuel in 49Bravo! And for this, we would like to thank Jimmy and Danny at our airport for taking care of that each and every time we call in with a fuel request. Also, when needed, they see to it that we have a heater waiting in the hanger for us to pre-heat 49Bravo’s engine on very cold mornings. It is great arriving at the airport knowing that these guys have taken care of our needs so that we can get in the air on schedule!  …  Thanks again, Jimmy and Danny!

     Ok, this gets us up to the point of getting off the ground safely, on time, and with the proper amount of fuel that we had already pre-planned…. but…. without the next group of people it would just be a flight with no real reason. That group is Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic. Our go-to gal at Angel Flight is and always has been MJ (Mary Jane Sablan). MJ has been there doing a fantastic job since Johns very first mission, and that has been 448 missions ago! She coordinates all of our flights from the initial setup, from vetting passengers so that their individual needs can be met, to deciding which airport to have for the passenger pick up and destination, and at the same time, negotiating with each airport to have all fees waived. She has been there available for us, what seems to be 24/7, whenever things do not go as planned, such as delays, schedule changes, cancellations, etc… helping us to make sure that the passengers needs are met in the most safest and practical way possible. She is well-known, and spoken of highly, by all of our fellow pilots and every passenger we transport. We would not know how to feel without having MJ there for us, we think that it could be related to the feeling we may have trying to take-off without our wings! So, to Mary Jane and all the great crew at Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic, we say a great big “Thank You” for all your behind the scenes work that make our flights purposeful!

     Now up to this point, we are safely in the air and flying with a purpose….. but now (for more safety and clearance)  we need guidance, and that comes for ATC, Air Traffic Controllers. These guys and gals do a fantastic job, day in and day out, keeping flights safe and on course in an orderly manner. Does not matter whether we are flying into a very small non-towered airport or a large, very busy airport, they are there helping us out! To these guys and gals (even though we have no names) we also say a great big “Thank You” for what you do… you all are also a big part of what makes our missions succeed!

     Now, with all this help we have mentioned, our goal of getting our passengers safely to where they need to be, and us back home is achieved. So all of our completed missions are a result of ‘Teamwork” and we do not mean the team of John and Nevin, we mean the complete team, that so many times may get overlooked!

     This is the good we have got out of being on the ground for so long, we guess the old saying of “keep your head out of the clouds and you can think better” is, in a way, somewhat true! These folks we have mentioned have always been there and very important to us… and vital to our flights, but to many times we feel we may take them for granted. So from this point forward, any hugs we may get, any pats on the back, any acknowledgments at all… we want to share them from our hearts, to everyone in this great “Team” that makes it possible to succeed in what we do!

     In closing, we want to also say how much we appreciate all the support we get from our family and friends, and to all who follow what we do. The response we received from the recent Go-Fund-Me-Site, set up by Eric Lichblau to cover our Instrument Failure, was absolutely overwhelming! (Thank you so much Eric for having this idea and for taking your personal time to set it all up) and a great big thank you to all who donated! Along with this, the donations to help fund our flights from local organizations and individuals we have received at different times is also very much appreciated!  It feels so good, knowing that with the support we have in doing what we love to do…. together, we all can make a difference by helping those in need!

     As you can see, when we do an Angel Flight, it is many more people involved than just John and Nevin taking to the skies!

     Thank you so much for taking this time to listen to these two Pilots reflect on all the support we have from so many individuals, allowing us to do what we love….. may we never take them for granted, even when we have our heads back in the clouds!

                                    Sincerely,    Captain John and Nevin

PS:  Presently, we now have all the parts needed to get 49Bravo back into the air!

10 thoughts on “A Time to Reflect ……..”

  1. I loved reading your eloquent summaries of getting in the air. It does make one think and realize how we are never really alone in our endeavors. We are all just pieces of a whole giant puzzle with many shapes and sizes.
    Love to you all and my thanks and gratitude gets forwarded onto the many pieces of the puzzle that help you guys get off your aching feet and back in the clouds
    Elaine Tully

  2. What you 2 gentlemen and others such as yourselves in different parts of the country have done for Mankind, (I’m from the old school), is to teach us charity and love for one another. God Bless all who are involved with your work. I can always say, I flew as a substitute tail-gunner for, at. that time, 1st.Lt. John Billings, in his B-24 with the 885th. OSS Squadron, in aiding the partisans behind enemy lines and ridding the world of the Nazi yoke. To me, those sorties, mainly in mountain valleys, were also, “Angel Flights”. Thank you, Captain Billings and Nevin.

      1. So good to hear your reflections! Both of you guys are amazing! Thanks so much for all you do. Glad you will be returning to the skies shortly! Talk to you again soon.

        All the Best,

        Mark Zangara

  3. Patricia Mahorney

    I am humbled by the beautiful message I have just read. I confess, I was not filled with “gratitude” when I slowly got out of bed this morning, bemoaning my bent and aching back – far from it.. But here I sit, reading and absorbing the gratitude of two wonderful men who dedicate themselves to not only helping others, but taking the time to remind us of the people who are part of a team of “Angels”. I am now very grateful that I can sit here, aching back forgotten, and think of and thank all of the team that is so dedicated. to serving others. Thank you Angel team. Pat, Strasburg, VA

    1. Thank you so much Pat for your very heartwarming reply! We truley love having you as a vital part of our “Ground Support Team”! Sending you are hugs!

  4. Wow! I knew somewhere in the back of my fuzzy brain that any flight took a team effort. It was amazing to read about all of those included and what being grounded has done for y’all. Of course you are two who would always see the positive in anything! Well thought out , Nevin and thrilled you now have all you need to get back in the clouds.
    Take care,

  5. Thanks to John, Nevin, and all the behind the scenes personnel that help to keep 49 Bravo flying. I hope the government shutdown has not affected the air traffic controllers. Without them it would be not be safe. Hope you get your feet off the ground soon.
    Larry Miller

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