Anthony Nalli, producer and host of The Aviators, comments on his own inspiration for the upcoming segment: "I've been involved with a number of volunteer organizations since I was 15 year old," he says. "Within aviation, I donated my time as a pilot to organizations including Hope Air, which provides non-emergency medical flights to those in need, and the EAA Young Eagles program, through which I had the opportunity to introduce hundreds of children to the world of aviation."
"It is important to put the spotlight on volunteerism in aviation because it has the potential to improve millions of people's lives by bringing them one step closer to the assistance they need — whether it is medical treatment, disaster relief or in the case of Pilots and Paws, animal rescue. We hope this segment will inspire pilots to reach out with their time, skills and aircraft, and we hope non-pilots will support these organizations in any way they can."
Spreading its Wings for Others: Angel Flight West:
One of the organizations highlighted in the episode is Santa Monica, CA- based Angel Flight West, a non-profit volunteer driven organization that arranges non-emergency air travel for children and adults with serious medical conditions — free of charge. The organization matches pilots with individuals requiring medical attention and facilitates air travel, making medical care or treatment possible where it might otherwise be inaccessible.
"Some of our passengers are tired and may have had chemotherapy and just want to get home; we put them in the plane and they immediately fall asleep" comments Rob Ross, a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight West. "But there are others who fly and want to see the maps, put on the headsets and learn how all the equipment works. It is part of the therapy for them and a new experience."
Archangel Airborne's 'Special Operations' Team:
Archangel Airborne was created in 2010 following the devastating effects of the earthquake in Haiti. The organization's founder, Stuart D. Hirsch, had a vision to create a 'special operations team' that could use aviation — in combination with land and sea transport — to provide assistance to areas with severe humanitarian needs. The Haiti disaster was the catalyst that propelled Hirsch to realize his vision and since then his team has returned for several subsequent missions.
"We are going into villages where there are no clinics, where there are no physicians,"
One Step Closer to Home: Pilots N Paws Animal Rescue:
Another organization highlighted in the upcoming Aviators episode is Landrum, SC-based Pilots N Paws, a 501c3 non-profit that provides a 'meeting place' where volunteer pilots and aircraft owners rescue can facilitate the transportation of animals in need. Though still a relatively young organization having been founded in 2008, Pilots N Paws already has 3,000 volunteer pilots and has relocated over 40,000 animals.
"I fly for Pilots N Paws mainly because I found that these animals don't have anybody else advocating for them," says Jeff Bennett, volunteer pilot. "If a dog gets put into a rural shelter, it has a very low chance of coming out. By combining our love of flying with our love of animals, we are able to take these dogs and move them into areas where they are more easily adopted."
These three organizations are just a small example of the increasing community of aviation-oriented volunteer driven organizations providing no cost flights for health, compassion and community related service objectives. A special media preview of the volunteer segment is being made to select media this week and is available on request.
About The Aviators
The Aviators is an award-winning weekly TV series featuring interesting people, the latest aircraft, the coolest technology and the best fly-in destinations. It’s action, intensity, and adrenalin mixed with education, entertainment, and beauty. The Aviators is about all things aviation – for everyone who has ever gazed skyward.