Volunteer pilots, donors gives hope wings

Charity helps people in Canada’s wilderness get to medical help

Sometimes you need angels on wings to get you the help you need.

The pilots at Hope Air may not be angels, but they have wings, and they use them to give non-emergency medical flights to those who need help in the far-flung locations of Canada.

While fundraising often pays for commercial flights so people can get to Canada’s cities and get the medical care they need, volunteer pilots often fly patients in their own planes.

Helping out with the cause is Dave McElroy, a Kelowna pilot who touched down briefly in Pitt Meadows Regional Airport, Friday.

McElroy had just returned home from a two-month, 20-country circumnavigation of Central and South America to raise awareness for his cause, Give Hope Wings, which fundraises for Hope Air.

So far, his and others’ efforts have raised $500,000 for Hope Air.

The tour involved two planes: Wings 1, a kit airplane known as a Vans RV-6, piloted by McElroy; and the other, Wings 2, a Vans RV9A, flown by Russ Airey and co-piloted by Harold Fast.

The aircraft left Canada Jan. 2 and spent more than two months in the southern hemisphere, flying 38,000 kilometres and wracking up 155 hours of flying time.

Posted by Give Hope Wings on Thursday, November 16, 2017

“It was wonderful,” said McElroy. “We were welcomed with open arms.” The pair even got to fly in an airshow beside the Brazilian aerobatics team.

McElroy was just making a quick stop in Pitt Meadows, his first stop in Canada before heading back to Kelowna Friday afternoon. However, there was no fuel at the airport, so he had to make a detour to Langley airport, to refuel before heading home.

Former Canadian astronaut Roberta Bondar is the official patron of the Give Hope Wings project, which was tracked in real time via GPS on their website.

Another goal of Give Hope Wings was to raise the profile of aviation in Canada. “We share the belief that most people are limited only by their own imaginations, and that one of the biggest constraints on many lives is an unwillingness or inability to imagine a bigger and better future for ourselves,” says the Give Hope Wings website.

Just Posted

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

West Kootenay rod and gun clubs slammed for animal-killing contests

Wildlife activists are targeting the club and two other B.C. organizations

Interior Health hospitals to serve more made in B.C. food

New initiative by the Ministry of Agriculture to serve more B.C. produced food in hospitals

After mosque attacks, New Zealand bans ‘military-style’ guns

The gunman killed 50 in a Christchurch mosque

Okanagan man, Yorkshire terrier chased by coyote

Animal sightings have been reported around West Kelowna and the Central Okanagan

Having phone within sight while driving does not violate law: B.C. judge

The mere presence of a cell phone within sight of a driver is not enough for a conviction, judge says

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Pot industry welcomes decreased edibles tax, but unhappy medical tax remains

Taxes can increase the cost of medical cannabis by as much as 25 per ceny

‘It has to send a message:’ Broncos families await sentencing for truck driver

Jaskirat Singh Sidhu pleaded guilty to 29 counts of dangerous driving and apologized in court

MPs continue voting marathon as Tories protest shutdown of Wilson-Raybould motion

Multiple MPs have resigned from Trudeau’s Liberal cabinet

Canucks hang on for 7-4 win over Senators

Horvat nets 2 for Vancouver

European, Canadian regulators to do own review of Boeing jet

Air Canada plans to remove the Boeing 737 Max from its schedule at least through July 1

Most Read