Volunteer pilots, donors give 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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Sept. 27 to Oct. 3

World Farm Animals Day, Drink Beer Day and Virus Appreciation Day are all coming up this week

LETTER: Horgan has gall wasting taxpayer money amid COVID

Senior upset by election call at a time when she can’t even afford her prescriptions

OUR VIEW: Election could well backfire on Horgan

Are voters angry enough to cast NDP out, after sending us to the polls in the middle of a pandemic?

Downtown Maple Ridge BIA helping to stock the shelves for the food bank

Participating businesses will have donation boxes available for the month of October

City of Maple Ridge continues the hunt for new industrial land

Since 2014, 203 acres of industrial land has been designated for future employment needs

B.C. records 98 more COVID-19 cases, most in Lower Mainland

One new senior home outbreak, Surrey Memorial outbreak over

VIDEO: COVID won’t dampen Lower Mainland woman’s Halloween spirit

Langley’s Tanya Reid posted video offering suggestions of how trick-or-treating might look for her

PHOTOS: 2nd calf in a month confirmed among Southern Resident killer whale pod

Center for Whale Research said they will eagerly await to observe the calf to evaluate its health

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

97 distressed horses, cats and dogs seized from farm in Princeton

RCMP assisted as BC SPCA executed search warrant

Father hopes journey to aviation-safety program inspires hope

Former South Surrey resident Greg Sewell hasn’t given up on quest to mandate older-plane retrofits

$250K reward offered as investigation continues into Sea to Sky Gondola vandalism

Police also asking for specific footage of Sea to Sky highway around time of incident

Most Read