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.

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. 20 to 26

Rabbit Day, Hobbit Day and One-Hit Wonder Day are all coming up this week

Single-engine aircraft crashes near Telkwa

Two occupants of the plane sustained minor injuries and were transported to hospital

Cullen announces bid for provincial NDP nomination for Stikine riding

Current MLA Donaldson not seeking re-election

Northern Health records 1st fatality due to COVID-19

Six people died from the novel coronavirus on the weekend, health officials confirm

Police look for vehicle, male driver after incident involving girl, 11

The driver was described as an older Caucasian male with white hair, no glasses, and no facial hair

B.C. or Ontario? Residential school survivors fight move of court battle

It’s now up to Ontario’s Court of Appeal to sort out the venue question

B.C. transportation minister will not seek re-election

Claire Trevena has held the position since 2017

Young B.C. cancer survivor rides 105-km with Terry Fox’s brother

Jacob Bredenhof and Darrell Fox’s cycling trek raises almost $90,000 for cancer research

B.C. migrant, undocumented workers rally for permanent residency program

Rally is part of the Amnesty for Undocumented Workers Campaign led by the Migrant Workers Centre

Preparations underway for pandemic election in Saskatchewan and maybe B.C.

Administrators in B.C. and around the country are also looking to expand voting by mail during the pandemic

Nearly 20 per cent of COVID-19 infections among health-care workers by late July

WHO acknowledged the possibility that COVID-19 might be spread in the air under certain conditions

Ferry riders say lower fares are what’s most needed to improve service

Provincial government announces findings of public engagement process

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dies at 87

The court’s second female justice, died Friday at her home in Washington

Application deadline for fish harvester benefits program extended

Those financially impacted by the pandemic have until Oct. 5 to apply

Most Read