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 Jet Journal Fiveon the Fly by Rebecca Groom Jacobs    WHO: Mark Pestal COMPANY: AeroAngel POSITION: President/Founder HOME BASE: KAPA / Denver, Colorado 1. What led you to form AeroAngel in 2010? As a board member for a volunteer pilot organization, I saw an unmet need to provide a higher level of service to children needing to access critical but distant medical care by using more capable, pressurized aircraft to fly long distances, often on short notice. Many flight requests were going unfilled due to the limitations of single-engine piston aircraft flown by less-experienced pilots who were often not comfortable flying in instrument flight conditions or unable to do so when the potential for icing existed, for example. 2. Can you summarize the mission and structure of the organization? AeroAngel helps really sick children access distant, life-saving medical care on private jets at no cost to their families. Flights are limited to those passengers who cannot safely fly on a commercial airline flight, but who do not need an air ambulance. As Children’s Hospitals across the country increasingly specialize in rare diseases and conditions, we’ve seen an increasing need to help a family get their child to a hospital located a thousand miles or more away from home. AeroAngel primarily relies upon volunteers to support its mission. Recently, I left my job as an attorney to volunteer full-time to expand our flight program. AeroAngel is a small nonprofit yet still able to respond to calls on an almost 24/7 basis. We have literally launched AeroAngel flights several hours after receiving a flight request. 3. What makes AeroAngel unique compared to other aviation charities? AeroAngel provides long-distance flights to medical facilities nationwide in private jet aircraft flown by a crew of volunteer professional pilots. While relying on flights donated by turbine aircraft owners, AeroAngel operates its own jet, a Lear 55, from Centennial Airport in Denver. With the larger aircraft AeroAngel uses, an entire family (and flight nurse, if needed) can travel to a medical facility, along with a large payload of medical equipment that many seriously ill children must take with them, including, for example, an oxygen concentrator that needs AC electrical power. Jet Journal November 2019 / TWIN & TURBINE • 31   

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