Angels Among Us
Flying|October 2020
Business aviation gives back by providing critical lift.
Julie Boatman

When we look at the sleek outlines of the latest Cessna Citation Latitude, Pilatus PC-24 or Gulfstream G600, we see the potential for performance, agility, and the speed that gets us to a destination safely and in style. What a cancer patient sees—looking at that same airstair door— is entirely different. Therein lies a protected cocoon, a nurturing shell in which an immunocompromised soul can fly to treatment without worry.

Using these amazing tools we know as pilots day in and day out, we may not fully comprehend how life-transforming their capabilities can be—save for those angels among us who fly urgent medical transport and volunteer their time and abilities to do so.

Hope, Faith, Answered Prayers

Mark Pestal—a Denver-based attorney and commercial pilot—is one of those pilots. Pestal founded AeroAngel, based at Centennial Airport (KAPA) in Colorado, and he donates much of his time and resources toward the organization. Since January 2010, the AeroAngel mission has been able to connect sick children with the wings to access distant medical care. With more than $2 million worth of in-kind or monetary donations in total, AeroAngel has helped more than 200 children receive critical care to date.

In the first four months of 2019, AeroAngel tallied more flights than it had in 2018—but a lot has changed since this year began. The mission remains critical, however, so Pestal and the organization’s volunteer pilots have worked to find a way to carry on flying through the challenging first half of 2020.

Brent Bythewood, one patient’s father, relates the urgency underlying the missions: “I was tasked back in May with trying to figure out how to get my critically ill daughter, Emily, from Nashville [Tennessee] to Boston for an extremely complex open-heart surgery. My options were: putting her in a car for an 18-hour drive or…well, because of COVID-19, there weren’t any other feasible options.”

“The idea of the organization is to transport extremely sick kids to the lifesaving procedures or the best doctors for their diagnosis,” Bythewood says. “[Pastel] does this by using [private] jets rather than smaller lightweight planes [because of] mileage and weight constraints.” This focus on jets, crewed by volunteer professional pilots, stands out and allows for a level of care needed by those very sick children facing severe chronic illnesses. It also makes long distances go by more quickly and comfortably than could be possible on the airlines or, conversely, on lighter GA aircraft.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

RELATED STORIES

Top 10 Foods To Boost Your Sex Life

Which means a balanced and nutrients diet combined with regular moderate exercise and a positive attitude.

3 mins read
Women Fitness
May - June 2021

Don't Boost Your Immune System, Balance It!

Instead of “boosting” your immune function, which is not always a good thing, focus on fine-tuning your body for optimal immune health.

7 mins read
Better Nutrition
April 2021

The Hammock

A sign of God’s protection right when she needed it

3 mins read
Guideposts
April 2021

WOUNDS AND THE WOMB

JULIE PETERS explores how to heal a relationship with the sacred womb, a place of death, life, and possibilities.

8 mins read
Spirituality & Health
Mar/Apr 2021

Beyond Covid

More uses for new mRNA technology

3 mins read
Reason magazine
May 2021

HOW NATUROPATHIC DOCTORS TREAT TOXIN EXPOSURE

IF YOU’RE THINKING ABOUT STARTING A DETOX REGIMEN, IT PAYS TO CONSULT AN EXPERT FIRST.

4 mins read
Better Nutrition
March 2021

Does This DOG Know Whether You Have CANCER?

The canine nose is a marvel of nature. Science believes that a computerized model will save millions of lives.

10+ mins read
Reader's Digest US
March 2021

IN SEASON Chickpeas (GARBANZO BEANS)

Chickpeas appear in early recordings in Turkey well over 5000 years ago. India produces the most chickpeas worldwide but they are grown in more than 50 countries. An excellent source of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, B vitamins, and some minerals, they are a nutritious staple of many diets. The name chickpea comes from the Latin word cancer, referring to the plant family of legumes, Fabaceae. It is also known by its popular Spanish-derived name, the garbanzo bean. Kidney beans, black beans, lima beans, and peanuts are other familiar foods found in this legume family.

1 min read
Alternative Medicine
February 2021

8 SUPERSMART SUPERFOODS Your Kids Will Love

Having trouble getting your kids to eat healthily? When you package these superfood hits into your kid’s menu you can be sure you are giving them the nutrients they need and show them great nutrition is just around the corner!

2 mins read
Alternative Medicine
February 2021

HONORING Alex

THE SHOW MUST GO ON! AS PAT SAJAK REMEMBERS HIS LONGTIME RIVAL ALEX TREBEK, JEOPARDY! ANNOUNCES A SLATE OF NEW GUEST HOSTS.

1 min read
Star
February 01, 2021