Eighteen-year-old student pilot Asher Green needed only to pass his written exam and take his private pilot checkride when the coronavirus pandemic put a temporary halt to his flight training.
His 1,000-hour, instrument-rated father, Todd Green, was frustrated by the lack of general aviation activity at his home airfield, John Wayne Airport-Orange County in Santa Ana, California.
His answer came in the form of a volunteer humanitarian flight that took the father-and-son duo across the country and back in the family’s 2006 Mooney Ovation. Their mission was to deliver 11,250 N-95 masks from Chicago to medical workers in the Navajo Nation near Scottsdale, Arizona. They also dropped off 1,250 masks for hospitals in rural Nebraska. The masks were acquired by a nonprofit organization that focuses on helping medical facilities obtain needed personal protective equipment in situations where the supplies are hard to come by.
In addition to contributing something helpful to medical professionals combating the pandemic, the father-son team was able to build a lasting memory together as Asher finishes his senior year in high school.
“This is probably the most memorable thing we have done together,” Todd said. He reflected on his deep enjoyment of three days of father-son time together engaging a shared passion, and “seeing how far he has come in his flight training.”
It was educational for the teenage student as well.
The two made stops for fuel, food, and rest in multiple states, and Asher said, “It was really interesting to see the different ways every part of the country is reacting to this crisis, how things are operating, how businesses keep going, and the major effect this is having on everyone.”
He learned a lot about long cross-country flying by helping his father with the flight planning. “Most student pilots don’t get to go beyond a 100-mile radius of home base even with their cross-country flights,” Asher said. “To do this trek across the country with such little time to plan—making plans about weather, and where to stay, and doing this all on the spot—I am glad I got to do this with my dad to make sure I’ll be prepared to do long-distance flights like this in the future.”
Asher said he anticipates completing his written and practical exams for his private pilot certificate in the coming weeks, his passion fueled all the more by this memorable experience with his father.