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Gathering with a purpose

Angel Flight West celebrates 40 years under the 'Endeavour'

Angel Flight West hosted the ninth annual Endeavor Awards June 9 at the California Science Center in Los Angeles. The event, which this year celebrated 100,000 charitable flights and 40 years of Angel Flight West, honors those who have gone above and beyond in charitable flying.

Endeavor Awards

  • Endeavor Awards
    Space shuttle astronauts hosted the Endeavor Awards at the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Pavilion in Los Angeles. Photo by Alicia Herron.
  • Endeavor Awards
    Condor Squadron North American AT-6 Texans fly in formation. Photo by Alicia Herron.
  • Endeavor Awards
    Space shuttle astronauts Garrett Reisman (left) and Michael Massimino hosted. Photo by Alicia Herron.
  • Endeavor Awards
    Angel Flight West Executive Director Josh Olson. Photo by Alicia Herron.

The evening began in the Science Center’s rose garden, where attendees mingled with well-known aviators like Sean D. Tucker, Clay Lacy, and Dale Klapmeier, and enjoyed wine tastings from the pilot-owned Flying Lady Winery. Guests also enjoyed a flyover from the Van Nuys-based Condor Squadron’s North American AT–6 Texan formation and a skydive from the Red Bull team skydivers Sean MacCormac and Luke Aikins.

Following the skydive, a drum line led visitors into the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Pavilion, where lights and music set the space-themed mood while an Endeavour launch played on the stage’s screens. Astronauts Garrett Reisman (who flew on shuttle missions by Columbia, Endeavour, and Atlantis) and Michael Massimino (who flew aboard Columbia and Atlantis) hosted the event, and Letitia Frye served as auctioneer on behalf of Angel Flight West.

The event was created to support the organization created to facilitate the transportation of people to medical care and other crucial services, and to honor pilots whose contributions stand out: Angel Flight West honored Stephen and Joanna Bobko-Hillenaar and Shakeel Mozaffar with Endeavor Awards. The Bobko-Hillenaars have flown more than 527 missions for Angel Flight West over 20 years. Mozaffar has flown over 58,230 miles and more than 45 missions for Angel Flight Northeast over 27 years. Also recognized was Overair, an eVTOL developer, with the Future of Flight Award; the Inspiration Award was presented to Angel Flight West’s founders to a standing ovation.

Aerial entertainment also included a pair of Red Bull skydivers dropping in. Photo by Alicia Herron.

Angel Flight West’s “network of volunteer pilots provide free medical transportation to people in need,” the organization notes on its website. While Angel Flight is best known for its medical efforts, the organization also provides other humanitarian flights in cases “such as individuals and families escaping domestic violence, disaster relief, therapeutic programs for veterans, and children’s specialty camps.”

The Endeavor Awards are dedicated to “increasing awareness of contributions of aviation to the public good, encouraging more pilots and aircraft owners to become involved in charitable flying,” and increasing support for all volunteer pilot organizations that provide humanitarian aid.

If you would like to volunteer or donate, visit Angel Flight West’s website.

Alyssa J. Miller

Alicia Herron

Publications Content Producer
Publications Content Producer Alicia Herron joined AOPA in 2018. She is a multiengine-rated commercial pilot with advanced ground and instrument flight instructor certificates. She is based in Los Angeles and enjoys tailwheel flying best.
Topics: Public Benefit Flying, Awards and Records

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