Every Give Hope Wings expedition is run by experienced pilots with a passion for flying and volunteering to help Canadians in financial need reach medical care. Below is a list of pilots who are helping to organize the 2021 Coast to Coast Expedition.
Dave was raised in Nelson, B.C. He spent the first part of his life in various parts of British Columbia, including Vancouver, before moving to Toronto in 1983 and then on to the United Kingdom in 2000. Most of his working career was spent as a senior executive in the wood products industry in both Canada and Europe.
Dave learned to fly in Cranbrook in the heart of the Canadian Rockies. This early exposure to mountain flying proved to be a solid foundation for the ensuing decades, during which he has flown more than 3,850 hours in 29 different aircraft types. In 2018, he led the first two Give Hope Wings expedition around Central and South America, and the North-Western expedition venture that raised more than $500,000 for Hope Air.
Steve is the former publisher at Canadian Aviator Publishing Ltd, publishers of Canadian Aviator and editoto for COPA Flight magazines. He has been a huge supporter for Hope Air by being involved in the 2018 and 2019 Give Hope Wings expeditions.
From 1995 until 2002, Steve was the owner and operator of a flight school and charter company in British Columbia’s Okanagan Valley. He has flown a variety of single and twin-engine aircraft, including helicopters. He now owns and flies a Piper Cherokee. He currently serves as treasurer at the Elphinstone Aero Club on British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.
Lee Arsenault has been a volunteer pilot with Hope Air since 2016 and works alongside his wife, Marilyn Staig. The team from Pickering, Ont. has completed more than 20 flights for Hope Air, flying patients from remote areas across Ontario to larger centres like Toronto to reach specialized medical care. Lee handles the preparation and flying while Marilyn helps the patients. They fly a Diamond DA-40, and was the expedition captain in 2020 and 2021.
Brian Huston was raised in small northern mining communities in Northern Ontario, Northern Quebec, Southern Labrador and Saskatchewan and saw first-hand the vastness of Canada and how that can create difficulties reaching health care. Brian has been a volunteer pilot since 2017 and has completed 17 flights for Hope Air, flying patients from remote areas across Ontario to larger centres like Toronto to reach specialized medical care. He flies a Piper PA28-161 (Warrior) and currently resides in Oakville, Ont. Brian is the expedition captain and safety officer for 2021 and was for 2020.
Johnathan first learned to fly on a whim in 2005 but ended up
loving it much more than he thought he would. He still has his first plane, a 1975 Cessna-172. When Jonathan isn’t practicing or spending time with my wife and two daughters, he is flying and sight-seeing with friends in places across Canada, the United States, and the Caribbean.
He was considered the “black sheep” for becoming a doctor in a family of entrepreneurs, but medicine has always fascinated him. At first, Johnathan thought he wanted to work in one of Canada’s large hospitals; however, he soon realized that he is more of a generalist and loved the unique challenge of working in remote and resource-limited communities. Now he practices medicine with patients in the least-supported of medical environments.
Basie first fell in love with flying in South Africa and started lessons in 1995 to earn his Private Pilot's License. Shortly after, he immigrated to Canada and continued to advance his flying skills. Basie then earned his IFR Rating, Commercial Pilot's License, and his Multi-Engine Rating in Canada. He has always had a great interest in aviation and now own shares in a J35 Bonanza-C172.
When Basie isn’t flying, you can find him at the clinic working with patients. He has over 25 successful years as an OBGYN, and now that he is semi-retired, he wants to give back to his community. In some ways, flying is very similar to surgery. Nothing is ever routine, and you are faced with new challenges each time. The only thing that stays the same is the rewarding feeling of completing a safe journey.