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 Boundary Bay to Hudson Bay 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 publisher of Canadian Aviator magazine, and the former publisher and editor of COPA Flight magazine. He has been a huge supporter for Hope Air and flew as an Expedition Captain in the 2019 Give Hope Wings Northern Expedition.
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.
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.
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.