Flying with a Hope Air volunteer pilot saves patients hours of driving time. For these patients, accessibility issues are not solved by an airline ticket alone. “One patient I assisted lived 10 minutes from a really nice airstrip in Creston, but commercial airlines couldn’t land there. If we had not picked her up, she would have had to drive to Cranbrook to get to the airport. It would have meant three extra hours on the road,” says Floyd.
At other times, it meant providing patients with a much more direct route to care, like when a patient needed to travel to Kelowna from Cranbrook. “They would have been routed through Calgary. With transfers and flying time, it would have been at least a six-hour trip. I picked them up, and 45 minutes later they were getting a taxi to where they needed to be in Kelowna.”
Floyd’s role as a volunteer pilot even provides the extra feeling of security needed during an especially challenging time. “There was one patient who was much sicker than I realized. She was flying to a major cancer operation, and she asked that I fly her back home, too. She wasn’t feeling well, and was scared she might be dying, but we got her to the operation she needed and she was so at ease on the way home. You see the difference it makes when they have someone they trust to get them to where they need to be. Hope Air really fills a great void.”
“I’ve been very fortunate in my life, and it is an honour to give back. I fly patients during tough times – people with serious illnesses, sometimes little kids. If they had to figure out how to pay for an airline ticket and a hotel, it would be that much harder.” Floyd goes on to say,