Local

August 31, 2012

Edwards ‘angel’ donates time, aircraft, fuel to help others

Bruce Wilder, 411th Test Squadron flight test engineer, volunteers to fly missions for Angel Flight West, helping those who need to travel large distances. He has been with the organization for more than a decade, providing free transportation for non-emergency medical services and taking children to and from camps for burn victims and the hearing impaired. Wilder, an aviation enthusiest, is able to use his passion and give back to the community through his involvement with Angel Flight West.

If you ask Bruce Wilder about his job as a flight test engineer on the Air Force’s premier fighter aircraft, the F-22 Raptor, he will tell you it is one of the coolest jobs in the world.

When the aviation enthusiast is not working on the most advanced fighter in the Air Force inventory, Wilder rents Cessna aircraft from the Edwards AFB Aero Club and enjoys the birds-eye-view of the surrounding areas.

With a passion for flying, Wilder began searching for an opportunity to give back through participation in an aviation charity program. That is when he discovered Angel Flight West and made a commitment to donate his time, aircraft and fuel to provide those in need with free air transportation.

“Angel Flight provides transportation for people who need to get to and from treatment. They also provide transportation for organs, doctors and other causes,” said Wilder, 411th Flight Test Squadron. “I was interested in doing things with my pilot’s license that would help other people. I looked up the charity about 15 years ago and joined approximately 12 years ago. I’ve been flying about one mission a year ever since.”

Angel Flight West was founded in 1983 and is made up of a vast network of 1,600 private pilots throughout the 13 western states, including Alaska and Hawaii.

“The organization works very much like we work aircraft missions on base. They have an operations desk, if you will, that coordinates all the flights and proposes the routings. The pilots then go and volunteer for various missions they see on the Web site,” said Wilder. “So, I try to volunteer for missions that are central to Edwards. Common ones are Fresno, Santa Monica, and Las Vegas to the Los Angeles Basin.”

His last mission was Aug. 4, during which Wilder transported a girl home from a camp for the deaf and hearing impaired. According to Wilder, it would have been an extremely long drive for the family if Angel Flight West had not taken care of the transportation, as the camp was located at Yosemite National Park.

Wilder has also dedicated a great deal of time providing transportation for numerous burn victims and cancer patients.

Each mission costs upwards of $500, which factor in variables such as hourly Cessna 172 or 182 rentals from the Aero Club, as well as distance traveled.

For Wilder however, it has never been about the money. It’s about using his passion for flying for a purpose larger than himself.

“I’ve flown people to and from Santa Monica to the UCLA Medical Center for people who’ve had cancer treatments. These are trips that would have taken all day if they had driven a car. Plus, when you consider the exhaustion from treatment, that drive might become too difficult,” said Wilder. “Angel Flight West provides an advantage to patients undergoing treatment such as chemotherapy because they can go home the same day.”

For Wilder, volunteering for more than a decade with Angel Flight West has been an incredibly rewarding experience.

“I’m doing something with my skills, abilities and background to give back and do something for the community. I get to do something I enjoy and I also get the benefit of feeling good about what I’m doing. It’s special and meaningful for somebody in need,” said Wilder. “I get a lot of good feedback from the parents and kids; they’re very appreciative of what we do. They call us their ‘angels.’”

Volunteers interested in contributing to the mission of Angel Flight West can visit www.angelflightwest.org or can call the Aero Club at (661) 275-AERO.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
earthquake

Don’t let some recent shaking get you rattled

Background image from California Institute of Technology’s Southern California Earthquake Data Center Earthquakes are nothing new to residents in SoCal, but the recommended safety measures can be. Like most of California,...
 
 

News Briefs April 11, 2014

31st TES fundraiser The 31st Test and Evaluation Squadron Booster Club will hold a car wash fundraiser at the Bowling Center 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., April 18. Get your car clean and help support the 31st TES. Volunteer appreciation Brig. Gen. Michael T. Brewer, 412th Test Wing commander, cordially invites you to attend the Edwards Air...
 
 

AFPC has expanded voluntary FM program waiver authority

The Air Force Personnel Center has been granted expanded waiver authority to waive some active duty service commitments for Airmen interested in voluntary separation under the fiscal year 2014 force management program, AFPC officials announced April 3. For example, we now have the authority to waive aviation retention pay (which requires recoupment of the unserved...
 

 

Gaining Altitude – Growth Opportunities for the Week

Through our character – an opportunity to reflect on important issues in our community - There is an old saying: “Give someone a fish and you feed them for a day; teach someone to fish and you feed them for life.” The same is true in developing character. ¬†You can give a law or command...
 
 
afrc-x56c

X-56A testbed arrives at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich The diminutive X-56A Multi-Use Technology Testbed, mounted on a small trailer, is pulled away from its home for the past year, Hangar 4305 at Edwards’ North Base. The latest in a long series...
 
 

Air Force updates officer, enlisted voluntary force management eligibility lists*

Select Airmen in specific categories who were not formerly eligible for fiscal year 2014 force management voluntary separation are now being offered voluntary separation. These individuals will not be subject to involuntary programs in fiscal year 2014. Officers from 33 Air Force specialty codes by year group and enlisted Airmen from seven AFSCs by grade...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>