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.


 
 

 

News Briefs April 24, 2015

“Edwards Got Talent” contest April 24 Edwards Family Advocacy will hold an “Edwards Got Talent” competition at the Oasis Community Center April 24. The show starts at 5:30 p.m. and will end at 7:30 p.m. Anyone with access to Edwards AFB and their family members are invited to come and show off their talent! The...
 
 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

Second X-56A MUTT makes first flight

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich NASA researchers are using the X-56A, a low-cost, modular, remotely piloted aerial vehicle, to explore the behavior of lightweight, flexible aircraft structures. Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr.

An Edwards NCO’s journey to wounded warrior mentorship

Air Force photograph by Samuel King Jr. Tech. Sgt. Ryan Delaney, an Air Force Wounded Warrior mentor, watches Tremayne Maxwell, an Air Force Wounded Warrior athlete, perfect his wheelchair basketball rolling skills during the f...
 

 
school-registration

Kindergarten registration May 12

Registration for kindergarten will be held May 12-13 for the 2015-2016 school year. Registration will take place in the Branch Elementary School Multi-purpose Room noon-3 p.m. both days.  Children must be five years old on o...
 
 

News Briefs April 17, 2015

STEM Expo The Antelope Valley Union High School District needs volunteers to serve as judges for the first Annual STEM Expo 5:30 p.m., April 27 at Eastside High School. Students will be evaluated in seven categories: Environmental/Agricultural Innovation, Invention, Reverse Engineering, Robotics and Computer Science, Rube Goldberg, Science Fiction, and Science Inquiry. Eastside High School...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Command chief shares secrets to success for enlisted

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Chief Master Sgt. David Smith, 412th Test Wing command chief hosted a mandatory enlisted all-call at the base theater April 13. Chief Master Sgt. David Smith, 412th Test Wing command chief ...
 




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>