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Take Off Talk

Distance can be a major barrier to accessing quality healthcare in a timely manner. For patients, access to air transportation can make all the difference in getting the treatment they need. However, flights can be expensive, and putting off medical care because of costs can put you or your loved ones at risk. That's where Angel Flight East comes in.

Welcome to Take Off Talk with Angel Flight East, a nonprofit dedicated to facilitating free air transportation for children and adults with medical conditions who need treatment far from home. Our organization covers a 14 state footprint from Virginia to Ohio to Maine and for further distances, we partner with other public benefit flying organizations.  No matter how many times you need to get to your medical treatment or see a loved one in need, we are here to help. Unfortunately, few people know about free services like ours, and thus cannot use them when needed. We don't know how many people forgo medical care because they don't have accessible transportation, and that's what this podcast is here to change.

Take Off With The Rookie Of The Year, Jide Olusanya

Take Off Talk with Angel Flight East | Jide Olusanya | Volunteer Pilot

Jess Ames and Maddy Beck are back after the holiday break! Today, they welcome the rookie of the year. In this episode, Jide Olusanya, a Volunteer Pilot, shares his flight journey and picks his favorite flight. He also explains what it’s like to be a pilot and shares advice on becoming a volunteer pilot. Buckle your seatbelts because we will fly high with the rookie of the year today! Be an inspired volunteer pilot with Jide in this episode.

 

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Watch the episode here

 

Listen to the podcast here

 

In this episode, we have Pilot Jide. How are you?

I'm good. Thanks for having me.

We're so excited. We will kick this off with him as our Rookie of The Year. He's very humble. We have to tell everybody that he's the best.

I have to thank God and you guys for what you do. That's it.

You do all the hard work. We can call you and be like, “Are you busy on Tuesday? We need help.”

 

When I talk to Dave, you think we do the hard work. You guys do the hard work as well. It's a team effort because, without you guys, the patients, the passengers, and us, it's not going to be complete. It's a team effort. That's how I look at it, to be honest with you.

How long have you been flying with Angel Flight East?

Over a year in 2024.

How did you hear about us, to begin with?

I heard about Angel Flight East from my flight instructor, David Dailey, on one of our flights when I was still doing my IFR training. In 2021, I talked to him about, “Once I get my license, I'll be flying around the airport under Hamburg and all that but what can I be doing?” Back then, I told him I wasn't interested in commercial flying and I didn't want to go to the airlines. He said, “Try the Angel Flight East.” The good thing was he brought me on one of his missions precisely on February 24th, 2021 from Northeast Philly as his mission assistant. If I go back to the first question, it makes me feel like I’ve been flying since 2021. To be honest with you, he had told me about it but, me experiencing that was a good feeling.

For those who are reading and think that that name sounds familiar but can't figure out why, David was our Rookie of The Year in 2021.

He left us to go to the airline but luckily, his dad took his place. He always flies with Warren. They're the perfect duo.

I love it, and hopefully for the next one.

Can you tell us about one of your favorite Angel Flights you've done so far?

All the fights have been good. If I have to pick one, I'll pick the flight I did not long ago. Luckily for me, I had to fly them twice at first as a mission assistant with Warren Oakley. I had to fly them back the next day as a command pilot. I picked this flight because of a young girl. Her name is Cypress. You can see she's full of energy. You see a lot of people out there that are down. She’s got so much energy that draws a lot of attention to you. She reminds me of my daughter.

One thing I remember about the flight is her mom, Kayla. Anytime Cypress tries to say something like, “Thank you,” she tries to raise a good kid and tells her to say, “Thank you, sir. Good morning, ma’am. Good morning, sir.” I see that in the mom. That shows she's raising a great kid. All the fights I've done are all good. There are different stories. I'll pick Kayla because she's the youngest I've ever flown. That energy draws too much attention, which I love.

When we flew them, we came down to you guys, the FBO. She gave us gifts. I don’t know. Maybe because she's a young kid and me being a father of two young kids as well, I know what it takes. That touches me and that’s one of my greatest flights. Getting to fly back the next day, I get to spend more time with them. We talk, pray, and hope everything gets better.

She's so cute.

She’s so social, too. She walked right up to us.

We have partner organizations that give toy bags and things like that. There's one called Boredom Busters. They gave her a bag full of toys to play with. There are these little sharks for her to take in the tub with her and things like that. She was running around the FBO going up to total strangers telling them that the shark was hungry and trying to bite them with it. I’m sorry if you had a shark in your ear the entire flight the next day. That's my fault.

That's alright. That's cool. She's such a good kid.

She was one of our patients. Looking at her, you would never know she was sick or anything was wrong with her. That's how a lot of our patients are. They have such an incredibly positive outlook on life. They’re so happy.

The first flight we did when Warren and I were flying them to you guys, Warren said something. We're all discussing, myself, Warren, and the mom, Kayla. He’s like, “You can't even tell something's wrong with her. She's so full of energy.” That's what I like. Put a smile on that face.

There are so many times that we get pictures from pilots. We look at each other and we're like, “Do you know what this pilot looks like? I don't know who's the patient now.” We're like, “Everybody looks fine and healthy. I don't know who's who.”

3 people or 2, who's the patient and who's the pilot? You can't tell but that's a good thing. I always try to pray to God to help everybody out whichever way and make them happy.

Do you fly for any other organizations?

No, I only fly for Angel Flight.

We’re going to keep you. We don't like cheaters

Honestly, the only time I can afford is my work and Angel Flight. Maybe if I retire. Whatever the other organizations are trying to do, we are all trying to achieve a common goal. Even if I don't fly for them, kudos to you guys and them as well but I only fly for Angel Flight East.

 

"Whatever the organization, we're all trying to achieve a common goal."

 

That’s good because my next question was when you're not flying for us, what do you do?

I'm a senior construction inspector. I work with a private engineering consultant firm. What I do is ensure that your roads and bridges are safe for you to drive back home every day.

I appreciate you. That's important.

I work at night. Why do I work at night? If I shut down the road during the day, everybody's going to yell at traffic and all that. I work so that you guys can get back home safely. That's my job during the day and at night if I have to work at night.

I didn't even know that was a thing but now I know. We were asking David, “Do you know what Jide does for a living?” He was like, “I think he's an engineer or something.” That's pretty cool.

 

A senior construction inspector ensures that your roads and bridges are safe for you to drive back home every day.

 

It’s very convenient. Thank you. We appreciate that.

Thank you.

If you could say anything about being a volunteer pilot, what would it be?

Being a pilot itself, we are blessed. Being a volunteer pilot is something different to me because this involves your time. If I can speak to most of the general pilots out there besides the commercial pilots that are working, if you have the aircraft to fly, which could be yours or rental, it's a good thing to do. As a volunteer pilot, after all the flights, at the end of the day, I always feel fulfilled because I know I put a smile on somebody's face out there.

For this patient out there that needs to go to appointments but can't do it and we have the time or we have the aircraft to fly, why not do it? It's a change because if they have to go see a doctor, the doctor will probably do his job. If we have to fly them there, it helps. Being a volunteer pilot, there's no regret at all. I'd love to do it. I can always tell GA pilots, “Try to do it as well. You'll love it.”

For anybody who is thinking of becoming a pilot in general, what would you tell them?

Let me say it like this. I wanted to be a pilot since I was young. I probably have the fear in me, “Can I do this or that?” In 2011, I was going to do it. My wife doesn't like to fly at all. I had my first child, my son. She would throw everything like, “We have a son, this, and that, but okay.” I was still doubting myself. Come 2020 during the pandemic, I thought to myself, “Is this how the world's going to end? Let me do what I would love to do.” I wanted to be a pilot. I went for it. In 45 days and 6.5 weeks, I got it done.

A lot of people out there last for years. I've been an enthusiast since way back. In my basement, I got my simulator. She would let me do whatever I wanted to do in the simulator but she’s like, “Do you want to fly a real plane? It's scary.” Going back to the question, you’ll know when you're ready. There’s no doubt. It's not as bad as it is. It teaches you safety. It's not as bad as people think. It's love. It's fun. Once you're up there, the sky's the limit. Follow the rules. Jess is a pilot, right?

Halfway.

I'm not a rule follower so that's going to be a problem for me.

Jess is not a rule follower. In the amount of days it took you to become a pilot, it took Jess that in the minimum of hours to solo.

How many hours do you have, Jess?

About 40-ish. I'm behind. I’m trying to beat my husband who has 100 hours and has not done his check ride yet. That's my new goal.

It's not a race or competition. Everybody studies differently. If it's something you want to do, do your best out there. Other people are like, “I don't want to go fly this and that.” It's not as bad as people think. It's safe. Even my family, they still don't want to fly. Once in a while, I'm like, “Let's go. It's safe out there.”

You take your son on some Angel Flights with you, don't you?

I do.

Does he have the bug, too?

I try not to force him to come along but I try to entice him. I’m like, “What do you want to eat, this or that?” There are times he wants to do it but I never want to force him to do it. If he wants to go, I’m like, “Come on. Let's go.” It's a great thing to come along with my son and he sees what I'm doing. I hope he can do that someday as well.

You can be the next, hopefully, dad and son duo.

What is one final thought you would want to leave our audience with?

You don't have to be a pilot. All our readers out there, what I can say is in any way, shape, or form, you can always spread the word like this. We have Angel Flight East that probably can fly people to the appointments. Instead of them driving for 2 or 3 hours, they can be there in 1 hour or 45 minutes. It saves time. Even though you're not a pilot, spread the word. At times at work, when I talk to 1 or 2 people, I tell them, “I fly for this organization.” If you know anybody that needs to fly, spread the word. That alone will probably make it a better world. If you see somebody every day, tell them, “Good morning.” Put a smile on everybody's face. You never know what people are going through. That's it.

 

You're the best.

You guys are the best.

Thank you so much, Jide. We are so excited to celebrate you in April 2024.

We’ll put your face on everything. You're going to make a big speech.

It's going to be so much fun.

Thank you. I don’t know what to say. I have to face a lot of people.

You have time. We'll be off on the side holding a vodka soda or a beer for you when you're done. We got you.

I'm honored. I appreciate that.

Thanks, Jide.

We’ll talk to you later.

Thanks. Bye.

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What a guy.

Right when Jide was hopping off, we paused the recording. He let us know that he was a little bit nervous for his speech. If you're coming in April 2024, make sure you fill him in on how good it was because we have full faith in him. I said to Jide, “Pretend that everybody's in their underwear.” Who hasn't heard that expression before with giving a speech or talking to a crowd? That's how you get over your fear. You would have thought that I told him everybody was going to be in their underwear by the face he gave me. It was the biggest eyes I've ever seen. He was a deer in a headlight. He has not heard that saying before.

 

Take Off Talk with Angel Flight East | Jide Olusanya| Volunteer Pilot

 

I feel like when he gets up there and does a speech, I'm going to think of everybody in their underwear. I don't want to do that at the gala.

It’s a saying. It’s an expression.

This is our first one of the new year. 2024 is off to a good start, hopefully.

 

Take Off Talk with Angel Flight East | Jide Olusanya| Volunteer Pilot

 

We're excited to be back with you. Coming into 2024, if there are any other topics that you want to know about, per usual, feel free to reach out to us. Don't forget to like, follow, and give us a rating on all of your favorite places to find your shows. That's the only way to get the word out a little bit farther as well as sharing it on your social media channels.

We still don't know what the platforms are but you probably do.

We're happy you found us either way. We’ll see you soon.

Bye.

 

Interested in helping more episodes... Take Off? 

Consider sponsoring episodes! For more information, please contact Jess at jessames@angelflighteast.org.

Our Impact This Year

  • Amerisource Bergen Foundation
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