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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.

A Conversation With Volunteer Pilot Doug Edenburn

Take Off Talk with Angel Flight East | Doug Edenburn | Volunteer Pilot

Joining Jess Ames and Maddy Beck in this episode is volunteer pilot Doug Edenburn, who flies with Angel Flight Soars. He shares how he started flying in late 2022 and works in a primary care office when not on his wings. Doug talks about his very first Angel Flight trip and the one time he took a four-week-old baby from Atlanta to Greensboro.




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In this episode, we have Pilot Doug. Hi, Doug.

Hey there.

Flying With Angel Flight Soars

Doug is an Angel Flight East Pilot, but he is one of our cheaters and he has declared alliance with Angel Flight Soars. Do you want to tell our audience about how long you've been flying with Angel Flight Soars?

I started there, I think I did my first trip in either September or October of 2022. I've been here and there with those folks ever since.

How did you hear about Angel Flight Soars?


Take Off Talk with Angel Flight East | Doug Edenburn | Volunteer Pilot


I googled it. I had heard about Angel Flight in general. I didn't realize that it was several different organizations that did it. I thought it was a cool thing. While I was doing my pilot training ratings and stuff, I looked it up on the internet and I found that they were close to where I was.

Where are you located?

I'm outside of Charlotte, North Carolina.

It's much warmer down there. We're cold up here.

People are nicer.

It's funny because I am from here. I'm Southerner, and when I travel, I think I feel a little bit more at home sometimes. because I'm pretty quiet and not overly friendly. Sometimes I feel folks around here are like that. I love traveling out west for that reason. I can be quiet.

Avoid eye contact and keep going.

Right, a little bit.

I love that we're not overly friendly either, but somehow people think we're very social, but we're very anti-social.

I think the misconception is that you can't be both anti-social and a caring decent person at the same time, but you totally can. I promise. It's possible.


"Many people assume that an anti-social person cannot be caring. However, you can totally be the same person at the same time."


Exactly. See? We get it, Doug.

City of Brotherly Love.

Something like that.

Favorite Angel Flight

Do you have a favorite Angel Flight you've done with Angel Flight Soars so far?

I was thinking about that and I've enjoyed a lot of them for a lot of reasons, but probably my favorite was the one I was mentioning to you a little while ago. I took a four-week old baby and her parents from outside of Atlanta up to Greensboro. I met with an Angel Flight East Pilot there, and he brought them the rest of the way. They were going up to chop. It was so rewarding for a lot of reasons.

The baby was adorable, obviously. Her parents were a ton of fun. They never flown in a small airplane before and her dad ate the whole thing up. I was playing tour guide all the way, which is cool. I love flying into Greensboro, so it was a cool experience for everybody, I think. That one was a trip that that baby needed, general aviation. Commercial aviation was not a good option and certainly driving from Atlanta to Philadelphia would be suboptimal, I'd say.

How long have you been flying now, in general? Not even Angel Flight associated?

Not very long. Don't tell my passengers that. They probably wouldn't feel very good. I got my private certificate in January of '22, and then I got my instrument rating in March of '22. I'm getting ready to do an IPC tomorrow and a flight review tomorrow, so that'll be my two-year anniversary, I guess.

That's exciting.

Yeah, it's fun. I've been around flying in general aviation. I've had contact with it a couple of times throughout the years, but it was only a couple of years ago that it finally took and I got it all done.

That's pretty quick too, to get it all done.

My first hours in the logbook are probably from 2001, but I figured out that if I was going to do it, I needed to dedicate totally to it. That's what I did for about six months. My family didn't see me and I pretty much was either working or at the airport. It's a good way to do it.

That works. What do you do when you're not being a volunteer pilot? That other job that keeps you busy?

I'm a PA. I'm currently working in a primary care office. I've done emergency medicine and critical care medicine too.

First-Ever Angel Flight

I think that our audience need to hear about the story that you sent to us in an email.

It's funny you asked what I do for a living. I try to not mention that when I'm flying, especially, because most of these people are flying for obviously some medical reason. I don't want to bring it up. I want to be your pilot for the day. Anyway, it was my very first trip when I took a lady from Daniel Field in Augusta, Georgia, and she was going back home after a pretty routine follow-up. She's going back to Savannah.

My very first Angel Flight trip. I was a little nervous. You could tell she was a little nervous, but we broke the ice and we were talking in cruise and she asked me what I do for a living. I told her. We talked about that a little bit. I felt that she was getting more comfortable which is good. I always brief the passengers that during takeoff and during landing, we have what's called a sterile cockpit. We don't talk during those phases of the flight because it's busy and more focused and make sure all of our attention is on landing, so we try to limit the non-essential communication.

She was okay with that until we were on a two-mile final going into runway 27 or 28 in Savannah, I can't remember which one it is down there. She holds her hand up right directly in front of my face and she has a trigger finger on one of her hands, a benign orthopedic thing. She holds it up in front of my face and says, "What is this anyway?"

Not the time.

She was trying to get some medical advice but it was about the worst time you could be doing that. Everything was fine. I said, "We'll talk about it when we're on the ground. It's no big deal, but it was a little unnerving.

Especially that close to the runway.

Yeah. I think in cruise maybe not such a big deal, but when you're flying, you're laser-focused on your aim point there and trying to look around and see what else is going on. Savannah's a fairly busy airport too, so there's a lot of noise and chatter going on. It was a little disconcerting, but great storytelling, it was hilarious. I wasn't upset.


"When pilots are flying, they are laser-focused on their reading point. They cannot focus on anything else or even get into meaningless conversations."


Yeah. We were cracking up when we were reading the email. First, we're like, people do listen to us and it's funny, and then we're laughing at your story because we could picture it happening.

Yeah. I'll never forget it.

I am the little sister of a medical provider, so 9 times out of 10, she gets a text from me. I can only imagine how it would feel for it to be while she's flying an airplane. Not that that will ever be Hannah and my situation, but I can only imagine how that moment of being like, "What?"


Take Off Talk with Angel Flight East | Doug Edenburn | Volunteer Pilot


I try to just be your pilot for the day when I'm flying. Part of the reason is a lot of these folks there, the conditions that they're dealing with, the reason they're going to specialty care hundreds of miles away from home because they have some specialized stuff. I'm just a general medical provider. I'm not very knowledgeable at any one thing, so it's not like I can contribute anything to the conversation. I enjoy hearing their stories as they would tell it to a random person.

That's awesome.

There you go.

Becoming A Volunteer Pilot

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

I'm a big advocate. I'd say, go do it. That's the first step. I think there are a lot of misconceptions about maybe what's involved in it and what person is a volunteer pilot. I think the answer to that is it's any person with an airplane who cares enough about somebody else to want to take them somewhere that they need to go. This is a common theme and I think I've heard it from every pilot on your show and heard it from lots of other folks. What you get back is so much more than what you give. That's true from a human perspective. You do feel good and you feel fortunate to be in the position that you are in your own life. You feel fortunate about your own health and that of the people around you who you love and care about.

The other thing that doesn't get talked about for whatever reason, is that this is a fantastic experience for a pilot to have. It honestly was the thing that attracted me to it in the first place. As far as developing skills as a new pilot and this is coming from a guy that's only been doing it for a couple years of now, I can't think of any better way to gain experience and skills than taking someone else from where they need to go to where they need to go on their schedule. It does open up the world of aviation a little bit for you. Anyway, I feel like if I didn't have this, I would probably be one of those guys that never leaves a 50-mile radius of this home airport. I can't justify the cost of aviation to that end. It is not worth it.


Take Off Talk with Angel Flight East | Doug Edenburn | Volunteer Pilot


Favorite Destinations

Where is your favorite place to fly? You've mentioned a few different airports now.

I like to fly to Myrtle Beach. Maybe a little soft spot in my heart there. That was the first time I took my family anywhere. We went down for a vacation and I've gone down there for the day when they've been down with some family. That's a fun use of the airplane. I loved Daniel Field. That was where I first took an Angel Flight. That was a good one. they have cheap fuel and they're very nice and friendly folks down there, so that's easy. Cincinnati is nice. I like Lincoln. That was a fun trip. I like them all.

Isn't Cincinnati pretty busy?

When I went in there, it wasn't all that busy. It's a fairly busy reliever airport for the bigger one in town though. I understand that we do a fair number of trips up there and I think East does as well going out to the children's hospital there. It's cool because it's right on the river. It's a neat-looking approach. Anyway, it's a pretty spot.

Closing Words

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

I would say, if you have any interest at all in public benefit flying, I find a way to do it. Whether it's an Angel Flight or one of the other organizations or whoever you come across or whatever is interesting to you. Take an opportunity and go do it. I think it's fantastic.


"Becoming a volunteer pilot is an interesting job. If you have the opportunity to do it, go and take it."


Thanks, Doug. We appreciate it.

Thank you so much. We hope you get on an Angel Flight East Flight soon.

I'm going to work on that. I'll be watching closely.

Yeah. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us.

You're welcome. It's nice talking with you.

You too.



I'm so excited to know that people listen.

I know. Not even people from our organization technically. We're reaching far and wide. I have to look up the analytics of where people are tuning in from again.

It's super exciting. I always get excited because I know there are certain pilots of ours who do tune in, but they're professional pilots. I look at the analytics and it says that somebody's tuning in at Sweden. I look on Facebook and it's our pilots in Sweden tuning in. I'm like, "God darn it."

Come on. We're trying to be worldwide here. Trying to be Taylor Swift and be worldwide billionaires. Maybe not the billionaire part.

I would like to be the billionaire part, but we work for a nonprofit, which means there's no profit for us. What I was going to say is that we've been equated to the Kelsey Brothers twice.

I know Ollie's Orchestra said it, but who said it first?


That's probably the best compliment.

Shout out to you, Glen, because I will never let that go. It's going to go on my tombstone one day. I've already decided in our personalities, I'm Jason.

I don't want to be Travis. I don't like Travis.

Have you seen the way you dress?

If I have to be, I'll take one for the team and be Travis.

Yeah, no, sorry.

He does dress like I've never seen before because Jason showed up to the Vegas Super Bowl dressed like the guy from the Hangover.

Yes. Try and tell me that's not me.

With his little satchel and his little blue shirt. That would be you, and then I saw all these photos afterwards when he went out when they won, and then him hungover holding his kid at the parade in Disney World.

Yeah, I love him so much.

He is great. We're going to have to think of a better name for the duo, and the duo is us.

We've already outlived the film and Louise name.

Yeah, because we've never even watched the movie. We have to do a movie that millennials will know what it is.

I feel like we're the white chicks, the two guys.

People will get that reference.

That's for the millennials tuning in. We are the two white chicks. I don't even know what their names are if I'm being honest, but you know exactly who I'm talking about.

Who's the guy driving the car when Michelle Branch is singing?

I don't know.

We are treading on a thin line here, so we're going to end it now.

On that note, see you guys later.

Thank you for tuning in. Bye.

Try to think of a better duo for us because that one probably isn't socially acceptable to use. Bye.


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