**Written by AFE pilot, Patrick**
I took my first intro flight in an old Piper Cherokee in the fall of 2006. I’ll never forget the view out the front of the cockpit window and the vibration of the Lycoming engine. From the moment the flight instructor said “your airplane” I knew I was hooked. I was 36 years old at the time and my only regret was that I didn’t get started sooner. Aviation has become one of the great joys of my life! The exhilaration and freedom felt every time the wheels leave the ground never gets old.
Since getting my private certificate and instrument rating, we have flown all over the United States, Canada, and the Caribbean. Instead of family road trips we have taken family “plane” trips. The memories created are priceless. This summer on a flight from Sedona, AZ to Monterey, Ca, I marveled at what a beautiful country we live in and how lucky we are to have the freedom to explore it through general aviation. My son and I have been to Oshkosh 5 years in a row and have no plans to miss it any time soon. While we enjoy all the planes and airshows, it is the chance to come together with fellow aviators that we look forward to the most.
I think bringing people together is the true magic of aviation. I joined Angel Flight East two years ago. I’ve met and worked with many extraordinary people during that time. Its truly inspiring to see people working together as a team to make these missions happen. I feel blessed to be able to use my passion for aviation to help others and look forward to flying many more Angel flight missions in the future!