By Mary Grady, Contributing editor
Every year around this time, people feel compelled to give, and that's also true in the aviation world. Over the weekend, 30 pilots volunteered to help deliver holiday gifts to foster children across the state of Michigan. Bob Rivard flew about 350 miles in his Piper Saratoga to support the cause. "It's just a way for my hobby to give back, and it's an excuse to fly," he told the Detroit Free Press. All together, Operation Good Cheer delivered 13,521 gifts to 4,507 kids. About 100 pilots had offered to participate, but many flights were grounded by thick morning fog. In Massachusetts, pilots also pitched in recently to help out some stranded sea turtles.
Lighthawk volunteers Tom Haas and Janice Newman flew their Pilatus PC-12 from Portsmouth, N.H., to Cape Cod to pick up four endangered Kemps-Ridley turtles, and gave them a ride to an aquarium in Virginia, where they can rest up and then return to the wild. "Every year, these turtles migrate from the North Atlantic to their breeding grounds in Mexico, and some of them run into currents that strand them on the Cape," Lighthawk spokesperson Bev Gabe told AVweb on Tuesday. The nearby New England Aquarium ran out of room for them this year. "We're standing by, ready to help out if they need us again," Gabe said. Any pilots interested in volunteering can contact Lighthawk or the Air Care Alliance.