Angel Flight West wings medical patients to needed treatments
November 11, 2012
Tom Young is a private pilot, a civil engineer and a civil man who flies folks to and from medical treatments that are a great distance from their homes.The Carson City resident, a volunteer pilot for Angel Flight West, has one such flight to his credit and looks forward to more. He flew a man with melanoma, a skin cancer, from Sacramento, Calif., back home to Yerington after treatment in California’s capital city.“The best thing about Angel Flight is just helping others,” said Young, a pilot of a dozen years who comes from a family of fliers.He said the flight returning the patient to Yerington “was a great flight” that took about an hour rather than the five or six hours ground transport would have required.On Young’s first Angel Flight to help transport the Yerington man was Young’s father, John Young, also a licensed pilot but no longer a regular flier. Young said his dad enjoys going up for such a mission or just for the joy of it. Young’s younger brother also flies. And his wife, Laura, is a nurse, so the family understands the joy of flying and the need for medically-related aerial transport. The 41-year-old pilot is an engineer with Northern Nevada’s Lumos & Associates, also known as Lumos Engineering, and uses the company plane for his Angel Flight mission work. It is a Cessna 210 Centurion.“We’ve owned the plane since 1990 or ‘91,” Young said of his company, which has a Carson City office where Young was stationed until he took over the Reno office last January.He now commutes by car to Reno, but the plane comes in handy for longer trips.“We use it to do work in rural Nevada,” said the 18-year Lumos veteran, an engineering graduate of the University of Nevada, Reno and originally from Sparks. The single-engine plane, which saves time and effort for patients chosen for an Angel Flight, has a 20-plus years track record of saving the company considerable time in Northern Nevada.“I’m the county engineer, by contract, for Eureka County,” Young said, citing just one example. Angel Flight West, based in Santa Monica, Calif., is part of a national network of volunteer pilots who transport people in need to and from medical treatments.Angel Flight West covers 13 western states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and Young is part of the Northern Nevada contingent. The pilots donate use of the planes, plus their own time and talent.“We’re always looking for pilots, patients and donations,” said Young. He said that despite the pilots providing planes and talents for free, there still is a small staff in California that has expenses.The other Angel Flight sectors include Oklahoma, Central, Southeast, Mid-Atlantic, Northeast, one between Mid-Atlantic and Southeast called Airlift Hope, and a Florida version called Mercy Flight Southeast.Angel Flight West, which began in 1983, requires that patients meet financial need criteria, are medically stable and are still ambulatory.Angel Flight West takes in all new requests for flights through a physician’s office, a nurse, a social worker or a case manager.