By Russell E. Ginn, President & CEO, REG Aero, LLC
I probably followed a different path to get to the Citation Jet Pilots group than most of you. Flying has been a lifelong passion for me; however, building my company took precedence. In fact, I took my first flying lesson when I was 60 years old, nine years ago.
After getting my Private ticket and Instrument in a C182, and Commercial rating in a Beech Bonanza I’d bought for retractable time, I was looking for something with more speed and access to the flight levels. I bought a Cessna 414, and enjoyed it for 2.5 years over a total of 350 hours. The additional speed, utility, and comfort of a jet seemed even more attractive, though, so in 2012 I found a 1995 Citation Jet in pristine condition in Europe. After negotiating the pre-buy and purchase, I traveled (with a type-rated instructor pilot) from Frankfurt, Germany and got to fly it home.
For the last three years, my Citation has given me the freedom and comfort to allow frequent trips all over the country with family, friends, and business associates. While the utility and flexibility of the jet has proven its real value as a means of personal transportation, my greatest enjoyment has come in using it to facilitate the charitable work that I’m involved in. In particular, I’ve enjoyed using it to fly missions for Angel Flight South Central, headquartered in Dallas, TX.
Over the last few years, I’ve been fortunate enough to fly Angel Flight missions 3-4 times per month, providing much needed transportation for people who have medical needs that require treatment in a distant location and for other humanitarian purposes. Angel Flight provides me a list of available missions that either originate or terminate in my local area or that match travel plans I have in the near future. I can tell you honestly that while the tax benefit of contributing my resources to a 501c3 non-profit helps reduce my flight costs, the satisfaction that comes from using my piloting skills and my Citation Jet to help others in need is well worth the price I pay.
Angel Flight South Central (where I serve as Board Chairman) has over 1,000 pilots in Texas and the surrounding four states and cooperates through the Air Charity Network with Angel Flight organizations all over the United States. I know there are other Angel Flight pilots on this forum, and I’d like to say “Thank you” to all of them.
If you’re not using your Citation as a platform for giving back and helping others, I’d encourage you to contact Tim Dammon, CEO of Angel Flight South Central at 972-755-0433 or at email@example.com. If you’re located outside our region, Tim will be glad to connect you with the Angel Flight organization in your local area.
I can promise you that you when you use your aircraft to positively impact others whose very lives may depend on the transportation we take for granted, you’ll be as grateful as I am for the opportunity to serve.