Four years ago, I flew right seat with my friend Leroy Nygaard on an Angel Flight charitable patient transport mission, picking up a cancer patient in Lincoln, Calif. (KLHM) and dropping her off in Santa Monica (KSMO). I enjoyed the experience and have been looking forward ever since to flying such a mission in my own airplane.
A couple of weeks ago, that finally happened—and it turned out to be a bit of a challenge.
Getting checked out as an Angel Flight command pilot took some doing. It required an early BFR, completing an AOPA Air Safety Institute online course and then getting together with an experienced pilot for a couple of hours of orientation. I’d completed those prerequisites a couple of months ago, but for a combination of reasons couldn’t get a mission scheduled until recently.
The mission I selected involved picking up a nine-year-old patient and her mother in Crescent City (KCEC), just south of the Oregon border, and flying them to Sacramento Executive (KSAC). They were met by volunteers who provided ground transportation, and another pilot flew them home the following morning.
The first complication: Crescent City is right on the coast, and at this time of year is consistently socked in with coastal marine layer (fog and/or low stratus) in the mornings.