Angel Flight West has announced the inauguration of the first annual Endeavor Awards, celebrating Public Benefit Aviation.

Santa Monica, July 26, 2013

The Endeavor Awards will be a red carpet celebrity black-tie event that will honor, recognize and celebrate public benefit aviation and the good flying does.  Major entertainment and dinner will fill out an evening highlighted by awards given in three categories, all supporting people and organizations that have committed resources and assistance to public benefit aviation – free flights flown for humanitarian reasons.  There will also be two special awards.  Nominations for the Endeavor Awards will be officially announced in early 2014.

The event will be held at the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Pavilion in the California Science Center, Los Angeles, California.  Dinner and the event will happen right under the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

“I am tired of the bad name aviation often gets! It is high time we let the world know the GREAT things that aviation gives back,” said Endeavor Awards Gala Host Committee Chair, Mark Wolper. “We are establishing an annual award that will set the standard of recognition for the extraordinary contribution by volunteer pilots to the public good.”

Wolper is an Executive Producer at Warner Bros. and President of The Wolper Organization, responsible for over 500 films that have won more than 150 awards, including Oscars, 50 Emmys, and seven Golden Globes.

Angel Flight West has initiated this event and is funding the development and implementation of it.  AFW has gathered a prominent “Host Committee” to consult and supervise the Premier Event.

Prominent members of the gala committee include:

  • William S. Ayer, Chairman, Alaska Air Group
  • Dr. Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of XPRIZE
  • Alan Dias, AFW Executive Director & AFW Command Pilot since 1995
  • Tom Gallagher, Former President & CEO of Caesars Entertainment and the Merv Griffin Group and Executive VP of Hilton Hotels Corp.
  • Clay Lacy, Aviation pioneer and Founder/CEO of Clay Lacy Aviation
  • Benjamin Marcus, Co-Founder & Partner of jetAVIVA & Aerospace Capital
  • Scott Parazynski, 5-time Shuttle Astronaut and Spacewalker; Chairman, Challenger Center for Space Science Education
  • John L. Plueger, President and Chief Operating Officer of Air Lease Corporation

Angel Flight West is the second largest volunteer flying organization in America, after the Civil Air Patrol.  The Organization plays a significant role in general aviation as well as Public Benefit Flying.

Gala sponsorship benefits include a private reception with celebrities and astronauts, and a special tour of the Endeavour Space Shuttle exhibit with an Endeavour astronaut.  The actual Endeavour Space Shuttle is on permanent display to the general public at the Samuel Oschin Space Shuttle Endeavour Pavilion in the California Science Center in downtown Los Angeles.

Mr. Wolper’s organization is planning an audio-visual production for the event, showcasing aviation throughout the history of film, and spotlighting the extraordinary heroes of public benefit aviation.

In their own words:  Stories of Angel Flight West

These illustrative stories were gathered by AFW and may be used by members of the press in crafting stories and statements about AFW and/or the Endeavor Awards.  More information is available through our Press Contacts.

On a beautiful late spring day in May 2010, Jim, a volunteer Angel Flight West (AFW) Command Pilot takes off over the Pacific Ocean in his private plane, heading from Santa Monica to Blythe, California.  He looks over at his passenger, who continues to smile through her tears, which began when she got in the car of her AFW Earth Angel.    Jim’s passenger, KT shares what had just happened to her at the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center.

The Physician-Scientists told KT that all 35 of her melanoma tumors were gone.  Once given six months to live, she had been able to qualify for a clinical trial at UCLA.  And it had worked – hers was the first case of melanoma cured by a new drug.  Her cancer was gone. 

Throughout the flight, KT keeps saying to Jim how Angel Flight West helped save her life by flying her free to weekly treatments.  Jim cruises on, knowing his own life will never be the same again.  As Cheryl, Oncology Social Worker at UCLA writes,  “Angel Flight West remains the most charitable organization I’ve every worked with.  They are in it for the combination of their love of flying and helping others.”

Medical Social Worker Cathryn writes,

“… this letter of support to acknowledge Angel Flight West’s strong commitment to the community to help support patients and family members in need of urgent transportation to/from cancer centers.  The knowledge and compassionate care that the staff members provide is impeccable.  I referred a young testicular cancer patient last year to Angel Flight West and had a wonderful experience.  This young male patient was referred to the University of Colorado Hospital for a clinic trial that was much needed to save his life.  He did not have funding to afford the frequent trips for aggressive cancer treatment.  Angel Flight West stepped up and met this patient’s needs quickly.   From the time of the referral to the actual arrangement of the flights, the process went smoothly, quickly, and with very compassionate staff helping this family during an incredibly difficult and challenging time.  I personally want to thank all of your staff members and mission coordinators for your time and expertise in coordinating such a time-consuming mission.  Thank you for your program and I will definitely continue to refer indigent patients and their family members to your program.”

From Cheryl, an Oncology Social Worker at the University of Colorado Cancer Center,

“ . . .Conrad and his wife Jamie recently stopped by my office to thank me for referring them to Angel Flight West. Prior to the referral, they had been driving for eight hours each way between their home in rural Colorado and our Cancer Center.  Typically they needed to spend the night in the Denver area following Conrad’s medical appointments.  Now that they are traveling with Angel Flight West pilots, they travel roundtrip on the same day, usually returning home in time to eat dinner with their three young children.  They report that they have really benefited from more time together, and the children are less stressed and anxious.  The couple is also spared the cost of gas and lodging, which they could not really afford.  Conrad and Jamie have high praise for your volunteer pilots who have never failed to transport them on time.  They report that during the course of Conrad’s treatment, many of the pilots have become supportive friends.  I hope you will convey my appreciation to these selfless volunteers.  The service they provide to Conrad and Jamie, and other patients and their families at University of Colorado Cancer Center is absolutely invaluable.  Thanks, too, to you and your staff who coordinate all of the travel arrangements.  You are unfailingly pleasant and responsive whenever I call the agency to make a referral.”

From Timothy, a Marine who suffered gunshot wounds to his left leg and right arm while serving in Iraq.  When the town of Pagosa Springs, CO, partnered with the Wounded Warrior project to host a weekend of fun and therapy, Angel Flight West’s volunteer pilots provided the transportation for Tim and 13 other recovering veterans so they could take part.

“ . . .Words cannot describe the feelings that I am left with after an extraordinary week in Pagosa Springs, but I will try to summarize the best I can.  I want to thank the Pagosa Chamber of Commerce from the bottom of my heart for bringing me to your town and showering me with all you did.  I have been disabled for 4 years now and I have attended many events.  I have to say that the people of Pagosa Springs have really stuck in my heart.  [The experience] allowed me to step away from my thoughts of pain and discomfort, into a place of support and love.  I would like to thank the pilots from Angel Flight West and Angel Flight West themselves for providing me with transportation.  You all have touched my life so much.”

About Angel Flight West

Angel Flight West (AFW) is a 30-year-old organization of volunteer private pilots offering the gift of flight to thousands of stricken children and adults.

Along with its commercial airline partners, AFW provides non-emergency air transportation without cost to qualified passengers.  Missions flown by AFW include private pilots volunteering their time and donating all expenses to provide access to treatment at faraway medical centers; transporting blood to critically ill patients; flying special needs kids to summer camps; and many more humanitarian missions.

Deploying its proprietary scheduling tool, the Angel Flight Information Database System, AFW coordinates a 13-state (including Alaska and Hawaii) flying corps of volunteer pilots.

“Our missions enable people to receive vital treatment that might otherwise be inaccessible because of financial, medical, or geographic limitation,” said AFW Executive Director Alan Dias.

About Public Benefit Flying

Using their own time and general aviation aircraft, pilot volunteers from the many public benefit flying organizations help hundreds of people each month, providing health, compassion, and community service.

Pilots and many other non-flying volunteers work to transport needy patients to facilities where they are able to receive medical attention they might otherwise have to do without.  Many groups also play a significant role providing disaster and emergency relief, flying for environmental support, or performing other community service missions.  However, do note that these groups do NOT fly patients or supplies when insurance or other funds can provide commercial transport via air ambulance, charter, or airline.  The public benefit flying volunteers fly only when financial need or other special circumstances mean a compelling human need would go unfulfilled.

Public benefit flying organizations utilize the unique capabilities of General Aviation aircraft to lend a hand whenever rapid and safe air transportation is needed to make health care accessible, save lives, or otherwise serve the public.

About General Aviation

General aviation (GA) is all civil aviation operations other than scheduled air services and non-scheduled air transport operations for remuneration or hire.  General aviation flights range from gliders and powered parachutes to corporate jet flights.  The majority of the world’s air traffic falls into this category, and most of the world’s airports serve general aviation exclusively.

General aviation covers a large range of activities, both commercial and non-commercial, including flying clubs, flight training, agricultural aviation, light aircraft manufacturing and maintenance.

General aviation is particularly popular in North America, with over 6,300 airports available for public use by pilots of general aviation aircraft (around 5,200 airports in the U.S., and over 1,000 in Canada).  In comparison, scheduled flights operate from around 560 airports in the U.S. According to the U.S. Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, general aviation provides more than one percent of the United States’ GDP, accounting for 1.3 million jobs in professional services and manufacturing.*

*Information from Wikipedia,

Scroll to Top