Aero Club instructor loves flying, helping
Tim Taylor, Edwards Aero Club certificated flight instructor, stands with the Cessna 172 he used to fly and pick up 14-year-old Paul Padilla in Mariposa Country, Calif., Aug. 8. Mr. Taylor is a command pilot for Angel Flight West, a non-profit group through which volunteer pilots provide free flights for people with financial, medical or geographic limitations. (Air Force photo by Kenji Thuloweit)
by Kenji Thuloweit
95th Air Base Wing Public Affairs
8/17/2010 - EDWARDS AIR FORCE BASE, Calif. -- A 14-year-old boy received the ride of a lifetime Aug. 8 thanks to one Edwards Aero Club instructor and a special flying organization.
Tim Taylor, Edwards Aero Club certificated flight instructor, donated his time, skills and money, to pick up Paul Padilla, a deaf teenager, at Mariposa-Yosemite Airport, which is about 270 miles north of Edwards.
Mr. Taylor, who is also a captain in the Air Force Reserve assigned to the 412th Operations Support Squadron, is a member of Angel Flight West, which is a non-profit organization that provides free flights to medically, financially and geographically limited individuals.
Disadvantaged people who need transportation can either contact Angel Flight West or, more commonly, the individual's doctor or nurse contacts the organization requesting transportation.
Mr.Taylor has been a command pilot for Angel Flight West for about six months and this is the first time in recent memory that a member of Edwards Aero Club has supported such a mission.
"I feel pretty lucky to have more than just my basic needs met and I wanted to give something back to the community," Mr. Taylor said. "Angel Flight West allows me to combine my passion for flying and my desire to help meet the needs of others."
Mr. Taylor rented one of the Aero Club's Cessna 172s and flew up to Mariposa County to pick up Paul who was attending a camp for deaf children. Angel Flight West provided almost 30 planes to pick up 24 children during that particular day at the camp located in Yosemite National Park.
During the hour-and-a-half flight, Mr. Taylor communicated with Paul by writing on a notepad. A mission assistant was also on the flight, which just happened to be Mr. Taylor's fiancée, Ruth Houston.
"He conveyed some interesting stories to me during the flight," said Mr. Taylor. "He taught me how to sign 'pilot' and 'airplane'. He actually flew the airplane for about an hour as I instructed him by writing on the notepad and pointing to the various instruments."
Mr. Taylor said Paul did quite well and even asked about flight simulator software after they landed in Paul's hometown of Hesperia, Calif. He also asked what options were available for him to pursue a career in flying.
"He is really an amazing kid and seemed to love the trip," Mr. Taylor said.
After landing in Hesperia, Paul met up with his mother and sister, who got to meet Mr. Taylor and Ms. Houston.
Paul's mother is also hearing impaired but his sister was there to translate the sign language.
"The family was very grateful and it was simply amazing to be able to help others out in such a unique manner," said Mr. Taylor.
Angel Flight West is made up of chapters in 13 western states and is part of the larger national Angel Flight.
Mr. Taylor said Angel Flight West is always looking for volunteers, especially around the Antelope Valley where aviators are in good supply. Licensed pilots who are eligible to join can either use their own planes or rent them from the Aero Club at the normal fees.
Non-pilots are able to join Angel Flight West as well. They may serve in a variety of capacities, from mission assistants to coordination volunteers. Additionally, Mr. Taylor is looking to connect with local-area hospital administrators who may be able to assist with the logistics of providing air transportation for Lancaster, Rosamond, Palmdale and Mojave patients to facilities throughout California.
Volunteers interested in contributing to the mission of Angel Flight West can visit www.angelflightwest.org or can call Mr. Taylor at the Aero Club 661-275-AERO.