2018 Volunteer Flight Crew
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Give Hope Wings - Converting a challenge into an opportunity

volunteer flight crew bannerIn early 2018, Dave McElroy’s Give Hope Wings (GHW) passenger, Bob Vance from Victoria BC, stepped aside from participating in the entire South American circumnavigation. Bob was the first to sign on to the adventure In mid 2017, however commitments later precluded him from participating for the entire flight. Bob is still a very active member of GHW fund-raising project and will take part in a portion of the flight, more details on this a little further on.

Dave, Russ and Harold were sad to see Bob stepping aside from the full adventure, however this set-back eventually led to an opportunity for the rest of the crew, the fundraising goal and for some adventurous pilots and non-pilots alike. At first, the crew wrestled with the method on how to replace Bob in the right seat of C-FYQS; wondering where and how we could find someone willing to set aside a good portion of a year to raise funds, prepare and then eventually for the flight itself.

Dave thought back to his around the world flight in 2014 (www.flyRTW80.com) and how he overcame a similar challenge; How to fill a passenger seat so as to enjoy some company, share the adventure, but to assist in fundraising as well? So the crew decided to divide the entire GHW flight into eight segments of between 7 and 14 days each. The premise was to advertise for volunteers who were looking for an adventure of a lifetime and also had the ability and thoughtfulness to give back to others less fortunate. The Volunteer Flight Crew (VFC) program was born. For a suggested donation to Hope Air, the VFC would have the opportunity to participate in a GHW flight segment of their liking.

Through personal contacts, presentations and trade shows, the crew has had the great fortune to attract seven VFC members who will accompany us through portions of the entire voyage. Bob, again, was the first to sign up and will fly with Dave from San Diego to Panama City. Others quickly followed and were able to choose a flight and adventure of their liking. Below you will find out a little bit more about these altruistic individuals and the adventures that they will encounter.

A large portion of the success of the Give Hope Wings fund raising is attributed to the Volunteer Flight Crew; Give Hope Wings and Hope Air thanks them all for their generosity and is grateful for their donations.


Meet Our Flight Crew Volunteers

Flight Crew Volunteer Flight Leg From To Depart Days
Peter Smith Pacific Northwest & California Kelowna San Diego  Jan 2, 2018  5
Bob Vance Baja California & Central America  San Diego Panama   Jan 8, 2018   7
Woody Stewart The Andes Panama Santiago   Jan 15, 2018  12
O'Brian Blackall & Ian Porter Patagonia & Cape Horn  Santiago Buenos Aires   Jan 25, 2018  12
Colin Rosengren Iguazu Falls  Buenos Aires  Rio de Janiero  Feb 5, 2018 8
Craig Smith Rio & The Amazon  Rio de Janiero St. Lucia  Feb 12 2018 8
 Still Available The Caribbean  St. Lucia  Florida  Feb 20, 2018 10
Terry Grover Across America    Florida  Kelowna  Feb 28, 2018  5


Peter Smith: Pacific Northwest & California

Volunteer Crew Member: Peter Smith

Peter SmithFull support from loving wife of 45 years. Retired from Royal Bank. Ten years volunteer with Canadian Warplane Museum. Twenty years Pilot and COPA member with cross country flights only around Ontario. Just read about Give Hope Wings in December COPA magazine and quickly realized a once in a lifetime opportunity was possible and signed on Dec 13 for first leg. I wish Hope air had been around when I was kid living in North Ontario as I had to make a few medical trips to Toronto in the family station wagon. Happy to help others receive a journey to better health.

About this Flight Leg: 5 Days From January 2nd to 6th, 2018

pacific coast new mapcalifornia


  • Departing from Kelowna, BC on January 2, 2018
  • Arriving in San Diego, California on January 6, 2018
  • Flight Legs: 5 – aproximately 8 hours.

Overnight Stays in Portland, Oregon, San Francisco & San Diego, California.

Note: This itinerary is very flexible and can be adjusted to suit our Flying Sponsor. For example, a Coastal route including San Francisco - or an inland route including Las Vegas and/or numerous other stopover opportunities.

Points of Interest:

  • Portland - City of Roses
  • Pacific Coast - Big Sur
  • Or - a Desert Route

Dates and locations subject to change. Donation does not include living and sightseeing expenses.


Bob Vance: Baja California & Central America

Volunteer Crew Member: Bob Vance

bob vanceHi, my name is Bob Vance. I’m pleased to say I was the first to sign up for the Volunteer Flight Crew Program. I live in Victoria with my lovely wife Sharon, and I’m fortunate to have travelled much of the world, including the Arctic and Antarctica. At 81 years of age, this trip will be the highlight of my life: A chance to “give back” by providing a meaningful donation to Hope Air to help fellow Canadians, less fortunate than myself, travel to healthcare.

I am also assisting with the Give Hope Wings fundraising efforts and hope to raise tens of thousands of additional monies for Hope Air by encouraging friends and family to donate to this worthy cause.

In addition to me, six other generous men have now joined as Volunteer Flight Crew members. A couple more slots remain. I encourage anyone who wants to: have the adventure of a lifetime, has a valid passport, a charitable heart, is in good health and enjoys great comradery to join the Give Hope Wings Crew for a segment of this amazing adventure.

7 Days: From January 8th to 14th, 2018

baja mapbaja

Countries: USA, Mexico, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama


  • Departing from San Diego, CA on January 8, 2018
  • Arriving in Panama on January 13, 2018
  • Flight Legs: 8 – 18.6 hours.

Overnight Stays in Loreto & Aculpulco MX, San Salvador SV, Liberia CR, Panama PA

Points of Interest: 

  • San Diego Naval Port
  • Baja Peninsula
  • Picturesque Loreto fishing port
  • Costa Rican rain forest
  • Historic Panama Canal

Dates and locations subject to change. Donation does not include living and sightseeing expenses.


Woody Stewart: The Andes

Volunteer Crew Member: Woody Stewart

woody stewartMany of us can access good health care whenever, wherever we require it or can be convinced we require it; so it isn't easy for us to realize how helpful the hope air flights can be for those who need it. These flights can be a great relief for those who are already under stress. I'm happy to try to help achieve the $500,000 fundraising goal, this can benefit so many people. But it's certainly not all sacrifice for me. I like to fly above the clouds, but flying under them and seeing South America is only a dream for most of us, and I had expected that's all it would be for me. I've had many excellent travelling experiences, but I believe this will be the pinnacle.

But enough not about me; I was born in my local town of Rockglen, during a blizzard in 1946,I still love blizzards, perhaps living alone on my farm has driven me crazy. I didn't always live alone, I was happily married for 25 years and have 2 wonderful children. Prior to that, I attended high school in Rockglen, and, then was a college classmate with Harold who introduced me to the excellent flying adventure which I'm very grateful for. I farmed with my father and brothers for a few years after college, then worked for 27 years at a local coal mine to support my farming habit. I retired 5 years ago but haven't kicked the farming habit.

Andes map12 Days: From January 13th to 24th, 2018


Countries: Panama, Columbia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile


  • Departing from Panama, PA on January 15, 2018
  • Arriving in Santiago, CH on January 23, 2018
  • Flight Legs: 8 –19 hours.

Overnight Stays in Panama PA, Cali CO, Guayaquil EC, Trujillo & Pisco PE, Arica & Santiago CH

Points of Interest:

  • Panama Canal
  • Historic cities of Cali CO & Santiago CH
  • Nazca Lines
  • Atacama Desert

Dates and locations subject to change. Donation does not include living and sightseeing expenses.


O'Brian Blackall & Ian Porter: Patagonia & Cape Horn

Volunteer Crew Member: O'Brian Blackall

obrian blackallI have had a passion for flying for over 50 years! I was fortunate to join the Air Force Cadets in Williams Lake and took my first flight in a RCAF DC-3. My thoughts of a career as a Canadian Air Force fighter pilot did not work out as planned (glasses). I was fortunate to develop a career as a British Columbia Land Surveyor and enjoyed becoming a private pilot. I have seen many great areas of Canada and the world as either a land surveyor or as a pilot.

Shelley and I have been blessed with four daughters and now have been doubly blessed with seven amazing grandkids which has caused our life to be especially busy…wouldn’t want it any other way! Shelley and I visited South America five years ago when our daughter was going to University in Argentina. We visited quite a large area of Argentina, Chile and Cape Horn by air, ground and boat. To be able to see it again by private aircraft will be a dream come true.

I met Dave McElroy at the 2017 COPA convention in Kelowna and enjoyed his presentation, which covered his trip around the world in 80 days to raise funds for Hope Air and his planned trip around South America to raise another $500,000. I told Dave that it sounded like a great adventure for a charity that I had heard was doing great works for many families in Canada. I signed up for the Patagonia & Cape Horn portion of the trip. For 40 years, I have lived in Fort St. John, BC, so I understand the importance of being able to travel to medical appointments in bigger cities. Trying to get to medical centers during emergency or critical situations can be stressful, so to be able to help “give back” to help individuals and families in these communities, such as my own, is very fulfilling.

Volunteer Crew Member: Ian Porter

12 Days: From January 23rd to February 6th, 2018

patagonia mappatagonia

Countries: Chile, Argentina


  • Departing from Santiago on January 25, 2018
  • Arriving in Buenos Aries on February 6, 2018
  • Flight Legs: 14 – 22 hours.

Overnight Stays in Santiago, Puerto Monte, Punta Arenas CH, Ushuaia, Buenos Aires AR

Points of Interest:

  • Historic Santiago, Port city of Puerto Montt
  • Cape Horn
  • Beautiful Buenos Aires

Dates and locations subject to change. Donation does not include living and sightseeing expenses.


Colin Rosengren: Iguazu Falls

Volunteer Crew Member: Colin Rosengren

colin webOn February 4, 2018 Colin Rosengren will begin the journey of his lifetime. While the core flight crew will depart from Kelowna BC in early January, Rosengren will be join them for his 2-week leg, Buenos Aires to Rio de Janeiro.
Colin is relatively new to flying and will quickly gain more cross-country experience than his PPL colleagues. Coupled with flying over South America for a Canadian Charity, is bigger than he had ever dreamed of.

Colin and his wife Leigh farm near Midale Saskatchewan. They have farmed since Colin graduated from the University of Saskatchewan in 1997. He is also the VP of Product Development with Clean Seed Capital where he consults on innovative developments for agricultural equipment. While Leigh owns her Veterinary Epidemiology consulting business. The farm has always been a mixed operation with beef cows and grain. Colin and Leigh are raising three kids in their “spare time” and are very grateful to be able to work, live and raise a family on the home operation.

Initially Colin & Leigh felt a new pilot might not “fit with this project”, but when they learnt some of the other VFC were non-pilots and the GHW crew were experienced international fliers, they bought into the idea of using this trip to solidify Colin’s training through full-on flying immersion. Leigh, eagerly signed him up in hopes that he would catch the adventure bug (and that it would be the only contagious disease he comes home with.)

The mission of Hope Air resonates with the Rosengrens. Leigh has sat on the regional health board and is well aware of the limited resources in our public health care systems. And of course, farming means living in a rural area far away from specialists. While they’ve been fortunate to not require specialized medical care, they know people who have had to travel extensively for care.
Charitable trips offer wins on so many levels. Colin and Leigh are grateful to be able to contribute to this worthwhile cause. But just as importantly, they recognize the opportunity for personal inspiration and mentorship that will come from being in close confines with a crew who successfully raised $500,000 for charity. Colin knows he will be inspired by their enthusiasm, confidence and their experience.

8 Days: From February 5th to February 12th, 2018

iguaza falls mapiguaza falls

Countries: Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil


  • Departing from Buenos Aries on February 2, 2018
  • Arriving in Rio de Janeiro on February 6, 2018
  • Flight Legs: 5 – 10.7 hours.

Overnight Stays in Buenos Aires AR, Punta del Estes UR,  Cataratas & Rio de Janeiro BR

Points of Interest:

  • Modern Buenos Aires
  • Resort city of Punta del Estes
  • Unbelievable Iguazu Falls
  • Rio de Janeiro (Carnival)

Dates and locations subject to change. Donation does not include living and sightseeing expenses.


Craig Smith: Rio & The Amazon

Volunteer Crew Member: Craig Smith

craig smith webHello from Indiana USA

Susan and I have been fortunate and have always believed that we should share that gift with a gift to others who have not been as lucky. Several years ago we founded the Smith Fuqua Foundation to use as a family gifting platform. This has been very satisfying and rewarding. Our favorite recreational activities are Flying our Mooney and traveling. What could be better than making a charitable gift to Give Hope Wings and have the opportunity to travel by small airplane? I’d call this a trifecta!

Traveling through the Amazon and Brazil has always seemed like fun and adventure tied together. This flight will give me the opportunity to see it up close and personal. Perfect! Everyone has their own way to enjoy traveling but for Susan and me it’s always been the opportunity to meet people who actually live and work in the different cultures. Traveling to small airports in a private airplane will allow this in spades. Of course viewing the landscape from a low altitude will be a pleasure as well. All of this while helping others. Search as I may, I find nothing but good in this fund raising project and the work being done by Give Hope Wings.

8 Days: From February 12th to 22nd, 2018

amazon mapamazon

Countries: Brazil, Guyana


  • Departing from Rio de Janeiro on February 6, 2018
  • Arriving in St. Lucia on February 22, 2018
  • Flight Legs: 11 – 24 hours

Overnight Stays in Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Fortaleza, Macapa BR, Georgetown GY

Points of Interest:

  • Rio de Janeiro (Carnival)
  • Amazon delta and rain forest

Dates and locations subject to change. Donation does not include living and sightseeing expenses.


The Caribbean

10 Days: From February 20th to 27th, 2018
Suggested Donation: $30,000

caribbean mapcaribbean

Countries: St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Puerto Rico, Turks & Caicos, Bahamas, US


  • Departing from St. Lucia on February 20 , 2018
  • Arriving in Fort Pierce, Florida on February 27, 2018
  • Flight Legs: 9 – 20 hours.

Overnight Stays in St. Lucia, St. Kitts, Turks & Caicos, Exuma, US

Points of Interest:

  • Islands, water and beaches…
  • then more islands, water and beaches

Dates and locations subject to change. Donation does not include living and sightseeing expenses.


Terry Grover: Across America

Volunteer Crew Member: Terry Grover

terry groverOriginally from Hanna, Alberta my passion for flying began in 1991.  I earned my pilots license in 1994 and promptly secured a 1974 Cessna 172. We’ve been together since. (Pictured here that day in 1994 with my daughter.)

In 1995 I relocated to Kelowna, BC with my wife and daughter where I continue to work as a Dentist during the week and fly on (some) weekends.  I’m a member of  EAA and  the Kelowna flying club, a volunteer firefighter with station 42 and a paraglider pilot since 2005.

Clearly it is important for all us to give back one’s community but it really doesn’t get any better than when you can combine your passion with a most worthy cause.  I am grateful to be given the opportunity to be a volunteer flight crew with Dave McElroy on the final leg of this Give Hope Wings epic journey.

5 Days: From February 28th to March 5th, 2018

americas mapamericas


  • Departing from Florida on February 28, 2018
  • Arriving in Kelowna, BC on March 5, 2018
  • Flight Legs: 7 or 8 – approximately 17 hours

Overnight Stays in New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Denver - or other points.

Note: As we are crossing America our route can be substantially adjusted to suit our Flying Sponsor. Stops could include New Orleans and the Mississippi - many other parts of the Southern USA - the Rocky Mountains - Mt Rushmore in South Dakota, etc. Literally - the sky is the limit.

Dates and locations subject to change. Donation does not include living and sightseeing expenses.