When Doyle Turner retired from the Air Force after 27 years as a fighter pilot, he knew the general aviation world would be a different animal. So he was delighted to find that Angel Flight South Central (AFSC) had the kind of organization and emphasis on safety that he had come to expect from his military career.
"One of the most important things you learn as an Air Force pilot," he says, "is that even in a combat situation you don't put yourself unnecessarily in harm's way. I really appreciate how Angel Flight South Central focuses on that as well."
Doyle was also impressed with how simple it was to register as a pilot with AFSC and get started on his first mission. "It took less than three hours altogether to get all my documents in to Shireen [AFSC's mission coordinator]," he says. "It might take a little longer for someone who's not a professional pilot because I had all the documents readily available, but the process is not difficult."
Doyle says he has known about AFSC for many years. Recently, he became the personal pilot to Tim Koxlien, CEO of TeleQuality Communications in San Antonio. Doyle asked Tim if he would be willing to lend his Cessna T206 for Doyle to volunteer as a pilot with AFSC.
Tim generously agreed, and Doyle flew his first mission on February 13. Rita and her daughter, Antoinette (pictured above) had been in San Antonio so that Rita could receive treatment for lung cancer. Doyle flew them on the first leg of their return trip to El Paso. "We had about two hours together on the flight, so it was great to talk with them about how the treatment had gone."
Once they landed in Midland, Rita and Antoinette went to meet the next AFSC pilot, Brock Benjamin, who would take them the rest of the way to El Paso. Meanwhile, Doyle got to enjoy an added bonus to his trip: his father was celebrating his 73rd birthday that very day in Midland. He is looking forward to more flights in the coming months and years.