Flying to Save Fido
An engine is more than just a piece of machinery. When it’s used to help furry friend those in need, it’s an agent of goodwill. An animal rescue pilot talks about his volunteer work.
PILATUS MAKES THE PERFECT ANIMAL RESCUE PLANE
Ryan DeLuca is the founder of a technology company based in Idaho. He has a passion for aviation and owns a Pilatus PC-12 single-engine turboprop powered by a P&WC PT6A-67P engine. Although Ryan uses his aircraft for business and short trips with friends and family, his most rewarding flights are those that help others, like when he's in the air as an animal rescue pilot.
I've been lucky enough to use my Pilatus for charities and angel flights, helping people with non-emergency medical needs.
The Pilatus can accommodate a generous payload, whether it’s passengers or cargo, and it has excellent range. “Now that I have such a good plane for size, power and distance, taking on charity work is a lot easier.”
ANIMAL RESCUE PILOT WITH PAWS IN THE AIR
Ryan uses his pilot skills and his Pilatus to volunteer with Wings of Rescue. This American charity arranges air transportation to relocate healthy animals from states with high-kill shelters to those with no-kill shelters, giving them a new lease on life and the opportunity to find new homes. In 2016, Wings of Rescue organized 130 flights to relocate 10,000 pets to safe shelters.
Ryan volunteered for his first flight with Wings of Rescue in 2014 when he joined 10 other pilots to help some of the 500 dogs that were scheduled for euthanasia in Los Angeles. With his PC-12, he transported 50 small dogs to safety in Everett, Washington where they were placed in no-kill shelters and adopted by welcoming families.
Since then, Ryan has flown several more missions for Wings of Rescue, as an animal rescue pilot, transporting 30 to 50 excited dogs at a time from Southern California to Idaho, where he’s based.
A RELIABLE ENGINE TO BRING FRIENDS AND FIDO HOME
Ryan took his first flying lesson at the age of 25 and eventually got his pilot’s license and his instrument rating. After five years of renting, he opted to buy an aircraft with a large capacity. “A lot of planes might have four seats or six seats, but if you want to have a full fuel tank you can't bring everybody.”
In 2012, he bought the Pilatus. Having a single, reliable engine has a lower cost of ownership than twin engines and gives him the perfect mix of performance, reliability, safety, and cost. “The reliability of the PT6 is something you just never have to worry about.”
With almost 1,200 hours logged, Ryan loves the freedom and sense of accomplishment he gets from flying. “Being able to bring my friends and family along on trips, go further for business, or rescue as many dogs as I can without having to worry is a huge thing.”
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