Farmer’s final flight plants lasting memory

Farmer’s final flight plants lasting memory

Florida WeeklyDownload Farmer’s Final Flight Article

One beautiful spring Saturday, a social worker called requesting a STAT patient transport to Iowa. The patient was an elderly farmer suffering from end-stage cancer who wanted to go home to be with family and friends during his final days. Within two hours, we were boarding the patient, his wife and son into our Cessna Citation Jet. The patient was alert, oriented and very talkative.

After the patient asked many questions about the Citation Jet, we soon learned he was a pilot and enthusiastic member of the Flying Farmers Association. He told us of his many years flying his single-engine Beechcraft and how he often enjoyed flying over his Iowa farm to survey the progress of his corn from planting to harvest.

We were able to sit up the patient so he could look out the window and watch the clouds go by. The patient’s son requested to fly over the family farm, and we made a few circles for one last survey prior to landing at the local community airport.

Upon landing, we were greeted by no less than 50 people (I think it was the whole town) all wanting to see their neighbor. As it was a nice, sunny day, we allowed all to briefly say hello while moving the patient to the local ambulance for the drive to his home under hospice care. The patient’s friend insisted on taking the flight team to his café for lunch, not letting us pay and returning us to the airport with apple cobbler for the flight home. We really got the sincere appreciation of a small Midwest town for flying their neighbor home.

The following Monday, I phoned the farmer’s son to follow up and thank him. He said his dad had passed away early that morning. He gave great appreciation for us flying his dad home. He said they had placed the farmer in his easy chair facing the window, overlooking the family farm.

During the Sunday service, the pastor announced the farmer was home and welcoming visitors, so throughout the day, family, friends and neighbors stopped in to visit. With the farmer’s passing the next morning in his sleep, contented at the family farm, there is no doubt he was filled with fond memories of many years of flying over the farm, and his last aerial survey in our Citation Jet.

Behind every memorable moment such as this is a company and system set in place to make sure that patient transports worldwide are carried out as planned. Air Trek’s foundation consists of a 36-year-old family business whose formula for success has remained the same for years: focus on being safetycentered while providing the ultimate in patient care.

Air Trek owns and operates seven aircraft, including pressurized, twinengine aircraft, Citation jets and a Westwind II jet. Each aircraft is fully equipped and staffed to function as a flying critical-care unit, allowing us to provide the best care for our patients. Air Trek differs from other air-ambulance services in that we own the aircraft, which enables us to have direct operational control of all aspects of the patient’s transport. The patient’s family, friends and pets also can travel aboard the aircraft at no additional charge, pending availability of seats. Air Trek’s flight coordinators can explain the different seating capabilities for each individual aircraft, then design a personalized and specific plan to meet the transport needs for the patient and their family members.

Knowing we helped to save life at the speed of flight is often the most rewarding part of our business. ¦ — Dana Carr is an airline transport pilot and serves as director of operations for Air Trek Inc., which has been family owned and operated since 1978 and specializes in helping people travel throughout the world. Air ambulance information is available at Aircraft Charter and Luxury Travel info is available at

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