Angel Flight, Inc. (www.angelflight.com) is a charitable organization
founded by pilots, who donate their time, planes, and all necessary
operating expenses to fly those in need who require medical help. I had
lunch with one of these angel pilots yesterday. His name is Ilan Reich.
first met Ilan about 15 years ago, when he was working at Western
Publishing. He benefited from several successful investments, and has
since left the business world. Ilan is a very thoughtful, very focused
individual who has given back to those in need, flying many "angel
flights" over the past several years.
Yesterday, he shared with me a story that appears in the most recent (October 2005) issue of Plane and Pilot
magazine. This past June, he was flying back to Westchester Airport by
himself after having his airplane serviced. He blacked out for about 10
seconds, and woke to find his plane descending, having fallen from
3,000 feet to 1,700 feet in that short time. He had enough presence of
mind, after stabilizing the plane, to activate the airframe parachute
that his Cirrus SR22 had as equipment. He landed the plane safely in
water. The story details how he freed himself just before his craft
sank in 30 feet of water, only four minutes after impact. With a broken
back, he swam away from the plane towards an arriving rescue boat.
in his hospital bed, his doctor confirmed that his back had broken and
asked him a few minutes later "Did you know you also have a brain
Fortunately, it is benign. Ilan is now recovering, his
mind helping him overcome his ailments. After all his angel flights, he
himself has a miraculous tale of survival. God works in strange ways.