Monday, June 18, 2018

Give Props

The following is the story of a, perhaps, prophetic t-shirt given to Steve by our daughter Megan several years ago.

One Christmas our daughter Megan ordered a t-shirt online for her dad. The shirt had an outline of a little airplane with the words "Give Props" above the said image. It was cute since Steve is a pilot of  small airplanes and around that time we were raising money for a new propeller for our Gabon program's Cessna 207.

Fast forward to last Fall 2017 when Steve was contacted by Ron- a pilot who was considering donating his airplane, a Diamond DA20, to MAG.  Ron had been renting a few planes he owned to local flight instructors and was ready to move away from that rental business.

Ron had heard of MAG through Damon Whitlow, one of the flight instructors who had rented the Diamond aircraft from Ron. Whitlow was a volunteer for MAG at the time.

Steve initially asked Ron to consider another organization to donate the Diamond aircraft as MAG has a small fleet of Cessnas and MAG staff does not have any experience with Diamond aircraft.

The conversation continued between Steve and Ron into January of this year. Meanwhile the chairman of the MAG board, Dr. Mark Crissman, who is an AME (Aviation Medical Examiner), gave an annual flight medical to Dick Filbey. As they began to talk Dr. Crissman learned that Filbey has extensive experience with Diamond aircrafts. Filbey has full-time experience with Diamonds both nationally and internationally for the past 5 years.

Filbey generously offered his Diamond expertise to MAG if they were to go through with the donation of the Diamond aircraft. Around this time Whitlow officially became associate MAG staff as a CFI, (Certified Flight Instructor) and happens to have over 280 hours of experience with the Diamond aircraft. He was the initial contact with the Diamond DA20 owner, Ron. Another newly appointed associate MAG CFI staff, Zach Azzarito, has over 400 hours of instruction experience in the Diamond aircrafts.

All these people came together, during the same period of time, to allow MAG to accept the donated Diamond DA20 which is currently worth around $90,000 and incorporate it into their training program. When it was donated months ago, some maintenance work was required which Ron also agreed to cover. None of the above people knew each other previously and they all came together in the last months to provide the airplane and expertise to allow MAG to accept this amazingly generous gift of a much needed addition to our small training fleet.

The Diamond DA20 is a two-seater training plane that is gaining in popularity though currently not nearly as popular as Cessna aircrafts.

So what does this have to do with Steve's t-shirt of a little airplane with the words, "Give Props" have to do with this story of MAG's new Diamond donation? Well that t-shirt that Steve has been wearing for years is, in fact, the exact make and model of the donated Diamond DA20. So it's not too big of a stretch to think that it is perhaps a prophetic t-shirt- not only were props given but the attached aircraft as well.


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