Volunteer Pilots

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Dick McGlaughlin

Birmingham, Alabama

Dick McGlaughlin is a gastroenterologist in private practice at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Birmingham, Alabama, with one wife and four kids of about high school and college age. He has four partners, whom he says all run the group better than he does, and so he will never talk to another hospital administrator for the rest of his life. This has freed him up from committee work enough to fly a single engine airplane about 1100 hours in the last 3 years. He says, “I never have had this much fun.” He has collected ratings for instrument flight, and seaplanes and tailwheel planes, commercial instrument and single and multiengine ratings. He has flown to Oregon and Colorado and California, and Maine, and the Bahamas, and just about everywhere in the Southeast and North. Dick looks for excuses to fly and he flies a lot of Angel Flights. These are useful fun, and force pilots to fly in challenging weather they might otherwise have skipped. But he says, “the Angel Flights cancel too often, so canceling my office to schedule them has been frustrating.” When he learned about SouthWings flights for passengers political and reportorial to investigate matters conservational and ecological, he “couldn’t wait to get started.” Dick shares, “my limited exposure to SouthWings has been educational. There is a whole new vocabulary of mining terms and construction sites and descriptions of paper mills, and the RiverKeepers and conservators can show a pilot how to SEE (and photograph) what he’s looking at. This is really interesting. I’d recommend it to anyone who, like me, intends to fly til the money’s all gone. In the back of my mind there’s a book about the rivers of our country, with a ton of photos taken by my son Jim from the right seat of a single engine float plane. We’ve flown over many of them already, and I hope SouthWings will help advance the vocabulary and photographic skills to make it a book worth reading.”

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