Airhawks Flying Club expands offerings

by Bob Waunch

This summer has been busy for the Airhawks Flying Club.

An additional aircraft was added, several student pilots completed their first solo flights, and another (the 24th) Youth Scholarship Student, Nicholas Rivera, was awarded his Private Pilot License.

Nicholas achieved this just in time to leave for Walla Walla University where he will continue his aviation training.

The Club Membership has been expanding steadily and the initial aircraft, a Beechcraft Sundowner, was flying so frequently that some members had difficulty scheduling the aircraft.

Members will now have improved scheduling flexibility with a fleet of two aircraft as well as having the ability to take one of the aircraft on overnight or vacation flights to other destinations.

The new aircraft is a duplicate Beechcraft Sundowner so only minimal training will be required because of slightly different instruments. Both aircraft were manufactured in the same year.

An additional scholarship program sponsored by the Orcas Aviation Association was initiated to train new adult pilots who will be available to support and continue the Mercy Flight program.

Mercy Fights transport individuals with non-life-threatening injuries and their family members to nearby hospitals in addition to providing flights for important appointments with medical specialists. Mercy Flight pilots have been busy with 334 flights flown in 2022. The ferry system has been unreliable as well as time-consuming.

A 30-minute round-trip flight, provided free by Mercy Flight, can make a significant difference in a patient’s quality of life.

The Airhawks Flying Club ( and the Orcas Aviation Association are both fully qualified 501(c)3 non-profit organizations whose programs are generously supported by donations to either the Airhawks Youth Scholarships and/or the OAA’s Mercy Flight program.

Donations can be made directly or through the Orcas Island Community Foundation.