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Raffle for historic plane ride to benefit nonprofit group

Posted on Saturday, June 16, 2018 at 6:00 am

By Rachel Christian
Staff Writer
Two aviation groups are hosting a special raffle this Sunday at Kissimmee Gateway Airport for a round-trip flight in a historic fighter plane.
Raffle ticket proceeds will benefit Angel Flight Southwest, a nonprofit network of pilots who provide free air travel to life-saving medical appointments for patients.
“People can enter to win a really unique experience by flying in this historic aircraft,” said Nanci Schwartz, a representative for Angel Flight Southeast. “Even if they don’t win, they’re still helping support a

Photo/paul bowen
Angel Flight is partnering with a Kissimmee-based group called Stallion 51 to raffle a $500 round-trip flight to Orlando in a P-51 Mustang World War II fighter plane.

good cause.”
Angel Flight is partnering with a Kissimmee-based group called Stallion 51 to raffle a $500 round-trip flight to Orlando in a P-51 Mustang World War II fighter plane. The winner will take off from the Gateway Airport and have a chance to fly the plane alongside a trained pilot.
Raffle tickets are $20 each, and will benefit the nonprofit comprised of more than 7,500 pilots who provide medically-related air travel to individuals who couldn’t afford it otherwise.
Former Osceola County resident and Fun Spot CEO John Aries made his first mission for Angel Flight in April. Aries, 68, first learned how to fly at the Gateway Airport in the 1980s when he resided in Kissimmee.
After handing over the Fun Spot business to his sons in December, Aries decided to pursue his passion for flying while helping others at the same time.
A friend told him about Angel Flight, and after his first trip, Aries said he was hooked.
“It’s a really great coordinated system,” he said. “The organizers send out the route and patient information as it becomes available, and then the pilots just let them know which days and routes they can take.”
Aries helped transport a cancer patient from Marathon in the Florida Keys to MD Anderson Cancer Center in Orlando. His Cessna Turbo 210 is currently in the shop for repairs, but Aries said he is looking forward to devoting more free time to Angel Flight.
“My friend who introduced me to the organization averages at least 20 flights a year,” Aries said. “I want to catch up with him soon.”
Pilots like Aries donate their time, fuel and aircraft to help Angel Flight, but the organization relies on private donations to help coordinate and organize thousands of free flights a year.
Tickets for Sunday’s raffle can be purchased online at www.AngelFlightSe.com/events, or by calling 352-326-0761.
Entrants need not be present at the drawing to win. The winner will be announced Sunday.