Five-hundred volunteer pilots have taken their passion for flying and, through LifeLine Pilots, channeled it into a passion for helping those with medical and humanitarian needs. On September 26th, they are asking those in the community with a similar passion to come to the first annual Hope in a Hangar Banquet.

LifeLine Pilots was created 28 years ago by Wanda Whitsitt of Champaign. The organization began with 40 pilots and has grown to 500 men and women volunteering their time, fuel, planes and services to individuals in need of this form of transportation. Shelly Livengood, mission coordinator for the organization, explained, "A lot of these folks cannot physically handle driving or riding in a car for long periods of time, or their immune systems are so low they cannot use public transportation. The only option left to them is to charter a plane, which is very expensive and unaffordable…Lives are being saved every time one of these generous volunteer pilots offers to fly someone from their home to a medical appointment and back."

Hope in a Hangar will offer a prime rib dinner, live and silent auctions, and raffles out of the Byerly Aviation Terminal at the General Wayne A. Downing Peoria International Airport. Proceeds will go toward LifeLine Pilots’ mission to facilitate free air transportation through volunteer pilots for financially distressed children and adults with medical or humanitarian needs. Tickets are $40, $30 for spouses and $25 for children under 12. For more information, call (309) 369-1559. a&s