Captain Sigmund Sort of Qualicum Beach. (Submitted photo)

PODCAST: A talk with ‘Hope Air’ volunteer pilot Sigmund Sort

PQBEAT: QB man discusses Oshkosh adventure, insights on pilotless air taxis

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Host Peter McCully welcomes Sigmund Sort of Qualicum Beach, a volunteer pilot with Hope Air. Sort is now in his fourth year of volunteering his small plane and piloting skills to individuals in financial need, particularly those seeking medical care away from home.

Sort’s background as a captain in the Royal Canadian Air Force and an airline pilot made him an ideal candidate for this volunteer role.

“There’s just going to be a handful of us on Vancouver Island and I know there are three in Vancouver for sure. I’ve met them, spoken with them, shared our experiences and so forth,” said Sort.

Hope Air aids more than 10,000 people annually, primarily through commercial airliners and small planes during fair-weather conditions.

Sort highlights the need for such services, especially for patients who can’t endure lengthy bus or train journeys.

“Typically, because I’m on Vancouver Island, I’ll handle patients from Vancouver Island or nearby Campbell River, Powell River, Vancouver and Squamish. It depends on the availability of myself and the weather, as well as other pilots in the program,” he said.

The pilot shares his experience attending the Oshkosh Air Show and witnessing advancements in personal small air flight.

“This year I got to sit in and be up close to a pilotless air taxi,” he said. “A six-seater, a big yellow taxi, six engines, vertical takeoff and landing, fully autonomous. It already knows where you’re going and it just takes off and takes you there. No pilot. It’s here. It’s mind-blowing and it’s simply amazing.”

More information can be found on Hope Air here.

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