Tuesday, Oct. 09 2012 6:17PM
KC Flight’s flyover at Arrowhead caps fundraising efforts for breast cancer
By Toriano Porter
The tally wasn’t official, but members of the KC Flight Formation Team gathered Oct. 6 at its hangar at Lee’s Summit Municipal Airport for an open house and couldn’t believe how their fundraising efforts had taken off.
The squad, a civilian air formation team based out of Lee’s Summit, was a day from a flyover to honor Breast Cancer Awareness Day at Arrowhead Stadium before the Kansas City Chiefs’ game against visiting Baltimore, and the preliminary sum of a check that would be presented on its behalf to help the fight against breast cancer had grown exponentially.
“When the NFL released the fall schedule, which was back in April, the Kansas City Chiefs called us nine minutes after the official release of the schedule,” flight leader Bill Gill said shortly after KC Flight’s practice run at Municipal Airport. The flyover at Arrowhead Stadium included pink exhaust smoke from the 17-member squad in support of breast cancer awareness. “They wanted to know if we would do a formation flight over Arrowhead for breast cancer awareness for the NFL and told us the date was Oct. 7. So, we’ve been planning this ever since April.”
Gill said KC Flight was joined by others from the West Coast Ravens, Falcon Flight, The Hawks, and the Cincy River Rats formation teams in the flyover. He added: “These pilots are from Fresno, Reno, Indianapolis, Poplar Grove, Ill., Milwaukee, Cincinnati and several are from the Dallas area, but we fly with them regularly at formation clinics all over the country and we practice all the time.”
“We ended up getting 19 pilots that ended up agreeing to do this, but we lost two of them (due to scheduling conflicts),” Gill continued. “When we started it was just going to be a formation, and then we had pilots coming from all over the country and someone said, ‘you know, what? We need to raise money to help them out with costs.’ We got people that made donations to help these folks travel, and then we started getting large corporate sponsors, so we said, ‘hey, we might be able to collect some money and donate it to the University of Kansas Hospital.’
“I don’t know where we are at on money but I do know we are somewhere around $10,000 or more.”
Dave Perry of Greenwood was one of the 17 pilots that participated in the flyover. He said without the sponsorship of several Kansas City area businesses the flight might not have been possible. Corporate sponsors numbered in the two dozen range, Perry said, and helped bumped 10-fold KC Flight’s original goal of donating $1,000.
“The money (from corporate sponsors) paid for the brackets that we needed to mount the smoke canisters from the airplane,” Perry said. “Every other dime over and above that we’re donating to the University of Kansas Cancer Center. Several of the guys involved wives are survivors. There’s a woman here from Greenwood City Council that’s a survivor. We couldn’t think of a better cause to get behind and it’s something that we love doing too; flying formation airplanes. Nobody would rather spend their (day) doing anything else. To give about $10,500 to the cancer center in addition to it is a privilege and a pleasure to be involved in it.”