As a child, Sven Freitag loved to sit inside cardboard boxes and pretend they were planes. He’d even draw his own ‘cockpit panels’ on the inside before ‘take-off.’ But today, as a member of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA), Sven can skip the sketching altogether and authentically take to the skies.
“I turned my childhood dream into reality by earning my private certificate,” Sven said. “I’m now a commercial pilot who just [recently] passed 1,000 hours [in the air].”
In search of ways to add meaning to his air miles, Sven discovered volunteer flight opportunities at Angel Flight West, through which he has transported numerous passengers in need to medical treatment they can’t obtain locally.
“Flying solo, cross-country, just to look for several-hundred-dollar burgers didn’t sound too appealing,” Sven said. “[But] helping transport a blind patient, in a small aircraft, has probably been my most memorable moment.”
As an AOPA member, Sven is part of a broad network of support that extends to every public-use airport across the United States. He’s proud to provide pilots with protection and information, and says he’s particularly grateful for that organization’s work to “preserve the privilege of flying, and to keep making it accessible to everyone.”
From his local airport of Boeing Field in Seattle, Washington, the former tech engineer who has worked for Amazon and Microsoft says he now has ambitions to earn a living in the air. In the meantime, Sven notes, he’s still making remarkable relationships nearly three years into volunteering with Angel Flight West.
“I have flown some [Angel Flight West] passengers several times now,” Sven said, “like Ronald from Idaho. I jokingly refer to these flights of mine as the ‘Nampa Express’.”
Whatever the name of Sven’s aircraft, fortunately for Ronald, this talented pilot has come a long way from the cardboard boxes of his childhood.
Article by David Radcliff