Flight Log

Resources and Stories from Angel Flight West.

Meet Ace: AFW’s 2023 Top Flyer

A retired Air Force pilot, member of the Hawaii Air National Guard, and pilot with Aloha Airlines, Hawaii Wing Leader Ace Ellinwood seems to have spent more time soaring through the skies than on the ground. After all, as Angel Flight West’s (AFW) 2023 top flyer, Ace flew an incredible 92 missions to help passengers travel between islands to access life-saving treatments. Ace first heard about AFW years ago at a local fly-in event when he saw a sign in front of another attendee’s plane. “I kept that in my mind,” Ace says. “Once I got the opportunity to rent a small plane, I started doing angel flights.” Now, six years later, Ace has flown 146 missions and counting.


If you ask Ace about these acts of generosity, he’s quick to recognize the other AFW volunteers who have answered the call to help patients in need of transportation to health care. In 2023 alone, eight pilots donated a total of 189 flights in Hawaii, with Osamu Manabe flying 36 missions and Ron Gess flying 33 missions.

And if you ask some of Ace’s passengers, they’re just as fast to share the overwhelming gratitude they have for Ace. One of those passengers is Jerry from Kona who has fly to Honolulu for cancer treatment twice a month. “Ace is amazing,” says Jerry’s wife Annie. “He’s even inspired our son Mikey to fly. It takes a special person who wants to give back this way.”


Ace jokingly says he flies for Annie’s home-baked chocolate chip cookies, but the truth is, Ace flies to make a difference, saying, “The gratitude of the passengers makes it all worth it.”

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