Dave Eneboe has dedicated a large portion of his life to helping his community and his nation. As a longtime member of the United States Marine Corps and a former Arabic linguist for the United States government, Eneboe understands the importance of saving lives. That is why he decided to become a volunteer pilot for Flights for Life almost 20 years ago.
Flights for Life is a non-profit organization founded in 1984 by four pilots who were inspired to do more with their airplanes than simply fly. The organization's mission is to provide free air transportation to fly blood to people in need across the state of Arizona, especially in remote areas. Flights for Life works in cooperation with hospitals, blood banks, health-care agencies, and private individuals. All the blood that is distributed comes from United Blood Services in Scottsdale and is dispersed to hospitals that the blood bank serves.
Flights for Life volunteers consist of men and women who come from many different walks of life. Some are doctors, while others may be engineers or former military pilots, all with the same mission to save lives of those in need. There are nearly 250 volunteer pilots who complete about 1,000 total missions per year. Eneboe said he has flown more than 130 rescue missions in his Mooney aircraft since joining Flights for Life in 2000.
“Being able to do this helps us realize that we are all part of a society, and with Flights for Life, I am able to be a part of something bigger than myself," Eneboe said. "As human beings we have a tendency to focus on our own lives and our own problems, but at least theoretically, every flight we make is a flight to save someone else’s life. You can’t have a better impact on someone else’s life than that."
Flights for Life is grateful for its willing volunteers and strives to make the blood delivery process as streamlined as possible for the pilots and healthcare employees involved. Most of the scheduling for blood transportation is done online, and United Blood Services will meet pilots like Eneboe at the airport where their personal plane is parked. The pilot can then load the blood onto their plane and take off. Sometimes pilots will fly blood back to the Phoenix metropolitan area, and United Blood Services will pick it up after they land.
Eneboe said that he keeps his aircraft at Falcon Field Airport for a variety of reasons. “Falcon Field Airport is the most convenient airport for me in the Phoenix metropolitan area," he said. "I think the city staff at Falcon Field has done a really good job of trying to make the airport a better place and tries to continually make improvements to the airport. I think they are responsive to the ideas of private pilots and also commercial tenants. They have periodic meetings with the public and tenants to keep everyone informed and provide updates about the airport. I think they are really doing a great job! They make us all feel like a part of a big Falcon Field family.”
Eneboe appreciates the opportunity to help make a difference in others lives through Flights for Life but doesn’t do it to seek credit or fame. “It’s not really about adventure stories or about being superhuman," he said. "Most of us just consider ourselves to be regular people who have a real interest, hobby, or obsession with aviation that allows us to do something that helps other people out in the community.”
Flights for Life