Angel Flight South Carolina Branch Director Bo Bowman
“I am pleased to announce that we are opening the first branch office for Angel Flight,” states Jeanine Chambers Biron, Executive Director of Angel Flight. “It will be located in the Greenwood, South Carolina airport and will serve the entire state. We have named Bo Bowman, one of our premier pilots, as our new South Carolina Branch Director.”
Among his many duties, Bowman will give presentations to area civic, social and community groups and will be working to make sure that the public is aware of the important mission of Angel Flight, which is to provide free flights to those with medical needs outside of their immediate area. He’ll stay in touch with pilot associations and other groups to recruit new pilots into the program. He will also manage the pilot program and set up training sessions. Another important facet of his work will be reaching out to businesses and foundations in South Carolina to ask for their financial support.
Bo Bowman has spent most of his life thinking about, and then making the environment and the world a better place. Along the way, he fell in love with flying and now he is happily celebrating the marriage of both.
“I am very excited about this opportunity,” enthuses Bowman. “Most pilots want to fly regularly and we look for reasons to fly. But to have a reason to fly that helps humanity...well it doesn’t get better than that!”
When asked how he got involved with Angel Flight, Bowman explains. ”I have a pilot buddy who volunteers for Angel Flight and he introduced me to this wonderful organization a year ago. I started volunteering right away. I realized that I could help, and that so many others would want to help if they just knew how easy it was to make a difference.”
Bo’s fascination with flying started when he was 8 years old. His dad took him to a country airport and arranged for them to take a flight in a small plane. Bo was completely hooked, and vowed to someday have his own airplane.
Also at an early age Bo began thinking about the environment and man’s interaction with it, and its effects on the community. Growing up in Westernport, Maryland was the perfect setting. The small town of about 5,000 people sits on the banks of the Potomac River and the major employer in the area is a paper mill. Living in that area was something that would ultimately change the way Bo viewed the world and greatly influence what he would do for a living.
Most of their friends went to work at the paper mill, but Bo and his wife Peggy wanted to get out and see the world and have an adventure. Bo also wanted to pursue his dream of flying and owning a plane, but that would have to wait. However, he did figure out a way to combine his Master of Science degree with his love of flight. During the aerospace boom of the 1960’s, Bo took a job as a rocket engineer in California and was thrilled to work as a test engineer on the Apollo rocket that circled the moon.
During their time in California he also studied the smog in the Los Angeles area and wondered what could be done about that and other environmental problems. When rocket testing was moved from California to the middle of the Nevada desert, Bo and Peggy decided to leave the smog and head back east. He landed a job with Pratt and Whitney Aircraft in Hartford, Connecticut as an engineer for jet engines. Later he moved into a job as an engineer for power plants, then returned to working with jet engines.
After about 8 years in Hartford Bo took a job with Westinghouse in the Pittsburgh area where he would work for 29 years on various job assignments such as design and project engineer for power plants and ultimately to one of his major interests, environmental clean up. He worked on a number of high profile clean up projects including some with nuclear contamination.
During this time, around 1980, Bo also realized his dream of getting his private pilot’s license and a few years later bought his first plane. He currently owns a Piper Archer which he hangars at Greenwood County Airport.
In 2001 Bo and Peggy moved to Greenwood, South Carolina near the lake at Stoney Point. The idea was to retire, but the energetic Bowman went to work part time for David & Floyd. Still pursuing his interest in improving the environment, he works on storm water pollution prevention.
Bo and Peggy love their new home in the Carolinas and have become active in their community by volunteering at two local soup kitchens, at the food bank, and in a number of outreach programs sponsored by their church, Immanuel Lutheran. Neighbors are used to Bo’s “buzzing” them overhead when he is out flying and heading back to the hangar!
In early 2008 Bowman found Angel Flight and now is able to combine his love of flying with his passion to help others. On one of his early flights he met a young man with cerebral palsy. Bo let him ride up in the co-pilot seat. It was a special time for both the teenager and Bo.
“When you spend time with someone who really needs the service you are providing, there is a bond that you share,” Bowman says. “It can be deeply personal as they share their joys and their fears with you. I enjoy that connection immensely and it helps to give my life purpose.”
Realizing they had a good number of flights out of South Carolina, Bo pursued the idea of setting up a branch and helping to create a hub for the pilots in the area. He is a member of the South Carolina Breakfast Club, a group of more than 100 pilots in the state who fly to a designated airport to meet every other Sunday to share breakfast and flying stories. On January 25th they met in Greenwood and Bo was there to share the exciting news about the opening of the new Angel Flight branch office.
To get more information about the new Angel Fight office in Greenwood, South Carolina, call Bo Bowman at 864-554-3198. To schedule a flight with Angel Flight call 1-877-4 AN ANGEL or 770-452-7958.
Angel Flight ~ SC Branch PO Box 50237 Greenwood, SC 29649
(864) 554-3198 SCBranch@AngelFlightSoars.org