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It Feels Like Coming Home…

This '56 C182 was my first civilian aircraft and I flew it for LightHawk until upgrading to a prettier C182.

Reflections from LightHawk’s new executive director, Terri Watson.

While returning to LightHawk feels like coming home, I realize I never truly left. When I became a volunteer pilot for LightHawk in 1997, it merged my passions for flying and conservation. Back then, I had no idea how much LightHawk would become tightly woven into the fabric of my life.

Maybe like you, I was drawn into each story that these LightHawk flights told me—the work to protect manatees along the shores of Belize and Guatemala, tracking scarlet macaws in jungle treetops to help preserve the species, and helping government officials grasp the importance of an issue and become willing to put their vote behind it.

Then there was the sheer beauty of working with National Geographic to film massive herds of free-running antelope across the plains of Wyoming in that rich, golden light of a winter evening. Their story helped protect those creatures, but experiencing that in the first person was incredible.

From 1998 to 2004, I wore several LightHawk hats, eventually serving as the executive director for several years. In 2004, I took a flying position overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan training local national pilots in their support of the US military. I transitioned onto LightHawk's board and then their advisory council.

Transition from helicopters to the OV/RV-1D Mohawk, built for aerial surveillance, foreshadowed a career at LightHawk.

LightHawk and I have changed and grown in countless ways over the years. [Read more…]