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Spirit in the sky; the late John Volk memorialized

Flanked by Mike Taylor, left, and Ronnie Metcalfe, right, of SJI Pilots Association, Lainey Volk holds up an island aviation map which includes an “intersection” renamed for the late John Volk.   - Scott Rasmussen
Flanked by Mike Taylor, left, and Ronnie Metcalfe, right, of SJI Pilots Association, Lainey Volk holds up an island aviation map which includes an “intersection” renamed for the late John Volk.
— image credit: Scott Rasmussen

Twelve miles off the south end of San Juan Island, about 2,000 feet up in the air, there’s a spot where pilots turn to make their approach to Friday Harbor Airport.

That point can be located on electronic guidance systems in spite of poor visibility and nasty weather.

Up until mid-July, that point up in the sky — known as an “intersection” in aviator’s parlance — was known as “UGTAW”, a rather clunky name that’s typical of acronyms that mark any aviation map.

But no longer.

Five years after filing a petition with the Federal Aviation Administration, the San Juan Island Pilots Association’s quest to have that intersection renamed in honor of a local pilot earned the FAA’s approval.

From here on out, pilots will turn to make their approach at an intersection known as “JVOLK”, a tribute to the late John Volk, who died six years ago at age 62.

A founding member and past president of The San Juan Eagles, a group of local pilots who donate time to fly cancer patients off-island for treatment around the region, Volk was also a highly regarded member of San Juan EMS the Sheriff’s marine rescue and dive team. In the last year’s of his life, Volk spent about 350 hours a year flying local cancer patients on and off the island.

—Scott Rasmussen

 

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