Thom Hornish – 2022 Pilot of the Year

LifeLine Pilots is proud to present Thom Hornish with the 2022 Pilot of the Year Award*. Thom generously flew 17 legs with a Hobbs time of 69.5 hours for a total of 3,720 miles. Congratulations on this substantial accomplishment.

Thom is based out of Malinta, OH. He flies a Piper/PA-28 series 4-seater and has his instrument rating. Thom has been flying for LifeLine Pilots since 2019. He has set a goal for charitable flights.

“I hope to complete 100 missions before I run out of money or health,” he said. He is currently at 78 with 4 pending.

The interest in aviation began at a young age. When Thom was 14, he and his father went for a ride to see their farm’s crops from the air. Thom went to work at a dairy farm making $1.25 an hour – it took him two years to save up enough money for lessons. He was thwarted by his father, who insisted that airplanes were for rich people.

Thom said, “Lessons had to wait until I was 24. No, I wasn’t rich, just determined.”

Thom became an air traffic controller where he volunteered to work Oshkosh for five consecutive years and Lakeland for one year.  Using his experience as a pilot, he suggested colored markings on the runway to give pilots a target to aim for, and to help with separation.  They are used to this day.  Fellow LifeLine Pilot’s member Greg Frost from Lima, OH, told Thom about LifeLine Pilots when they shared a flight for a sister organization.

Thom’s wife, Jenny, is not an aviation enthusiast but she strongly supports Thom’s charitable flying.  After assisting on a mission to deliver a 3-year-old and her young mother home, she saw first-hand the appreciation expressed by family members with handshakes, hugs, and tears. Now she has uses social media to make people aware of volunteer pilot organizations and encourages them to contribute financially.

Thom said, “I have met so many amazing people, passengers, and pilots alike.  I have learned most from passengers the power of positive thoughts, hope and resilience.  My passengers have caused me to be more aware and thankful of my blessings.”

LifeLine Pilots is celebrating volunteer pilots by presenting pilot awards for the second year.  Many thanks and much praise are due to all our volunteers, past and present.

*The Pilot of the Year Award is calculated by determining the average of a pilot’s legs flown, miles flown and Hobbs time.