This story was first published in Fresno State News.
Santa Claus is flying to town in a red-nosed Piper Cherokee plane – or “sleigh,” as Fresno State professor Dr. Tamas Forgacs calls it..
Playing the role of Santa, Forgacs, a Fresno State mathematics professor and command pilot for Angel Flight West, departed from Fresno’s Chandler Airport on Dec. 10 and delivered a plane load of gifts from several Fresno State community members to a family in Fortuna.
The noble mission is an all-out effort, involving several pilots from different parts of the state, to give holiday cheer to one family.
Forgacs flew a friend’s Piper Cherokee to Reid Hillview Airport in San Jose, where he joined a fellow Angel Flight pilot, Paul Rekieta. The two pilots-turned-Santas loaded the gifts into Rekieta’s Piper Meridian, a bigger plane than the Cherokee, and flew to Fortuna in Humboldt County. In Fortuna, a third pilot, Jerry Kraemer, arriving from Orland, landed his plane with more gifts for the family.