As the nation mourned our loss of Reverend Billy Graham last week, Wilson Air Center was honored to host family, friends, and attendees of his viewing in Charlotte, NC. The volunteers from the Billy Graham Evangelical Association operated a check in desk and reception area at Wilson Air Center for all those in attendance traveling by private jet. Wilson Air also live streamed the Reverend Billy Graham funeral service for pilots and employees.
In addition to hosting family, friends and the many, many well -wishers, we also had the great task and honor of servicing the Samaritan’s Purse DC-8 that transported the Reverend Graham’s casket to and from Washington D.C. Billy Graham was only the fourth civilian in history to lie in honor at the Capitol Rotunda. While loading Reverend Graham onto the plane, there were fourteen limos carrying his close family and friends who were there to see him off.
From Thursday, March 1 through the day of Billy Graham’s funeral on March 2, 2018, Wilson Air Center handled 148 arrivals and 128 departures. When the presidential TFR was lifted after the funeral, 30 aircraft departed the Wilson Air Center ramp within 110 minutes: almost one aircraft every three minutes. A total team effort consisting of Wilson Air Center employees, Charlotte airport staff, security personnel, as well as the Billy Graham Evangelical Association volunteers, helped to make the funeral attendees’ travel a safe affair.
The outpouring of attendees and support around the country is truly a testament to how many lives Reverend Graham has impacted. Although we were supporting a solemn occasion, we were honored to serve all those in attendance and provide assistance so that the main focus could be honoring Reverend Graham and his lasting legacy.