FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) – A math professor at Fresno State is using his skills as a pilot to help deliver presents to a northern California family in need, college officials announced on Thursday.

Although Dr. Tamas Forgacs does not fly a sleigh, he was in the cockpit of a Piper Warrior decorated with red and green stripes.

It was Forgacs’ 79th mission with Angel Flight West, an organization based out of Santa Monica that provides free air transportation primarily for patients traveling to and from non-emergency medical treatment – but also for veteran support programs, specialty summer camps, disaster response, and medical supply transport with over 96,000 missions accomplished in its 39-year history.

Forgacs has been a mathematics professor at Fresno State since 2007 and says flying is a dream realized for him and that he loves how he can be part of Angel Flight West, which let him use his skills for the greater good.

According to Forgacs, this fall Angel Flight West sent an email to pilots asking if they were interested in flying “Santa Missions” to provide for deserving families.

“We buy all the presents, then fly them to wherever the family lives. Almost every pilot in the network jumped at the opportunity.”

Dr. Tamas Forgacs, Math Professor at Fresno State

Forgacs and two other pilots had the assignment of helping a Crescent City family of five: a single mother with four children, with the oldest being an 11-year-old girl who had undergone a heart transplant. He flew the first leg, Fresno to Sacramento, along with former Fresno State students. Two other pilots finished the mission, flying from Sacramento to Crescent City, to deliver the gifts.

Forgacs has been flying missions as either a command pilot or mission assistant since Oct. 2019. For more information about Angel Flight West click here.