Ricard P. Hand’s love of aviation began when he was a young boy thanks to his WWII Veteran Dad, George Hand Jr. His Dad was a decorated pilot with the Mighty Eighth Air Force during WWII. Richard’s true love of aviation grew stronger every time his Dad would make Richard his co-pilot for flights in his personal airplane. Richard spoke of his vivid memories of summers spent in Cape May with his Mom and siblings picking up his Dad every Friday at NAS Cape May NJ airport. Richard also reminisced at how cool he thought it was that his Dad would fly his mother to neat vacations all over the east coast.
After losing both of his parents within a three months span, young Richard decided to earn his pilots license in 1991 to feel closer to his Dad. He joined AOPA, and later joined PAOP. During his personal and professional career, Richard married and had six children with his wife Kara and founded Valley Forge Wealth Management. He was too busy to fly as much as he liked, but every nice weather day he would say “It’s a nice day for a rip.” He later made his own kids his “co-pilots” and used that time to talk about their Grandfather. Richard dreamed of a PAOP endowment fund to help fund education and aviation experiences for kids and community. He told Kara he wanted to keep aviation alive for the next generation. After losing his battle with esophageal cancer in 2021, Kara reached out to PAOP to hold his funeral service at Heritage Airport. She remembered Richard’s dream, so she later returned to the airport to offer a seed donation and organize a yearly fundraiser for the PAOP Richard P. Hand Aviation Endowment fund—BigGuyFlys
PAOP is the proud administrator of the Richard P. Hand Aviation Endowment fund. The fund is held with Vanguard investments of Malvern, PA.