Passion to fly

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Christopher Callaway
  • 1st Special Operations Wing Public Affairs
In the cockpit of a CV-22 Osprey a flight engineer fires up the engines and begins his routine pre-flight inspections.

The engines hum loudly and the tilt-rotor aircraft rocks back and forth as the propellers begin spinning. Once everyone finishes their checks, the pilots take control of the aircraft and in seconds the Osprey is above the clouds.

For several of the Osprey's crew it's just another routine training flight, but for Tech. Sgt. Edilberto Malave the flight holds a special meaning. This is one of his first training flights since sustaining multiple broken bones in an Osprey crash on the range at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., in June 2012.

"I didn't let the injuries affect my performance," said Malave, 8th Special Operations Squadron flight engineer. "Nothing was going to hold me back from becoming qualified to do my job again."

Hospitalized for seven weeks and enduring more than four hours of surgery on his arm and legs, Malave began rehab a week after the crash in June 2012. He continued for almost a year before he started working toward flying again.

"There were people who told me I would never fly again," he said. "I just never gave up. I surrounded myself with people who helped me stay positive."

Malave said his support network was his driving force to get back in the sky. Everyone from his wife and kids to the maintainers and pilots in his shop supported him and his decision to fly again.

"You just need to stay positive and motivated," Malave said. "Anything you want to accomplish is obtainable. The biggest thing I learned during this time is just stay positive."

The squadron is proud of Malave's accomplishments and feels it would be an insult to him as a person if they treated him any differently, according to Lt. Col. Mark Newell, 8th SOS operations officer.

"Malave earned his rank, position and qualification through hard work, tenacity and skill," Newell said. "As the 8th SOS and CV-22 community continue to grow, high-caliber personnel like him and his peers are laying the groundwork for the Air Force Special Operations Commands future."