Pilot creates science charity to honor his late father


A South Florida pilot is bestowing a high honor to his dad by taking to the skies to help others in need.

His dad, who was also a pilot, lost his life in a tragedy.

“The first time I entered the cockpit, I was 5 months old. My dad has the little carry-on thing, and I was right here, and we were flying,” said South Florida pilot Lee Giat.

Giat has spent his entire life around airplanes. Now, he’s taking grief and channeling it into a mission.

“This is my way of using my ability to fly, my love for science, and using it to make the world a little bit better,” Lee said.

Lee’s father, Nissan Giat, trained him and hundreds of other pilots through the years.

In late August, Giat’s twin-engine plane crashed in Pembroke Park.

He and another man on board died.

Lee is now spearheading a project called Passage: Science to South America as his way of honoring his dad.

“In the U.S. we have so many initiatives and organizations that want to bring science to kids and want to get them to pursue STEM careers. Look around you, everyone wants to be an astronaut. But in Latin America, that’s not even a possibility,” he said.

Lee started Passage as a way to bring technology and supplies to students throughout Latin America, flying those tools directly to them.

The goal: To make science more accessible to kids throughout the region.

“They express this need for science in that region and the opportunity for these kids to succeed is really important because they currently don’t have that opportunity. They’re struggling with basic third world problems,” Lee said.

Lee hopes to bring new opportunities to children who might not otherwise have them, something he believes his father would be proud of.

“He’s the best pilot I ever knew, and he wanted me to be better, and I hope that I can live up to his legacy, I guess,” he said.

Lee already has 10 schools throughout Latin America on board and hopes to get more.

If you’d like to support Passage, click here.

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