As a baby, planes were like playgrounds for Lee Giat.
"The first time I got into a cockpit with my Dad was when I was 5 months old," Giat said.
The 22-year-old filmmaker remembered his late father, Nissan Giat, who died last month when a twin-engine aero commander plane crashed in Pembroke Park. The incident is still under investigation, but Giat says the family has not been told officially if his father was flying the plane or if it was another pilot who also died in the crash.
Giat says his father, who taught him and thousands of other pilots how to fly, was meticulous.
“It just didn’t seem possible," Giat said. “He always told me, and every pilot that he trained, don’t be part of a statistic. Every problem you have in the sky is preventable on the ground."
The late pilot's son tells NBC 6 he saw his father just three days before the plane crash. He says he was filming a video for a project meant to be a surprise for his dad.
“That day was the last time I saw my Dad, and he asked me, 'What's this project are you planning?' I said you're going to have to wait. It's a secret," Giat said.
Giat says the video is for an effort he recently launched called PASSAGE, which is short for Providing Aid in Science for South America’s General Education. His plan is to fly solo throughout Latin America for 30 days to donate technology and school supplies for impoverished children.
"A lot of them don't have basic school supplies, photocopiers and things like that," Giat said. "Other schools, they have the basic stuff, but they want to expand and grow so we will provide them with a whole laptop suite with software connectivity with all these scientific instruments, telescopes, microscopes, coding software."
He adds the effort was meant to honor his father's love for aviation, even before the pilot passed away. You can find out more about Giat's effort by going to www.gofundme.com/passagescience.