Flight Following Fall 2014


The Journal of the Air Care Alliance 
In This Issue
Changes Under Way at ACA
National Public Benefit Flying Awards
An Update on Regulations & Legislation
What Do You Think is Needed?
More Progress on Fuel Reimbursements
Air Care 2015 is in the Air!

Board of Directors


Jeff Kahn

ACA Chair

Angel Flight East


Rol Murrow

ACA President

Emergency Volunteer Air Corps


Charles (Lindy) Kirkland

ACA Executive Vice President

Angel Flight East


Jim Weaver

ACA Vice President

Angel Flight West


Cody Welch

ACA Secretary

Wings of Mercy East  Michigan


Alan Sheiness

ACA Treasurer

Patient Airlift Services


Bill Worden

ACA President Emeritus 

Angel Flight West &  EVAC





Judy Benjamin 

Angel Flight Central


Debi Boies 

Pilots n Paws


Tim Dammon

Angel light South  Central


Rick Durden



Pete Bunce

Veterans Airlift    Command


Charlie Schobel

Angel Flight Soars


Kevin Sell

Volunteer Pilots      Association


Christopher St. Peter

Operation Angel Planes   & Angel Flight West


Gary St. Peter

Operation Angel Planes



ACA Member List


Dozens and dozens of groups serve our communities and those in need, including international, national, regional, and statewide groups - and even small local groups with just a few pilots serving their immediate area.


The Air Care Alliance lists and makes referrals to all the groups we can find. If your volunteer pilot organization is not on the Air Care Alliance Listings Page, please send us your information so we can include you!



ACA Member Groups



Airlift Flyers

Aviation Corp 

Angel Flight Central 

Angel Flight East

Angel Flight Northeast

Angel Flight of Oklahoma

Angel Flight Soars

Angel Flight South Central

Angel Flight West

Aviation In Action

Bahamas Habitat

Cair Flight

Calm Air Visibility Unlimited

Children's Flight of Hope

Dreams and Wings

Emergency Volunteer Air  Corps

Hope Flight Foundation

LifeLine Pilots


Mercy Flight Southeast

NC Baptist Men  Aviation Ministry

Operation Angel Planes

Patient Airlift Services

Pilots for Patients

Pilots N Paws USA

SkyAngels International Rescue

 South Wings

Veterans Airlift Command

Vital Flight

Volunteer Pilots Association

Wings of Hope

Wings for Children - SC

Wings Flights of Hope

Wings of Mercy East  Michigan

Wings of Mercy West  Michigan



Also in Our Listings



Above the Clouds


Air Charity Network

Air Mercy

Angel Flight Alberta

Angel Flight Australia

Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic

Angel Flight Southeast

Angel Flight of British Columbia  (Vancouver Island)

Aviation for Humanity

Badger Aviators

Challenge Air for Kids &    Friends

Civil Air Patrol

Corporate Angel Network

Cloud Nine Rescue Flights

EAA Young Eagles

Flights for Life

Flying Paws

Flying Samaritans

Freedom Flight

Grace on Wings

Help Four Paws

His Wings Aviation Ministries

Hope Air of Canada

Hope Wings Foundation

Houston Ground Angels

International Shrine Aviation    Assoc.

Kids Wings

Liga - Flying Doctors of Mercy

Los Medicos Voladores

Medflight of Indiana

Mercy Flight Alabama

Mercy Flight Indiana aka    Wings of Mercy-Indiana

Mercy Medical Airlift and  its fully administered  subgroups

Mercy Wings Network

Miracle Flights for Kids

Missions Made Possible

Northwoods AirLifeLine

One Heart Missions Services

Pilots N Paws of Canada

Pilots for Christ International

Pilots for Christ - South    Alabama Chapter 

Remote Area Medical    Volunteer Corps

Servant Air Ministries


Sky Hope Network

Volunteer Mercy Pilots

Wings of Mercy - MN

Changes Under Way at ACA!

This year we have seen some new faces and some moving around of well known faces at the Air Care Alliance.  In April Lindy Kirkland reluctantly indicated that his increasing day job and family responsibilities meant he could not put as much time into being President, but he kindly agreed to continue representing us in Washington DC as our Executive Vice President, working with the agencies and associations for appropriate regulations and good relations.


Rol Murrow was asked to step back into the President's position to keep everything moving, and Jeff Kahn kindly agreed to move from Treasurer to Chair, with Alan Sheiness making it easier by taking on the Treasurer's job.


Cody Welch, who has been helping us with the fuel reimbursement issue as well as the NTSB volunteer pilot safety recommendations, joined our board and became our Secretary.  And we have several other new Directors too, Debi Boies of Pilots n Paws, Tim Dammon of Angel Flight South Central, and Pete Bunce of Veterans Airlift Command and the General Aviation Manufacturers Association.


And of course we now have some much-needed administrative support!  Thanks to last year's AOPA grant we were able to contract with Service with Grace LLC for the periodic expertise of Linda Tangen, who will act as our new Administrative Director.  Linda has worked for various nonprofit and community groups, and she and her husband Art have been longtime volunteers for Angel Flight South Central and Angel Flight West.  


As for the outgoing members of our board we can't thank them enough!  Judy Benjamin is leaving soon, after doing a great job coordinating our awards events with the National Aeronautic Association.  Various other board members retired from the board, including Bob Benda of LifeLine Pilots, as well as Karen Lavezzi, who worked hard for several years as ACA Secretary.  Alan Dias of Angel Flight West and Hume Davenport of SouthWings also retired in the past year, after helping us tremendously in setting policy and better defining our mission.


We hope you get a chance to meet all these wonderful folks at events around the country and at Air Care 2015 in San Antonio!


National Public Benefit Flying Awards Honor Volunteer Pilot JJ Quinn and EAA's Young Eagles Program



On November 5th the Air Care Alliance and the National Aeronautic Association collaborated once again to present the National Public Benefit Flying Awards, created to honor outstanding volunteer pilots, their organizations, and those who support their work.


ACA was proud to have the awards presented as part of the NAA Fall Awards program, when prestigious national awards are presented for a variety of purposes.  These include the Fédération Aéronautique Internationale Paul Tissandler Diploma, the Frank G. Brewer Trophy for aerospace education, the Katherine Wright Memorial Trophy, the Wesley L. McDonald Distinguished Statesman of Aviation Award, and the Mackay Trophy honoring the most meritorious flight of the year by the United States Air Force.  The National Public Benefit Flying Awards are in good company!


More than 250 leaders of aviation associations, industry groups, and government agencies were in attendance at this gala dinner event in the Washington DC area.   Our participation helps spread the word about the work of the volunteer pilots among these influential citizens, who gain a better appreciation of the remarkable services provided to those who have special needs and to the nation at large.


We are pleased to announce the recipients of two Public Benefit Flying Awards this year. 


A retired airline pilot who has logged 32,000 flight hours, JJ Quinn received the Distinguished 

Volunteer Pilot Award for his more than twenty years of flying to help those in need and to serve 

his community, donating his time and airplane to Patient Airlift Services, Pilots n Paws, Wounded Warriors, Young Eagles, and Angel Flight Mid Atlantic.  In addition he has volunteered extensively for various community projects and programs.  As a volunteer pilot, JJ represents the vast community of volunteer pilots, and, as noted during the event, "When we honor one we honor all."


Jack Pelton, Chairman of the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) and former CEO of Cessna Aircraft Company, kindly attended to accept the Champion of Public Benefit Flying Award on behalf of EAA. This award honors EAA and its Young Eagles Program for supporting tens of thousands of volunteer pilots who have now provided almost two million free introductory rides to young people, inspiring them with the new physical and intellectual perspectives gained through the experience of flight.J


Attending the event were ACA's Chairman Jeff Kahn, Executive Vice President Lindy Kirkland, Member of the Board Cody Welch, and President Rol Murrow, who gave the introductory remarks for the Public Benefit Flying Awards. 


We thank the National Aeronautic Association and its president Jonathan Gaffney for the opportunity to celebrate public benefit flying as a feature event during NAA's annual Fall Awards program. And we invite you to learn more about NAA and its wonderful awards programs by visiting the NAA website


Also, photographs of the event are at the 2014 Fall Awards Photos


View from the Chair

An Update on Regulations and Legislation,

Jeff Kahn, ACA Chair


Since I came on to the board in 1999 the Air Care Alliance has constantly worked to maintain and improve the regulatory environment in which volunteer pilots can serve the community. I feel that this is an essential function of ACA because we are the only organization that represents all facets of volunteer aviation.  We have worked with the FAA and the NTSB not only to make progress is some areas, but also to avoid actions that had the potential to stifle our efforts.


Here is an update on issues of current concern:


Fuel Reimbursement Exemptions:

Exemption letters have been granted to some organizations in the past, but many pilots felt the requirements were too stringent to be useful.   The FAA is now permitting pilots in some organizations to receive fuel reimbursement for flight legs without passengers. This change was contained in the renewal of Angel Flight Mid-Atlantic's exemption.  This is positive, but we need to continue efforts to (1) create some mechanism to make the Exemptions uniform so that all VPOs with exemptions can take advantage of changes immediately and (2) further liberalize the requirements for pilots and reduce the burden of VPOs.  We are trying to accomplish this through continued cooperation with the FAA and may encourage possible legislative solutions (see below).


Pilots' Bill of Rights II / FAA Reauthorization - Liability Protection:

Senator Inhofe is working on his second Pilots Bill of Rights. Liability protection for VPOs and volunteer pilots is being considered for inclusion in this bill or in the forthcoming FAA Reauthorization.  We are thankful to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association for lending its staff to set in motion communications with Senator Inhofe's staff. 


We also believe that further amendment to Section 821 of the 2012 FAA reauthorization permitting fuel reimbursement to pilots under Part 91 should feature additional requirements limited only to a small number specified in the statute.  The goal here is to, without reducing safety, set criteria that more pilots can meet and that would take the compliance burden off of the VPOs so that they avoid having to perform functions that might be construed to make the VPOs operators of flights, rather than simply facilitating flights for the volunteer pilots. 


Lindy will discuss this more thoroughly in his article on fuel exemptions below.


What Do You Think is Needed?

From the President, Rol Murrow


We need your advice and help! The Air Care Alliance is growing and the board is considering new ways of doing business in serving those who need public benefit 

transportation as well as the needs of all volunteer pilots and other charitable aviators and their groups.


Thus the board has determined that we should start surveying ACA member group leaders and volunteers as well as those with non member groups that we list. Your opinions and your willingness to tell us what you need to provide your services will be very important as we move forward.


Thanks to an AOPA grant we now have professional administrative help, permitting our all-volunteer board to concentrate more on policy development and outreach to industry, agencies, and the aviation associations. 


We wish to identify what you think would work best.  For instance we could stay about as we are, organizing the national Air Care conference, working on regulatory issues affecting public benefit flying, collaborating with aviation groups to achieve our objectives, and participating in award events which improve public understanding of public benefit flying - as well as general aviation.  


Or perhaps we should expand our programs and possibly employ a full time Executive Director and such other staff as may be needed to enhance our roles in public benefit flying.  This would mean finding the resources to accomplish that.  And it means we need a clear idea of what you, as a volunteer, leader, or supporter of charitable aviation believes needs to be accomplished.  If we determine new objectives then we can consider what will be needed to attain them.


In the coming months please consider this and feel free to provide us your thoughts.  In addition we will send surveys to all the groups.  We will also conduct targeted telephone interviews.  We hope to get a good idea of what is needed for the future so we can report on this at Air Care 2015 conference in April.


NOTE: We wish to have the greatest variety of opinions as possible.  Please make sure this newsletter is seen by all the board members and leaders of your group.  Forward it to them with your recommendation that they sign up for future issues by clicking on the Join Our Mailing List button in the newsletter or on our website.  Thank you!


More Progress on Fuel Reimbursements

Lindy Kirkland, ACA Executive Vice President


The Air Care Alliance has been making steady progress on the issue of exemptions to FAR § 61.113(c) of Title 14, Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR).  This section of the Federal Aviation Regulations requires a private rated pilot to pay at least a pro rata share of the operating expenses of a flight with passengers. 


As the economy turned southward in 2008/2009, many volunteer pilots were beginning to feel the real effect of rising fuel costs, so Volunteer Pilot Organizations (VPOs) began seeking recourse to provide some relief for such costs.  To that end, several groups petitioned the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Flight Standards Service, AFS-800, for relief from § 61.113(c). 


The FAA began issuing waivers to § 61.113(c) to a few VPOs but the conditions and limitations imposed by the waivers were extremely onerous.  Many people called the additional requirements "Part 135 Light," since many of the conditions and limitations were similar in scope to those required of a Part 135 operator.  Under these first few waivers very few pilots and VPOs were able to comply with the conditions and limitations, which essentially prevented them from actually receiving any reimbursements.  A casual look at some of these requirements shows how they might intimidate a pilot or group from participation:


  • 500 hours total pilot time for single engine piston aircraft (1000 PIC for Multi/Turbine)
  • 2nd Class medical certificate
  • Develop Risk Management Tool
  • Duty time requirements
  • Extensive pilot training (they even referenced §135.345 for these)
  • No owner maintenance allowed
  • Significant operating limitations on instrument approaches

Due to the nature of these conditions and limitations, several groups petitioned Congress to write a fuel reimbursement exemption into law and the FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012 (H.R. 658) was passed. It said: "...the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration shall allow an aircraft owner or operator to accept reimbursement from a volunteer pilot organization for the fuel costs associated with a flight operation to provide transportation for an individual or organ for medical purposes (and for other associated individuals)...." While significant, it largely left it entirely up to the FAA to determine the conditions under which they "shall" allow reimbursement.  In short, the FAA's position was that the existing waiver process was how they intended to implement the legislation.


Working to get to a better resolution of the exemptions and the legislation, Rol Murrow, Jeff Kahn and I met with Mel Cintron, Division Manager of the General Aviation and Commercial Division (AFS-800); John Duncan, Deputy Director of the Aviation Safety and Flight Standards Service; and James Viola, Manager of the Airman Certification and Training Branch, in April of 2012 at FAA Headquarters in Washington, DC.  The meeting was cordial and contributed to a better understanding by the FAA on why these conditions and limitations were adversely impacting volunteer pilots from using the exemptions.


Air Care 2015 is in the Air!  Start Planning to Attend Now!


You will be happy to hear that Air Care 2015, your premier event for leaders of all Public Benefit Flying Organizations, will be held in San Antonio, Texas on April 24-25, 2015.  And some attendees will arrive early on the 23rd and share an informal dinner together.


Our conference hotel is the El Tropicano located on San Antonio's historic and beautiful Riverwalk.  You can view great information on the hotel and the Riverwalk at www.eltropicanohotel.com and www.thesanantonioriverwalk.com.


You can reserve your steeply discounted rooms for the Air Care conference for $129 per night, with breakfast available for an additional $8 per person.  Make your reservation by calling the hotel's reservation line at 877-736-4311877-736-4311 or by emailing reservations@eltropicanohotel.com.  Be sure to mention that you are with the Air Care Alliance when making reservations in our block!Y


If you will be flying commercially, San Antonio's International Airport is served by Delta, Southwest, US Airways, American, and Alaska Airlines, and ground transportation to the hotel is available by taxi (about $25), rental car, and VIA Metropolitan Bus service.


If you are flying yourself, Stinson Field (SSF) is located just south of downtown and is very convenient to the Riverwalk area.


Much more information will be provided later - stay tuned.  We look forward to seeing you at Air Care 2015!

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