Combining your passion for flying with service to others is one of the most rewarding things you can do as a pilot. If you’re looking for a good reason to fly, check out these five ways to get involved.
Flying patients to medical care is one of the most common ways to volunteer. You’ve probably heard of “Angel Flight” and there are plenty of other similar Volunteer Pilot Organizations (VPOS) that need your help. Volunteer pilots are a lifeline to accessing lifesaving treatment that would otherwise be unavailable to patients in need.
VPOs also arrange flights for other compelling reasons, such as transporting kids to special needs camps or flying combat-wounded veterans to supportive services.
Pilot requirements vary between organizations, but you can typically expect a minimum requirement of a Private Pilot License and 250 PIC hrs.
All across the country, volunteer pilots assist with the rescue of endangered animals. Often this involves relocating pets from high-kill shelters to new homes or no-kill shelters. Volunteer pilots also transport injured wildlife for treatment, relocate endangered species, or transport service animals.
Requirements for animal flights are often lower than patient-carrying organizations, making this a great way for new pilots to get started with volunteer flying.
Environmental flying gives pilots an opportunity to experience a different kind of adventurous flying while making a difference for environmental causes they believe in.
Pilots provide survey flights to collect scientific data of local ecosystems, assess environmental damage, and participate in scientific studies and wildlife counts. This information is instrumental in educating policy makers, community leaders, and the media on all sorts of environmental issues.
Because of the unique flight profiles involved, pilot requirements are typically higher than other VPOs.
Emergency and Disaster Response
General Aviation is a vital resource in times of natural or national disaster. This was evidenced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic as volunteer pilots delivered critical medical supplies, COVID-19 test kits, blood and tissue.
Volunteer pilots can help with search & rescue efforts or aerial assessment of storm damage. They may transport relief workers, deliver critical supplies, or relocate evacuees.
While some VPOs focus solely on disaster relief, most will mobilize in times of crisis. Proactively registering with a VPO now allows you to be ready for service when needed.
Education & Experience Flights
Volunteer pilots introduce others to the wonders of flight in many unique ways. They provide introduction flights for children and youth, flights for grief support, or experiential flights for individuals with disabilities.
These are generally short, local flights on VFR days and are another great way to get started with volunteer flying.
Completing an application on the Air Care Alliance website is your first step to becoming a volunteer pilot. ACA will help find the best match for you and transmit your application directly to the VPOs you choose. You can even apply to more than one organization with a single application. Get started today!
For more information visit: https://www.aircarealliance.org/volunteer-pilots-needed/