Legal Matters and Regulations

Generally no, unless your organization has an FAA exemption and you and your organization fully comply with its requirements. See legal materials below for more information about fuel reimbursements and flying a groups’ aircraft as a volunteer.

No. An aircraft owned by a volunteer pilot organization cannot be flown by volunteer pilots under Part 91. The pilot is getting compensated with free flying time, so it’s an illegal charter flight. The only exception is if the volunteer pilot organization holds a Part 135 air taxi certificate and the pilot is on the volunteer pilot organization’s Part 135 certificate. See legal materials below for more information.

Yes. FAA still considers it to be compensation, but has stated that it supports “truly humanitarian efforts” and will generally not treat charitable deductions related to public benefit flights as compensation or hire for the purposes of enforcing FAR 61.113 or Part 135. Additional information can be found here.

Volunteer flights are conducted under Part 91 of the FARs. Therefore, your liability as a volunteer pilot is no different than if you were flying a friend or family member.


Additionally, the passage of The FAA Reauthorization Act of 2018, included a provision that volunteer pilots who conduct flights to help those in need on behalf of nonprofit organizations no longer have to worry about liability in excess of the limits of their insurance coverage. Non-pilot volunteers have long enjoyed the same protection under the Volunteer Protection Act of 1997.

See Volunteer Pilot Liability Amendment and Talking Points.

Article: Volunteer Pilots & Liability

Yes, it is legal to bring an oxygen bottle on board but it is at the pilot’s discretion.

Legal Materials

Additional Resources

Raising Awareness of Service Through Aviation

The Air Care Alliance (ACA), a community of humanitarian flying organizations, and the International Fellowship of Flying Rotarians, are pleased to announce a partnership to promote general aviation as an opportunity for fellowship and service IFFR and ACA partnered to create a presentation available to Rotary Clubs, and other organizations, to publicize the availability of […]
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A Message From the President of ACA

I learned many years ago that a vision for any organization must be repeated often for it to become an integral part of the future direction and the impact it may have on those you are striving to serve. So, with that in mind, it’s important to emphasize that our vision at Air Care Alliance […]
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Air Care Alliance Seeks Leaders for Board of Directors

The Air Care Alliance (ACA), a 510(c)(3) non-profit that promotes, supports, and represents public benefit flying, is seeking volunteer leaders to join its dynamic board of directors. ACA strives to maximize charitable aviation through organizations and pilots flying to serve the needs of humanity. More information is available at The ACA Board of Directors […]
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Crowdfunding for Volunteer Flights

Volunteer flying gives pilots an opportunity to combine something they love with a meaningful way to help others. But as we all know, flying is an expensive activity and the current economy is certainly not helping. Many volunteer pilots are finding it difficult to do as many flights as they’d like, and some are looking […]
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Aviation Volunteers and Organizations Honored with 2022 Public Benefit Flying Awards

The National Aeronautic Association (NAA), in partnership with the Air Care Alliance (ACA) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2022 Public Benefit Flying Awards. These awards were created to honor volunteer pilots, other volunteers, and organizations engaged in flying to help others, as well as those supporting such work. “Each year, hundreds, even […]
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30th Air Care Conference Takes Place in Los Angeles

After a two-year pandemic pause, the Air Care Alliance (ACA) resumed its annual Air Care Conference in-person in Los Angeles, California on September 30th and October 1st. The 30th iteration of the conference was hosted by ACA member group, Angel Flight West. A dozen different public benefit flying groups from all across the country attended […]
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