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

Common Flight Board a Collaborative Solution

Many volunteer pilots fly for multiple organizations which we all agree is a wonderful thing! In fact, every pilot that completes a volunteer application through the Air Care Alliance (ACA) website applies to three different organizations on average. ACA encourages pilots to serve through aviation in as many ways as possible. However, logging into multiple […]
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Flying for Compassion – Lightspeed eBook features ACA Groups

Lightspeed Aviation, the leading manufacturer of premium aviation headsets like the Zulu 3 and the new Delta Zulu has produced a FREE eBook for the general aviation community and we are featured in it! This 32-page eBook, Flying for Compassion, is free to download and is full of stories of inspiration, but also provides tips […]
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Nominations for Public Benefit Flying Awards Open Through August

Do you know someone doing great things for Public Benefit Flying? Whether a volunteer pilot, a non-flying volunteer, or an individual or organization providing extraordinary support, you can help give them the recognition they deserve. Nominate someone deserving today! About the Awards The National Aeronautic Association (NAA) and the Air Care Alliance (ACA) created the […]
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Stronger Together

LifeLine Pilots shares the secret to its 230% growth over the last four years…collaboration! “Collaboration is one of LifeLine Pilots’ six core values,” says Lindsey Kerr, Executive Director of LifeLine Pilots. “We know that we are strongest when working together towards the common goal of helping people in need of long-distance transportation.” During recent years, […]
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Public Benefit Flying Day Scheduled for July 29 at AirVenture

Public Benefit Flying Day is scheduled for Saturday, July 29, during the week of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2023. The day recognizes those who volunteer to fly as a way to give back to the community. Each year thousands of volunteer pilots provide free flights for health, compassion, and community service. The pilots donate their time, […]
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Bringing Together Those Who Fly to Help Others

The Air Care Alliance (ACA) recently held its 31st annual AIR CARE Conference at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) in Frederick, Maryland. This annual conference brings together those who fly to help others, an activity commonly known as public benefit flying. The conference kicked off on Friday, April 21st with a Welcome Reception […]
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