Safety Recommendations for Volunteer Pilot Organizations

In 2010, following four accidents involving volunteer pilots, ACA worked with the NTSB to develop and distribute safety recommendations for Volunteer Pilot Organization (VPOs).

Our work is never done when it comes to improving safety of volunteer flights. Here again are ACA’s recommendations.


  • Institute procedures that reinforce pilot currency under FAR 61.57
  • Verify pilot currency through written or electronic self-certification by the PIC before every flight


  • Use available safety materials such as the online course Public Benefit Flying: Balancing Safety and Compassion
    • ACA collaborated with the AOPA Foundation’s Air Safety Institute and many ACA Member groups to develop this course which addresses subjects appropriate for volunteer pilots providing public benefit flights. The course is available to the public and no fee is required. It is also qualified for FAA Wings program proficiency training credit.
  • Require each pilot to obtain recurrent training annually
    • may include flight training, attendance at seminars, and/or use of web-based training materials including the “Public Benefit Flying: Balancing Safety and Compassion” course.
  • Coordinate and cooperate with the Federal Aviation Administration, and specifically the “FAAST” teams at your local Flight Standards District Offices
    • sponsor, participate in, and encourage attendance at seminars which highlight aeronautical decision-making; proper preflight planning; pilot qualification, training, and currency; and self-induced pressure.


  • Disclose to passengers at the time of inquiry or early during the intake process that:
    • flights are operated by volunteer pilots and are not commercial flights (airline or charter)
    • pilots, aircraft, and flights are not required to meet the same standards as commercial flights

Many VPOs have adopted these recommendations and continue to implement them. ACA encourages all public benefit flying groups to do the same. These simple recommendations have gone a long way in developing an enhanced culture of safety among pilots who fly to help others.

Join the Conversation

What does your group do to encourage safety? Join the conversation at our annual Air Care Conference to be held September 30th and October 1st 2022 (details coming soon). We will devote a special session to effective ways of encouraging safety in volunteer flights.

Related reading

NTSB Safety Recommendations

ACA Recommendations to VPOs