Nearly every single day, volunteer pilots around the country are using their passion for flying to help others in need. From flying patients to find medical care to animal rescue missions, there are hundreds of opportunities for pilots to lend their skills and resources to make the world a better place!
If you’re looking for a way to combine your love of flying with your desire to help others, check out some of these volunteer pilot organizations.
Air Charity Network collaborates with network member organizations based around the country. Thousands of volunteer pilots help coordinate free flights for low-income individuals who need transportation to medical facilities far from their homes. Usually, these patients need surgery, chemotherapy, dialysis, or other potentially lifesaving medical treatments. Over the years, volunteer pilots have flown thousands of hours to help patients receive the treatment that might otherwise be inaccessible due to financial or geographical limitations.
Veterans Airlift Command provides combat wounded veterans with free air transportation to hospitals close to their families. The organization was founded by Walt Fricke, a Vietnam War aviator, who experienced the pain of spending six months in a hospital far from family. Through a network of volunteer pilots and private aircraft owners, Veterans Airlift Command has helped over 14,000 wounded veterans and their families reunite.
Pilots N Paws is a non-profit organization with the mission to save the lives of animals across the country. Pilots N Paws works with volunteer pilots to give thousands of rescued dogs and cats a “Flight to Freedom” to their new homes.
Do you remember your first flying experience? With EAA’s Young Eagles program, EAA member pilots can volunteer their time to introduce youth ages 8 to 17 to the joy of aviation with a free ride in their aircraft. More than 40,000 GA pilots have participated in the program since its inception in 1992, providing more than 2 million free flights to children and teens across the United States.
LightHawk is a nonpartisan organization with the mission to promote conservation success. LightHawk partners with volunteer pilots, environmental experts, photographers, and media professionals to inform and educate the public about environmental issues. Volunteer pilots with LightHawk can help with a variety of tasks, from getting a birds-eye view of a remote landscape to helping scientists gather data, and even transporting endangered animals.
These are just a handful of the many rewarding opportunities for volunteer pilots to get involved with worthwhile causes. If you’re interested in learning more about opportunities for volunteer pilots, visit the Volunteer Pilots Network, an online resource that connects GA pilots with organizations around the country.