Charitable flying: A season of giving

Can’t find a new place to go for that $100 hamburger, or perhaps you are just looking for a new mission for your trusty bird? Consider joining a growing number of AOPA members who make an estimated 10,000 charity flights each year. There are many excellent organizations that can offer you the opportunity to participate in this rewarding activity, and you can reach most of them through the Air Care Alliance and the Air Charity Network.

But what about the risks associated with such flights? Let’s take a minute to evaluate and address those risks.

First, charitable flight organizations have very clear requirements concerning how and when you are permitted to conduct charitable flight operations. Passengers are required to sign a waiver of liability form prior to flight, and by carefully following the rules of the organization, and staying well within your piloting abilities, you will have gone a long way toward reducing your liability exposure. The Air Safety Institute provides an excellent online program for volunteer pilots.

Second, since the flight will be a noncommercial pleasure flight, such use is already approved under 14 CFR Part 91, and you are protected under your aircraft owners or non-owner’s policy.

Third, AOPA Insurance Services and the six largest aviation insurance companies have agreed that such flight operations should be encouraged, and a certificate of insurance can be provided upon request. If additional-insured status is also required, your insurance broker can request it for you.

As Abraham Lincoln said when speaking of the connections we share with veterans, their families, and our fellow Americans: We are all “touched … by the better angels of our nature” when we volunteer to help our veterans, their families, and others in need. Let's reach out and use aviation to help others this year.

Visit www.aopainsurance.org or call 800/622-2672 for information about how AOPA can get you the best deal for your insurance needs.