Be a do-gooder

The joy of public benefit flying

What is “public benefit flying”?
Photography by Mike Fizer
Volunteer pilot Ted DuPuis on an animal rescue flight (photography by Mike Fizer).

Delivering blood to hospitals.It’s a way to give back by using your aircraft and/or flying skills to help others. By volunteering their time and aircraft, general aviation pilots help thousands of people—animals too—each year. Hundreds of organizations across the country use volunteer pilots to assist in animal rescue, medical transportation, disaster relief, organ transplant, blood and plasma delivery, and environmental conservation. Pilots, as well as their nonflying family and friends, deliver toys and gifts at Christmas to foster children and their families, carry much-needed supplies to hurricane-ravaged communities, and transport cancer patients to treatment.

Pilots of Cessna 172s stuff their aircraft with dogs, cats, and even turtles needing rescue. Turboprop pilots offer comfort and expediency to wounded warriors traveling for hospital care. Piper pilots take a box of blood plasma to remote areas when they go out for an afternoon of flying. Beechcraft Bonanza drivers take state and local officials on fact-finding missions over endangered land areas. No matter the need, there is a way for pilots to help.

One of the best resources for pilots wanting to help is the Air Care Alliance. Founded in 1990 by a small group of volunteer pilot groups, the organization offers all the information you need to enter the rewarding world of public benefit flying. From volunteer opportunities, information on tax-deductible flying, and the many opportunities to help, the Air Care Alliance is the first stop on your way to do good.

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Julie Walker

Julie Summers Walker

AOPA Senior Features Editor
AOPA Senior Features Editor Julie Summers Walker joined AOPA in 1998. She is a student pilot still working toward her solo.

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