Use Flying to Give Back

You and your airplane can help patients, kids, the disabled or even the environment.

Tip Pilots 'n Paws Cirrus
Tip Pilots 'n Paws CirrusCourtesy Pilots 'N Paws

As the holiday season is upon us, many people are finding ways to give back to the community by volunteering at local soup kitchens or donating food or toys to charitable organizations. If you are looking for ways to give back and continue to help once the holidays are over, you can use your airplane to do so.

There are several organizations, such as Angel Flight and Airlift Hope of America, that organize pilots who are able to donate their time and airplane to transport needy patients to far away hospitals. You don't need to own a business jet or even a twin to do so. There are pilots transporting patients in airplanes as small as a Tri-Pacer. On the other end of the spectrum, as a corporate buisness owner, you can open up any empty seats on your business flights to needy patients through the Corporate Angel Network.

Whatever type of airplane you own, you can use it to give inspiration to kids with disabilities through Challenge Air or put smiles on the faces of children by getting involved with EAA's Young Eagles program, where you can volunteer to take kids for their first flight.

If you don't feel comfortable taking patients or children flying, there are other community services that you as a pilot can provide. Pilots 'N Paws coordinates the transportation of needy pets and other animals. Pilots who volunteer with this organization will most likely transport a dog or cat from a rescue center to his or her new home, but could be called upon for more unusual requests. One pilot was asked to transport two wild turtles that had been hit by a car to a special turtle trauma center.

If you are more interested in saving the environment rather than creatures, furry or otherwise, you can also use your airplane to help. An organization called LightHawk uses volunteer pilots to monitor potentially damaging changes in the environment and document such changes for informational and educational purposes.

Using your piloting skills and your airplane to for the betterment of society and/or the environment is rewarding not only for the people to whom you provide the service; you will likely find it very rewarding too. Air Care Alliance can help you research potential volunteering opportunities at www.aircareall.org.

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