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Volunteer Pilots Give Hope

Lindsey Kerr, LifeLine Pilots Executive Director

Reed with pilots CG and Andy

When Reed’s parents contacted LifeLine Pilots, an Illinois-based volunteer pilot organization, they had already been fighting childhood cancer for many years. After being diagnosed at the age of 10 and beating cancer once, 13-year-old Reed once again needed to travel between his home in central Illinois and St. Jude in Memphis, Tennessee.


A family member said, “Reed’s parents have dedicated all of their time to helping him fight this horrible childhood disease. It was such a blessing that Lifeline Pilots was there to transport Reed and his mom to St. Jude for treatment. The travel time to drive to Memphis takes a toll on both Reed and his parents, and being able to fly to Memphis made the trip much less stressful.”

Every day, volunteer pilots are changing lives through flight. They generously share their special skills to fly people like Reed to medical treatment far from home.
“These pilots give Reed a few hours away from treatment, up in the clouds,” said his family.

What Is the Mission of LifeLine Pilots?

LifeLine Pilots coordinates free air transportation, through volunteer pilots, for people with medical or humanitarian needs far from home. Each year, its volunteer pilots complete hundreds of missions, bringing patients to and from lifesaving medical care.

We believe that everyone, regardless of income or location, should have equal access to health care. By removing the transportation barrier, LifeLine Pilots helps to ease the financial burden put on families during times of medical uncertainty. The best thing we can tell families is there is no cost, ever.

LifeLine Pilots receives no government funding. Instead, it relies on donations from individuals, businesses, and foundations to fund the coordination of every flight. The volunteer pilots are the biggest supporters of LifeLine Pilots, giving $1.6 million last year in donated flight time and airplane. You can learn more and help support its mission by visiting LifeLinePilots.org.

Who Are the Volunteer Pilots?

Volunteer pilots are located throughout our 10-state region and come from a variety of backgrounds. Some fly once a month, while others take a volunteer flight once a year. Every flight helps a family in need.

The pilots donate their aircraft, the fuel/airport costs, their time, and their expertise. They do this because they want to use their love of flying to help others in need. The pilots are not allowed to take any money for the flight, but each mission is tax-deductible for the pilots.

How Can I Get Involved?

If you live in the Midwest, LifeLine Pilots has an easy-to-complete volunteer application form available at LifeLinePilots.org. To become a volunteer pilot, you must be 21 years old, have 250 PIC, have your current medical and insurance documents, and complete the AOPA Public Benefit Flying online course.

If you live outside the Midwest, there are volunteer pilot organizations located throughout the country looking for volunteers. The Air Care Alliance (ACA) is a public service organization supporting public benefit flying. The ACA publishes a list of volunteer pilot organizations at AirCareAlliance.org.

LifeLine Pilots is here to help anyone with medical needs far from home. Volunteer today to help people in their time of greatest need. For questions, call 800-822-7972 or email missions@lifelinepilots.org. Join us to meet volunteer pilots and hear touching stories of hope at the AOPA pavilion on Saturday, July 30, at 3 p.m.

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