Angel Flight is a fantastic organization that Holden admires and regularly volunteers for. It was created by a group of pilots interested in their unique position to contribute their planes when volunteering. They are a a non-profit, charitable organization of pilots, volunteers, and friends who want to keep the organization entirely volunteer based.
Their mission is to provide free air transportation for any legitimate, charitable, medically related need. They make the service available to individuals as well as health care organizations. They will also arrange transportation of people who are financially distressed, or who are in a time-critical, non-emergency situation due to their medical condition.
As members of the Air Care Alliance, a group of organizations providing similar services throughout the United States, they are able to coordinate with other organizations and can arrange transportation for patients on longer flights to areas all over the country.
Patients are usually traveling for surgery, chemotherapy, dialysis, and other treatments. Angel Flight has also flown blood products for the Oklahoma Blood Institute and Red Cross in emergency situations.
Angel Flight is financially supported primarily by the pilots who fly the missions (by donating the use of their airplanes and operating expenses) and by contributions from individuals, service clubs, social and religious groups and corporations. They receive no financial aid from any government entity. There is never a fee of any kind, either to the patient or the health care provider, for an Angel Flight.
Guidelines for Patients
In order to use Angel Flight, patients must meet the following requirements, which I’ve listed here directly from their site:
- Patients must be ambulatory and able to travel in a small, non-pressurized aircraft, without access to lavatory facilities, for the duration of the flight.
- Must have a personally signed letter from the physician.
- Alternate air transportation is not affordable or feasible.
- Must have a legitimate medical need to avoid lengthy surface transportation.
- Qualified personnel must accompany a patient requiring attention or assistance.
- Typically, patients are allowed to be accompanied by one family member or support person.
- Must have ground transportation to and from the airport.
- Must sign a waiver form releasing Angel Flight, Inc. and volunteer pilots from liability.
- Angel Flight aircraft are not equipped for medical emergencies and Angel Flight volunteers are not able to provide any medical service before, during, or after the flight.
- All equipment and medical staff required must be provided with doctors approval. Patients may carry their own oxygen.
- Passengers should be aware that baggage in excess of 50 pounds total may not be accommodated.
- Under most circumstances, in order to find an available pilot, the flight must be scheduled at least five working days in advance.
- Flights may be canceled due to weather.
- Patient should have back-up transportation.
- Pilot is the final authority as to the conduct of each flight.
Requesting an Angel Flight
Are you or someone you know in need of an Angel Flight? The patient’s home or treating facility must be located in Oklahoma or surrounding states. If you require a flight outside this service region, you can use this locator to locate a Public Benefit Flying Organization nearby. As long as you’re in the right geographical location and meet the Patient Guidelines above, all you need to do is complete the Online Flight Request. The Angel Flight staff will review your request and follow up with you to complete any additional requirements.
Here’s a great video to give you even more info about what to expect and what you should know before you fly. You can also view compassion flights currently in progress.
Produced by Janet Denton and Mike Radomsky, FAA Safety Team Members