Air Care Alliance
|Air Care Alliance|
|Type||humanitarian air transport|
|Chairman and CEO||Rol Murrow|
The Air Care Alliance (ACA) is an American group founded in 1990 that acts as an umbrella organization for Public Benefit Flying (PBF) organizations. PBF organization members use their aircraft to transport needy patients and to assist in disaster relief. Most PBF members are volunteer pilots, thus many PBFs are also called Volunteer Pilot Organizations (VPO). The ACA website Listings Page is the only place where all such groups are listed for the benefit of patients, social workers, medical referral groups, agencies needing assistance, or the volunteer pilots who wish to find all groups they might want to join.
The Air Care Alliance exists to promote Public Benefit Flying so that patients and others can learn about the services provided by volunteer pilots and charitable aviation groups. ACA also encourages communications and cooperation among PBF organizations in order that their members share experiences and learn from one another. ACA has held annual "Air Care" conferences since 1990 where leaders in Public Benefit Flying gather to meet one another and learn the latest about this charitable activity.
Most Public Benefit Flying organizations are chartered as non-profit organizations, permitting their members to take the costs of a flight as a charitable donation. The groups generally do not offer flying services themselves, rather they connect someone seeking a flight with a pilot or pilots willing to provide it.
In 1990, the first national conference of public benefit flying organizations, AIR MED 90, was organized by Bill Worden, an ACA founder, at the headquarters of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. The Air Care Alliance was created to share PBF resources and coordinate efforts.
How service is provided
While the Air Care Alliance lists PBF organizations, it does not arrange missions itself. A person or group needing air support services refers to the Air Care Alliance listings and chooses one or more organizations serving its geographic area and type of mission. The representative then contacts those BPF organizations directly.
Many PBF organizations have a primary mission of helping patients get to distant locations when the patients cannot afford other transport, a drive would be too long, or circumstances prevent commercial airline flight. BPF organizations that provide these services include Angel Flight, LifeLine Pilots, Volunteer Pilots Association, and many more.
Some PBF organizations specialize in disaster and emergency preparedness. Their pilots fly surveillance missions, send data back to emergency operations centers, transport emergency workers and supplies, and fly search and rescue missions. Examples include the largest PBF group, the Civil Air Patrol, and the Emergency Volunteer Air Corps (EVAC). The Air Care Alliance has provided seminars on emergency preparedness conducted by EVAC representatives and others, and now most member PBF organizations have an auxiliary mission of providing relief missions when the need arises.
Some PBF organizations provide very specialized service. These include organizations whose pilots fly environmental support missions, such as LightHawk and SouthWings, and groups whose pilots fly terminally ill children on Make-A-Wish and similar flights. Some PBF organizations are also given commercial airline tickets and allocate them to needy individuals.
Requirements for service
The requirements for patients for flights and for the volunteer pilots who might provide them vary considerably from group to group. Patients typically must demonstrate financial or other compelling need. Generally they must also be ambulatory. Often a physician's signoff is required, along with that of a social worker at a medical facility attesting to financial need. There are also two groups who do fly non-ambulatory (stretcher) patients, and one group has a fully certified charitable air ambulance.
- The Air Care Alliance at www.aircareall.org
- Air Care Alliance website
- AOPA Online: Compassion in Action at www.aopa.org AirLifeLine article, 2001, at www.aopa.org
- The Pilot's Lounge #88: The Air Care Alliance -- Helping Those Who Fly to Help Others at www.avweb.com AVweb article on Air Care Alliance, 2005 (registration required to view full article)
- AOPA Online: Hurricane Katrina relief efforts: How you can help at www.aopa.org Air Care Alliance support during Hurricane Katrina