Angel Flight West, Flying More Missions, Faces Pilot Shortage

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Angel Flight West is facing a serious pilot shortage while on pace to provide a record-breaking 5,000 missions this year. Angel Flight arranges free air transportation for distant nonemergency medical treatment. Without more volunteer pilots, patients who live remotely, are too ill to travel commercially or cannot afford to travel may miss out on vital healthcare. For some, this could mean the difference between life and death.

Josh Olson, Director of Mission Operations, reports that Angel Flight West (AFW) is facing a serious pilot shortage while on pace to provide a record-breaking 5,000 missions this year. AFW arranges free air transportation for distant nonemergency medical treatment and in compassionate response to other compelling needs. The organization serves the 13 western states including Alaska and Hawaii. Last year marked its completion of 50,000 missions since 1983.

“Since the first of January, we’ve completed 2,474 missions, but we’ve had to cancel 265—more than 10 percent—because we couldn’t find pilots. We’ve had to cancel more missions this year due to lack of pilots than any time before in our 29-year history ,” Olson said. “Our outreach volunteers have created increased demand from hospitals, physicians and social workers for our service. Now we need more pilots to keep up.”

Without more volunteer pilots, patients who live remotely, are too ill to travel commercially or cannot afford to travel may miss out on vital healthcare. For some, this could mean the difference between life and death. Volunteer pilots, a.k.a. Angels, donate all flight-related costs. Passengers never pay for an Angel Flight. Pilots view missions online, selecting as few or as many as their time and budget will allow. Every flight makes a world of difference.

Volunteer pilots are urgently needed, particularly in Southern California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Oregon. If you love to fly and to help others, please sign up online. You could fly your first mission in as little as a week. Visit http://www.angelflightwest.org or call 1-888-426-2643. AFW is a charitable, nonprofit, 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organization. When you volunteer, your tax advisor can help you deduct flight-related costs.

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Colleen Kendall
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