Angel Flight West is seeking volunteer pilots after a surge in activity this year left 10 percent of their missions unfilled due to lack of personnel. The nonprofit organization transports people in need of vital healthcare who can't take a commercial flight or other transportation because of health, financial or geographic considerations. Pilots who participate donate all flight-related costs (tax breaks may apply) and passengers never pay for a flight. The organization is on pace to provide an all-time high 5,000 missions this year but due to lack of pilots has cancelled more missions this year than ever before in its 29-year history. The need is greatest in specific areas of the country.
According to the organization "volunteer pilots are urgently needed in Southern California, Idaho, Montana, Nevada and Oregon." Pilots can sign up online. Once cleared, they may peruse an online collection of missions and select those that fit their budget and schedule. Qualified applicants can fly their first mission in about a week after sign up. Angel Flight West serves 13 western states (including Alaska and Hawaii). Its missions include free air transportation for patients in need of non-emergency medical treatment and "compassionate response to other compelling needs." Since 1983, it has flown more than 50,000 missions. Lack of personnel and successful outreach has led to increased demand with lack of support. In practice, that has translated to cancelled missions.