PALS Pilots Get Help With Fuel Cost

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Volunteer pilots flying for Patient AirLift Services (PALS) may now be partially reimbursed for fuel costs related to charitable flights, PALS recently announced. The program is FAA-approved and it means that "pilots can receive reimbursement for fuel costs incurred when flying patients in need of medical treatment during charitable missions." That change is the result of an exception granted to PALS by the FAA that "is in the best public interest," according to the FAA's acting deputy director of flight standards service, Melvin Cintron. Said Cintron, "The FAA wants to encourage this kind of volunteerism and public service for the common good of our citizens."

PALS believes reimbursement will improve their ability to expand service. "The benefit to both PALS and the patients it serves is that pilots, who are limited to the number of missions they could afford to fly due to costs of fuel, will now be able to participate in a greater number of volunteer missions," PALS chairman Joseph Howley said. PALS provides need-based free air transportation to people who need medical care but for whom commercial air travel may be financially impossible. Pilots who fly for the organization donate their time, piloting skills and aircraft, and are responsible for all costs associated with their flights. Increases in fuel costs have raised the price for those volunteer pilots. The new reimbursement program will assist pilots in their service.