Now available! Fuel reimbursement for pilots

On April 19, 2012, Mercy Flight Southeast received an exemption enabling the organization to reimburse its pilots for the cost of fuel related to flying Mercy Flight missions.Since the inception of this proud organization 29 years ago, volunteer pilot charity could not compensate, or reimburse any of its pilots for the now considerable cost of fuel. Under this exemption, Mercy Flight and its pilots may now raise funds specifically for the purpose of a personal or group “fuel fund,” where the qualified volunteer pilot(s) may draw from to offset the cost of his/her charitable flight.After carefully considering the implications and additional responsibilities our headquarters would need to assume, the Mercy Flight Southeast board on July 14, 2012, unanimously approved an operational plan allowing the organization to implement this program.Pilots should begin applying for and commence their fundraising for fuel reimbursement. Mercy Flight Southeast as an organization will also seek grants and donations to create a pool from which qualified pilots may draw from upon to offset their fuel costs.In short, we have summarized the fuel reimbursement requirements below. Keep in mind, pilots do not need to comply with these additional requirements if they have no interest in participating in the fuel reimbursement program, but still fly for Mercy Flight Southeast. AGAIN, THESE REQUIREMENTS ARE ONLY FOR PILOTS INTERESTED IN BEING REIMBURSED.A sampling of the more significant Conditions & Limitations. This list should not be used solely. We have edited it to give you an idea of what’s required above-and-beyond what pilots may or may not be doing already:

  • Must hold an instrument rating or privilege (i.e., instrument privilege relates to the airline transport pilot certificate) that is appropriate to the aircraft being flown;
  • For the operation of any single-engine piston aircraft, the pilot shall have a minimum total time of 500 hours, with no less than 400 hours as pilot in command (PIC), and a minimum of 50 hours in the specific make and model of single-engine aircraft being flown;
  • For the operation of any multiengine aircraft, a minimum total time of 1,000 hours as PIC, a minimum of 250 hours in multiengine aircraft, and a minimum of 50 hours in the specific make and model of multiengine aircraft being flown;
  • A minimum of 50 hours as PIC shall have been flown and logged within the preceding 12 calendar months immediately preceding the month of the flight;
  • Minimum of 12 hours flown and logged, or 2 hours of dual flight training with a certificated flight instructor, within the preceding 3 calendar months prior to the month of the flight;
  • Must hold a 2nd class medical certificate (per §§ 61.23(d)(2)(i) and 61.2);
  • Passenger and medical crew briefing requirements: Prior to each takeoff, the PIC must ensure that all passengers have been orally briefed on a number of items;
  • Specific annual training as spelled out in the exemption
  • Aircraft maintenance: All maintenance must be performed by a certificated mechanic, repairman, or repair station. Aircraft components must be overhauled prior to reaching manufacturer’s recommended time between overhaul.
  • In instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) conditions, each pilot must plan to land at airport with a precision approach;
  • Each pilot must add 100 feet to all instrument approach minimums;
  • Pilots must complete and adhere to the Go/No-Go checklist, patient, passenger, co-pilot release forms, and post-flight report. The Go/No-Go checklist will consist of at least the following information:
  • The checklist must be provided to the exemption holder or left with a responsible person, such as a fixed-base operator, prior to conducting a flight under this exemption. The completed checklist must be retained for 3 days.
  • Flight locating procedures required: The pilot must file and activate an IFR flight plan for each flight. The flight plan may be canceled upon acceptance of a visual approach clearance from air traffic control.
..   .. Volunteer pilots deciding to opt-in to this program need to to complete and submit the following forms to Mercy Flight Southeast. Fax your forms to
(352) 326-9360, or scan and email to

Use these forms for each flight:

Public Benefit Flying: Balancing Safety and Compassion

You’re passionate about flying. And maybe, you’ve toyed with the idea of using your flying skills to help out others. But, what does it take to become a volunteer pilot? The course’s flight profiles and interactive decision-making scenarios quickly help you understand how volunteer flying demands professionalism and responsibility—far beyond that of a leisurely personal flight. Learn how to mitigate pressures and recognize treacherous mindsets that could cause harm. Become an expert at managing risk. You’ll be rewarded with the knowledge that your passengers’ safety and comfort are well cared for. (approx. 45-60 minutes).


The Fuel Reimbursement Program will consist of two different funds:

*Pilot Individual Fund– Donations to this fund will be in the name of indivdual pilots and are restricted to reimbursement for said pilot. Experience has shown that pilots have been successful in obtaining donations on their behalf and we expect the majority of reimbursements to come from funds raised by pilots.

*General Fund– Donations to this fund will be dispersed to all pilots enrolled in the Fuel Reimbursement Program.

Please advise potential donors to your individual fund go online and specify “individual fuel fund for john Smith” in the Event Name form, or send a check to Mercy Flight Southeast. Instruct them to attach a memo stating that the donation is for your Individual Fund.

8864 Airport blvd
Leesburg Airport
Leesburg, FL 34788

The administrative effort to put a such a great program like this together, and to maintain all of the standards and records are very significant to a small charity such as ours. To help offset some of those administrative costs, a 17 1/2% admin fee will be applied to each contribution.

We are so very grateful to the Board of Mercy Flight Southeast for working together to make this program a reality, and especially thank Alan Hoffberg; Mercy Flight Southeast volunteer pilot, past chairman and treasurer for putting all of the effort into giving our pilots an opportunity to offset the high cost of flying Mercy Flight missions.

Still have questions? Call (352) 326-0800 or contact us

We strongly recommend you read the FAA document in its entirety below:

Fuel Reimbursement Exemption Nbr 10513 01-30-2013