Pilot FAQs

Generally, these are the most Frequently Asked Questions by incoming pilots at Mercy Flight™ Southeast. If there are any other questions that occur to you, please let us know. You may contact us at our Leesburg, Florida, headquarters by calling 352-326-0800.

  1. I love to fly. How can I help?
  2. What is Mercy Flight™?
  3. Who belongs to Mercy Flight™?
  4. Who does Mercy Flight™ Transport?
  5. Where do the calls come from?
  6. What kinds of aircraft are used by Mercy Flight™?
  7. How far will Mercy Flight™ fly on a mission?
  8. What is my liability?
  9. Where can I find frequently used forms for Pilots?

Q. I LOVE TO FLY. HOW CAN I HELP?

A. In order to keep up with the tremendous increase in mission requests, Mercy Flight™ must constantly increase our pilot member base. So, if you’re tired of punching holes in the sky, flying in circles, or going for the hundred dollar hamburger, let us show you how to put your aviation skills and talents to wonderful use. Join us. For a pilot membership application, go to our “Become A Pilot” web page or just click here.

We use our network of volunteer pilots to provide free transportation via private aircraft to and from medical facilities. Our pilots donate their time, aircraft and fuel to help those whose medical problems have left them without the funds to reach places where they can get needed diagnosis or treatment.

Mercy Flight™ is a non-profit organization. This allows for some of those flight expenses to become tax-deductible. (Consult your tax advisor for details.)

Q. WHAT IS MERCY FLIGHT™?

A. Mercy Flight™ is a tax exempt, nonprofit organization. The mission of Mercy Flight™ is to facilitate access to health care by arranging free air transportation in private aircraft. Mercy Flight™ links volunteer private pilots with needy people whose health care problems require long distance travel to and from medical facilities. Mercy Flight™ is an opportunity to combine your love of flying with volunteer community service.

Q. WHO BELONGS TO MERCY FLIGHT™?

A. The members of Mercy Flight™ are private pilots (aircraft owners and renters) and Earth Angels (ground support volunteers). An instrument rating is not necessary to fly on most Mercy Flight™ missions, although we encourage all members to obtain the rating so they will be available for flights under a wider range of conditions.

Interested non-pilot supporting members, including spouses, and significant others are also welcome. Non-pilot members are eligible to fly right seat on missions in order to assist the patient and with mission coordination. There is also a substantial amount of on-the-ground work for which everyone’s help is valuable and appreciated.

Q. WHO DOES MERCY FLIGHT™ TRANSPORT?

A. Mercy Flight™ offers transportation to people whose medical problems make it necessary for them to travel for diagnosis or treatment and who lack the financial resources for that transportation. Mercy Flight™ will also carry, without regard to financial need, people whose condition or location makes it difficult or impossible for them to use other means of transportation.

Typical examples include carrying cancer patients for chemotherapy, surgery or other treatment at a distant medical facility; transporting people with kidney problems to obtain dialysis or kidney transplants and patients with heart problems for specialized diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up; and carrying children to and from “special needs camps” such as camps for burn survivors and children with life-threatening illnesses. Mercy Flight™ also responds to many other compelling human needs.

Q. WHERE DO THE CALLS COME FROM?

A. Most requests for Mercy Flight™ missions come from the social workers or discharge planners at hospitals and health care agencies. Calls also come from charitable organizations and societies such as the American Cancer Society, The American Heart Association, Make-A-Wish Foundation, and the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation. We also get referrals from related aviation-oriented charities such as the Corporate Angel Network (CAN) and AirLifeLine.

These are agencies that generally work with people who are financially needy (or have become so due to the cost of treating their illness). By using the expertise of these agencies and their personnel, we determine that a person meets our medical and/or financial-need criteria and thus justifies the pilot’s donation of time and flying expenses.

Q. WHAT KINDS OF AIRCRAFT ARE USED BY MERCY FLIGHT™?

A. Most Mercy Flight™ aircraft are single or twin-engine, propeller-driven aircraft. In some cases, jet aircraft are also welcome because they are ideal for the longer distance missions.

Since you don’t need either a large or a fast airplane to be of assistance to most people who seek Mercy Flight™’s help, the majority of our missions are flown in single-engine, four-seat aircraft.

Q. HOW FAR WILL MERCY FLIGHT™ FLY ON A MISSION?

A. Our missions are within a 1000 nautical mile total distance from the patient’s home base airport. Longer missions, which are more than 300 nautical miles, will require a handoff with at least one to two other pilots depending on the total distance traveled. We do not fly outside the borders of the United States.

Q. WHAT IS MY LIABILITY?

A. Flights you make for Mercy Flight™ have the same status as any flight made with passengers by a private pilot under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. You have no greater liability when flying a passenger for an Mercy Flight™ mission than when flying a friend or neighbor. All passengers are required to sign a waiver of liability before boarding the aircraft. Mercy Flight Southeast will provide this waiver of liability.

Pilots are required to have liability insurance but do not have to name Mercy Flight™ as an additional insured.