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SW Aviator Feb/Mar 2001
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Hangar Flying
Be An Angel…
By Terry Simcoe, Aviation Programs Manager, New Mexico Aviation Division
Do you know how you can be an angel and touch someone’s life? If you are a pilot it is easier than you think. All you need is the willingness to share your wings with someone in need of transportation assistance. How can you volunteer to provide this assistance? Just join Angel Flight.

Angel Flight West is an organization dedicated to arranging free, non-emergency transportation in private aircraft in response to health care and other compelling human needs. The organization has been active in the western states for several years, but is now in need of more pilots willing to donate their time and planes for these worthwhile flights, particularly in the more rural states such as New Mexico.

A typical Angel Flight might be to take a patient to a scheduled medical appointment, or maybe an ill child to a special camp geared toward their medical problem. While about one-half of all Angel Flights carry cancer patients for treatment, other flights might take patients to large medical centers for diagnosis or rehabilitation. But not all passengers are patients. Angel Flight also carries relatives who need to be at a patient’s side, auto accident survivors who need a ride home, health care professionals who need to get to remote clinics, and even guide dogs. Some Angel Flights have carried blood and organs.

Angel Flight is not an air ambulance service. All passengers must be medically stable and ambulatory. Requests for flights must be initiated by referral from an organization that can verify the passenger’s condition and need. Financial hardship and/or unavailability of other adequate transportation are among the criteria used to justify an Angel Flight. In fact, the lack of adequate transportation is the main justification in many parts of the rural West. The New Mexico Wing of Angel Flight averages at least two missions per week carrying passengers in and out of rural parts of New Mexico to larger towns in New Mexico or to the surrounding states.

You are probably wondering what’s in it for you, right? First, there is that feeling of satisfaction that comes from helping those in need. Second, there is the opportunity to take a tax write-off for your actual expenses of the trip. Angel Flight pilots may not accept compensation for their flights, but the FAA and the IRS have both declared that the expenses incurred in providing such “charity” may be deducted from one’s income tax and not subject the pilot to scrutiny by the FAA for conducting a commercial operation. There is more information on this topic at the Angel Flight West website at, where you can also find links to the various Angel Flight Wings located throughout the West, or call (888) 4-AN-ANGEL. Why don’t you check them out? Then give your local wing a call and join. After an orientation checkout flight with an Angel Flight CFI, you’ll be ready to help someone in need. Won’t that make you feel angelic?
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The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publications and the staff neither assume any responsibility for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising fom it
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