Pilot Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is CAIR Flight?
A. CAIR Flight Inc., is a fully qualified, tax exempt 501c3 charitable corporation.
The mission of CAIR Flight is to facilitate access to health care by coordinating free air transportation aboard general aviation aircraft. CAIR Flight links volunteer pilots with the people who must travel for treatment or compassionate care not available locally.

CAIR Flight is your opportunity to combine love of flying with volunteer community service. Your participation will benefit people whose medical problems have left them without the ability to reach diagnostic or treatment facilities.

Q. Who does CAIR Flight transport?

A. CAIR Flight coordinates transportation for people whose medical problems make it necessary for them to travel for diagnosis or repeated treatment. CAIR Flight also flies people whose condition or location makes it difficult or impossible for them to use other means of public transportation. We also help those who lack the financial resources for commercial transportation. CAIR Flight missions typically do not exceed 500 miles. All missions are voluntary.
Examples of CAIR Flight missions include the following:

  • transporting cancer patients for chemotherapy surgery or other treatment
  • transporting children with life-threatening illnesses for specialized diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up
  • transporting people with kidney problems to obtain dialysis or kidney transplants
  • transporting patients with heart problems for specialized diagnosis, treatment, and follow-up
  • transporting children to and from “special needs camps” such as camps for burn survivors, children with renal disease, or children with cancer or leukemia

CAIR Flight also responds to many other compelling human needs for which free air transportation would be of value; such as”First Responders” following natural disasters.

Our passengers must be ambulatory; children must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian; and all patients must be medically stable and non-contagious. They must be able to get in and out of the aircraft on their own (or with limited assistance), sit up for the duration of the flight and not require medical treatment enroute. We are not an air ambulance service.

Patients may have a friend or family member accompany them if fuel, weight and balance limits allow.

Q. Where do the calls come from?

A. Most requests for CAIR Flight missions come directly from a patient or patient family member. Many times they have been referred by a social worker or discharge planner at a hospital or health care agency. We also deal directly with healthcare professionals. Other requests come from charitable organizations and societies such as: the American Cancer Society, The American Red Cross, Moffitt Cancer Center, and many other hospitals, clinics, and foundations. We receive referrals from the Air Care Alliance, an umbrella public benefit organization to which CAIR Flight belongs as a proud member.

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 kind of aircraft do CAIR Flight pilots use?

A. Most of CAIR Flight pilots’ aircraft are single or twin-engine, propeller-driven aircraft, jet aircraft are also welcome and ideal for the longer distance missions.

The majority of our missions are flown in single-engine, four to six-seat aircraft. Most mission requests that we receive are well within the capability of such aircraft. You do not need either a large or a fast airplane to be of assistance to most people who seek CAIR Flight’s help.

Q. What are the pilot requirements?
A.The minimum number of hours P.I.C. for pilot participation is 250 logged time. An instrument license is always preferred and required for all night flights. Pilots self certify when accepting any missions that they and their aircraft are current, airworthy and completely ready for the requested operation.

Q. What is my liability as a CAIR Flight pilot?
A. Flights you make for CAIR Flight have the same status as any flight made with passengers by a an FAA certified pilot under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. You have no greater liability when flying a passenger for a CAIR Flight mission than when flying a friend or neighbor. Pilots are required to have liability insurance but do not have to name CAIR Flight as an additional insured.

Q. Who are the members of CAIR Flight?

A. The volunteers of CAIR Flight are certified pilots (aircraft owners or renters) and a dedicated team of ground support volunteers and board members.

Q. I love to fly. How can I help?

A. CAIR Flight uses our network of volunteer pilots to coordinate free transportation via general aviation 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 ability to reach places where they can get essential diagnosis or treatment.

CAIR Flight is an IRS not-for-profit corporation. This allows for tax-deductible flight expenses (consult your tax advisor for details). So, if you are 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! In order to keep up with the tremendous increase in mission requests, we must constantly increase our pilot member base. Please complete a pilot application and join our team; and we welcome referrals to other pilots as well.