Your Pilot Certificate: How will you serve?
After achieving certification as a pilot, many people often wonder what comes next. There are the usual activities: $100 hamburger flights, showing family and friends your newly acquired privileges, and continuing to learn and pursue further ratings and skills. One aspect of aviation that does not always get the attention it deserves is the list of ways one’s pilot license can be used to give back and serve the community. Let’s explore some of the options. They may inspire you to get involved!
Inspire New Generations
One of the simplest ways to serve with your pilot certificate is simply to inspire the dream of flight in others! Invite friends and family to come with you. Younger people, especially high school and below, are great opportunities to showcase aviation. Who knows, you could inspire tomorrow’s transatlantic airline captain with a local flight! Think about how the dream of flight started for you and help bring others onboard!
As Angel Flight’s motto states, “Sometimes the road to recovery is a runway.” Angel Flight is a group of organizations that exists to help transport, free-of-charge, people with medical needs that would otherwise require extremely expensive relocation services. Pilots volunteer their time, skills, and money, by flying patients to and from hospitals. Pilots are required to meet certain minimums for experience, but the reward certainly makes up for the investment of effort! https://angelflightcentral.org/ is the website for the Midwest’s group. These flights can even be tax-deductible!
Pilots N Paws
It’s not only people who need expensive transportation. At times, there are animals in need of relocation via airplane. Pilots N Paws is a charitable organization, where pilots volunteer their aircraft and time to help animals get where they are most needed. Most often, these dogs are going from a shelter to a new home! Check out the Pilots N Paws website to read the guidelines and get involved! https://www.pilotsnpaws.org/ As with Angel Flights, this type of flying can be made tax deductible, as it is for charitable purposes!
If you’re REALLY ready to take a big leap, the possibility of serving in another country with humanitarian or faith-based organizations is a facet of aviation that is often overlooked. Organizations such as the United Nations, Doctors Without Borders, and Samaritan’s Purse focus on providing humanitarian aid to areas of the world being adversely affected by natural and political events. These organizations often are critically dependent on aircraft to support their operations in areas where access is limited. The flight experience requirements for serving with such an organization are higher and involve long-term commitment to live outside the United States for extended times, but the adventure can’t be denied!
Alongside humanitarian causes, faith based organizations often use aircraft to support operations as well. Groups such as Mission Aviation Fellowship provide transportation and logistical support in areas of the world where roads and rivers often mean travel time is measured in weeks, rather than hours. The approval process to join such organizations is strict, and requires excellent VFR navigation skills while flying larger, single-engine aircraft into small, unpaved runways. The commitments for such a task are, unsurprisingly, not small. Several years of training and preparation are typically required before being approved to fly overseas.
Flying to serve may not be what you imagined yourself doing with a pilot license when you started training, but it certainly is a great way to put your skills to work!
If you’d like to learn more about how to serve others, while flying and growing your skills as an aviator, feel free to reach out to us at 952-698-3000. We’re passionate about aviation and using it in as many wonderful ways as possible. If you’d like to learn how to fly, we’d be glad to show you our facilities and program.