Pilot FAQs

Are you interested in flying for Angel Flight but still have some questions?  Please review some of the most commonly asked questions regarding our passengers, the types of planes used by our volunteer pilots, and the amount of flexibility we have with our scheduled missions.  If you need additional information, please contact our office.

What is the standard distance of an Angel Flight mission?  Our missions range from 100-1,000 nautical miles.  For longer missions, we break them up into 300-nautical mile legs

Do I need to be IFR certified?  No, we do not require pilots to be IFR certified, but this will limit the missions you are able to fly. 

How many people typically travel on a mission?  An adult passenger is allowed to bring one companion, and a child is allowed to have two companions (usually both parents will travel with the child).  If you are unable to accommodate all of the passengers, but you are interested in flying the mission, please contact us to see if we are able to work with the passenger.  Children are not permitted to travel alone.

How much luggage are passengers allowed to bring?  We allow them to bring a combined total of 50 lbs., regardless of the number of travelers.

Are experimental planes permitted to fly Angel Flight missions?  No, the plane must be certified by the FAA under a Standard Airworthiness Certificate.

Are 2-seat planes allowed to fly Angel Flight missions?  Yes, we do have missions where the passenger is traveling alone.  If you find a mission that you would like to fly, but there are 2 passengers listed on the mission, then we may be able to work with the passenger if he/she is traveling to the medical facility.

Is there a preference for a plane with a high or low wing?  No, we encourage pilots with all types of aircraft to fly for our organization.  Each passenger must meet certain requirements before they are able to travel with Angel Flight.  One of the criteria is that they must be able to walk and step up onto the wing of the aircraft.  Some pilots carry a small stepping stool to help the passengers get into the plane.

How far in advance are missions posted on the website?  The passengers are required to contact Angel Flight at least 7 business days prior to their scheduled appointment.  Some of our passengers receive a schedule of their upcoming appointments which enables us to update the system with several missions over the course of a month or more.

What happens if I need to cancel a flight because of weather, mechanical issues, or other extenuating circumstances? We require all of our passengers to have a back-up plan prior to submitting a request for a flight, such as driving or rescheduling their appointment.  Weather is a common reason for cancelling a mission.

How much flexibility do I have with changing the airports?  The Mission Coordinator selects the airports that are closest to the medical facility or the passenger’s home, but many of our pilots choose to fly in and out of different airports for various reasons.  For example, if a passenger is flying to Houston’s MD Anderson for treatment, we always set the airport to Houston Hobby since that is the closest airport to the medical facility.  However, if a pilot’s plane is kept at a different airport or fuel is cheaper elsewhere, then we are happy to work with you on changing the origin or destination airport.

If you are flying one leg of a multi-leg mission, you may also coordinate with the other pilot to change the airport where the hand-off of the passenger takes place.  The Mission Coordinator chooses the hand-off airports for multi-leg missions based on distance and the proximity to areas where we may have more pilots. 

If I am able to fly a mission on a different day than what’s posted on the website, are you able to change the date?  We enter the missions based on the appointment times, so our passengers do have some flexibility with their schedules.  If you are interested in flying a mission either before or after the day we have entered in the system, please contact us to see if the passenger would be willing to fly in a day earlier or leave a day later.  This is especially true for Friday and Monday missions if you have better availability to fly over the weekend.

Am I able to combine passengers from different missions on the same flight?  Yes, you may choose to accommodate as many passengers as your plane will hold.  And, you will also receive credit for each mission that you accept, even if the passengers are traveling to and from the same locations.

May I accept more than one leg of a multi-leg mission?  Yes, it is very helpful to us if you are able to fly more than one leg.  We break up the missions to help accommodate pilots with smaller aircraft or pilots who have a limited amount of time to fly, especially during the week.

What should I do if a passenger arrives with too much luggage, they bring additional companions, or they don’t meet the Angel Flight requirements in some way?  The Mission Coordinator thoroughly reviews all of the requirements and expectations with each passenger before entering the mission in the system.  If a passenger arrives at the airport and they do not meet the requirements in some way, then it is your choice whether or not to continue with the mission.  Please keep in mind that if you have a larger plane that can accommodate unexpected companions or additional luggage, the next pilot who flies that passenger (whether it’s a return flight or the next leg of a mission) may not have the same capability.  We also ask that you inform us of any issues that may occur before, during, or after the mission.

What type of medical care is performed during the flight?  We provide non-emergency flights for medical treatment, so none of our passengers receive any kind of medical care during the flight.  Passengers are permitted to bring a small oxygen tank during the flight, if needed.