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Angel Flight Networks Work Together to Fly Those in Need

Founded in 1981, Corporate Angel Network (CAN) provides transportation for cancer patients by pairing empty seats - on both private and corporate planes - with qualified patients who need the rides at no cost. This not only improves the patients' chances of survival, but at the same time, it reduces their emotional stress, physical discomfort, and financial burden.

When you look at the sleek outlines of the latest Cessna Citation Latitude, Pilatus PC-24 or Gulfstream G600, you see the potential for performance, agility, and the speed that gets you to a destination safely and in style. What a cancer patient sees—looking at that same aircraft—is entirely different. Therein lies a protected cocoon, a nurturing shell in which an immunocompromised soul can fly to treatment without worry.

Mark Pestal is a commercial pilot who founded AeroAngel, which is based at Centennial Airport (KAPA) in Colorado. Since January 2010, the AeroAngel mission is very similar to CAN’s and has been able to connect sick children with the wings to access distant medical care. With more than $2 million worth of in-kind or monetary donations in total, AeroAngel has helped more than 200 children receive critical care to date.

Another mission-specific organization that coordinates vital transportation through use of corporate and private aircraft is the Veterans Airlift Command (VAC). Volunteer pilots and aircraft owners have stepped up to fly more than 10,000 passengers to date, using mostly turboprop twins and jet aircraft to suit particular needs for those who have served our country.

On the civilian side, the Angel Flight network of charitable organizations also holds opportunities for medical-related airlift through its web of regional partners. Pilots and aircraft owners typically volunteer service of their light singles and twins to carry ambulatory patients within a state or region, or they collaborate to span farther distances. Using anything from a Cessna 182 on up, Angel Flight pilots work wherever there is need.