Nov. 7, 2019

Since its founding in 1981, LifeLine Pilots has flown more than 8,000 humanitarian missions, with over 450 volunteer pilots logging over 5 million nautical miles. The majority of these flights were flown by general aviation pilots operating small, unpressurized aircraft.

The group, which operates in 10 states primarily in the Midwest, would like to expand to longer flights, and is looking for help from the business aviation community. Currently, on longer flights, several pilots and aircraft must fly legs of approximately 250-300 nautical miles.

“Just this week, a man in his late 40s, who is on hospice, requested a flight from Illinois to Louisiana to see his son who has terminal cancer,” said Lindsey Kerr, executive director of LifeLine Pilots. “Using general aviation pilots, this would be a three-leg flight and put tremendous pressure on the man flying. He has limited ability to climb in and out of the aircraft and weighs over 250 pounds.

“Due to these restrictions, we were unable to fly him to see his son one last time,” she said. “Having additional business planes registered with our organization would give us the ability to fill flights like this, and an air stair door would be a huge benefit for passengers with limited mobility. The ability to climb in and out of a small aircraft can restrict passengers who need our help.”

Kerr described a recent flight she made with a passenger and her husband to Rochester, MN.

Lifeline passenger“She has severe, life-limiting scoliosis and was at the stage where she was looking for a miracle, which came in the form of an appointment at Mayo Clinic. The seven-hour drive was too painful and expensive for her, but the two-hour flight was a godsend,” Kerr said. “When we arrived in Rochester, she gave the pilot and me teary hugs.”

Operators with access to business aircraft wishing to help LifeLine Pilots enhance its mission are encouraged to apply online on the group’s website. For any questions, please all the organization’s 800-822-7972.

Learn more about LifeLine Pilots.