Flying towards hope on the wings of an angel
A small child, ravaged by cancer, needs specialized lifesaving treatment at a hospital 300 miles away. A father, separated from his family by a hurricane, wants desperately to be reunited. A domestic-violence survivor longs to start a new life in another city, but cannot afford to leave. These are just a few of the people to whom we offer help and hope.
There's an angel in the cockpit.
The ability to travel easily across the country is something that most of us take for granted. But for those whose lives are in turmoil, the financial, physical, and emotional burdens can make ordinary trips extraordinarily difficult. That's when they turn to Angel Fight West. Our network of 1,900 volunteer pilots fly their own planes and pay for all costs (which average $400 a flight) out of their own pockets, in order to make these critical journeys.
At our headquarters in Santa Monica, California, our ground team manages the complex system of matching pilots with passengers, coordinating the flights, spreading the word among referral agencies, and continually recruiting new volunteers.
What we do is much like running a small airline, further complicated by the extra care and expense of working with passengers who need our help, their families, as well as medical and hospital personnel.
The beneficiaries of the flight - the passengers and their families, the healthcare organizations - pay nothing at all, ever.
We love to fly. And we want to help.
Who are these pilots, and why do they give so much of their time and money to help strangers? They're engineers, scientists, and teachers. Doctors, lawyers, and corporate executives. Retired commercial pilots and young entrepreneurs. But as different as these men and women might be, they all have two things in common: The love of flying, and the desire to touch people's lives.
When Angel Flight West began in 1983, our mission was so unique that we sometimes had trouble convincing healthcare providers that we would and could do what we promised: fly people in our own planes for free. It almost seemed too good to be true.
We're there when they need us.
Today, no one questions our capabilities or our commitment. Not only have we earned the gratitude of our passengers, we've earned the trust and respect of a long list of organizations - large research hospitals, children's hospitals, VA hospitals, specialized treatment centers, and small rural healthcare centers... children's protective services, and domestic violence shelters... special camps for children with medical needs.
When someone's transportation needs are critical, organizations both large and small know they can depend on us. We're proud to help them.