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Angel Flights

  • Thread starter Traumahawk
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Anyone out there do angel flights at all? I was going to try and fly a couple in an aztec this summer. Looks like a good experience. I haven't ever done one but have a few friends that have and encourage it. Any catches to be aware of or things to know? If you spent $500 on a roudtrip flight to drop someone off, how much would you see back in a tax return? Hate to make it sound like money money money but sometimes, this is a large contributing factor :)

Quote from an IRS Ruling:

"Volunteers will incur out-of-pocket expenses related to the demonstrations. These costs are: (1) fuel and oil for the actual flight; (2) transportation to and from the airport; (3) rental charges for a bus or van; (4) rental charges for an airplane used only for the program; (5) extra liability insurance incurred only for the program; (6) postage for mailing registration records; and (7) landing and tying down fees at a non-base home airport."

For more info, see:


Keep good records documenting the time you actually spent on an airlifeline or angle flight mission. Do not try to depreciate the value of your aircraft or tack on some nebulous value for your time - you are a volunteer.

Typical flight:

Drive home to airport: 10 miles @ 22 cents/mile
Flight - Round trip - total fuel and oil: $116.35
Drive airport to home: 10 miles @ 22 cents/mile

PS: It's hard to pay a landing or tie-down fee as most airports waive this for your charitable work. For example, Signature Flight Support who finds a way of charging for everything waives all fees and gives a 50cent per gallon discount to AirLifeLine.

After you do one of these flights you won't think about the money any longer. Just seeing one of these patients makes you understand how lucky you are to hold a medical certificate and just be a pilot. My only concern for these folks is how to give them the softest and smoothest ride that I can.
I don't understand the deduction you can take. You can put the entire cost of the flight (rental, landing fees, etc)? When you file your income tax, do these fees just go under the charity donations part?
I've done a number of these flights. There aren't any catches. If you've got friends who've done AFs also, you probably already know the basics, but a couple of items: (1) go/no go is always up to you. Passengers are told that these are GA flights, and that weather and other factors could present last minute problems. They are encouraged to make backup plans just in case. (2) Angel Flight America is the broad umbrella name that encompasses a number of regions. They are all independent, but work together. The independent part means that each region is free to set its own rules, so the requirements to be an AF pilot can vary. Some require only the 200 hours mins specified by the regs, some require 300. Some require an instrument rating, some don't. Just be sure to check on the requirements of the region for whom you'd be flying. (3) It's far better to own your plane than to try to do these with rentals. Not that it can't be done, but rentals are more likely to be down and coordinating the flight and the rental can be a problem. (4) There are volunteer liability forms that passengers sign prior to boarding the plane. It's important to bring a stamped envelope and leave these with the FBO for mailing BEFORE you begin your flight. It basically is their acknowledgement that this is a volunteer flight and releases you from any liability should anything happen. (I've always wondered how these would stand up in court, but that's another thread!)

As for deductions, they are considered charitable donations and are as Tarp already indicated, although I'm not certain how the aircraft rental works. As mentioned, if you own your aircraft, you can't deduct pro-rata expenses for things like monthly hanger fees, loan payments, normal insurance, etc. How much the deductions are worth to you personally will depend on your income. If it's high enough, zero will be deductible.

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