Washington, D.C. — Senators Ted Budd (R-NC) and Joe Manchin (D-WV) have introduced the Volunteer Pilot Support Act.
The bill allows volunteer pilots to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses from 501(c)(3) charities who serve veterans, patients with medical needs, those impacted by natural disasters, shelter dogs, and more.
Senator Budd said in a statement:
“Volunteer pilots do great work to serve their communities. But they are facing limitations based on the FAA’s overly broad regulations. Our bill will fix this problem, rightsize the FAA’s regulations, and allow more volunteer pilots to serve those in need.”
Senator Manchin said in a statement:
“Under current FAA regulations, private pilots who volunteer their time, talents, and aircrafts to help those in need, such as transporting patients and veterans seeking medical treatment and assisting with disaster relief, must foot the bill for their selfless contributions in service to others. I am pleased to introduce legislation with my colleague Senator Budd to bring about common sense reform to these regulations and allow nonprofits to reimburse volunteer pilots for costs incurred while serving their fellow Americans. I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bipartisan proposal.”
- Hundreds of charitable organizations use aviation to achieve their charitable goals.
- These activities include medical transportation flights for civilians and veterans, surveying ecological conditions, assisting with disaster relief, transporting endangered species, introducing kids to STEM career paths, and moving pets to no-kill shelters.
- These groups rely on volunteer pilots to donate their time and aircraft as part of their programming.
- The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) prohibits private pilots assisting 501(c)(3) charities from receiving any reimbursement for out-of-pocket expenses.
- The Volunteer Pilot Support Act allows volunteer pilots to be reimbursed for out-of-pocket expenses from 501(c)(3) charities, subject to the following qualifications:
- The passenger is notified that the flight does not meet the same requirements as a commercial flight.
- The pilot holds at least a private pilot certificate and an instrument rating or airline transport pilot certificate.
- The pilot has logged 500 flight hours in the category of aircraft used for the flight.
- The pilot holds a medical certificate or meets the “Basic Med” requirements.