Wings of Mercy: The Top 5 Business Aviation Charities
Rather than simply being a mode of transport for jetsetting entrepreneurs, business aviation can also be a major force for good. Here are five of our favorite aviation-related charities, all of which are doing their bit to help those in need around the world.
ANGEL JET NETWORK
Angel Jet Network (AJN) is a Hong Kong-based charity that provides transportation to medical care for underprivileged patients across the Asia-pacific region. Still in its infancy, the organization made its first flights last September, but is already blazing a trail. So far its flights have carried orphans from the Chunhui Children’s Foundation to Chinese hospitals for major surgery.
AJN is inspired by the Us-based Corporate Angel Network (CAN), and uses aircraft and seats donated by individuals and companies. The organization works with charities that provide free medical care to poor patients but are unable to supply free transportation. In some cases, flights will carry medical personnel to isolated locations. Angel Jet Network asks companies and individuals worldwide to contribute empty seats, empty legs, and flight hours within Asia, along with frequent-flyer miles and tickets, fundraising support, ground transportation, hotel accommodations, and financial contributions. It also seeks aircraft owners and operators willing to provide flights between the U.S. and Asia as part of its plan to recruit American doctors to provide medical procedures and training.
Orbis International has been operating since 1982, working to improve eye care for the 89 percent of visually impaired people who live in low- and middle-income countries. This non-profit organization launched its third-generation Flying Eye Hospital in 2016 to train local surgeons to care for their patients while promoting eye care and global health. Donated by Fedex, Orbis’s MD-10 freighter has been gutted and refurbished with all the equipment necessary to train local teams and undertake eye exams and surgeries.
Orbis’s programs emphasize training, skills, and selfsufficiency. The organization spends around a year planning and coordinating with partner hospitals and local organizations, making preliminary visits to observe the local medical teams. The Flying Eye Hospital provides training, equipment, and surgical supplies, to ensure that local medical teams are equipped with skills and supplies after the flying eye hospital has left the program site. Orbis’s telemedicine program, Cybersight, continues training and mentoring even after the Flying Eye
Hospital has left the program site. As well as the Flying Eye Hospital, Orbis operates hospital-based programs in a number of countries, and works on blindness prevention and eye disease treatment. Orbis is also partnered with Asian Business Aviation Association (ASBAA), most notably with ASBAA’S Icons of Aviation annual industry awards and charity gala. The gala has helped raise more than US$100,000 since its inception three years ago.
AIR CHARITY NETWORK
The Air Charity Network is an NGO that provides free air transportation to specialized health care facilities or distant destinations for people in need due to family, community, or national crises. The charity serves all 50 of the United States, and its volunteer pilots use their own aircraft, fuel, and time to provide free air transportation to medical facilities for those in need. Air Charity Network members coordinate flights for organ transplant candidates, clinical trial participants, and people receiving chemotherapy or other repetitive treatment. They also help to relocate victims of abuse, support families receiving help from Ronald Mcdonald Houses, Shriners Hospitals and other charities, and take disabled or sick children to special summer camp programs, among many other humanitarian reasons.
Combined, the Air Charity Network is America’s largest unified Volunteer Pilot organization. It is comprised of thousands of pilots who fly tens of thousands of passengers across the USA each year.
AIR CARE ALLIANCE
This group of charitable organizations works with volunteer pilots to help those in need, matching flight requests with available aircraft. It's an important way of ensuring that the right people gain access to pilots who are willing to lend their services for good. This is particularly true when disasters take place, and ACA is always on hand to channel outpourings of help to those who need it most.
Members of ACA mainly offer short flights on small aircraft, but also meet requests for long-distance transport and specialist services. For example, some patients require stretcher care or reclining seats, while others are immune-suppressed and cannot travel on commercial airlines. ACA’S extensive network means that a wide range of needs can be fulfilled.
After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, the lack of response by the American government prompted a group of aviators to form CARE (Corporate Aircraft Responding to Emergencies). Working on the premise that business aircraft often aren’t needed for their normal duties, CARE helped arrange for them to be available for disaster relief flights. After Katrina, the group’s five founders gathered pilots and aircraft to fly first responders in and bring out victims, proving hugely helpful after the Haiti earthquake in 2010. At this point, CARE was renamed changed Aerobridge to avoid confusion with a similarly named charity.
The newly-named organization set up five staging areas in the USA, with pre-designated resources available for immediate response. The charity is always looking for donations and volunteers, but it’s not all about flying. One major need is for funds to pay for satellite phone service plans. Other services that Aerobridge provides include coordinating relief efforts, and working with the U.S. Navy to help move supplies around the world. The group also helps other organizations to prepare for disasters.
在2005年的卡特里娜飓风过后，美国政府的束手无策捉使一批飞行员组建了公务机应急组织（ CARE）。在公务机无常规工作的前提下， CARE帮助安排这些公务机用于飞行救灾。在卡特里娜飓风过后，该组织的五名创始人召集了飞行员和飞机飞向最先呼救的人并营救出受害者，他们在2010年海地地震后也提供了巨大帮助。在这一点上， CARE被重命名为翻版“登机桥”，以避免与另一家名称类似的慈善机构相混淆。