Flying with hope on the wings of an angel
A small child, ravaged by cancer, needs lifesaving treatment at a hospital 300 miles away. A father, separated from his family by a hurricane, longs to be reunited. A domestic-violence survivor wants desperately to start a new life in another city. At Angel Flight West, we offer help and hope to people like these every day.
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 in critical situations, the financial, physical, and emotional burdens can make an ordinary trip extraordinarily difficult. That’s when they turn to Angel Flight West. Our network of 1,800+ volunteer pilots fly their own planes and pay for all costs out of their own pockets in order to make these important journeys.
From our headquarters in Santa Monica, California, our dedicated team manages the process that make our work possible: arranging all missions, matching pilots with passengers, spreading the word throughout the healthcare and social work communities, and continuously recruiting new volunteers. It’s much like running a small airline, carried out with extra compassion.
All services are free to our passengers, their families, and healthcare organizations. And AFW’s Mission Coordinators handle each request with care and confidentiality.
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 individual pilots might be, they all have two things in common: the love of flying, and the desire to touch people’s lives.
We’re dependable. We’re here when you need us.
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, small rural healthcare center, children’s protective services, domestic violence shelters, and special camps for children with medical needs.
When someone’s transportation needs are a barrier to accessing the care they need, organizations both large and small know they can depend on Angel Flight West. We’re proud to help them.
Angel Flight West delivers health and hope using donated flights to serve those with healthcare or other compelling human needs. In the air, Angel Flight West links volunteer pilots and commercial airlines with people whose non-emergency health needs require long-distance travel to access care. On the ground, volunteer drivers ferry passengers to and from their departure and destination airports.
Board of Directors
Frequently Asked Questions
Angel Flight West (AFW) is a nonprofit, volunteer-driven organization that arranges free, non-emergency air transportation within the 12 Western states for children and adults with serious medical conditions and other compelling needs. AFW matches volunteer pilots to people in need, enabling them to receive medical treatment and other essential services that might otherwise be inaccessible because of financial, medical, or geographic circumstances.
As an IRS-registered 501(c)3 organization, Angel Flight West does not endorse any political candidate for office, take a position on political matters, or grant the use of its name and logo to any candidate.
All services are free! There are no costs of any kind for passengers to fly with us or for the hospital and agencies that request a mission for their patients. Our volunteer pilots fly their own private or rented aircraft and pay for fuel and all other flight-related expenses, and commercial airline flights are donated through our partnerships.
We provide flights to and from hospitals and other healthcare facilities for people requiring treatment for all medical conditions. In some cases, we also arrange flights for organ transplants—for the organ recipient, organ donor, and for the organs themselves.
Yes. We can arrange “compassion flights” for individuals who need to visit critically ill or injured family members. We also provide flights to relocate survivors of domestic violence, to transport children and adults to camps for a variety of specialty camps (such as burn survivors and families impacted by HIV or AIDS), and to fly support staff and supplies during natural disasters or other crises. For more information, see read about the types of missions we fly.
Unfortunately, we do not. Our limited resources don’t allow us to arrange flights for funerals.
No. Angel Flight West arranges transportation only within the 12 Western states, including Alaska and Hawaii. We can’t arrange flights outside of the U.S. If your destination falls outside our service area, we may be able to arrange a flight that connects you to a flight provided by another Angel Flight organization.
Due to the limited range of the aircraft flown by our pilots, flights are limited to 1,000 miles in each direction. Longer flights are usually broken up into segments of about 300 miles each. A flight that is around 1,000 miles would be done in three separate planes and take about 6-8 hours of flying time, not including time spent on the ground changing planes. A travel day on either side of your appointment would be necessary.
Everyone who flies with us must be medically stable, ambulatory, and able to board and exit the plane with limited assistance.
To be eligible for an AFW mission, a person must demonstrate a financial need or other compelling reason, such as an inability to use public transportation because of a weakened immune system or other medical condition, or living in a rural area that doesn’t have easy access to commercial transportation.
For more information, see our flight request page.
We need a minimum of 7 days, in order to have enough time to process all necessary paperwork and secure a pilot. In some urgent situations, we may be able to arrange a flight with less advance notice. Please contact the office to inquire.
Once all details have been collected, we’ll submit your flight request to a private board our pilots see when they log into our secure system. As soon as a pilot has signed up for your mission, we’ll accept their request and assign the mission.
We will then send you, your requester (if you have one), and your pilot an e-mail with the itinerary, which includes your pilot’s contact information. Shortly after they have been assigned the mission, you should expect to hear from your pilot to discuss all flight-related details. Although you are also welcome to reach out to your pilot directly if you have any questions, it’s best to wait a little while to give them time to coordinate details on their end.
We aren’t able to provide a definitive timeline of when you will be notified that we have found you a pilot. Additionally, there may be times when we won’t be able to secure a pilot until the day before your flight. We understand this can cause some anxiety, but we do our best to find you a pilot as soon as we can. Since our pilots are volunteers, we have to consider they too have their own personal and professional schedules. Having a back-up plan is helpful so you know you will be able to get to your appointment a different way or reschedule, if need be.
Yes, you may travel with a companion. However, as weight is extremely critical on a small aircraft, staff must approve any companions traveling with you before the day of the flight. It is advisable to bring just one companion, as many of our pilots can only accommodate two passengers.
Please do not bring a companion without telling staff and your pilot in advance. Unexpected guests can cause serious problems, and your pilot may not be able to accommodate the additional passenger.
There is no limit. You may apply to request as many flights as you need, as per your doctor’s recommendation.
Angel Flight West publishes a quarterly newsletter. The following is an archive of past issues in PDF format:
- Summer 2023
- Winter 2023
- Fall 2022
- Summer 2022
- Fall 2021
- Winter 2021
- Fall 2020
- Summer 2020
- Spring 2020
- Winter 2020
- Fall 2019
- Summer 2019
- Spring 2019
- Summer 2018
- Spring 2018
- Winter 2018
- Fall 2017
- Summer 2017
- Spring 2017
- Winter 2016
- Fall 2016
- Summer 2016
- Spring 2016
- Winter 2016
- Fall 2015
- Spring 2015
- Winter 2015
- Fall 2014
- Summer 2014
- Winter 2014
- Fall 2013
- Summer 2013
- Winter 2013
- Fall 2012
- Summer 2012
- Spring 2012
- Winter 2012
Angel Flight West is committed to fiscal responsibility and transparency.
As part of that commitment, our financial statements are audited each year by independent auditors. Please use the links below to see our most recent fiscal audit, as well as our accompanying tax return.
Angel Flight West
3161 Donald Douglas Loop South
Santa Monica, CA 90405
Prospective Pilot Information
Social Worker Information
The Los Angeles Chapter of the American Medical Support Flight Team is founded
During its first full year of operation, the group flies 15 missions
The LA Chapter becomes an independent organization and renames itself "Angel Flight West"
Angel Flight West's volunteer pilots fly 170 missions 1987.
Angel Flight West hires its first full-time employee.
Angel Flight West's volunteer pilots fly 665 missions.
To facilitate growth, AFW is split into 14 regional divisions called Wings.
AFIDS (Angel Flight Information Database System) is introduced, enabling pilots to volunteer for missions online.
Angel Flight West partners with Alaska Airlines to provide transportation in Alaska.
More than 4,000 missions flown in 2008.
Total missions to date: over 40,000.
The second version of AFIDS is launched and released as open-source software for use by other Volunteer Pilot Organizations
First Annual Endeavor Awards ceremony held in Los Angeles, CA
Assent to 8000 launched
70000 total flights
Earth Angels expanded
84,000 flights completed
Over 5,000 flights/year
90,000 flights completed
Angel Flight West thanks its sponsors for helping us continue to fulfill our mission.
Our team is grateful to partner with airlines to provide commercial service where transportation in small private aircraft is impractical.
Thanks to these companies who generously provide discounts to our members: