(Patient Airlift Services)
Established in 2010, PALS is an award-winning and nationally recognized leader in the field of charitable aviation. PALS’ mission is to provide free flights for people who need to travel for medical care; military personnel and their families traveling for recovery and rehabilitation; and humanitarian efforts in the event of natural or man-made disasters. With service throughout the eastern United States, PALS alleviates the economic barrier of transportation for individuals in need. PALS engages more than 600 command pilots, and has made more than 25,000 critical flights happen to date. In 2022, PALS is on track to complete more than 2,800 flights across all its programs.
PALS Medical Flights ensure that those in need can access healthcare regardless of location or financial cost. Individuals with chronic or life-threatening illnesses in rural areas and/or low-income households often face geographic and economic barriers to healthcare. Lack of transportation due to cost, distance, or physical ability can result in delayed or missed care, appointments, and medication. Medical flights account for nearly 90% of all PALS flights, and roughly 30% of patients served are children. There is no limit to the number of flights patients can request, and most engage in four to six Medical Flights.
I live in a small town in Maine. The doctor that specializes in my type of cancer practices at NYU Cancer Center in New York City. The twelve-hour bus ride from Maine to NYC was more taxing on my body than the chemotherapy I was given. After the first couple of PALS flights, my oncologist remarked on how I was able to better handle the stress of the trip and the side effects of the chemo. Doctors and scientists can have the best treatments for the worst diseases, but if you can’t get the patient to the therapy, what good is the therapy?
PALS for Patriots offers transportation for injured and disabled veterans to specialized military medical centers, adaptive retreats, and morale-boosting events, representing over 10% of all flights per year. PALS Sky Hope Disaster Relief Program, which accounts for 3.7% of all flights annually, provides humanitarian airlift support in response to natural disasters. In the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria, Sky Hope arranged nearly 500 flights that transported relief workers, evacuees, and 500,000 pounds of supplies.
Facilitated by a dedicated staff of eight employees, each mission is highly customized in response to patient requests and needs, which PALS identifies using the following cycle of recruitment and implementation strategies:
PALS began its mission to provide free medical, compassion and veteran flights back in 2010. It was the dream of our founders, who as pilots felt their skills and resources could help people with free air transportation for medical treatments.
That initial inspiration and the first PALS flight has now grown to over 27,000 flights for over 3,200 families and an astounding 6.5 million miles flown. Quite an accomplishment for a free air travel organization a little over 10 years old.
Over the years and over many missions, we’re honored and humbled to hear how many lives we’ve been able to impact. Often times when a person is diagnosed with a life-changing illness, the care they need is inaccessible by car due to the repeat trips and length of each trip. When these families and individuals reach out to PALS, our team of volunteer pilots and mission coordinators go to work to make free travel to a medical facility or hospital possible. The stories we hear and those that our patients send us are all the reward we need.