If you’re reading this, I know how much you love to fly as well as the gratification you feel from helping others through PALS with your passion and flying skills. But let’s face it, flying isn’t inexpensive. There is definitely a significant cost barrier associated with flying and inasmuch, any opportunity to save on fuel costs is welcome for most pilots.
As you may know, reimbursement for fuel is generally prohibited under Part 91. (For a good read on what the regs say about fuel reimbursement click here.) Luckily, PALS has petitioned for and received an exemption from the FAA that allows them to legally reimburse qualifying pilots for fuel.
As with any exemption from the FAA, there are a few hoops to jump through to demonstrate an equivalent level of safety, but PALS has done their best to streamline the process and reduce the additional workload.
So, what does it entail, you ask? Firstly, you will need a second class medical. Next you need to complete three online courses, which can easily be completed in one sitting. Lastly, you need an IPC every 12 calendar months. There are some other conditions and limitations you’ll need to comply with as well. For example, reimbursement may only be made for flights that are for a medical purpose (“compassion” flights, such as PALS for Patriots, are excluded). You can learn more by clicking here.
As far as paperwork, it isn’t much different than the documents you already provide for your missions. There is a special affirmation and risk assessment form to complete prior to your mission and a simple fuel reimbursement application to complete after your mission.
At $.30 per mile it covers about a third of my fuel bill in my single engine Lance for the typical mission. (For multi or turbine aircraft the rate is $.45 a mile). It will never cover the entire cost of fuel (unless you fly a glider) but it allows me to fly more missions than I otherwise could. And for me, that is what it’s all about.
Of all the flying I do, the most meaningful flights are those I do for our PALS patients and their families. The true value of the PALS Fuel Reimbursement Program is not that it will pay for my missions, but that it allows me to afford to do more missions. In this case, more is better.
So, if you have thought about it, but thought it would be too complicated or time-consuming, I am here to tell you it’s not. If you have any questions about the program, feel free to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Joe is a Commercial pilot with over 3500 hours. He joined PALS in 2011 and has flown over 40 missions. He started his dental practice, South Jersey Center for Dental Medicine in 1985 and flies a Piper Lance out of South Jersey Regional Airport (VAY). His wife, Diana, of 37 years is now working on her private pilot and Joe on his CFI.