PALS Return to Flying Protocol

flying protocol

The Mission Coordination team will be conducting Enhanced Passenger and Pilot screening and will:


  • Exclude any passengers with symptoms consistent with COVID-19, including but not limited to cough, sneezing, chest congestion, shortness of breath, fever, and loss of taste or smell
  • Exclude any passengers with known exposure to a COVID-19-infected person within the previous two week period, including anyone who has been notified of possible exposure through contact tracing
  • Confirm that passengers are able to enter and exit an aircraft without any assistance or physical contact other than their companion
  • Evaluate any passenger whose medical condition prevents them from complying with droplet transmission protections (e.g., inability to wear a surgical mask)
  • Secure revised medical releases with physicians’ approval to include a statement of necessity of travel considering all risks to pilots and passengers within 24/48 hours of the flight
  • Limit the number of passengers to the patient and a necessary companion if needed
  • Encourage flights in larger cabin aircraft whenever possible
  • Secure signed COVID-19 Release and Indemnity Forms for both pilots and passengers prior to every flight
  • Social distancing of 6 feet where the opportunities permit
  • Deny requests for anyone who is not willing to adhere to best practices
  • Provide access to information regarding risks, protecting oneself, disinfecting, etc.
  • Follow up with pilots and passengers to check health status 14 days after flight

Suggested Pilot Precautions:


Pre Flight

  • Check AOPA’s Restrictions by State
  • Disinfect all surfaces with alcohol wipes and allow time to dry prior to your pre-flight preparations
  • All occupants must wash hands thoroughly or use hand sanitizer immediately before boarding
  • Wear protective gloves when handling passengers’ luggage or equipment; or wash hands thoroughly or apply hand sanitizer after such contact and before boarding
  • Wipe gloves with sanitizer or change gloves after every use
  • When pilots wear a mask while flying (recommended but not required), the microphone may fit through the side of the mask

In Flight

  • Maximize air flow through the cabin to the extent allowable with aircraft limitations and passenger comfort. Increase airflow through vents and fans if applicable
  • Require all passengers to wear protective masks or other acceptable face coverings (protective masks recommended for pilots but not required)
  • Avoid direct contact between passengers, such as shaking hands, hugging or other physical contact
  • Maintain as much physical distance as possible

Post Flight

  • During quick turn, wear a protective mask or face covering and avoid contact with ground personnel
  • Clean all surfaces with disinfectant wipes or solution, including headsets, seat belt buckles, arm rests, door handles, etc.
  • If possible, replace mic muffs for each passenger
  • Provide a thorough post-flight debrief to PALS


How to Protect Yourselves and Others

Cleaning and Disinfecting

Aircraft Disinfection and Cleaning Procedures

MedAire COVID-19 Advice and Answers to Your Questions


You have the power to make critical flights happen

To help a child battling a medical illness get a free flight to a doctor who can save their life. To connect a wounded veteran with a service dog. When you donate to PALS SkyHope, you support people fighting for their lives, and pilots using their skills for the greater good. SkyHope pilots have flown more than 30,000 free missions, lifting the burden for families. With your help, the sky’s the limit for how many missions we can fly and how many lives we can impact. Help us continue to make these flights possible