Aircraft owners and pilots can make miracles happen by including ALFA in their flight plan. Donations of empty seats and cargo payloads are always appreciated. ALFA is the go-to site where flight donors and mission leaders come together to show the world we care. Ready to let airborne generosity soar to whole new flight level? We’ll make it fast, easy and simple every step of the way.
FAQ s for PILOTS, DISPATCHERS, AIRCRAFT OWNERS, OPERATORS AND FLIGHT CREWS
Q: Who is ALFA?
A: ALFA is an all-volunteer team dedicated to leverage the power of aviation to serve humanity. We put wings on missions bound overseas to challenge disease, malnutrition, dependency, despair and injustice.
Q: How does ALFA operate?
A: ALFA coordinates donations of empty seats or surplus cargo capacity in flights departing from predominantly Florida airports to foreign destinations, and matches the gift of flight to the needs of US charities dedicated to bringing hope, stability and a better life to destitute populations abroad.
Q: What is ALFA all about?
A: At ALFA we proudly endorse and nurture the practice of compassionate aviation oriented to serve people devoted to humanitarian relief. We promote public-service aviation and foster awareness of opportunities for flight donations throughout all aviation communities.
Q: What type of aircraft volunteer to fly missions?
A: Privately owned or corporate aircraft with individual or fractional ownership or leased or rented aircraft can donate flying hours for worthwhile causes. Unpressurized aircraft are suitable as well. ALFA missions normally exceed well over 700 n.m. We primarily welcome for Part 91 high-performance single or twin turboprop aircraft with:
• Certification for instrument flight
• A standard U.S. airworthiness certificate
• Licensure in the normal or utility category
Aircraft’s owner or operator is responsible for compliance at all times with applicable USC&BP, federal and state regulations regarding insurance, maintenance, operations and license.
Q: What are the volunteer airmen qualifications?
A: Most owners act as PICs or SICs. Many are seasoned aviators from commercial and/or military aviation backgrounds. ALFA offers advanced young pilots excellent opportunities to perform a valuable service while maintaining their proficiency. All airmen have one thing in common – passion for flying and the desire to serve those who serve humanity. Volunteer pilots must possess:
• A valid U.S. pilot’s license
• Hold a current and valid medical certificate
• Instrument rating as well as ratings appropriate to the aircraft.
• Acquainted with international flying procedures and regulations.
• A clean flying record, no record of revocation or suspension or FAA enforcement action.
• Enthusiasm for flying, compassion for the less fortunate and love for mankind.
Q: How does ALFA support volunteer pilots and aircraft operators?
A: Flight donors are the backbone of ALFA’s operations. Hence, great attention is placed on supporting flight donors and pilots. ALFA’s primary duty is vetting missions, credentialing passengers and qualifying cargo. After the screening process we approve and prioritize the flight request; facilitating and simplifying flight paperwork requirements; coordinating and managing missions; educating and preparing flight beneficiaries to know what to expect and what is expected of them; managing ground logistics with accurate details and updates; answering any questions, responding swiftly and effectively to any needs or problems that may occur; ensuring positive and successful outcomes.
Q. What are the flight donor’s liabilities?
A: There is no liability in excess of the regular liabilities when flying a mission (passengers or cargo or both) arranged by ALFA. It’s the same liability as when flying family or friends. All passengers are required to sign a Hold Harmless & Waiver of Liability Agreement before boarding. Pilots and aircraft owners are required to have liability insurance but are not required to have to name Airlift Flyers Aviation Corp. as an additional insured. Flights arranged by ALFA have the same status as any flight made with passengers by a private pilot under Part 91 of the Federal Aviation Regulations. Please read the insurance policy carefully and check with the agent to ensure it concurs with these provisions and covers international flights which may require supplemental insurance.
Q: Are flight donations entirely dedicated to humanitarian missions?
A: Yes, it can be but not necessarily. Normally mission flight donations utilize empty seats or unused cargo capacity in flights planned for business purposes. A mission flight donation can be easily flown in conjunction with and incorporated into revenue or leisure flights. In fact many mission flight donations are added legs to corporate flights or flown in dead-head flights, ferry flights and positioning flights.
Q: What airports and geographic area does ALFA cover?
A: ALFA generally arranges flights from North America to the Caribbean and the Americas departing from and returning to Florida regional airports served by US Customs. Haiti has received the focus of flight donations since the January 2010 due to the overwhelming need in the aftermath of the earthquake still on record as the most devastating catastrophe of the decade.
Q: Does ALFA operate its own airplanes?
A: Not currently, but ALFA is on track to own or lease and operate an aircraft under Part 91. Presently ALFA strives to synchronize flight requests with flight donations freely offered by generous pilots and aircraft operators. The offer of free air transportation from any origin to any destination at any time is the backbone of ALFA’s operations yet always considered tentative, not binding on the flight donor, aircraft operator, flight crew, sponsors or supporters.
Q: How much previous notice is required to announce a flight donation?
A: As much advance notice as possible would be appreciated in order to alert aspiring beneficiaries with dormant or active air transportation requests.
Q: Does ALFA arrange flights for one or more passenger per flight and air transportation of freight?
A: Yes, all of the above. Depending on the aircraft capability ALFA may arrange group travel and accompanying cargo or separately arranged air transportation of humanitarian cargo.
Q: Does ALFA require a waiver of liability for its passengers?
A: Yes. All passengers must sign a Hold Harmless liability release to the flight donor before taking a free flight. Typically the Flight Coordinator will obtain this paperwork prior to the flight and confirm its receipt to the pilot.
Q: Does ALFA arrange air ambulance flights?
A: No, ALFA does not coordinate air ambulance or medevac services.
Q: Does ALFA help coordinate the air transport of passengers with medical conditions?
A: Yes, depending on specific circumstances under rigorous guidelines, passengers (including adults or children under the custody of a parent or legal guardian) are eligible for free flights. All flight requests are considered and evaluated based on the merit of its humanitarian impact. As with all flight donations, the conditions, provisions and limitations of all flight donations are the entire prerogative, sole discretion and ultimate decision of the flight donor and/or PIC. This includes the allowance to carry passenger’s medical oxygen on board provided passenger takes special precautions for unforeseen flight delays, cancellations or diversions for any reason whatsoever.
Passengers must be clinically and mentally stable, impervious to motion sickness, partly or fully ambulatory enough as to enter and exit aircraft with little or no assistance, able to understand and follow orders in English, able to sit upright wearing standard seatbelts and/or shoulder harness and, depending on the type of aircraft, must be able to last the flight without the use of sanitary facility. Passengers are cautioned to prepare for or to give up flights when lavatory may not be accessible due to passengers’ physical impairment or when the equipment is simply not available on board.
Q: How does ALFA prioritize the allocation of flight resources?
A: ALFA receives numerous flight requests, not all of which are eligible and some of which are discretionary. Each flight request is evaluated by a flight review committee to determine eligibility. If the flight request is deemed practicable it is then weighed against other flight requests in terms of human impact value, urgency and long-term benefit. Flights requests with crucial necessity take precedence over lower ranking flight requests.
Q: Who pays for the flight expenses particularly fuel?
A: ALFA receives no financial backing from the government and thankfully depends on scant donations of fuel from organizations, companies and individuals. Like most humanitarian flying endeavors, ALFA encourages flight donors to assume all costs related to mission flights and take advantage of any expense deductions available. Accountants are an important source of information on tax deductibility pursuant to fuel sharing best practices in effect since 2012. Flight donors are urged to participate in pro-rata sharing of fuel costs after conducting humanitarian flights. Take advantage of IRS rules to split the direct expenses of fuel, oil and landing fees during humanitarian flights under FAR Part 61.113 whenever appropriate under certain conditions.
Q: Are flight donors (pilots and aircraft owners) supposed to register with ALFA?
A: There is no official registration required or cost to register or any charge whatsoever. To sign up for ALFA’s call list or upon donating a flight, please simply fill out and submit the Pilot Declaration Form.
Q: What is expected of airmen flying missions arranged by ALFA?
A: A pilot-in-command (PIC) or second-in-command (SIC) responsible for ALFA-arranged flights must make the following affirmations in effect on the date of the mission flight:
I am a licensed pilot in good standing, with appropriate ratings and type certifications to conduct this mission. I hold a current and valid FAA medical certificate. I meet all currency requirements necessary to conduct the flight, including applicable day and night (90 day) landing and instrument currency (FAR part 61). The aircraft used to fly the mission has a current Annual Inspection and is airworthy on the day of flight (FAR part 91).
Q: Do the volunteer pilots, aircraft owners or operators incur a cost to ALFA for arranging mission flights?
A: None at all. ALFA does not charge a penny to anyone to arrange flights. There is no fee or obligation whatsoever to either the flight donors or the mission beneficiaries.
Q: Are flight donors expected to provide round trip air transportation to passengers?
A: Not at all. Mission passengers may be occasionally invited to occupy both an outbound or inbound seat at the sole discretion of the flight donor without obligation to do so. Outbound legs carrying freight are more commonly offered than seats to help charities accomplish their goals.
Q: How are mission beneficiaries affiliated with ALFA?
A: Mission beneficiaries are independent nonprofit organizations seeking free or subsidized air transportation and ALFA is glad to arrange it on condition that the flight is legitimately used for nonprofit humanitarian purposes. Organizations expect ALFA to serve them deploy safe, efficient and successful mission flights donated by the generosity of pilots and aircraft owners.
Q: What types of charitable organizations does ALFA serve?
A: All charities served by ALFA are registered nonprofit 501-(c)(3) organizations engaged in a variety of medical or humanitarian causes. Most are faith-based groups or NGOs vowed to help humanity.
Q: Can some of the costs of the flight be considered tax deductible contributions to charity?
A: Yes, certainly. Both AOPA and NBAA offer extensive instructions on how to justify expenses, gather receipts, calculate deductions and process the tax write-offs, but the advice of a competent accountant is always highly recommended.
Q: Can flight donors accept sharing expenses with beneficiary organizations?
A: Yes, Under certain conditions both parties may consider well-designed aircraft sharing plans provided it is: 1. compatible with the nonprofit status of the flight beneficiary, 2. missions are well defined, and 3. benefactor funding is pledged for its implementation. There are FAA issues, operational concerns, liability matters, depreciation and tax considerations in the execution of various types of sharing arrangements. These include Short-Term lease, Long-Term lease and Co-Ownership agreements that require the expert advice of professional consultants.
Q: When a charter operation provides a flight at steeply discounted subsidized rate to a non-profit group with a tax exemption certificate, does Federal Excise Tax apply?
A: In most cases, even if the non-profit group is tax exempt, FET will still apply to amounts paid for the flight. There are few very specific exemptions from the transportation of persons tax that apply to operations such as medical flights, but there is no generalized exemption for non-profit or tax-exempt groups. Unless one of the limited exemptions applies, operators should collect the 7.5 percent FET on amounts paid, along with applicable segment fees.
Q: How often and how many seats or pounds of free cargo space are needed?
A: Charitable missions have ongoing demand for air transportation to various Caribbean islands and to Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. They need regular flight donations of as much cargo capacity as may be available on any given flight. Free air transportation provides economically-strapped charities the means to help the poor beyond our shores.
Q: What types of goods are transported?
A: Qualifying cargo are typically goods with a high human-value to weight ratio. Medical, dental or surgical instruments or supplies, pharmaceuticals, small equipment and materials for hospitals or diagnostics, nutritional supplements, perishable vaccines and expensive medicines receive top priority. All items being carried in an ALFA-arranged flight must be donated, that is, without commercial interest. Items in the low-priority category are bulk foods, clothing, footwear, toys and consumer products. It is always the PIC’s final decision to inspect, accept or reject cargo.
Q: Business aircraft owners, Corporate Pilots, Flight Department Managers, Chief Pilots and Schedulers ask: How may we donate a flight?
A: Every corporate aircraft can be a potential public service asset. Give us a call with your ETD, departure and destination airports with as much advance notice as possible, empty seats or surplus cargo space available, and we’ll provide you matching organizations.
Q: Can Charter and Fractional Operators help out?
A: Yes, most certainly. Every chartered flight, empty leg or dead head flight can be a possible huge benefit to a charitable institution. Simply advise the planned departure time and destination airports, spare payload or empty seats available, and we’ll match your offer with compatible organizations.
Q: Private pilots and aircraft owners inquire: How may we donate a flight?
A: Every Part 91 flight can be a possible assistance to a charitable cause. Just let us know your ETD, departure and destination airports, empty seats or surplus cargo space available, and we’ll suggest arrangements with potential beneficiaries.
Q: How are pilots and aircraft owners recognized for their flight donation?
A: Both ALFA and/or the flight beneficiaries (charitable organizations) acknowledge their gratitude to flight donors in writing. Flight donors receive written confirmation from the flight beneficiaries and ALFA as well. Flight donors are recognized in the Alfa.Aero website upon request with earnest appreciation of the humanitarian value of the flight. Ultimately a flight donation is a precious gift pilots give to needy individuals in poor communities overseas that may rarely have the opportunity to express their thankfulness.
Q: How, where and when does air crew receive the cargo?
A: The exact cargo weight allowed by the flight donor is delivered by ALFA volunteers to the hangar, ramp or aircraft door at the time and place designated by the flight crew departing from any South Florida airport.
Q: What are the responsibilities of the air crew with regards to the unloading the cargo at the destination airport?
A: Practically none. Once the aircraft is offloaded at the destination flightline and the cargo is on the ramp the pilot’s mission is essentially complete. Pilots consider their assignment fulfilled as soon as shipping documents are handed to Customs officials at the destination country. Shippers and/or consignees are fully obligated for all clearance arrangements and are responsible for doing to prevent losses, delays, storage charges and duties. Consignees are given notice flight crew intends to drop and go without incidents and depart a.s.a.p.
Q: After landing at Haiti’s main city airports and clearing customs, what are other possible destinations within Haiti with exceptional need for aid?
A: After Immigration and Customs clearance at Port au Prince (Toussaint Louverture Intl.) MTPP (IATA: PAP), or at Cap Haitien International MTCH (IATA: CAP), obtain permit to fly to: Cayes MTCA, or Jacmel MTJA or Jeremie MTJE (IATA: JEE), or Port-de-Paix MTPX (IATA: PAX) where mission flights and crew can visit briefly and experience the incomparable gratification of assisting remote field clinics and burgeoning orphanages.
Q: I am new to cross-border flying. What are the requirements?
A: Planning a border-crossing flight requires special preparation and both AOPA and NBAA offer exceptional resources on this topic. You must electronically submit a detailed crew and passenger manifest to the government prior to departure from the U.S. and prior to returning as well. Advance notice of arrival in the U.S. from a foreign port has long been a requirement, but now general aviation pilots must submit detailed manifests in advance of both leaving and coming back into the country. Why? The Department of Homeland Security wants to know if anyone aboard your aircraft is on its ‘no-fly’ list. The requirement, called electronic Advance Passenger Information System or eAPIS, is based on a web site portal (http://eapis.cbp.dhs.gov) where you complete detailed departure and arrival reports with information on the aircraft, crew, passengers, and itinerary. The report must be filed at least an hour in advance of departure, but can be filed weeks prior. The same advance notice is required for arrival reports. You have to enroll and obtain an account before completing your first eAPIS report. Once you have filed an eAPIS, you must receive email confirmation that the report has been received before you can depart. The first few eAPIS filing encounters may be cumbersome, slow, and often frustrating, but with experience the process goes more smoothly. It can get tricky, however, if you are out of the country in a place where electronic communication is difficult and you have to file an amended arrival report because your manifest, foreign port of departure, or date of departure changes. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which administers the program for Homeland Security, is enforcing the $5,000 fine for failure of first-time offenders to file an advance departure or arrival report. The second offense exacts a $10,000 penalty. To learn more about eAPIS or to get direct support write to Private.Aircraft.Support@DHS.gov
Commercial services including FltPlan.com offer eAPIS filing services for customers. Simply provide the necessary information and the service does the rest—for a fee, of course.
Q: What are the procedures for a private (non-commercial N registered) aircraft flying within Haiti airspace to small airports after clearing immigration and customs in the main gateway airports of Port a Prince (MTPP) or Cap Haitien (MTCH)?
A: Any private aircraft can conduct private flights within the boundaries of Haiti. There is a minimum landing fee of at Port au Prince. There are nominal landing fees in La Gonave, Jacmel, Les Cayes and Cap Haitien. Beware of crooks and verify whatever parking applicable landing charges may apply BEFORE parking. Before operating in Hinche, La Gonave or Mole St. Nicolas, pilots should ask for up to date information from pilots who service these cities on a regular basis. Conditions are usually very marginal, and can get worse during rainy seasons.
Port de Paix (MTPX) – 4000′ dirt strip, houses on both sides
Jeremie (MTJE) – Coral Base with grass and dirt, about 4000′ long 200 ‘ wide
Les Cayes (MTCA) – Blacktop ashphalt 3000′
Jacmel (MTJA) – Blacktop asphalt 3000′
Pignon – A private grass strip 4500’ to 5000′ run by the Dr. Theodore group (you must coordinate and ask for pre approval to land there as the gate is usually locked).
La Gonave – less than 3000′ sand and dirt (beach type runway)
Hinche – 3000′ or less dirt and grass and many rocks. Animals and people in vicinity.
Mole St Nicholas – About 3500′ dirt and grass
Q: What airports of South Florida are designated by APIS as the first landing airport required for non pre-cleared private aircraft entering USA from a foreign area?
A: First note airports have different operational hours and different operational requirements (e.g., Landing Rights, Overflight Exemptions, Permission to Land, etc.). Pilots should contact the CBP airport of arrival directly to better understand and confirm local operating procedures and requirements that may affect the flight. Coordination is critical, especially for arrivals in to regional airports where CBP is not permanently staffed. The list and phone / fax numbers is as follows:
Fort Lauderdale Executive KFXE 954-356-7412 or 954-973-1930
Fort Lauderdale Int’l. KFLL GA facility 954-356-7411 or 954-356-7431 or 954-634-1930
Southwest Florida Regional KRSW Fort Myers 239-561-6205
Fort Pierce / St. Lucie County Int’l KFPR 772-461-1733 or 561-233-1080 or 772-461-4886
Key West Int’l KEYW 305-296-0303 or 305-296-5411 or 305-526-7155
Melbourne Int’l KMLB 321-674-5796
Miami Int’l KMIA 305-526-7155 or 305-526-7156 or 305-526-7157
Opa Locka KOPF 305-687-5475 or 305-687-8475 or 305-526-7155
Kendall Tamiami KTMB 305-969-7511 or 305-969-1576 or 305-526-7155
Naples Municipal Airport KAPF 239-430-9321
Orlando Executive Airport KORL 407-897-5102
Orlando-Sanford International KSFB 407-322-6019 or 407-585-4101
Sarasota Bradenton International KSRQ 941-359-5040
St. Petersburg Clearwater Int’l KPIE 727-536-7311
Tampa Int’l. KTPA 813-348-1700, ext. 2400
West Palm Beach Int’l. GA Facility KPBI 561-233-1080, ext. 2, or 305-526-7155 or 561-687-5265
Q: Besides Haiti, what other destinations are most commonly requested by mission groups?
A: The most frequently requested destinations are Belize City, Belize BZE; Georgetown, Guyana GEO; Guatemala City, GUA; Managua, Nicaragua, MGA; San Pedro Sula, Honduras SAP; San Salvador, El Salvador SAL; Tegucigalpa, Honduras TGU.
Q: Does the U.S. Government require a license to enter into an overflight permit agreement with the Cuban Civil Air Authority, even if there is no cost?
Yes. An overflight permit from the Government of Cuba is property in which the Government of Cuba has an interest. Therefore, a license the Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) is necessary prior to obtaining the permit, even if no funds are changing hands at this point in the process. Many U.S. companies provide permitting and payment services on behalf of their clients. If such a facilitator holds an OFAC license to obtain the permits and make the payments to the Government of Cuba, there is no need for each individual client to obtain a separate OFAC authorization. Please link to Caribbean Flying Adventures, an approved facilitator for additional details Please follow the link : Caribbean Flying Adventures
Q: What are some examples of the flight donor’s operating costs reported per hour in twin-turboprop airplanes in 2011-2012?
A: Following are a few approximate illustrations:
Cessna Conquest II $1,000.00
Hawker Beechcraft King Air C90 $1,000.00
Mitsubishi MU-2 Marquise (MU-2B) $950.00
Reims Aviation F406 Caravan II Turboprop Twin $822.44
Twin Commander 1000 $1,028.39
Viking Air DHC 6-300 Twin Otter $1,077.04
Q: What are the most common fuel stops en-route to the eastern Caribbean from South Florida?
A: Grand Turk (GDT) and Provindenciales (PLS).
Q: Is the cargo transported by ALFA-matched flights covered by insurance?
A: No, flight donors do not or asked to carry insurance of any type for property losses covering cargo.
Q: Why does ALFA operate primarily from Florida airports?
A: Mainly because of our geographical proximity to the Caribbean and Central America, but also because ALFA taps into and sources goodwill from the vibrant network of air carriers, corporate aviation and general aviation communities of South Florida.