Daily Point of Light # 1183 Aug 17, 1998

AirLifeLine is a network of volunteer pilots and airplane owners who fly low-income children and adults to and from specialized medical treatments. The purpose of AirLifeLine is to provide access to healthcare to those in need who cannot afford medical-related travel. AirLifeLine also transports bone marrow, blood, tissue samples and emergency medical supplies around the country.

In 1978, Tom Goodwin, a California businessman founded AirLifeLine, who saw that many light aircraft sat idle most of the time and almost every pilot was looking for a 'good reason' to fly more. Initially, the program was established to provide efficient transport of time-critical medical cargo. In 1984, services were expanded to include the transportation of patients who require, but could not afford medical travel. Over 800 pilots are involved in AirLifeLine today. All pilots meet the federal aviation proficiency requirements and have a current medical certificate and aircraft insurance. An average of 4 missions are provided daily, with over 14,000 being completed thus far.

At this time, the provision and availability of life-saving medical care is undergoing radical changes as medical professions, insurance underwriters, health benefit providers and government and political forces realign themselves and their position concerning the nation's health. The impact of new policies and expensive medical technology has meant that much medical care is available only in urban areas. Rural patients are left far from advanced medical treatment.

Through AirLifeLine, patients are able to travel without cost to receive state-of-the-art medical care. AirLifeLine is funded through private donations, member pilots, businesses, organizations and foundations.