When you think of a private jet, you might think of the rich and famous heading off to an island vacation, or corporate executives jet-setting from one big deal to the next. 

But private jets offer far more than just convenience and privacy.

Did you know private jets are often used by philanthropic missions? And even more than you might think — 25% of chartered private flights are for charitable purposes.

Private planes provide a lot of value to philanthropic organizations, from the streamlined boarding process to the level of access they provide to places that a major airline can’t fly to.

Anyone from Doctors Without Borders to Island Dog Rescue have used private planes to accomplish humanitarian missions.

Here are 5 charitable causes that use private jets, and the organizations that count on them to achieve their philanthropic missions.

Medical Missions

When someone has a critical illness that needs to be treated immediately, private planes can deliver them quickly to clinics and hospitals for treatment.

Private jets are also used to deliver healthcare to people in need in isolated and underserved areas.

Angel Flight: Based in Oklahoma, Angel Flight delivers patients in-need of critical care from all over the Midwest to hospitals for emergency treatment. This includes surgery, organ transplants, chemotherapy and dialysis.

Corporate Angel Network: Dedicated to helping cancer patients, Corporate Angel Network pairs empty seats on private planes with those in need of treatment, at no cost to the patient.

Flying Doctors of Mercy: Established in 1934, this organization delivers medical and dental care to hard-to-reach areas in Mexico. Private flights send podiatrists, physicians, surgeons, audiologists and more to serve those in need.

Flying Samaritans: This nonprofit organization offers free medical services in Mexico. Private planes deliver doctors, nurses, translators and supplies to the clinics.

Lifeline Pilots: Lifeline Pilots serves much of America’s heartland, providing free flights for medical treatments to people in critical need.

Disaster Aid Duties

When disaster strikes an isolated community with limited access for large airplanes, smaller private jets can be the solution.

Private planes can land in small airstrips that larger commercial planes can’t access. That means boots can be on the ground even quicker to provide relief to those in need.

Aerobridge: Aerobridge coordinates donated flights to provide emergency response and supplies to help people in 7 underdeveloped countries. They delivered thousands of doctors to Haiti after the earthquake there in 2010.

Wings of Hope: This nonprofit delivers humanitarian services to countries all over the world, specifically those struck by disaster.

From Ecuador to Zambia, Wings of Hope has helped deliver food security, education, medical services and economic opportunities to people in need since 1962.

Environmental Errands

Private flights are used to track wildlife, collect data, and photograph natural environments for conservation efforts.

Lighthawk: By mobilizing volunteer pilots in coordination with photographers and scientists, Lighthawk works toward conservation efforts with the valuable perspective that can only be afforded by flight.

Southwings: Southwings has supported environmental causes in the southeast U.S. sine 1996.

The organization taps into a network of volunteer pilots to educate policy makers, the media and others about the need to protect natural habitats. They also use private flights to collect scientific data on ecosystems throughout the southeast.

Quality of Life Quests

Private planes are used by organizations that work to improve the quality of life for people all over the world.

From spreading the joy of flight to the disabled to delivering water treatment systems to third-world countries, private jets make it easier for organizations to reach even the most remote corners of the globe.

Challenge Air: Helping children with special needs since 1993, Challenge Air inspires them by giving them the gift of experiencing flight. The organization also works to change public perception of such children, providing opportunities for community engagement.

Veterans Airlift: This organization focuses on helping combat-wounded veterans and their families, specifically those who’ve served since 9/11.

They call on private aircraft owners and pilots to provide transportation for both medical and compassionate needs, whether that be reconnecting wounded veterans and their families or delivering critical medical care.

Advocacy Assignments

There are some organizations that work to be the bridge between non-profits and access to private flight for humanitarian purposes.

Air Care Alliance: This organization specifically promotes and represents public benefit flying by advocating on behalf of charities and non-profits.

One of their big success stories is when they supported flights to take the media and lawmakers on a flight to survey public land that was under consideration to be opened to mining.

The perspective from the air revealed the value of the land, and the mining project was shut down.

This is just a small handful of the huge number of organizations who count on private jets to achieve their philanthropic missions. And meeting needs of people around the world is just one of the many specialty uses of private flight.

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