These guidelines are generally understood to be typical practices of experienced Mercy Medical Angels pilots. Each pilot should make his/her own “go/no-go” decision, without pressure from Mercy Medical Angels, as he/she is the best judge as to the status of the aircraft, weather, his/her physical condition and training status and proficiency.
These guidelines, in part, are placed here to give emphasis to safety and adherence to the FARs, and they are not an attempt to preclude good pilot judgment at all times.
- All FAA rules and regulation must be strictly followed.
- We recommend that an instrument flight plan be filled on all client legs regardless of weather conditions. This allows for increased flight following by the FAA.
- No flight should be made into known icing conditions unless the pilot’s aircraft is certified to fly in those conditions, and even then, caution is urged.
- No flight should be made into reported severe turbulence.
- The pilot should obtain a complete weather briefing for a planned flight with an update ideally obtained within 45 minutes of take-off.
- The pilot is responsible for the placement and securing of all cargo so as to eliminate any possibility of shifting of cargo affecting safety during flight.
- Under normal circumstances, the use of the “LIFEGUARD” radio call sign is not appropriate. In recognition of the work Mercy Medical Angels groups all over the country perform, the FAA has approved a new call sign and three-letter identifier just for missions. This became effective on June 30, 2000 and all ATC facilities were to be ANGEL FLIGHT and the last three characters of the tail number. The three-letter identifier “NGF” and the last three character of the tail number will be used in the flight plan. “ANGEL FLIGHT” followed by the aircraft’s complete N number should be filed in the “remarks” section of each flight plan.
- The FAA permits you to use the call sign “Mercy Medical Angels” while transporting medical patients or cargo. In many instances this will provide the flight preferred handling by controllers while en route, thus expediting the mission. This call sign should only be used when there is a patient onboard or you’re transporting medical cargo, which is time critical such as blood, tissue or organs. Do not use this call sign after dropping off Mercy Medical Angels patients.
- Mercy Medical Angels does not specify that the pilot must fly with a co-pilot. That decision is left to the individual. However, our insurance company requires that any co-pilot or friend not registered with Mercy Medical Angels who is in the aircraft while an authorized client/passenger is being transported must, as well as the client(s), sign a release form. This release form must be mailed/faxed to the Mercy Medical Angels office. A co-pilot/friend does not need to sign a waiver for the “empty leg” portion of the mission.
- Each pilot is reminded to complete a Post Mission Report Form and forward to the Mercy Medical Angels office within 48 hours after the flight by mail/email or fax. This form will serve as documentation of an Mercy Medical Angels Mission and may be useful when reporting out-of-pocket expenses to the IRS. Any hours we record for a pilot’s flights will be taken from this Post Mission Report.
To the extent necessary to complete their missions, volunteer pilots for any Air Charity Network member may identify themselves to aviation officials and disaster relief agencies using the call sign “ANGEL FLIGHT” when flying missions into or out of any and all of the 50 states.