The Volunteer Pilot Organization Protection Act of 2006 has passed the House and will be taken up by the Senate. H.R. 1871 EH, as passed by the House, would grant a liability shield to “good Samaritan” pilots who fly public benefit missions, such as transporting patients or donated organs, and to the charitable organizations for which they fly. However, the liability shield only extends to risk above and beyond that covered by liability insurance which a pilot is required to carry.
The bill also requires the Attorney General to conduct a study on the availability of insurance to nonprofit volunteer pilot organizations that fly for public benefit to determine whether nonprofit volunteer pilot organizations are able to obtain insurance, the terms of such insurance if it is available and the impact on the associations’ ability to operate if they are unable to obtain insurance. H.R. 1871 RFS has been referred to Senate committee for consideration.
This legislation will be a great benefit to organziations such as Angel Flight and Wings of Mercy. Although it doesn’t provide blanket liability protection, it does protect pilots and organizations from the very real threat of liability exposure in excess of their insurance policy limits. Hopefully this will pass and act as an incentive to increase the number of pilots willing to participate in charitable flying.