PLANNING A MISSION
Much effort, prayer and planning go into each and every mission which PCI embarks upon. Missions with first time patients and passengers require more work than follow on events since they usually require screening and vetting for security, practicality and financial need. Some families may call us directly for assistance but most calls come from local Cincinnati hospitals we support or through the main request center in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
The Cincinnati Chapter Flight Coordinator ( a FAA licensed pilot) must collect all the normal information and will decide if a given request is feasible based upon at least 5 important considerations:
1. Is the individual or family in financial duress?
2. Do the patient or passenger requirements fall within our basic capabilities ( medication, stretcher, IV, etc.)? We do not have an air ambulance service.
3. Are chapter finances sufficient ( typical missions cost from $600 to $800 )? Each chapter is independently operated and funded. All PCI members are volunteers. Pilots offset costs with personal contributions to complete a mission for the Lord. Oftentimes the volume of needs far outweigh our resources. Sometimes, PCI will find it prudent to purchase a low cost airline ticket if available.
4. Does the chapter have access to an aircraft and pilot on the requested date? All members are volunteers and unpaid for their services. If not, can the date be moved to accommodate pilot or aircraft availability?
5. Is the flight distance within the range of our aircraft (400 nautical miles normally)? If not, can a connection with a sister chapter be coordinated to extend the range (19 other chapters nationwide)?
Once all preliminary factors are considered and satisfied, flight waivers and doctors authorization must be obtained. Lastly, aviation weather reports are carefully analyzed before the Flight Coordinator approves the mission. Of course, our Captains always reserve the right to cancel a flight for safety reasons. These last arrangements must be repeated in cases where excessive delays are encountered. Before departure, we always pray with our passengers and sometimes are able to present them with a love bag containing the bible, a hand made quilt and a small toy for our younger friends.
Unfortunately, sometimes missions fall through for a variety of unexpected reasons after much coordinating. After a successful mission we are all blessed to have obeyed the Lord Jesus and ministered in his name. It is not uncommon for a pilot/co-pilot crew to begin a mission before dawn and return home well after sundown. We seldom know how much we have impacted our world for God but trust the outcome of our work to Him.