Launched in 2015, the Volunteer Pilots Network was started by Rick Gutlon, a business technologist and private pilot based in Durham, NC.
Since 2011 Rick has flown 75 animal rescue flights and transported over 306 dogs (and 20 cats) to safety. “These flights have added purpose and a mission to flying” stated Gutlon. “They’ve expanded my flight experiences, allowed me to work with some remarkably compassionate people, promote general aviation and deal with flight logistics … all things I enjoy. But most importantly, I’ve been able to use my pilot’s license as a means to help others.”
Bringing awareness to the efforts of more than 90 organizations that rely on volunteer pilots for their humanitarian programs is one goal of the website. “I’ve found many pilots have questions about these flights whether they involve animals, patients, medical or other types of transport. I wanted to create a destination where volunteer pilots can interact as a community.”
Additional photos from some of Rick’s rescue flights can be found in his Facebook album.