Frequently Asked Questions
Wings of Hope operates with a very small paid staff and a very large volunteer base. This enables us to spend at least 90 cents of every dollar directly on programming. We are always looking for volunteer pilots, nurses and medics to support our MAT Program. But you don’t have to be a pilot to help us. We use volunteers in administrative roles (answering the phone, stuffing envelopes, data entry, etc.) and to help with special events. We use volunteers with special skills like accounting, finance and marketing to support our fundraising efforts. We even use volunteers to keep our hangar and grounds looking great. If you would like to volunteer with us, just give us a call at 636-537-1302.
Medical Relief & Air Transport (MAT) Program
When we fly a patient in one of our aircraft, we have a 500 to 900 mile radius from our headquarters in St. Louis because this is the distance our planes can fly without stopping to refuel. In rare instances, we will exceed this distance by making a pit stop to refuel on the way.
We have three planes dedicated to the MAT Program: one Navajo and two Piper Senecas. Each is equipped to accommodate a stretcher, a wheelchair and medical equipment. We maintain these planes to strict safety standards, using a team of paid and volunteer mechanics. We can proudly state that we have a 100% safety record transporting patients to care.
The majority of our MAT patients are children, but we do transport adults. Some common cases are:
- Babies with clubfeet and cleft palates
- Children with rare forms of cancer and immune disorders who cannot fly commercially due to their compromised immune systems
- Individuals with rare diseases that require specialty care not available near their homes
There is no limit to the types of conditions our patients have. The common denominator is that they lack access to the care they need to heal and to hope. We use our MAT Program to provide them that access.
Yes. Sometimes, it makes more sense to fly a patient commercially. When a patient is able to fly commercially, it is almost always less expensive than using our planes. That said, many of our patients are not able to fly commercially due to their illness (i.e., cannot sit upright, immune system compromised). Also, flying patients in our MAT planes accommodates a much more flexible timetable than flying commercially would allow. This means we can fly patients to and from treatment on a shortened timetable — decreasing the time they spend traveling and the time their loved ones spend away from work and family responsibilities.
Currently, we are active in 9 countries outside of the U.S.: Belize, Cambodia, Ecuador, India, Nicaragua, Colombia, Paraguay, Tanzania, and Zambia. Since our founding in 1963, we have worked in 48 countries.
Soar into STEM
A four-week, hands-on STEM learning experience that provides middle and high school students projectbased learning, connections to STEM curriculum, and a front-row seat into the workings of a global aviation nonprofit using airplanes to change and save lives.
Young women and students of color, primarily from underserved communities. While STEM education is important for all youth, this population stands to benefit most from exposure to STEM learning and careers.
Experienced STEM educators, working and retired professionals representing a wide range of aviation and STEM-related experience — and Wings of Hope volunteers, many of whom are trained pilots and mechanics.
High energy and engaging STEM and aviation project-based activities and presentations by experts. Highlights include:
- Hands-on maintenance, repair and modification of an airplane
- Experiencing a flight simulator
- Piloting a small-engine aircraft (closely supervised by an experienced flight instructor)
- Guest speakers from Boeing, Wings of Hope, Women in Aviation and others who share career-path information and “stories from the field”
Wings of Hope’s world headquarters in Chesterfield and other locations on the Spirit of St. Louis Airport grounds.
The connection between an aviation nonprofit and a STEM program for students may not seem obvious – but it makes perfect sense to us for two reasons:
- We rely on highly skilled volunteer pilots and mechanics to fly our missions and keep our planes safe. This makes the predicted pilot and mechanic shortage especially troubling to us. By turning students on to careers in aviation, we are doing our part to start filling the pipeline with future pilots and mechanics.
- Students work on airplanes destined for use in the Wings of Hope mission field. That’s where we connect STEM learning to service learning – and show students how what they’re learning in the classroom can make a difference in the world.
Check out wingsofhope.ngo/stem/ or call 636-537-1302. School districts can apply for Soar into STEM partnership or field trips, classroom visits, and other educational opportunities.