Christian Pilots Association


Permit us to address the issue of why belonging to a membership organization is important? 1. It is a natural human characteristic to seek “love and belonging” (Maslow). Our nature demands we be a part of something meaningful in our lives where we can give and receive and be recognized. 2. It’s also natural for us as believers to be involved personally in what we support. A person who is committed to a worthy cause and has hands-on experience with it’s projects is more fulfilled than one who merely gives money. It usually works out that this person is not a tightwad, but is willing to support it prayerfully and financially also.

We have survived by the grace of God for over 40 years as a voluntary membership organization and are still learning how to do it. We want you to know that we welcome and learn from the input of the combined wisdom and experience of members to continue serving effectively as the national organization. It is not always possible or convenient to canvas everyone to poll sentiments on every issue, (although “e-mail” through this website is helping to accomplish that), but as suggestions trickle up to us, our current Board evaluates them all. That’s why we have a Board of Directors who acts through the executive officers to carry out the mission.


CPA groups fellow believer volunteer pilots and laymen together in fellowship who have trusted Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We fly missions of mercy as the Lord provides the people, pilots, equipment and supplies that fit the mission presented to us. We fly pastors, missionaries, and godly leaders of non-profit evangelical organizations on speaking opportunities usually not possible or practical by car or other means of transportation. We get involved in national or international emergencies and disasters.


If you believe you have a mission for an evangelical non-profit church or mission project, you may contact HQs. Give us as much advance notice as possible. We will contact our nearest pilot volunteer and try to make connections for you, but bear in mind this is a ministry. We are not a charter service. Participants must deal with the pilot on his terms and the given conditions at hand, “if it be thy will oh Lord?”. Our role ends when we make the connection between you and a pilot. Weather and other factors may cause a mission to be canceled or postponed, however, CPA and our volunteer pilots will make every effort to see that your mission is an enjoyable, safe and productive one for you and your ministry.


Sometimes we do, sometimes our pilot volunteer pays full cost. In most cases, the participants provide the needed funds for aircraft rental, (fuel is usually included in rentals), or costs may be shared between pilot and participants, how ever the Lord leads you as a team. All costs are governed by currently published FAA regulations. Our pilots always give their time

Most single engine four-seat airplanes rent for, roughly $100 and $150 per hour, and can travel at speeds, on average, 150+ mph. Usually if 2 or 3 passengers are going, the cost will be less then airline travel, or as often is the case, you can travel to locations that are not served by airlines at all, which is often one of the main reasons for the trip. Ground time normally does not cost extra unless it is excessive.


One of the things we have done all these years is to collect, store and distribute hospital and medical supplies. It is not uncommon for us to make flights with medical supply cargo worth $10,000 to $30,000+.

Hospitals are not always as cost conscious as one might think when it comes to saving lives, you and I are paying for these supplies when we have surgery. Doctors and nurses pull more supplies out of stock than they use. When you are wheeled out of surgery into ICU, all the supplies that were not opened are pushed into big bags as surplus. It costs more in labor charges to separate items and return them to the stock room than just to give them away to organizations like ours.

Another reason surplus medical supplies are given away is because, in a large city, several hospitals use the services of one major buyer who is able to get better bargains in quantity. If a particular brand is favored over one that is already in inventory, the new brand will replace the old, but to avoid malpractice suites, the old is made surplus even though perfectly good. It is better to change than cause confusion with different procedures. If we are on the scene at the right time, we become the beneficiary of the old product.


We have over 800 pilots with every possible aeronautical rating and experience level. We have student pilots, corporate, airplane, helicopter, and military pilots. Flying time upward to 35,000 hours. We have retired pilots from all military branches, active, reserve, National Guard, etc., etc. Aircraft range from ultra-lights to Aerocoup, Beech, Bell, Boeing, Cessna-150 & UP, De Havilland, Grumman, Lake, Luscomb, Mooney, you fill in the rest! If you can name it, we probably have volunteer pilots on our database who are current in it.


You don’t have to be a pilot to be used of the Lord in CPA. On our database are many non-pilots who are willing to fly along in the right seat, or as a back-seat assistant on various missions. It’s great for student pilots who occasionally will be given the opportunity by the PIC (pilot in command) to take the wheel from the right seat and keep the wings level. We recommend serious member pilots with less than 200 hours should get more time with a flight instructor to obtain competency in mountain flying, emergency procedures and techniques, and flying by instruments alone but since the pilot under FAA regs is totally responsible for flights he/she takes, the airplane, when to go, etc., we disclaim any agency relationship with members who fly on missions we suggest. In order to make this point transparently clear and unambiguous, we require member pilots to sign a liability waiver and obtain appropriate insurance. We suggest that pilot members also obtain a waiver from their passengers.

It is important for member pilots to understand they will NOT be flying FOR this ministry. They are totally independent, responsible, and liable for their own flying activities. It is YOUR ministry. All pilots volunteer to fly. No one “has” to fly, in that THERE IS NO URGENCY. There is no “agency” relationship established with us. We are not in control of when, where, if, or, for whom members fly. It is their responsibility to fulfill all appropriate regulations of the Federal Aviation Administration.

Pilots and participants sign a liability waiver prior to lift off to insure their understanding that the national organization disavows any financial liability or accountability for any incident or accident in the air or on the ground for missions members might choose. Pilots understand if they fly on missions we suggest, they do so under FAR Part 91. We hire no pilots or mechanics and we cannot and do not reimburse pilots for any of their expenses whether directly or indirectly related to a flight or mission. Participants in missions we suggest are totally responsibility for payment of their participation and if need be must obtain funding for the cost of missions or flights on their own.


It is a misnomer to call the pilots who fly in association with us “our pilots”. In the strict sense of the word we do not have pilots. To suggest otherwise is to imply that this is an aircraft charter service. Nothing could be further from the truth. This is an association of pilots and laymen who come together for food, fun, fellowship, planning, challenge, wholesome competition, and common missions.

We operate the same way as a church might. Godly people with certain gifts and talents see a need and leaders proceed to mobilize the members to fill that need. If there happens to be a distance to the place of need, it is irrelevant what kind of transportation is used, be it truck, bicycle, roller blades, wheelbarrow, automobile, or airplane. Since it is a mission initiated by the church, participants may receive a charitable tax-deduction for using their own equipment but not their labor.

CPA is a voluntary association of pilots and laymen whose purpose is best defined by projects and needs they seek to satisfy. For example, suppose a local Squadron learns that a children’s orphanage 150 miles South of the Mexican border is in need of carpenters to finish the boys dormitory roof. They mobilize a team of three, rent a Cherokee Warrior, and fly down on a long Memorial Day weekend with their tools, food, water, and personal things to a remote landing strip near the site. By prior arrangement, they circle over the compound to alert the host to provide ground transportation. Together they finish the job as planned and then spend extra time playing with the kids. They agree in advance to share equally in the expenses of the trip. No rules of the FAA are violated in the process so long as the pilot is careful to file his respective US and Mexican flight plans and obey FAA regulations.


Begin by using your imagination and a phone book, or the Internet. Almost all church missions and humanitarian non-profit agencies can be found with an endless array of needs that might enjoy the services of volunteer pilots. There are also directories available from the public libraries. Most larger facilities have the latest edition of the World Vision Missions Overseas Directory. We are listed in it as is all church-related organizations that use airplanes in their mission programs. There is an index of countries in which each agency has a presence, the phone numbers, principal officers, programs, denominational affiliations, budgets, etc.

Most countries near or remote from the US borders North and South maintain US Consulates. American Indian tribes also have representation in major cities of the US. Any of these sources can provide opportunities.

The news media is an excellent way to get involved “flying for Jesus and human need”. When Howard Payne was a pastor of a church in Pasadena in 1976, the only physical evidence of Christian Pilots Association in those early days (just after our office was destroyed by an arsonist) he installed a red telephone on the pastor’s study desk. On February 4th he heard that an awful earthquake had just occurred in Guatemala on radio station, KFWB, and that 30,000 Myan Indians were killed in less than a minute and another 100,000 made homeless. He was extremely agitated and believed he had to do something. CPA at that time was only three years old but we had members around the country and some in other parts of the world. By subsequent permission given him by his church for a few days off all he did was call pilots on the list and seek to mobilize them. There was instant and massive response. Tons of survival supplies were collected, companies loaned warehouses. The use of airplanes large and small were pressed into service including a DC-10, BAC 1.11. Most of the major airlines gave space available. We received jet fuel from Texaco. The list seems endless as hundreds of volunteers were enlisted. Western Airlines gave free passage to Mexico City where our items ticketed on Aviateca to Guatemala City. World Airways gave one flight free round trip free direct go Guatemala City for the media in LA and San Francisco along with numerous non-profit relief organizations, including CPA. Large building supply companies provided building materials. Funds were donated to purchase a cement-brick making machine that went into service 24 hours a day for two years. Out of it came the rebuilding of 115 churches. Pilots donated their airplanes to fly down builders with their tools. One man in ND donated the use of his STOL Maul for a year.

This story could be repeated many times although not quite as dramatic or extensive during our 29 years of history. You may remember President Kennedy’s famous words, we are changing them a bit: “Ask not what Christian Pilots Association can do for you, ask what you can do for Christian Pilots.

If you love the Lord, love people, and love flying, in that order, you will have no trouble in CPA building time “Flying for Jesus and human need”.


The best way is to join us and help us mobilize local squadrons of members and friends. We may have members or eager pilots on our database in your area already. You don’t have to be appointed or be sent by a missionary organization to serve the Lord legitimately doing the thing you love if you love HIM. You don’t have to spend two to four years learning a foreign language, or raise your own support to be a missionary. Stay in your job, be like the Air Force Reservist who flies on weekends. Build time and experience, blossom where you are planted, learn by doing. Get tax credits rather than pay full price for shooting holes in the pattern. Join CPA and get involved, but the most important advice we can give you is get your directions from the Lord in His word and let the Holy Spirit give you peace in your heart about your decision. “…seek ye the Lord while He may be found. Call upon Him while He is near”. i.e., wait patiently on the Lord. “Cry out to me and I will answer you and show you great and incomprehensible things of which you are not now aware”, (Howard’s exegesis of the Hebrew). “If my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven…” “Trust in the Lord, lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct thy steps”. “But they who wait upon the Lord (means trust in, ala Hebrew), shall mount up with wings as eagles”, (the latter verse is from Isaiah 40:31, the CPA life verse).


No. We sympathize with you who face the awful high cost of flight training, especially those who seek to use their flying skills in missionary work. Pilots who are serious about flying will find a way to pay for it or they will allow other attractions rob them. You might get a job as a lineman, pumping fuel into airplanes, running errands, standing behind the desk at FBOs and scheduling licensed pilots to fly rented airplanes. Often, the owner of an FBO (flight school), will give great discounts to our members on aircraft rentals.

Christian pilots who want to build flight time can, with a flying job in mind down the pike, will get their flight instructor’s ticket and build time teaching others to fly.

Join CPA, Inc., and put a spiritual payload in your rental airplane rather than punching holes in the pattern to keep current. This way you get a tax-write off for the time in the airplane if it is for a humanitarian nonprofit organization mission – (CPA, for example). That means your actual cost of flying is the rental time less the cost of flying.

You must understand that underneath our motto, Flying for Jesus and human need, is the obvious assumption that this ministry must be placed somewhere near the top of your priorities if you are to achieve lasting satisfaction with your time, talent, and treasure expended with “eternity values in view”.

When Jesus used the words so common to all of us in Matthew 28:19-20 and, if you believe Mark 16:15 was not added hundreds of years after the original manuscripts — He did not command them to “GO into all the world and preach the Gospel TO EVERY CREATURE”. The word “go” is a participle and not an imperative. It is not a command. Every believer is a light, salt, witness. If we are not alive to the lost condition of every person without Christ and do not so order priorities accordingly, where we are, that the Gospel continues to flow from our life and lips and we do not take every opening God gives to snatch branches from the burning, we should question if we are in the family of God. We are “spiritual life savers”. We through out the “lifeline” constantly. It is not a special burden we have to “go” to anyone. It is a lifestyle born by the Holy Spirit who sheds the love of God in our heart. Jesus said to His desciples, “As the Father has sent me, even so send I you”. That was not a command but a declaration that His ministry of seeking the lost was to be theirs. If they had understood their Master to transport themselves into all the world, most likely they would have turned around and said, ADIOS. No. Evangelism and missionary activities are a natural result of a personal relationship with the Lord. How can we sit in our comfortable chairs and realize that all around us, our neighbors, friends, work associates, peer group, there are those who do not know the Lord intimately and can only talk about Armageddon? At any moment, every believer in the grave and every living born-again person on the face of the earth could be taken out of here in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye. “Left behind” is what we must impress on them as their status if they turn their back on the cross of Christ. That’s powerful stuff and we have it in our hands and hearts.


In the begining, our President and founder, Howard Payne was so convinced this was what God wanted him to do, he borrowed $1000 from the cash values of his life insurance policy. He resigned his position as director of development at World Vision, and by faith, opened a 10’x10′ office above a mannequin factory across from El Monte’ Airport, California. He began to collect by hand the names of any Christian pilot he met or was referred to in a little pocket note book then waited until enough prospects were listed to send out a mailing. He had 300 names. That little note book has been found and it is amazing how many pilots are still on our current database. We began to add non-pilots. At the peek of membership roster we had 1200 pilots and some non-pilot donors but at $12 per year dues, we know the bubble could not last. We had to find another source of funding. For a while we depended on gifts from friends and our faithful donor list. Then we received a grant from the Atkinson Foundation for $6,500. That was like turning us into a shooting start. We opened a larger office, had a mailing list of potential donors of 10,000 and began to send out an appeal to these dear people every month to help fund our missions and to continue our basic mode of operation — mobilizing Christian Pilots. In an eighteen month period during 1984 and ’85, our receipts were $300,000 and we had five employees. So, how do we fund this mission? In summary: we approach money like everything depends on God (which it does), but proceed to work as if everything depends on us. The Bible says, “Watch and pray”. That means we are CO-laborers with God. “It is God who works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure”.