Skip to main content

Our Story

Miracle Flights was founded in 1985 on the belief that a healthy life is the birthright of every child – regardless of income, ailment or distance from medical care.

Miracle Flights

From Angel Plane to National Charity

Today, Miracle Flights is a national charity that provides thousands of commercial flights each year to families around the country. But that wasn’t how it began.
Originally called Angel Plane, we started out flying regionally on private charters. Over the years, we became an engaged member of the Las Vegas community, staging a series of popular air shows to raise funds as we grew our network of pilots, started flying coast to coast and helped an ever-increasing number of children in need of specialty care that was only available far from home.
In 1996 we became Miracle Flights for Kids and began to earn national recognition for our work, including President George H.W. Bush’s Daily Points of Light Award in 2001.
By 2005, we were coordinating hundreds of flights every month. We began flying our families exclusively on commercial airlines – where flights were more economical and convenient for our flyers. Demand continued to increase, and in 2010 we coordinated our 50,000th flight.
In 2013, we received a one-time financial gift so large that it changed the dynamics of our organization. The money – more than $40 million – came from a class action lawsuit completely unrelated to our operation (filed against two airlines over fuel surcharges). The judge ordered that all unclaimed money in the settlement go to a worthy charity. He chose Miracle Flights.
Before that, our organization had operated on a shoestring budget, often unsure of how to fund operations for the following year. Those lean times taught us the importance of urgency, accountability and engagement with our donors – attributes that became part of our DNA. In hopes of preserving those characteristics – and ensuring our organization’s future for decades to come – we decided to invest and preserve the principal. The earnings, along with proceeds from our continued fundraising initiatives, would cover the costs of running an even more robust version of Miracle Flights.
Soon after that, we removed “For Kids” from our name and began concentrating on serving adults too. We expanded our outreach efforts to make sure families in need know we’re here for them.
Today, we’re the nation’s leading medical flight charity and one of the only national nonprofits headquartered in Las Vegas. We arrange more than 600 flights every month to medical facilities across the country. Most of those we serve will require numerous flights over the course of their lifetime; some have already been flying with us for more than a decade.
To accommodate those “frequent flyers” and the thousands of new families who need assistance every year, we stage a number of annual fundraising events and campaigns that receive support from donors and partners nationwide. Their continued generosity – coupled with our own careful planning – will ensure that Miracle Flights has the resources to stay in this fight for decades to come, helping children and adults reach the life-changing care they need.

History / Timeline


Angel Plane is founded in Las Vegas and coordinates its first private-plane flight, delivering life-saving blood to Tonopah after a traffic accident.


Our first patient flight, for a 10-year-old seeking cancer treatment, lifts off.


An early fundraiser, the Angel Plane Air Festival, takes place featuring Chuck Yeager.


Wayne Newton’s Race for the Angels is a big hit in southern Nevada.


Less than a decade in, we’ve assembled a private-pilot network of 200 and coordinated more than 2,000 flights from coast to coast.


We change our name to Miracle Flights For Kids.


We fly our 20,000th passenger.


At 5 weeks old, Jessica Lindley, whose family is told she may never walk, takes her first Miracle Flight.


We’re awarded the National Point of Light Award, originally established by George H.W. Bush to celebrate top charities in the US.


To save money and improve availability, we shift from private flights to commercial flights exclusively.


Southwest Airlines begins donating flights – enough to help hundreds of families every year. Their generous grant continues to this day.


We coordinate our 50,000th flight.


We receive a one-time donation in excess of $45 million and expand our programs and outreach. We invest most of that large donation so we can fund a portion of our operations with investment income.


We change our name to Miracle Flights, since we’re not just flying kids anymore. We start flying adults, like Patricia Levett, whose specialty care for breast cancer has resulted in her tumors shrinking.


We celebrate our 100,000th flyer, Levi Krystosek. One of only 6 people in the U.S. with his form of dwarfism, Levi continues to defy the odds related to his condition thanks in part to Miracle Flights.


We launch our Swings for Wings annual fundraiser at Topgolf Las Vegas and begin a multi-year partnership with UFC.


After 35 Miracle Flights and 17 surgeries, Jessica Lindley walks across the stage at high school graduation.


More than 5,000 Las Vegans attend our first Carnival in the Clouds drone festival.


We launch national partnerships with Blacklane and The Parking Spot, ensuring every step of our families travel journey is covered


Amid a global pandemic, we launch Smiles with Miles, a virtual Kids Club serving kids and their families across the globe.


Downtown Summerlin in Las Vegas is illuminated for the first time with “Lights for Flights”.


On June 25, 2022, we reach our milestone 150,000th flight flying 3-year-old Watson Beas and his family from Las Vegas to the Paley Orthopedic & Spine Institute in West Palm Beach, Florida for clubfoot treatment.


On March 10, 2023 we hold our inaugural fundraising event, SOARée, at Thrive Aviation in Las Vegas with 365 guests raising $265,000!


We celebrate our 1,500th ride with Blacklane by surprising 6-year-old Harris Roth and her family at LAX with a trip to Disneyland. On hand from Berlin, Germany was Blacklane CEO Jens Wohltorf.
Para Español