FAQ Foundation

What does the Mayday Foundation stand for?

Stiftung Mayday, translated as the Mayday Foundation, was launched by pilots for pilots in Frankfurt/Main on 7th December, 1994.  The Foundation’s intention is to support aviators and their next-of-kin materially and ideally. The name ‘MAYDAY’ was deliberately chosen, as it is the international aviation emergency call.

Why do we need the Mayday Foundation?

Accidents are very rare in aviation. But if something does happen, emergency aid for the accident victim and his/her next-of-kin must be provided quickly and efficiently, without the hassles of undue delay.

When was it realized that the Mayday Foundation was needed?

In 1994 there was a fatal crash involving a 44 year old Russian test pilot named Alexander S. Vyatkin on the day before the opening of the ILA (Internationale Luftfahrt Ausstellung – International Aviation Exhibition) in Berlin. His death left his wife and two children in financial distress in their hometown of Moscow. Pilots, exhibitors and international organizations at ILA immediately began to donate money for his family. The huge success of this “Mission Alexander” encouraged pilots present at the ILA to launch the Mayday Foundation.

Are there additional national and/or international support networks?

Yes, other national and international support networks exist. They often have different names in different countries, for example there are Crisis Intervention Teams (CIT),  post-incident stress recovery teams,  and emergency counseling teams. The Mayday Foundation works in close collaboration with these teams on a case-by-case basis.

Internationally, we are cross-linked with the International Critical Incident Foundation, INC. (ICISF), the support teams of Airlines, Employee Unions (e.g. TWU – Transport Workers Union or ALPA – Airline Pilot Association), and the United Nations (UNDSS – United Nations Departement of Safety and Security).

Why is it necessary to form a legal foundation?

The Mayday Foundation is a legal foundation. As a legal entity it is possible to set aside ‘reserve’ funds and raise funding through endowments. We are able to use the interests of these funds to guarantee rapid assistance in case of emergencies and long-term support as needed.

Who works for the Mayday Foundation?

The Board of Directors consists of the pilots Rena Achten, Alice Bonaduce, Dr. Gerhard Fahnenbruck, Hans Rahmann, Alexander Scheller, Dr. Karl-Heinz Richstein as well as the lawyer Ralf A. Schäfer.  The Executive Director is Christian Klick. The patron of the Foundation is the former Airbus CEO Dr. Thomas Enders.

The Board of Directors, all associates, as well as all support team members, are volunteers.

Whom does the Mayday Foundation support?

The Mayday Foundation supports all current and former aviation license holders and their next-of-kin who are in distress after an incident or accident. Support will be given upon request by the person concerned. The Board of Directors decides after a review of the law-situation and available funds , whether and how the foundation will support the person concerned.

Does the Mayday Foundation only help materially?

In times of distress, material support is often a priority, but by itself it is not a sufficient form of support.  Often, personal and friendly assistance is more important than money. For this reason, the Foundation works together with lawyers, social workers and other specialists to provide the necessary support. Support provided through counseling varies with each individual circumstance, and may take the form of one conversation only or years of support.

Does the Mayday Foundation help in cases of problems concerning employment and/or licensing law?

The Foundation helps regardless of guilt or innocence, the cause of the accident, and issues pursuant to insurance law. Often, the Foundation assists by obtaining a “second opinion” from lawyers, aviation experts and physicians.

How do the CISM-Teams of the Mayday Foundation operate?

Within an aviation context, air crews are occasionally exposed to situations which they may personally perceive as life threatening or stressful beyond their normal experience. It has been shown that in most incidents of this nature, the normal reaction is to experience high levels of stress, which generally diminish within a matter of days. If, however, the stress is not adequately dealt with, there is the possibility of long-term illness manifesting itself in the form of a diminished quality of life, incapacity for employment and, in extreme cases, a chronic condition known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, drug-abuse or a mixture of these, which is very difficult to treat. The Mayday Foundation’s CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management) scheme has been devised to deal with such critical situations. If CISM proves to be inadequate or only partially adequate to adequately address the situation, our counselors will make every effort to ensure that the client receives suitable therapy from a qualified therapist at the earliest opportunity.

Who donates to the Mayday Foundation?

Individuals and corporations who support the intentions and goals of the Mayday Foundation.

Are donations tax-deductible?

Yes. The Foundation is legally considered a charitable, non-profit organization.

Into which account can donations be payed?

Our account is managed by the Frankfurter Sparkasse (BIC: HELADEF1822).
(IBAN: DE36 5005 0201 0000 0044 40)

How about securities and shares?

They are also welcome as donations. They are tax-deductable like normal donations.

Can I turn to the Foundation for advice if I intend to bequeath money to the Foundation?

Yes, an appointment can be made at any time.

Whom can I turn to if I have further questions?

Stiftung Mayday

Email: info@stiftung-mayday.de or via our contact form (Contact)

For questions concerning CISM addressed to a CISM-Coordinator please use our contact form or our 24/7 hotline: +49 151 2240 7703