What You Can Do...
As search and rescue efforts continue along the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, officials are now saying that the hurricane will almost certainly be the worst disaster in U.S. history. Along with millions of people in the impacted region, aviation interests have also been devastated by Katrina, so much so that reliable information on which airports may be open and operating is scarce. There is now a rescue, refugee and looming health crisis in the region, compounded by an instant fuel crisis -- call ahead for fuel and airport availability if you intend to fly anywhere near the region as resources are being diverted to rescue/support operations. The National Air Transportation Association (NATA) includes a list of local civil airports' operational status on its Hurricane Katrina resource page (see below). President Bush has asked all private citizens to conserve fuel. General aviation is expected to play a role in the recovery efforts, many efforts have yet to be mobilized. Relief agencies haven't yet assessed the most desperate needs. For qualified volunteer pilots and concerned individuals interested in lending aid, organized efforts exist. See below details on these opportunities.
- Rol Morrow, Chairman, Air Care Alliance contacted AVweb stating, "useful information along with the only listing of all known volunteer pilot organizations is available on the Air Care Alliance website.
- The National Air Transportation Association has compiled a resource page, which offers information about aviation and jet fuel prices and shortages resulting from the hurricane, operational information for airports in the affected areas, opportunities to assist in the airlifting of supplies and aid workers, and much more. Find it, here.
- For those unable to physically lend aid, vacation-home owners willing to donate their properties to families devastated by the storm are being urged by Gail Pinckney of Vacation Rentals for Families to list the location and duration the property will be available. Phone contact is listed as 770-939-0396 and email at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vacation Rentals for Families also told AVweb they are attempting to organize free air transportation for refugees. Private aircraft owners interested in the effort may visit the organization's web site or call 678-799-1628 for details. A first mission is planned Friday for departure from Peachtree DeKalb Airport. along with private aircraft owners organized by Chase’Dev Enterprises will be organizing free relief airlift flights for affected families, from airfields close to the damaged areas in Louisiana and Mississippi; to relocate victim families to the donated homes."
- Avemco Insurance Company, the country’s only direct writer of general aviation insurance, has claims adjusters ready to respond to claims resulting from Hurricane Katrina. The company has issued a release available, here.
- Aviation Coast Guard Auxiliary is always looking for volunteer aviators and those already trained have been mobilized and is at work.
- Check NOTAMS online withe the FAA.
- Updates from New Orleans are avialable via Nola.com.