Volunteer Pilots Flying For Katrina...

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Angel Flight Pilots Reunite Families

"People just don't realize the magnitude of this," Angel Flight America (AFA) spokesman Steve Patterson told AVweb on Tuesday. "This is not just about New Orleans -- this involves the whole south-central Gulf Coast." AFA is working to coordinate the efforts of hundreds of volunteer pilots across the country who are helping transport relief workers and reunite families separated by the storm. "So far we've been operating in and out of the larger airports, but the next step, starting this week, is to start sending volunteer pilots into the smaller fields, near the more remote towns and villages," Patterson said. Working around the clock, AFA has been flying as many as 100 missions per day, working with hundreds of pilots and aircraft. More pilots are always needed, and can register online or call 877-858-7788. "We're putting together a rotation schedule, so pilots can work for four or five days and then go home, so they don't burn out," Patterson said. The need is expected to last at least another two or three months. Besides volunteer pilots and aircraft, AFA also welcomes donations. So far, fuel has been attainable, Patterson said, but "The cost is just killing us." Also, the Department of Homeland Security has asked anyone with resources that can aid the recovery effort to register online at the National Emergency Resource Registry. The DHS is especially looking for commercial (heavy) aircraft but is open to all offers.