FEMA Seeks Volunteer Pilots

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Many volunteer pilots tried in vain after Hurricane Katrina to offer their services to the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help provide relief, but now FEMA is working with AERObridge, an NBAA-endorsed group, to plan ahead for GA support in future emergencies. An exercise is planned for May 13 to 17 to simulate response to a massive earthquake along the New Madrid Seismic Zone, which runs beneath several central states. FEMA needs volunteer pilots and high-wing airplanes with a top speed of 120 knots or less that could be used for surveillance. Activities for the exercise will take place at command posts, emergency operation centers, and other locations in the Washington, D.C., area and the eight states that could be affected by an earthquake in the seismic zone: Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Illinois, Indiana, Arkansas, and Missouri.

AERObridge President Marianne Stevenson will be stationed in the control center in Washington, D.C., to oversee the participation of general aviation assets. "We are excited to participate with FEMA and other public and private organizations during the exercise so we can further demonstrate the power of general aviation to assist in emergency response operations," Stevenson said. "Although FEMA is beginning to understand the capability of our industry and the generosity of its members, this exercise will provide even greater insight." For more information or to volunteer, go to the AERObridge web site.