With Roads Largely Clear, No Need For Mass Airlift For Hurricane Ida


Hurricane Ida made landfall 16 years to the day after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast in 2005. Operation AirDrop, an Air Care Alliance member group, reports that this time, ground-based relief organizations say that land routes are largely clear and passable, so a mass airlift is not required. Volunteer pilots and aircraft operators can stand down.

Founded in the wake of Hurricane Harvey in 2017, Operation AirDrop organizes GA aircraft, pilots and service providers to deliver supplies and support after a natural disaster. Post-hurricane flood recovery is an Operation AirDrop specialty. Volunteer missions over the years have involved aircraft from an Aeronca Champ to a Bombardier CRJ-700 regional jet delivering meals, diapers and cleaning supplies.

Hurricane Ida could involve relocation flights or other response efforts, according to the ACA, and the FAA has established an Airspace Coordination Area—not a TFR, but the ACA says “it is a notice that an increased number of airplanes, VFR and IFR, will be flying to support relief efforts. TFRs may pop up with little or no notice for military and law enforcement Search and Rescue.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.

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  1. Glad to see a “Not Needed” article among all of the “news” stories.

    I’m thankful for all of the volunteer pilots–but when NOT needed, best we stay clear and let the professionals do their work.

  2. I received an email from Charley Valera, representing Aerobridge, another GA-based relief-flight organization. He disputes the characterization of the situation with Hurricane Ida relief flights. He wrote, in part:

    “The streets are not open and clear. Many communities have no food, water, or electricity. The only help they’ve received is from GA pilots flying into GAO [Lafourche Parish, Louisiana] and HUM [Houma, Louisiana] with donated supplies. Although roads may be available, most are impassable from debris. Also, NATA [National Air Transportation Association] has just partnered with Aerobridge and we have a second distribution site opened in BMT [Beaumont Municipal Airport, Beaumont, Texas].”