GA Helps Hurricane Florence Response
If it seems like storms are getting worse, there may be some comfort in the fact that storm response, including GA’s contribution, is getting better. Volunteer pilots stepped up in numbers to help bring relief to millions affected by Hurricane Florence and thanks to some well-organized efforts of groups that have learned from past disasters, the GA effort was effective, safe and appreciated. The nerve center for the dozens of private aircraft, which ranged from Cessna 172s to big business jets to a DC-3, was Raleigh Durham International Airport, where Operation Airdrop took over the terminal and turned it into a coordinated distribution center sending the right supplies to where they were needed. It wound down Sunday night as normal distribution systems got back to work.
Meanwhile, the Air Care Alliance got out ahead of the storm and got volunteer pilots thinking in the right ways about how they could help. The longtime expert in public benefit flying sent out a news release letting pilots know how they could be effective in their natural impulse to help. “Individual pilots and owners should work with established groups,” the organization reminded pilots. “They have the procedures and staffs to make contact with agencies involved in relief work and to provide appropriate assignments to new volunteers.” The advice seems to have largely been taken and social media is full of posts of gratitude for the fly-in volunteers. A video by just one of the appreciative beneficiaries is below.