January 19, 2010
By Alton K. Marsh
These Saab 2000 aircraft with crews were loaned to Missionary Flights International by Hendrick Motorsports and will fly through January.
Hendrick Motorsports has loaned two 45-passenger team airplanes and 10 volunteer staff members, including pilots, to Missionary Flights International (MFI) for Haiti relief efforts. The team also provided a special exemption from the FAA to allow the twin-engine turboprop Saab 2000 aircraft to operate into Port-au-Prince.
The airplanes will transport both MFI support groups and supplies directly into Haiti. The Hendricks volunteers include aviation director Dave Dudley, who will oversee operations; five captain-level pilots; one operations manager; one mechanic; and two flight attendants.
No timeline has been set for how long these missions will continue. The Hendrick organization is covering all costs of the flights.
Some of the sponsors of Hendricks NASCAR cars have donated money—PepsiCo has donated $1 million; GoDaddy.com has donated $500,000; Lowe’s has donated $1 million; General Motors has donated $100,000; and Bank of America has pledged $1 million. None of the funds are linked to operation of the loaned aircraft.
Collaboration between the German government, academia, and airplane manufacturers may make future aircraft cabins more protective of pilots and passengers. The Safety Box team plans to apply auto racing technology to general aviation.
A father and his 14-year-old son were helping another pilot ferry a newly purchased aircraft from California to their home field in Virginia. The three made an overnight stop in Albuquerque before flying on to Illinois for fuel. But shortly after they parked the aircraft in Marion, Ill., they were approached by as many as 18 uniformed and non-uniformed law enforcement officers who came running toward the airplane.
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