Haiti road doubles as 'airport'

January 26, 2010

Image 147 Click the image above to view a slideshow. Photo credit, Tradewind Aviation.

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Tradewind Aviation based in Connecticut is providing Cessna Caravans for delivery of supplies to Haiti. A lack of small airports means a country road must double as a runway.

The Caravans are part of a program called Corporate Aircraft Responding in Emergencies (CARE). The National Business Aviation Association assisted with the formation of the volunteer group several years ago. There are 24 aircraft flying to Haiti from Florida under the program.

One of the airports the program serves is a 1,200-foot closed-off section of a public road. Tradewind normally flies to the very short runway in St. Barts in the Caribbean, so they are experienced in flying heavy Caravans to short runways. The company operates a seasonal satellite operation in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a two-hour flight from the Dominican Republic.

The aircraft deliver food, water, medical supplies, and doctors to the Leogane area of Haiti by landing on the stretch of road up to eight times a day with two of Tradewind’s Caravans.

Leogane is about 20 miles southwest of Port-au-Prince and is very close to the actual epicenter of the quake, and until very recently, completely cut off from other aid.

Al Marsh

Alton K. Marsh | AOPA Pilot Senior Editor, AOPA

AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.