GA relief flights to Haiti in flux

<BR cmid="Article:Two Deck"><SPAN class=twodeck cmid="Article:Two Deck">How you can get involved</SPAN>

March 15, 2010

AOPA Haiti Coverage

In the wake of the devastating Jan. 12 earthquake in Haiti, general aviation pilots immediately sprung into action, and GA has moved an astonishing quantity of supplies and aid workers to the ravaged nation. However, the changing situation in Haiti may make it more difficult to fly your own aircraft there to help, and pilots are strongly encouraged to contact a coordinating organization before departing for the island.

Since the earthquake, many outlying airports such as Jacmel have been operating as international airports. As foreign military personnel who have been operating these airports return home, however, some local officials do not believe they can continue international operations. When outlying airports return to domestic operations, international arrivals will have to land at Port-au-Prince or Cap-Haitien to clear customs before continuing to their destination, increasing time and requiring payment of additional fees.

The most recent status reports AOPA has received for each organization are below and will be updated as appropriate; please contact the organizations directly for more information.

If you are interested in getting involved in the relief efforts, here are some tips to help you get started.

Contact groups facilitating relief flights to Haiti

  • G.O. Ministries G.O. Ministries has had a long-term focus on Jacmel and was planning to end flights there on March 14—but the organization is looking at a shift to other airports, Jerry Woodcox said March 12. The organization plans on flying into Haiti through March 26, and can use volunteer pilot and aircraft. Pilots and aircraft also will be needed occasionally later in the year to take people into Haiti. Interested pilots should contact Dianne Miller at Dianne.Miller@go-ministries.org for current needs.
  • Bahamas Habitat Bahamas Habitat suspended its flights to Haiti on March 7, and is “reassessing a longer-term solution,” Steve Merritt, the association’s treasurer, said March 12. Bahamas Habitat has conducted 400 air missions, logging 3,200 flight hours, in 60 days. Updated information for pilots will be posted online.
  • Corporate Aircraft Responding in Emergencies (CARE) The National Business Aviation Association (NBAA) continues to collect information on aircraft and crews that would like to participate in relief efforts, NBAA’s Doug Carr said March 15. Flight activity has slowed and information being collected will be held in case future needs develop, he said.
  • Jim Parker of Caribbean Flying Adventures Parker is offering to answer AOPA members’ questions about relief flights in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

To find out more about general aviation disaster relief and connect with other volunteer organizations, see the Air Care Alliance disaster relief page.

Fly relief supplies to drop-off locations in Florida

  • Banyan Air Service Collections are winding down at Banyan, but the FBO does have items that need to be delivered to Haiti. Contact Sueann Campion at 954/491-3170 for more information.
  • Missionary Flights International is continuing to collect items at several locations in South Florida, and plans to do so for the foreseeable future. The Web page is updated with currently needed items.

Donate money

National News

Pilots who are not able to fly supplies to Haiti might consider donating the cost of a flight to Haiti in their GA aircraft to an established organization that is helping with the relief efforts. However, pilots should thoroughly research any organization before donating money.

Michael Rettig of The Rettig Family Foundation said his organization has plenty of cargo and a steady stream of airplanes, but is looking for additional funds for fuel. Pilots can donate at the “Pilots for Haiti” Web site.

Plan your flight: eAPIS requirements

When planning your flight to Haiti or the Dominican Republic to aid in the relief efforts, be sure that you understand and follow the requirements of the Customs and Border Protection’s Electronic Advance Passenger Information System (eAPIS). Customs has updated its travel requirements in the Caribbean because of the Haiti crisis. Download the updates.

If you’ve never used eAPIS before, the AOPA Air Safety Foundation offers a free online course, Understanding eAPIS—A Pilot’s Guide to Online Customs Reporting , to familiarize you with the procedures.