November 12, 2012
By Jill W. Tallman
Cloud Nine Rescue Flights, a nonprofit organization that focuses on animal rescue and humanitarian flights, has had to suspend operations until its transport aircraft’s engines can be overhauled.
Ted DuPuis, founder and president of Cloud Nine, said the organization was forced to ground the 1968 Cessna T-310N in September. DuPuis founded Cloud Nine in 2009 with a 1969 Piper Aztec, which has since been sold.
Since its inception, Cloud Nine has transported approximately 1,500 homeless dogs and cats, primarily using one pilot and one aircraft. DuPuis and two other volunteer pilots typically transport 10 to 15 animals at a time and had been flying nearly every weekend. In a profile of the organization published in AOPA Pilot, DuPuis said he has flown rescues across international borders on numerous occasions. Cloud Nine has moved 48 Chihuahuas from San Bernardino, Calif., to Farmingdale, N.Y., and carried 15 dogs and two cats that had been living at a garbage dump in Cozumel, Mexico, to new homes in the United States.
DuPuis said Cloud Nine had been anticipating the upcoming expense of the 310’s overhauls and has managed to raise about $45,000 out of a required $60,000. “The good news is that we’ve gotten some excellent discounts and donations that have made the job a great deal cheaper than it would be normally, and the plane will come out better, faster, and stronger as a result,” he said.
Tax-deductible donations can be made via the website, Each donation goes directly toward transport costs, which average $2,500 per transport or approximately $170 per animal rescued.
AOPA Technical Editor Jill W. Tallman is an instrument-rated private pilot who owns a Piper Cherokee 140.
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