In the wake of the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that struck Ecuador April 16, the nonprofit organization Aerobridge, which helps coordinate disaster relief flights, is seeking volunteer pilots in the country who can provide aerial support.
“We are looking for needs assessment as well as private pilots that can fly out of Guayaquil or other surrounding airports,” Aerobridge President Marianne Stevenson wrote to AOPA.
The group is seeking pilots who are located in or near Ecuador and can easily fly in and out of airports in the country. Those in other countries can donate money to provide fuel for a Piper PA-34 Seneca that the group is currently using to fly missions in Ecuador.
“General aviation is a key link in providing disaster relief when much of a country’s infrastructure and road system has been destroyed,” said Craig Spence, AOPA vice president of operations and international affairs. “We hope our members who fly in the country are able to help provide much-needed support with their aircraft.”
Aerobridge formed in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, and has since helped match aircraft, pilots, and humanitarian organizations to coordinate disaster relief flights across the United States and in Bangladesh, the Philippines, Kenya, Uganda, India, South Africa, and Sri Lanka.
Aviation organizations including AOPA, the National Business Aviation Association, Pilatus Owners and Pilots Association, JetNet, Jeppesen, the Experimental Aircraft Association, and Universal Weather and Aviation Inc. have partnered with Aerobridge.