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Serving HaitiServing Haiti

General aviation at its bestGeneral aviation at its best

The look of desperation on the children’s faces in Haiti after Hurricane Matthew devastated the island nation in early October is an image AOPA Corporate Pilot Mark Evans said he will never forget.

Haiti relief efforts

  • Haiti relief efforts
    Children flock to Remote Area Medical's Cessna Caravan to help unload boxes of meals. Photo by Mark Evans.
  • Haiti relief efforts
    Many organizations used a variety of general aviation aircraft to help with disaster relief after Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti. Photo by Mark Evans.
  • Haiti relief efforts
    Hurricane Matthew completely decimated some villages in Haiti when it hit the island nation in early October. Photo by Mark Evans.
  • Haiti relief efforts
    General aviation pilots are playing a key role in relief efforts in Haiti. Photo by Mark Evans.
  • Haiti relief efforts
    A Cessna Caravan and military helicopter fly to a remote strip in Haiti to help provide disaster relief. Photo by Mark Evans.
  • Haiti relief efforts
    Remote Area Medical delivered 23,455 meals in Haiti while AOPA Corporate Pilot Mark Evans helped fly a Caravan for the nonprofit organization. Photo by Mark Evans.
  • Haiti relief efforts
    Remote Area Medical volunteers deliver supplies in Haiti. Photo by Mark Evans.
  • Haiti relief efforts
    General aviation pilots help with disaster relief after Hurricane Matthew devastated the area by donating their time to deliver much-needed supplies and medical attention in Port Au Prince, Haiti, and surrounding areas. Photo by Mark Evans.
  • Haiti relief efforts
    Peaceful skies after Hurricane Matthew give pilots flying relief missions to Haiti a beautiful view. Photo by Mark Evans.

In the wake of the hurricane, Evans flew meals to several villages in a Cessna Caravan through Remote Area Medical, a Tennessee-based nonprofit organization that uses aviation to help provide “free dental, vision, and medical care to isolated, impoverished, or underserved communities.”

“The flying was the easy part. It was the most enjoyable part of it,” Evans said. “Seeing the children with the desperate look in their eyes…seeing the conditions human kind can survive in” left a lasting impression as he helped deliver food to villages that “are either totally gone or totally isolated.”

Evans, a 16,000-hour pilot, has 3,000 hours in Caravans from his early days hauling freight, so “my ability to just get in and get the job done in some not so ideal conditions was a perfect fit for the operation.”

General aviation pilots deliver boxes of food to Haiti in the wake of Hurricane Matthew. Photo by Mark Evans.

Evans picked up the Caravan in Knoxville and flew to Titusville, Florida, to load boxes of high-energy, high-protein rice and grain that provided five meals each. He flew meals into remote strips and conducted air drops over beaches in the Caravan while a Cessna 206 with Remote Area Medical dropped supplies to villages confined in narrow valleys and canyons.

“When we would do an air drop of food on the beach, by the time we got turned around to go do another drop there would be 200 people there scrambling for the food, a couple hundred people, and you could just see them coming out of nowhere,” Evans said. “It was pretty dramatic, pretty eye opening.

“There’s almost a profound sadness that you feel because a lot of these people are not going to get help, but we’ve gotta do what we can to help.”

Evans said that between the six missions he flew in the Caravan and the missions in the Cessna 206, Remote Area Medical delivered 23,455 meals while he was there.

“We did a large work,” he said, “a great work down there.”

Evans encourages pilots to volunteer their aircraft and piloting services, or donate supplies to groups like Remote Area Medical because aviation is the only way to get help to some of these areas. Evans said that being personally responsible for helping to save lives through these relief operations was the pinnacle of his career.

“This is general aviation, to me, at its best.”

Alyssa J. Miller

Alyssa J. Miller

AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor
AOPA Director of eMedia and Online Managing Editor Alyssa J. Miller has worked at AOPA since 2004 and is an active flight instructor.
Topics: Public Benefit Flying, International Travel

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