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Service organizations organizing hurricane relief flightsService organizations organizing hurricane relief flights

Remote Area Medical seeks experienced pilotRemote Area Medical seeks experienced pilot

Editor's note: This article was updated Oct. 5 with additional information about relief flight opportunities open to general aviation pilots.

Volunteer general aviation pilots wasted no time responding to the latest natural disaster as Hurricane Matthew slammed the Caribbean and closed in on the coastal southeastern states, forcing evacuations and threatening flooding from Florida to the Carolinas.

NOAA image of Hurricane Matthew.

As the hurricane made landfall in Haiti as a Category 4 storm the morning of Oct. 4, Remote Area Medical, a nonprofit that serves people with little or no access to basic medical care by bringing services where they are needed, appealed for experienced volunteer pilots to help it deploy its lifesaving resources in the area.

The international service organization Bahamas Habitat planned a fly-in assessment of conditions in the hard-hit islands to be followed next week by delivery of water, food, tools, and other supplies that donors can acquire and ship to its mission partner, Agape Flights, a nonprofit aviation ministry in Venice, Florida. Bahamas Habitat also appealed for donations to move the relief effort forward.

In Greenville, South Carolina, the Civil Air Patrol Composite squadron based at Greenville Downtown Airport got ready to join other units in preparing for the hurricane’s predicted landfall later in the week.

“A key role for Civil Air Patrol during this hurricane response will be flying surveillance patrols to monitor traffic flow along vital evacuation routes from the coast. Greenville aircrews have already been instructed to stand by for mission tasking as early as Wednesday,” it said in a news release.

During flooding in 2015 in the state, the Greenville squadron sent aircrews on damage assessment sorties on behalf of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, and sent mission support staff to the South Carolina Wing's Incident Command center in West Columbia, it said.

An official of Remote Area Medical said the organization needs pilots who are current and qualified in the Beechcraft King Air 200 and or the Cessna 208 Caravan for volunteer deployment to Haiti. Eligible pilots will have been to an approved school for those aircraft in the past 12 months.

“This is a volunteer assignment departing Knoxville, Tennessee without compensation, but hotel and meals are provided,” Remote Area Medical said. Pilots who would be available are asked to email the organization.

Remote Area Medical also has a long-term need for an experienced pilot who is current in the Beechcraft King Air 200, the Cessna 208 Caravan, and holds CFI, CFII, MEI certificates. A pilot who is A&P/IA qualified is preferred. The pilot would relocate to Knoxville. Other aircraft include the Douglas DC-3, Beech Model 18, Cessna 206, and Piper PA-23 Aztec. A current U.S. passport is required. Please reply by email if interested.

Dan Namowitz

Dan Namowitz

Associate Editor Web
Associate Editor Web Dan Namowitz has been writing for AOPA in a variety of capacities since 1991. He has been a flight instructor since 1990 and is a 30-year AOPA member.
Topics: Public Benefit Flying, Pilots, Caribbean

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