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AOPA preps for Hurricane Irma relief efforts

Following the ongoing contributions from the general aviation community to the Texas recovery effort from Hurricane Harvey, AOPA pilots and staff have begun work to assist in Florida in the wake of Hurricane Irma.

AOPA participated in relief donations for Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, two devastating late-summer storms that swept through Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. The National Aviation Community Center in Frederick, Maryland, was the local staging point for supplies headed toward the hard-hit states. Photo by David Tulis.

AOPA put out a call to the Frederick, Maryland, community where it is headquartered, and then opened the doors of the National Aviation Community Center for donations on Sept. 9 and 10. Donors were asked to provide items from a specific list of useful relief materials, and staff and local residents volunteered their time over the weekend to receive and organize contributions.

“General aviation aircraft and airports can be a tremendous national asset during times of crisis. When miles of roads are underwater or impassable, a mile of runway—or less—can allow us to access remote communities most anywhere,” said Tom Haines, AOPA senior vice president of media, communications, and outreach.

“The most effective way for pilots to help is to stay connected to one of the organizations already set up to coordinate GA flights and the movement of the correct supplies to the right locations,” Haines said. “We want to make sure our help is effective and on target with local needs.”

A number of pilots on staff at AOPA will be using their personal airplanes and AOPA airplanes to work in Florida with AERObridge and other GA groups to coordinate the transportation of people and the distribution of the materials and other relief supplies in the coming days. AOPA has also given AERObridge a financial contribution to help facilitate further work to assist areas affected by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma.

“Pilots should continue to check our website for updates on what we are doing as well as what they can do to help,” Haines said.

Joe Kildea
Joe Kildea
AOPA Senior Director of Communications
Joe is a student pilot and his first solo flight was at AOPA’s home airport in Frederick, Maryland. Before joining AOPA in 2015, he worked for numerous political campaigns, news organizations, and the White House Press Office.
Topics: Advocacy, People, Public Benefit Flying

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