Flight Planning Into Disaster Zones

Flight planning

Flight planning after disaster strikes 

When I worked for an EMS Air Ambulance Company, we were usually on call whenever there was any natural (or manufactured) disaster within flying distance of our base. We were there, ready to serve, whether it was to deliver desperately needed supplies or to help with the evacuation of injured patients. It was almost expected of us, being in that line of work. However, it’s a whole different story when a “civilian” pilot is flight planning for the sole purpose of delivering disaster-aid to an area in need of help.  

That’s precisely why Aerobridge exists – to help organize and coordinate relief efforts by general aviation operators. Goodness, they have been busy lately. Hurricane Ida is the latest disaster that has created a need for aid, with flooded and destroyed neighborhoods. As a result, Aerobridge has created a staging area in Pensacola and will be flying supplies into New Orleans until they are no longer needed.  

Aircraft owners and operators interested in helping Aerobridge with its critical mission can register at the Aerobridge website. Previous volunteers will have to re-register. Once you log in, you will be able to see a list of available missions. And no worries about missing out on Ida – when the hurricane victims are taken care of, there will undoubtedly be a need someplace else.   

When helping, pilots can either fly to the staging area to pick up supplies or fly directly to the “disaster” airport with their own items. If a pilot brings their own supplies, Aerobridge will provide reimbursement up to a preset limit (contact them for details).   

Donated supplies can also be dropped off or shipped via Amazon to the designated staging airport identified on the Aerobridge website.   

Commonly needed supplies include:  

  • Cases of water  
  • Flashlights and batteries  
  • Diapers  
  • Pet food  
  • Ready to eat foods in easy to open packages  
  • Tarps  
  • Long roofing nails  
  • Plastic tubs  
  • Antibiotic creams  
  • Cleaning supplies  
  • Bleach  
  • Disinfectant  
  • Soap  
  • Duct tape  
  • Mosquito repellant  
  • Basic first aid items.   

Flying for the sheer joy of flying is a remarkable feeling on its own, but filling out a flight plan for the sake of saving lives and providing comfort and relief in the face of a disaster is joy on a whole new level. So check out the Aerobridge website and see who needs you today! 

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