From congressional lambasting to saving lives in Haiti

Top Quote Corporate Aviation plays key role in Haitian disaster. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) January 18, 2010 - Chicago Illinois - What was once regarded as the bastion of the idle rich and fat cat executives, corporate aviation is rapidly becoming a critical element in saving lives and supporting the relief efforts in Haiti.

    In an unprecedented outpouring from the corporate aviation community, hundreds of owners of private aircraft, from jets to pipers, are volunteering their aircraft and support personnel to expedite the response to Haiti's quake victims.

    Corporate Aircraft Responding in Emergencies (CARE), a network of aviation specialists who assist as first responders to catastrophic events, matches those in need of air transportation services with available aircraft and flight crews. As the international response gears up, most heavy lift aircraft are operating into the Port-au-Prince airport. Private aircraft from CARE are supporting the relief effort with flights into Port-au-Prince as well as numerous smaller fields throughout Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

    Typical requests come in many forms. "We have a request to transport a four-man Go Team from Mennonite Disaster Services (MDS) to do initial disaster survey work so relief efforts can be properly focused," said CARE President Marianne Stevenson. The team is currently on standby in Lancaster, Pa., and can deploy as soon as air transport can be arranged, she said. Each person will need to carry approximately 50 pounds of gear.

    Other needs include air evacuation for a Colorado-based church group that had just sent a mission of 13 people, including seminary students, to Haiti a few hours before the earthquake hit. The group made it as far as the town of Jacmel, and needs help getting home as soon as such flights can be arranged. Also, a group of 8 to 12 doctors and surgeons from Creighton University Medical Center, based in Omaha, NE, and their medical equipment and supplies are looking for air transportation to Haiti, probably over the weekend.

    CARE volunteer, Greg Allen, added "Seeing the private aviation community respond so fast and enthusiastically is heartwarming. To see businesses, both large and small, volunteer the use of these vital business tools is unbelievable."
    Private aviation aircraft were some of the first on the scene after the earthquake. Early responders utilized private aircraft to transport physicians, journalists and supplies within hours of the devastation.

    "That is also what makes business aviation so vital to the private sector" said Allen. "Versatility, rapid response and pin point precision are key elements to mission accomplishment, whether directed from the executive suite or a crisis management center"

    When asked "How would you describe your typical aircraft donor?" CARE volunteer Robin Eissler responded: "We have all types of corporate operators donating aircraft. From owner/operators to large corporations. The Pilatus Owner and Pilots Association recognized the unique need for the PC12 aircraft for these missions and we have been receiving calls from Pilatus owners by the hour. One of the large fractional operators donated an aircraft this morning to fly in a team of doctors. Yesterday a large U.S. corporation flew medical supplies and doctors in. It truly shows the diversity of corporate aviation and how this corporate "airforce" is one of our country's greatest assets. When you get right down to it, we are all just trying to affect a more positive outcome to a very tragic event."

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