Flying Boats And Seaplanes Creating A Lifeline
Written by Sky Terry – As the West Coast takes many positive steps to be better prepared for disasters, such as developing Disaster Airlift Response Teams (DART’s), bringing communities and pilots together before the need arises and integrating general aviation into its response plans for when we are struck by the massive 8 plus magnitude earthquake, general aviation is once again rising to the challenge and helping to be that lifeline for those in need.
Being a part of this effort through the Air Care Alliance, Emergency Volunteer Air Corps and now Aerobridge is a rare privilege to not just help those in need but also learn those important lesson so that the West Coast can have a much better chance when the time comes. An example of this supreme effort is the Albatross flying boat air lift that is occurring as this is typed.
The Grumman Albatross that is making the trek to Puerto Rico is a great example of not just the amazing dedication of volunteerism of the pilot community in general aviation, but that flying boats can still make a difference. This aircraft and their crew are doing something special, but at the same time has been representative of the tireless dedication of the 100’s of volunteers within the aviation community, land and sea based, that have stood by communities since Hurricane Harvey slammed into Texas, twice, then Irma in Florida/Caribbean and now Maria in the Caribbean.
This flight is one of many that Aerobridge and many other groups of helped to set up to get aid in where it is desperately needed. As someone who has been striving since the catastrophic disaster of Hurricane Katrina to get my home state of Washington and the west coast much better prepared for what we face it is a special privilege to see general aviation rise time and time again to play an important role in relief efforts. What is even more amazing is this is history repeating itself in a positive way.
After the Haiti Earthquake in 2010 it was an Albatross that delivered an entire medical team and supplies to a devastated community that had no aid coming in and was totally isolated. In that moment a flying boat was their miracle.
Once again general aviation is being that life line and in a major way. We wish this crew of the Pegasus clear skies and good tail winds as they make their way fully loaded with supplies for the hard it island Puerto Rico. Thank you to Aerobridge, the Albatross crew and so many others that made this flight a possibility. Check them out at aerobridge.org
Sky Terry is a Contributing Editor here at Seaplanemagazine.com. He writes on topics concerning the use of Seaplanes and Flying Boats in Emergency & Disaster Relief.