General Aviation Shining Moment In Hurricane Harvey and Irma Response
It is truly a humbling honor to be a part of and see the massive volunteer air bridge into the devastated areas affected by Hurricane Harvey and now the much more massive Irma now unfolding. I am witness to a manmade miracle and something I never thought we would get the opportunity to see, the absolutely critical and lifesaving role general aviation and volunteer pilots are playing in the Hurricane Harvey and Irma response. To put it simply it is everything in every way that I believed was the inherent potential and quality of the character of not just those pilots that would lend their aircraft to assist, but the amazing amount of volunteerism that I am seeing to help coordinate the effort.
From the pilots, to the SAR professionals to just the everyday individuals on the grounds doing 30 plus hours straight of giving of themselves to get aid in so people are taken care of.
For me this became a part of my life through the work in preparing the West Coast for what we are due to have. Just didn’t realize aspects of what we’ve done here would be used on the East Coast.
Being a part of the Air Care Alliance/Emergency Volunteer Air Corps and their Air-Care Harvey response group, was humbling. The work of PALS and many other Aviation Groups getting supplies delivered. Volunteers like 35 years as a professional firefighter Mark Phillips and one of the nation lead public safety dive instructors who is doing an amazing job of help liaison with us and developing the intelligence on unmet needs and what critical personnel are needed. I talk with these individuals on the ground and it is life changing. At times of late this country has been so divided, it is these moments that show what I believe is the core of this country. Not the division but this caring for our neighbors in their darkest moment and doing everything we can to help them. That is what makes us great. The American people are always at their best when things are at there worst.
A highlight of this for me was being given the opportunity of getting a small role in the flying in of a medical doctor and team from Ohio. Working through Scott and Mark on the ground and tying in PALS and a member of the Air-Care response group who is also a member of the West Coast General Aviation Plan group and
Having the connection come to us through Rol Murrow and Air-Care Harvey Response Group to get this doctor delivered where he is most needed has been an epiphany for me as much of a Godsend for the city in need of his healing skills.
General Aviation has always played a role, but now is their shining moment and may be a pivotal one as the emergency management system becomes overwhelmed as the 2nd hurricane Irma approaches Florida and Jose with winds of 150mph looms over the horizon. General Aviation may become a life saver for too many to count. God bless all who serve ‘so others may live’!
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.