National GA Groups Being Awarded For Relief Efforts

AwardedPicture: Award Ceremony - via Sky Terry

National GA Groups Being Awarded For Relief Efforts

Picture: Award Ceremony – via Sky Terry

Written by Sky Terry – After this season’s three back to back devastating hurricanes it is good to see the recognition that is being given to multiple aviation groups, pilots, ground support teams and so many more that played a crucial difference during such devastation.  Working right beside military and many other responding agencies this collaborative team effort saved lives.  The awards ceremony held by National Aeronautics Association was a great way to honor the efforts of so many.

Being out on the west coast it was confirmation that the continuing efforts of many – to include general aviation in their planning – as an important resource for the immediate and midterm response to tragedy, is right on track with the reality we are facing regarding what planet earth could throw at us.  In the hurricanes they at least had warning and time to preposition.  For us, facing a magnitude 8 plus earthquake for 3 to 5 minutes of shaking with no warning is going to put us into an unbelievably vulnerable situation.  In Washington, in particular the loss of the all the pass highways is highly likely and its going to cut critical arterial flows of supplies. Add some expected airport losses on top of that and this is going to be something else.

So the efforts of Paul Marshall and his team to promote and develop Disaster Airlift Response Teams (DART)’s in California is something that gives me great hope and encouragement on forward progress.  When communities and pilots come together a tremendous amount of life saving good can occur.  To highlight this there is a link to their page below. And congratulations to Half Moon Bay Pilot Association and the associated community that just completed their first DART mobilization drill.  DART’s are growing in California and that will save lives. Link;

The Efforts of Alan Barnard and those working with him in Clallam County to develop Washington State’s first DART also bring me great encouragement that we’ll have a better future when the time comes, because we will have truly tapped in to every available resource we possibly can.  This interstate effort is key to our ability to respond.  Link to this story.

The same is to be said for Jefferson County who conducted their first drill this year. Here is 2 links to that drill;

Emergency responders, volunteers practice with sea plane

The recent multi-county drill that the home health agency which I work for, also gives me great encouragement.  Realizing the importance of being prepared to be able to take care of our clinicians and patients in the aftermath of what is to come, they also have been very supportive of taking active measures to be able to manage and cope.

I think for me the question comes down to two things.  (1) are we learning from what has happened and; (2) are we actively applying those lessons so that next time the response can be even better?

With the positive progress occurring in California with the DART’s, Washington on the peninsula and the preparation steps where I work, I would say that in many areas, the answer is a strong Yes! People are realizing the need to be prepared before the event occurs and people are getting the importance of adding general aviation to the relief effort. This is good to see and gives me great hope. See also the Seattle Times Article

Sky Terry is a Contributing Editor here at He writes on topics concerning the use of  Seaplanes and Flying Boats in Emergency & Disaster Relief.

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