An Interview With The Albatross Pilot Who Flew The St. Thomas Relief Flights
After being part of the East Coast relief efforts its extremely pleasing to see the media recognize and highlight the efforts of JB Hollyer, his flight crew and the ground support team that made the difference for so many this year!
The below interviews tell the story of one of the many heavy lifters that made a positive impact during the hurricane relief efforts in the USVI’s. It is multiple interviews and in my book these guys are heroes as in a whole island’s darkest hour. They stepped up and flew many long hours over a lot of ocean to deliver much needed aid.
In planning for what the west coast faces with the Cascadia Subduction Zone earthquake, what this group did, what they saw and how they helped can greatly help us better prepare for what we face. Even though it’s not a hurricane the same devastation, if not worse and the incredible need will be very present. Once again General Aviation (GA) will be called upon to fill the gaps and make that save. For the west coast, facing a magnitude 8 plus earthquake for 3 to 5 minutes, with no warning, covering two states, possibly a 3rd and a whole island chain, the devastation will be shocking. Loss of land routes, loss of the pass highways, loss of airports and so much more will make seaplanes for areas like Washington State critically important. But beyond just that, the need will be so great that the use of land based and water based GA to supplement the immediate needs will be absolute life savers.
As a home health nurse I probably have a pretty unique perspective. That is because on a daily basis I am going out to the more vulnerable population that in reality has very limited means to be able to be self sustain for 3 weeks or even longer. So seeing how things fell apart after the East Coast/Caribbean hurricanes ran through and seeing the vital role GA played, it is good to see JB’s and his groups efforts recognized.
After years of work to better prepare the West Coast it was positive confirmation that we are on track. When I got the chance to be a part of the effort and see how badly needed GA was and how GA stepped up in a huge way. If not for pilots like JB and the hard work of the ground crews there would have been a lot more losses occurring and many more body-bags filled.
Enjoy the video/interviews and – hopefully – by seeing how GA has helped, we can be better prepared for when our time comes.
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.