Do you wish to extend help in the wake of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma?
Many general aviation pilots have been called to help in relief effort. It is important to note that these mission are performed safely.
Some basic guidelines have been framed by Sky Hope Network and Patient Airlift Services (PALS) for volunteer pilots who wish to fly in support of relief work following major emergencies and disasters.
Apart from these recommendations, Air Care Alliance has also asked pilots to take up the short online interactive tutorial from Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s Flight Safety Institute.
This online course is available as “Public Benefit Flying: Balancing Safety and Compassion.”
You can take up this course on the Online Learning page of AOPA. You can ask for web access when asked in case you are not an AOPA member.
All Flights to be Coordinated with a Disaster Relief Flight Charity
After a disaster, airports and airspace are often overcrowded. Along with this, information changes quite frequently. When you coordinate with a disaster relief flight charity you make sure resources are being used in best possible manner to help people and save lives.
Sky Hope works in co-ordination with AOPA, National Business Aviation Association, and Air Care Alliance, and various government agencies to ensure it provides the latest and correct information to pilots.
Sky Hope officials stated that they combine needs on a given flight which maximizes the efficiency of aircraft.
Flying with Two Pilots
Details pertaining to a disaster relief flight can be quite challenging. Workload can be managed by operating with two pilots.
Keep Yourself Current with TFRs and NOTAMs
Regularly check them and again before you depart, for each flight. The get changed at any time.
Experience is Important
Pilots are confronted with abnormal conditions during relief missions there experience is important, along with instrument rated and currency.
Fly Aircraft with Traffic Avoidance Systems
It is possible that in disaster area flight following and radar services may not be available. Along with this, there will be an increased number of flight operations, including government and private aircraft. Moreover, helicopters also operate in such areas, further increasing air traffic.
Be Mindful of Fuel Supply
Fuel supplies may be replenished or in short supply during such times. In case fuel is available, you may have to wait for long to get your turn.
Be Prepared for Potential Mechanical Problems Before Hand
In such circumstances resources to fix aircraft discrepancies or fix flat tires may not be available. It will be a good idea to carry few spare tires or items that may be required for any common mechanical problems. Getting stuck in a disaster area due to aircraft mechanical problem is the last thing you want.
Before Loading and Dropping Supplies Check with the Relief Flight Charity
Any operation that you undertake should be coordinated with the relief flight charity. Dropping supplied on an airport in disaster area may complicate things. Make sure to prepare manifests and proper weighing equipment when you fly supplies for a charity flight organization.
Avoid Unnecessary Flights
You should not fly just for the sake of curiosity. There are many requirements that need to be fulfilled and you will only add on to the workload.
Ground Conditions May Be Uncertain
Changes are taking place constantly in disaster areas. The airport you arrive at may be in military control. There can be various security issues on the ground with which you may have to deal. The airport may be filled with evacuees waiting to be transported. Be prepared.
End of the Mission
For a community it is important to resume normal economic operation after a disaster. Normal local commerce may be disrupted by a number of donated flights and donated supplies.