What can GA pilots do to help in Haiti? In a special message at AOPA.org, Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association President Craig Fuller notes that while all GA pilots want to jump in their aircraft and fly down to help, government officials and disaster experts say that’s not the best way to help right now. Instead, he suggests donating the cost of a flight to help the relief efforts.
Fuller notes that AOPA has been working closely with the Department of Homeland Security, the Transportation Security Administration, and other government agencies to determine the best way pilots can contribute to the relief effort. Because of the damaged airport infrastructure and the large number of relief flights already taking place, the best thing pilots can do for now is donate money and stay clear of the area, he said, noting this will allow military aircraft and humanitarian agencies to get into the area and begin the relief effort.
In addition, AOPA has collaborated with the National Business Aviation Association on a website that will allow pilots to donate their services to fly doctors, search and rescue dogs, and other vital personnel and materials to a central collection point in southern Florida.
“Alternatively, we encourage pilots to consider donating the cost of a flight to Haiti in their GA aircraft to an established organization that is helping with the relief efforts,” Fuller said. “To help you determine the cost, we’ve calculated the flight time from Florida’s Miami International to Port-au-Prince for various GA aircraft. For aircraft with cruise speeds of 110 knots, the flight would take 5.5 hours; 140-knot cruise speed, 4.5 hours; and 160-knot cruise speed, 4 hours. The average price of avgas this week is $4.61 a gallon.
“If you are considering making a donation, thoroughly research the organization before you give money,” he continued.
If you are already a member of a volunteer organization that is helping with the relief efforts, contact your organization to find the best way to help. Also check to see if your volunteer aviation organization is a member of the Air Care Alliance, which has created a web page of information on disaster relief flights.
For more information: AOPA.org.