SPECIAL GUIDELINES FOR HELPING DURING DISASTERS AND
Updated for the Haiti Earthquake disaster:
This information was originally compiled for prior
general aviation volunteer relief efforts such as for the Loma Prieta and
Northridge earthquakes, 9/11 attacks,
Hurricanes Hugo, Andrew, Katrina, Rita, and Gustav, and the international
General Aviation Disaster Relief Information:
The following information provides guidance on how to help.
Please read it thoroughly and watch for updates below, on our main page, and on
the pages of major aviation associations as described
Volunteer Pilots - be sure to download and read the AOPA Air
Safety Foundation Safety Guide
Our information below can be summarized as follows:
1) Be safe and be careful not to interfere in
relief efforts by others.
2) Be available to help, even if the best way
to help is through making a donation to relief groups. Research carefully what can and should be
done when providing your aircraft or services to help during a crisis. We
provide links to excellent information below.
3) It is best to work through organized groups
which have relations with relief agencies and can coordinate your
participation. See the information regarding listed groups below.
4) The most useful and productive volunteers
are those who have prepared prior to an emergency situation and know
exactly how to respond.
WHAT YOU CAN DO NOW AND WHAT WE LEARNED IN
PRIOR RELIEF EFFORTS:
We received many inquiries from individuals
and groups about how they could help following 9/11.
At first there was little call for general aviation services for disaster relief, although some groups were being called upon to transport blood or fly
However, demand picked up quickly and ultimately
several hundred missions were flown by volunteer pilots over a
period, flying blood, medical supplies, and relief
workers, and evacuating residents.
Hurricane Katrina many hundreds of volunteers from general aviation were
involved and we have heard estimates of more than two thousand missions
During and following hurricanes and other
disasters we have learned that there
is often a more widespread call for help.
General aviation volunteers will provide essential services during relief
If you wish to help in
a current or some future crisis please
carefully read and consider the following guidelines:
First, regarding general aviation participation, please work directly
with your own flying organizations to contribute in any pre-arranged
efforts coordinated by them and their local emergency planning agencies.
Many volunteer pilot public benefit flying groups will have an
emergency services coordinator who can provide information.
See the information about volunteer pilot organizations below.
Sources of General Information:
The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association: AOPA has collected much useful information for pilots flying relief missions
or needing to fly into the affected areas. We expect AOPA to publish updated information regularly, so keep an eye on
www.aopa.org and subscribe to AOPA's eNews alerts such as
AOPA has published information about the current Haiti
relief work. Please visit:
Page on General Aviation Haiti Relief work and resources
Craig Fuller's message regarding pilot support for Haiti.
AOPA update on 1-19-2010
GA relief flights to Haiti start
National Business Aircraft
Association: NBAA has excellent
information and has developed a database to provide
information about available aircraft and pilots to the Department of
Homeland Security, relief agencies and groups providing transportation
services. It includes information about
the CARE program - Corporate Aircraft Responding to Emergencies.
Please visit the following pages:
NBAA main page with links
the Haiti Relief Articles
Haiti Aircraft Operations
Corporate Aircraft Responding in Emergencies - CARE
You can register yourself and your aircraft
with NBAA by using the links above. NBAA has provided the database to the
Air Care Alliance to distribute to its listed groups involved in Haiti
The Experimental Aircraft Association: EAA also publishes excellent coverage of relief efforts
involving GA; please subscribe to their eNews alerts and keep an eye on their
AVweb has also presented good coverage and useful information on their
NewsWire pages found at www.AVweb.com
and in their emailed AvFlash bulletins. Mary Grady of AVweb recorded
a short interview with Doug Clements of Wings of Hope, which has
operations in Haiti, and it provides an excellent perspective regarding what GA can
do there. Listen to it at:
Pilot Share the Ride: following the Katrina
hurricane this general aviation rideshare service organized hundreds of
flights. In association with Operation Teacup they are offering their help
again. Log on to the site and register yourself as a pilot, or
register your relief organization's transportation needs, and see if a match
can be found.
Donate Blood: During
the first days of 9/11 the Red Cross coordinated a blood drive,
with certain types especially needed. If you are interested, call your local Red Cross chapter or
1 800 GIVE LIFE or 1 888 BLOOD-88 or do a search for a Red Cross web site
serving your area. You should also check with your own
local or regional independent blood banks too.
should avoid inundating overburdened
emergency service workers with calls during emergencies, especially in the affected areas.
Try to get your information first from your own groups or from public sources
such as local news announcements, especially from local FEMA offices or
other local emergency management agencies. See the
"How You Can Help" page.
To familiarize yourself with the
entire subject of the Haiti Earthquake and relief efforts please visit the
following Wikipedia site, which is updated continuously:
2010 Haiti Earthquake on Wikipedia
Another source for suggestions on aiding those in need
Network for Good.
Volunteer Pilots and Public Benefit
If you wish to volunteer your services as a pilot or other volunteer
a nonprofit aviation organization, please see the complete list of volunteer flying
organizations maintained by the Air Care Alliance at
- the Listings page on this site. Contact
the groups in your area or in areas likely to serve the disaster directly, using the information in the listings.
Note: The following ACA listed organizations have
indicated they are facilitating relief flights: Angel Flight Soars of
Georgia, Angel Flight East, Grace Flight, Cair Flight, Bahamas Habitat,
Mercy Flight Southeast, Angel Flight West (airline ticket support), Pilots
for Patients, Corporate Angel Network, Wings of Hope,
Missions Made Possible, Servant Air Ministries, Angel Flight Central.
Others are likely helping too but have not yet provided us their
Many of these groups have emergency service or
medical transport programs which may be operating. During the 9/11 emergency
when airspace was closed the blood
missions were being flown utilizing the "LifeGuard" call sign flight procedures
designated by FAA. As airspace reopened routine transport missions
were flown utilizing the ACA "Compassion" call sign procedures
published on this site. Some Angel Flight groups also used the
"Angel Flight" call sign, with procedures derived from the ACA's
Compassion procedures. Grace Flight of Texas also
has a dedicated call sign for their operations.
Please note, however, that during an emergency FEMA
and other relief groups tend to
be overloaded with offers of help. Most of those who are actually asked to fly missions
do so through the various flying organizations in our listings
or for local agencies and social service organizations. Thus we urge you to volunteer and fly with them. Please investigate a
number of organizations flying in your area and offer your help to them.
often pilots will find that they can perform missions for their local
social service agencies or nonprofit groups in order to help others, and
that they can fly into airports that are not restricted. Do follow
all pertinent NOTAMS and check the sites above for additional information
Note: most groups have an
orientation and acceptance procedure to get new pilots involved. It is best
to join groups and learn about their programs before an emergency. During an
actual emergency situation new volunteers can get in the way if they are not
In your haste to help please do
not become part of a disaster!
SAFETY FIRST ! Do not allow the urgency of the situation to
compromise safety. In fact, pilots should add an extra margin to
their own personal minimums to compensate for the pressure to be of
The AOPA Air Safety Foundation and the Air Care Alliance
collaborated to present safety recommendations for volunteer pilots in the
AOPA ASF Guide - "Volunteer Pilots - Recommendations for Enhanced
Safety." Obtain a PDF copy of the guide by clicking this link:
ASF Volunteer Pilot Safety Guide.
Please be sure to read the guide.
Information for Groups: For those organizations such as
volunteer pilot organizations, clubs, and airport associations wishing to
help, EVAC - the Emergency Volunteer Air Corps -
compiled much of the information shown here and has
provided much useful information including a sample emergency
operations guide, on its site at
will update this information periodically so please keep an eye on
Whenever possible please call the listed groups directly to offer
your assistance. ACA does not coordinate relief
flights. The listed groups do. Contact them using our listings
. However, pilots who
still must contact the Air Care Alliance directly
regarding relief questions
should use this
Do email us and let us know if you learn anything that we
should know about and should report here or to others.
do not call our ACA phone help line except for an emergency or to get help finding a
group to transport a patient or perform another service.
We ask that you use our Listings and other information on the site first and
call us if you can't find what you need.