Disaster relief
I'm a 30 year, 2700 hour commercial pilot in Western North Carolina with a 1986 Maule MX-7-180 bush plane that I've owned and operated for 22 years. I fly it for recreation and I used it for 4 years to do part 91.147 commercial sightseeing flights. For a while I volunteered with Southwings in Asheville to do environmental flights. I always wanted to use my airplane for disaster relief flights to help communities across the state in times of emergencies but there doesn't seem to be any way to make this happen.

I looked at Air Care Alliance and checked with the Red Cross. There doesn't seem to be a general aviation pilot organization in North Carolina focused on transporting medical supplies, blood, food, water, etc. to aid in disaster relief. Angel Flight is focused on transporting patients. In this time of COVID-19 that's a bit too risky for me, but transporting supplies would be an ideal use of general aviation aircraft and pilots. Hurricanes in the last two years have flooded roads across the state, making ground transportation of medical supplies, food, water, shelter, blankets, etc. very difficult. GA aircraft are ideal for this purpose. You would think that this would be something that Civil Air Patrol would do but I was a member for 9 years and never got to fly a disaster relief mission even though I was a mission pilot. I think the problem is that most of their missions come from the Air Force. There also seems to be a lack of understanding or willingness in state emergency management to employ GA aircraft to help disaster relief efforts. It probably has to do with insurance.

For the last two years NC has experienced hurricanes that flooded roads in the central and eastern parts of the state making the transport of supplies and clean food/water difficult for ground transportation. Many of us would like to volunteer to use our aircraft to help our communities in times of need. It seems like there needs to be an official non-profit organization to make this happen in an organized way. Red Cross told me that they partner with local pilot organizations for this kind of thing and I saw an article where they did this with Santa Monica Airport and Disaster Assistance Response Team in California, but I didn't find anything similar in North Carolina.

Is anyone interested in forming a disaster relief aircraft owner/pilot organization in North Carolina or have I missed one that already exists?
9 Replies
Thanks, Ted. I emailed them in March but never heard back. Maybe I'm too far from the coast in Western NC.
I should add that I have an ATP, 4000 hours and a Cessna 310 and would prefer to fly supplies as needed.  Can be reached at:  pilotbarbie@rogers.com
Aerobridge is also mostly West coast.  Any relief agencies available in the Southeast?
I just started fling with the Coast Guard Aux Air Program. It took about a year to get signed up and qualified as an observer. I have the qualifications for First Pilot (hours, physical, training) am in the background process now. Hear that will take another year. 

The people I fly with are great, and it is a Nobel cause. 

only wish the process would move along a little quicker. 
I signed up, but after receiving numerous frustrating pilot history requests from multiple organizations, similar to extensive insurance pilot history request forms, I opted out. I am a frequent ATP rated pilot, flying several times a week in corporate jets, am a current flight instructor, with over 30,000 hours.  I own a C172 which I configured for compassion flights, but usefulness is probably limited.   
To much trouble. It’s a shame when I tried to help out. 
Andrew,  have you looked into the U. S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.  I have been flying with them for 20+ years.  I live in Houston, Tx so I can't be a lot of help finding an aviation flotilla in North Carolina.  However, if you drop a note here ==<http://wow.uscgaux.info/content.php?unit=054&category=contact-the-bridge> the district staff should be able to help.  

here on the Gulf Coast, we are used extensively for Pollution Patrols (looking for oil spills) and Logistics missions (Moving helicopter parts and Crew around) and occasional SAR (I do the search, the Helo does the rescue) mission.  Unlike the CAP the USCG Aux uses personally owned aircraft (and boats) as assets in the USCG.  I use my C182Q for my patrols.  your Maule would be perfect for the kind of flying we do.

In previous years I have flown over 100 hours just for the USCG Aux and have averaged 1 oil spill found and documented per pollution patrol.  Finding oil spills in this neck of the woods is not really surprising considering the number of refineries and that our area of responsibility includes SW Louisiana.

The kind of patrol flying we do here in the Houston area is all ground reference at between 1000 and 1500 feet.  At 1000 feet you can see the ground better, at 1500 feet you are above most of the pelicans.

I do need to warn you, the USCG is a military governmental organization.  Nothing happens fast. If you joined today, you will probably be flying as an USCG Asset for the 2021 Hurricane season.

If anyone has other questions and If this forum works the way others do, you should be able to reach me thru my profile page.  I am also the webmaster for my flotilla web site and an email that will eventually get to me is found here ==> <

Ted Dyson
Aircraft Commander
Aux IP
USCG Aux Flotilla 081-06-12