They're Winging It For Shore Storm Relief
Nov 14, 2012
By Tom Mongelli
A C-210 filled cereal wings in
from Indiana in the morning, and within hours families in the Toms River storm
shelters are eating. A Baron G-58
filled with coats arrives from Ohio and shore storm outcasts are suddenly fending
off the winter’s chill.
Such are the stories of private
pilots who have been flying supplies to the Jersey Shore since Sandy left her
destructive path.. and have flown aid to disaster-stricken spots since
Hurricane Katrina. Once just a loose aggregation, they’re now organized as a
501-C(3) nonprofit called AERObridge. They’ve been keeping the landing strips
at Robert J. Miller Airpark in Berkeley Township and Lakewood Airport busy
since Sandy swept through.
“This is just a caring community
in aviation that wants to help out,” says Jo Damato, director of the National
Business Aviation Association, “whether it’s a domestic or international
Damato says the concept arose
after the onslaught of Hurricane Katrina on the Gulf Coast, and was sharpened
during the Haitian earthquake of 2010. Pilots in companies that use small
aircraft in their resource arsenal, as well as private operators, fill in space
in their cargo holds and passenger cabins with desperately-needed goods that
turn the entire country into a gigantic neighborhood relief effort.
And when planes aren’t big
enough, says Damato, they kick it old school. “There’s one ambitious group out
in Arizona,” she enthuses. “They collected so many donations as part of the
Arizona Business Aviation Association, they’re sending two 26-foot Penske
trucks to New Jersey.”
But how do they know what to load
onto their crafts? The rise of social media has super-charged the information
flow, says Damato.
“If you think of where were were
after Hurricane Katrina, that’s an asset we just didn’t have,” Damato explains.
“There are so many great, legitimate New Jersey Facebook pages that are
available, where you can find out specifically what supplies are needed, where,
a contact point. Of course the food banks have been fantastic, the Diocese of
Trenton…really anyone who has a caring organization that’s able to provide
official information on what’s needed has been our guide.”
How long can the flyers sustain
the complications of added cargo and logistics? Damato says, until local
organizations are ready to go it on their own. “Relief organizations are
obviously on the ground,” she says. “They have an eye on the needs probably
better than we do. Our formal airlift organization is going to slow down, but
our members are still going to want to fly in supplies.”
See more about the group at aerobridge.org. Visit
the National Business Aviation Association at nbaa.org.
No Plane No Gain: Sampling of 2010 Coverage
Since the launch of the No Plane No Gain advocacy campaign, a concerted effort has been made to deliver the message about the importance of business aviation through national and local news outlets. This sampling of national and local television coverage in 2010, highlights the campaign's effectiveness in communicating the industry's importance.
NBAA's Bolen on Fox Business Network
Click here to see Ed Bolen, President and CEO of NBAA, in an interview on Fox Business Network
NBAA's Bolen on DC's Newschannel 8
In an interview with Newschannel 8, Bolen explains that "... business aviation is prudent, cost-effective, and oftentimes, the only way to get where you're going."