Sept. 5, 2017
As skies finally clear over the U.S. Gulf Coast, the business aviation community continues to mobilize and assist victims from Hurricane Harvey. Recently, aircraft manufacturer Dassault Aviation called upon one of its Falcon 900 large-cabin business jets to transport badly-needed supplies for a Texas community ravaged by the storm.
“This is our Falcon Response aircraft, which normally is used to fly parts and maintenance personnel to support our worldwide fleet and transport clients when needed,” said Andrew Ponzoni, senior manager for communications at Dassault Falcon. “We’re doing a different kind of response today.”
Dassault took the aircraft out of service to fly relief missions over Labor Day weekend. On its first mission, the aircraft flew from the company’s base at Teterboro Airport (TEB) to Republic Airport (FRG) in Farmingdale, NY to retrieve MREs (meals ready-to-eat) and medical supplies donated by the Nassau County Emergency Support and Operations Center. The aircraft then departed for Orange County Airport (ORG) on the Texas/Louisiana border.
“We’re loading as much we can into this jet,” Ponzoni said. “After we offload these critically-needed supplies, the plan is then to fly evacuees to Austin.”
Dassault is a partner in Patient AirLift Services (PALS), a non-profit 501(c)(3) medical transport and relief organization based at FRG that relies exclusively on donated crews and aircraft from business aviation operators.
Ponzoni noted the Falcon 900 is well-suited for transporting large loads of supplies to smaller airfields like ORG. The company has operated similar missions in past times of crisis, including transporting doctors and surgical equipment into Haiti following the 2010 earthquake, and flying evacuees out of Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina.
“We must be dedicated to helping each other wherever we can, because we have the perfect tool available to do so,” he added. “Business aviation allows us to get what is needed most, to exactly where it’s needed most.”