Oct. 20, 2017

Texas state Rep. Dade Phelan recently praised general aviation’s relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey, saying, “The people of Orange and Jefferson counties are forever indebted” to business aviation’s response after Hurricane Harvey, which was “heroic in their efforts to provide relief to our devastated community.”

Phelan specifically highlighted work of PALS Sky Hope flights immediately after Hurricane Harvey, noting that the organization helped deliver more than 200,000 pounds of critical supplies. “When immediate action was needed, they reacted quickly and without the red tape of other agencies,” he said. “They worked in conjunction with military personnel and an army of volunteers on the ground making the operation seamless.”

PALS Sky Hope Disaster Relief Program recruits aircraft operators from its database, and from NBAA’s Humanitarian Emergency Response Operator (HERO) database, said Robin Eissler, as well as the customer database of jetAVIVA, where she serves as COO, in addition to her work with PALS. “Being nimble, we can dispatch within an hour, but not before we coordinate the ground logistics to receive and distribute the relief supplies,” she added.

Sky Hope 2: volunteers unloading cargo

While the state and federal relief efforts were mobilizing, business aviation was the first responder, said Steve Hadley, NBAA’s director of regional programs and Southwest regional representative. “It provides the initial assistance and then makes way for the larger, long-term relief effort that follows them,” he added.

Other general aviation entities responding to calls for help after Harvey included: Houston Hobby Airport (HOU) was one of Southeast Texas’s islands, and the FBO Million Air “Go Team,” which attended the Coast Guard and National Guard helicopters. Among the participating fixed-wing aircraft was the large-cabin Falcon 900 that delivers parts and technicians in Dassault Aviation’s worldwide support of its fleet.

Business aviation continues to assist in relief efforts in Puerto Rico and other areas still recovering from Hurricane Maria, as well as Irma and Harvey.

Sky Hope 3: aircraft on the tarmac

“This was a major humanitarian relief effort that should serve as a template for other rescue and recovery efforts going forward,” Phelan said.

Read Phelan’s full letter about business aviation’s response to the hurricane. (PDF)