Post-Earthquake Airlift

President’s Corner Nov/Dec 2003
California is earthquake country. The General Aviation fleet can provide the quickest mode of transportation following an earthquake. That was demonstrated after the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 and the Northridge earthquake in 1994. Volunteer pilots provided the first airlift emergency services. This included transportation of key personnel and emergency supplies. OPERATIONAL STEPS for A POST-EARTHQUAKE AIRLIFT:
Immediately after an earthquake, volunteers should assist local agencies if requested to do so. If no local agency request is received the volunteer pilots should proceed promptly as follows:
1. As soon as feasible after a damaging earthquake, form an airport ad hoc group of volunteers, pilots, ground workers, communications workers (telephone or ham radio).
2. Designate one person as airlift coordinator;
3. Determine which airports should receive services for the affected area;
4. Determine what types of services are needed, e.g., transportation of personnel, medical supplies, food, equipment;
5. If feasible arrange for a local food bank or other organization to bring supplies, food or other needed materials to your airport;
6. At your airport, designate persons to coordinate loading of personnel or supplies.

A. Position aircraft for safe and efficient loading and movement;
B. Weigh the load and prepare a load sheet for each flight;
C. Secure each aircraft load to prevent shifting in flight;
D. Give load information for each flight to a person at your airport for communication by telephone or ham radio to the receiving airport. Provide aircraft identification number, pilots name, load description, departure time and any other pertinent information;
E. Brief each pilot as to weather, route, communications frequencies and other potential air traffic at the destination airport;
F. Notify FAA Air Traffic Control of the airlift operation and obtain any special information or instructions;
G. Deliver the load to designated unloading site at the destination airport; as soon as feasible after landing notify the departing airport of arrival time.

Note: Each flight is to be conducted as a personal flight according to Federal Aviation Regulation Part 91 flight rules and regulations. There should be no agreement by a pilot to receive compensation, e.g., money or fuel for this humanitarian service. This is necessary to assure that the pilot’s aircraft insurance will remain valid during the flight.