FROM THE DART PROGRAM MANAGER: (posted 5/15/2017)
Here’s an update on DART goings on. Marjorie Bachman of the Watsonville Emergency Airlift Command Team (WEACT) is planning a DART exercise for May 20th. She has invited people from this CalPilots Statewide DART Network to participate, and if you’re interested but have not yet responded, please do so. At the Napa County Airport, Kristen Gregory is organizing a DART introduction meeting for her pilots participating in the local EAA chapter and in her Sheriff’s Air Squadron. She is working on starting a DART and hopes this meeting will provide the consensus that drives the DART forward. I’ll be the featured speaker – that’s on May 18th, just in time to get a plane load or two of pilots to fly out to Watsonville for the WEACT exercise the following Saturday. At the Nut Tree Airport, Cedrick Hughes and Aubrey Mathews are crossing their fingers that they may be able to hold their first exercise in July. Now they are trying to finalize the date. You heard last quarter about the plans for the October Santa Monica exercise. Also, the folks at Torrance have spoken about trying to tie in with the Great Shake Out earthquake exercise that happens each year in California. Congratulations to Bob Butera and Rocky Green who had a tremendous turnout for their general DART organization meeting in March, with their first exercise penciled in for October.
Things are also percolating in our neighboring states of Washington and Oregon. FEMA wrote an after action report for the massive Cascadia Subduction Zone fault exercise they held a month or two ago. A massive quake there could spread Tsunamis and destruction across Washington, Oregon, and California. Anyway, one of FEMA’s conclusions is that the transportation infrastructure would be essentially wiped out and that there were inadequate plans to bring on the airports and seaplane assets to help out with bringing in food and emergency workers. Work is now underway in two counties in the Peugeot sound area to start two DARTs. The drivers there are Sky Terry of the NW EVAC group and the local county emergency managers who participated in the Cascadia Subduction Zone Fault exercise. The Oregon Pilot Association is pondering whether it wants to proceed with starting a statewide DART network of its own.
I attended the 2017 Air Care Alliance annual conference in Long Island NY this weekend. The president of the Air Care Alliance , Rol Murrow, was a leader of the Santa Monica Airport Association’s EVAC group for many years and maintains an interest in disaster air transport around the United States and specifically EVAC operating within his alliance. He put on a panel on the topic, and the CalPilots DART was featured along with Rol’s EVAC group and the Virginia Volunteer Pilots Group and a disaster coordinator at one of the charity flight organizations. Josh Olson, Executive Director of Angel Flight West, liked what he saw of CalPilots Statewide DART Network and volunteered to have Angel Flight West be an escalation resource for our DARTs. I believe they have 4000 pilots on their rolls, which could provide a lot of beef for us if we need a lot of planes. We will seek to work in one of the Angel Flight West pilots in the upcoming Watsonville exercise. If all goes well we will add a new category to our Statewide DART Network Contact List, which is contact information of external resources available to us such as Angel Flight West.
Paul Marshall, DART Program Manager