General aviation can be a lifeline in times of natural or national disaster. Volunteer pilots can help with search & rescue efforts or aerial assessment of damage. They may transport medical and emergency relief staff, deliver critical medical and relief supplies to affected areas, or relocate survivors or evacuees.
The services of volunteer pilots are often needed for the delivery of precious cargo including blood and tissue.
While some organizations solely focus on disaster relief, most PBF organizations will mobilize in times of need, as seen during the COVID-19 pandemic and recent hurricane relief efforts.
To contact a relief support group directly involved in disaster response, please visit our Directory of Groups and select Disaster/Emergency under services.
For information on COVID-19 response efforts, please visit: https://www.aircarealliance.org/covid-19-requests/
Special Guidelines for Helping During Disasters and other Emergencies
1) Be safe and be careful not to interfere in relief efforts by others.
2) Be available to help, even if the best way to help is through making a donation to relief groups. Research carefully what can and should be done when providing your aircraft or services to help during a crisis. We provide links to excellent information below.
3) It is best to work through organized groups which have relations with relief agencies and can coordinate your participation. Most Volunteer Pilot Organizations will mobilize in times of needs, even if their primary purpose is not disaster relief. Visit our Directory of Groups to find an organization near you.
4) The most useful and productive volunteers are those who have prepared prior to an emergency situation and know exactly how to respond.
EVAC Aviation Operations Guide – Mobilizing General Aviation to Help the Victims of Emergency Situations – Provided by the Emergency Volunteer Air Corps (EVAC)
PALS Disaster Relief Best Practices – These basic guidelines for volunteer pilots flying in support of disaster relief efforts were developed in 2017 by Air Care Alliance Member Group Patient Airlift Services (PALS) and their disaster relief program Sky Hope.
Relief Air Wing – Relief Air Wing was set up by OPSGROUP: an international organization of pilots, flight dispatchers, airlines, and aircraft operators that work together to share safety critical information. A great source of critical new information about airspace risk and procedures during times of disasters.