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Hall of Fame

Amway Corp., Ada, MI, played a crucial role in the Haiti airlift and continues to commit its fleet to this day in response to major disasters. Amway’s 20 seat Gulstream V based at KGRR made multiple trips evacuating returning missionaries, ferrying supplies and medics to MTPP. “The number one priority right now has been medical supplies. A lot of latex gloves, a lot of bandages. Anything to support the medical staff”… said Amway Director of Aviation Rick Fiddler back in January 2010.  Amway has a program in place to respond to disasters by donating personal hygiene kits and with its flights of mercy. Fiddler says: “Whether it be search and rescue in a helicopter in Lake Michigan or any type of disaster relief.  They basically just tell us go do what you’ve got to do, get the job done”. After Hurricane Katrina, Amway flew eight flights to the Gulf area ferrying doctors and supplies.

Air Mobile Joe Hurston of Merritt Island, FL delivered, personnel, parts, supplies and water purification systems in his C-337 Skymaster N19EZ through much of 2010 and beyond the cholera epidemic later that year as part of his worldwide ministry. On some of his return legs he flew innocent orphans to the US.

Banyan Air Service, Fort Lauderdale, FL –  Don and Sueanne Campion and staff donated hundreds of thousands gallons of fuel at deeply discounted rates, literally converted a hangar into a warehouse for storage of donated relief supplies, and opened their FBO as a home away from home to mission pilots. Banyan’s hospitality to transients at KFXE is a in a league of its own.

Bill Rancic really meant business when the reality show celebrity and friends loaded up a jet full of food and medical supplies and brought back three injured kids though one did not survive the wounds. It was the first of many trips to the island, later returned to Jacmel in partnership with World Wide Village to build homes.

Bob Penkus Motors, Colorado Springs, CO — Mr. Penkhus’ Beech King Air 350 was indispensable in transporting relief personnel and supplies. Mr. Penkhus flew his own private jet, several round trips in fact, shuttling doctors, supplies, civilians and media in and out of Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Chelsea Jets / Orion Jet Center, Airside International Business Park, Opa-Locka, FL donated various flights using a 737, a G5 and a Citation Sovereign delivering over 20,000 pounds of cargo and more than one 100 medical staff. Critically injured kids and their parents plus orphaned children boarded return flights to Miami.

CitationAir, Grenwich, CT joined forces with the International Humanitarian Aid Foundation (IHAF) to help meet the ongoing requirement for relief efforts in Haiti after the 2010 earthquake. CEO Steve O’Neill remarked “While the initial outpouring of support for Haiti has declined, we at CitationAir understand that the needs of Haiti and its people are still great…”

Dassault Falcon, South Hackensak, NJ  — Put the company’s Falcon 900EX demonstrator on missions to Haiti flying Partners In Health.

FJet Management, LL Ithaca, NY donated flight time in the company’s Falcon 2000EX to physicians, nurses and first responders and their supplies. “They were so incredibly grateful for the support we brought them” remarked Capt. James Wilson.

FlexJet, Austin, TX – When Flexjet first received news of the Haiti earthquake crisis – one of the world’s worst natural disasters – the team quickly mobilized its resources. With immediate aid needed, they were in a unique position to make a meaningful impact and deliver life-saving medical personnel and critical basic necessities for the citizens of Haiti. From flying a trauma team of nine out of Creighton University Medical Center in Omaha, Nebraska, to donating a flight to Doc to Dock – a charity that collects unused medical supplies from U.S. hospitals for patients in need – Flexjet is both honored and humbled to be one small part of the larger U.S. relief effort.

Florida Air Transport, Miami, FL – Captain Ray Blanco and flight engineer Carlos Gomez rolled out their vintage DC-6 workhorse freighter reminiscent of the great Berlin Airlift.

General Mills Inc. Golden Valley, MN Marc Belton and Chris Shea received a request for air transportation from Dartmouth College President Jim Yong Kim, a medical doctor who co-founded the nonprofit Partners in Health, which has strong ties to Haiti, according to General Mills. So, with the blessing of Eric Olson the firm’s 8-seat Cessna corporate jet was sent to Dartmouth’s campus in Hanover, N.H., where it was packed with antibiotics and surgical equipment. A slot opened for it at PAP airport instead of diverting to the DR as had been anticipated.

Grey Aviation, Destin FL –  Partners Eli Caison and Kevin Carmelli flew five Caravan missions to Haiti including landings in isolated roadways.

Gulfside Construction Services, Tampa, FL  Used its very capable MU-2 twin turboprop flown by owner pilot Brett Meares to shuttle vital supplies from Columbia, SC, Ft. Lauderdale, FL and Santiago, DR into rural towns like Jeremie. His extended two-month commitment racked up 190 humanitarian missions saving thousands of lives from starvation, disease and injuries.

Harrison Ford, the actor, Young Eagles chairman and general aviation advocate at large, flew his Grand Caravan N53U to DR and shuttled mercy flights to Haiti to help Love A Child Health Centre in Fond Parisien, Haiti, and supported Operation Smile, a charity medical service organization. Ford was one of various celebrities including John Travolta and rapper Ludacris who put their planes at the service of humanity. Over the span of three months, Operation Smile sent over 25 tons of supplies and deployed 11 teams of over 130 medical volunteers.

Hendrick Motor Sports, Charlote, NC – Flew their SAAB 2000 a total of 23 missions from Florida to staging airports in Haiti. The HMS aviation team flew at least one roundtrip per day, with no timeline set on how long the plane and personnel will be on loan. The eight-team crew consisted of HMS aviation director Dave Dudley, four captain-level pilots, one mechanic and one flight attendant. All volunteered to participate. HMS had a second plane on standby and it too went into action. HMS owner Rick Hendrick covered all costs associated with the flights.

Honeywell, Phoenix, AZ Gulstream V N922H delivered emergency supplies and pledged well over $1M to the reconstruction effort.

Jet Quest, Georgetown, TX. – Robin Eissler responded immediately by coordinating 100 aircraft taking more than 800 trips to the island in January alone. Eventually she organized 670 relief flights to Haiti that may have carried 3400 passengers and over a million pounds of supplies. Robin went on to establish Sky Hope Network as the premier nonprofit organization for humanitarian flights.

Jet Support Services, Inc., (JSSI) Chicago, IL – coordinated flights for various organizations. Please visit their link:  http://jetsupport.com/home/jssi-haiti-relief-project/

Joe Gibbs Racing, Huntersville, NC – put into service their SAAB 2000 transporting supplies.

Jonathan Nash Glynn, Sag Harbor, NY, a well-known artist and pilot owner of a 1964 C-172E (N5604T) dropped his artwork in progress as soon as heard of the devastating earthquake. After tankering in Miami he set off for Turks & Caicos and Haiti with merely a handheld GPS. Upon learning of amputations with wood shop tools and no anesthesia or antibiotics, Glynn committed his Cessna to airlifting morphine, surgical equipment and medical supplies in and out of gravel landing strips between 10,000 ft. mountain peaks. Glynn went on to establish a foundation, — Wings Over Haiti, raising six-figure funds to open an elementary school for 43 kids in Croix-des-Bouquets on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince, which basically provides food, water and a place to learn. But the creative angel pilot is a bid dreamer and his big dream did not stop there.

Kids ‘R’ Kids Childcare, Duluth, GA – Raz Khan, Chief Pilot, flew two missions in corporate Citation transporting medical personnel.

L-3 Avionics team donated crew and flight time in seven flights to delivering 1,300 Lbs. of medical supplies per trip.

Dr. Richard McGlaughlin of Birmingham, AL has been flying his Cirrus SR-22 to Haiti one week every month since the 2010 earthquake and operates at a clinic at The St. Luc Medical Centre in Tabarre. Otherwise he practices gastroenterology at St. Vincent’s and UAB Medical West hospitals. On his January 7th, 2012 flight to Haiti he brought along his 25 year-old-daughter for the first time and the usual cargo of medical supplies. But this was not to be a routine flight, if there is such a thing. The pair took off from Miami and as they flew off Andros Island, Bahamas, McGlaughlin noticed something odd with the oil pressure. The Cirrus had recently undergone scheduled maintenance. He decided to divert to Andros to get the problem checked out but the oil pressure kept dropping. Then things went from bad to worse and he realized they wouldn’t make it. He radioed Miami and declared Mayday. The oil pressure zeroed out, the engine seized and the propeller froze. The simulator training kicked in. He configured the plane to glide speed and then, at 2,000 feet AGL, he pulled the red parachute activator.  The CAPS rocket-propelled parachute deployment “made a terrific explosion and a ripping noise” as he described it. “Then the plane hangs directly on a parachute looking down at the water,” he said, “falling at about 17 mph, into about 10 to 12 feet of water. We kind of smacked it,” he added. Immediately, water seeped into the cabin. McGlaughlin said his daughter bumped her head and was having trouble getting out of her seatbelt, but he eventually grabbed her and pulled her out over the left seat door. Father and daughter got hold of the life jackets, inflated the regulation survival raft on board and waited in it for help to arrive. Bottled water from the plane bobbed toward them, though, and for that he said they were grateful. Also recovered during their wait was a small plastic container that held their passports and cash. About 45 minutes later, a U.S. Coast Guard spotter circled above. “That was a great comfort,” he said. Father and daughter were rescued by helicopter and then taken to safety at a Nassau hotel. They decided to continue on with their trip, though this time by commercial flight.

Lance Toland Insurance Associates, Atlanta, GA mobilized their contacts throughout the aviation industry and signed up numerous aircraft flying hundreds of sorties into Haiti and the DR as the back-door entry point.

Mitsubishi Heavy Industries America, Inc. leased and loaded a 767 packed with MHIA power generators, light towers, food, medical supplies and tents in partnership with Operation USA to Haiti. “Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti and they will be in our thoughts and hearts while the country and lives are rebuilt,” Hiromichi Morimoto, president and CEO, MHIA. “The earthquake disaster particularly hit home for us because we are an American company with Japanese roots and Japan has experienced first-hand the devastation earthquake brings” said Noel Takayama, MHIA General Manager for Aircraft Product Support.

Oak Associates, Akron, OH chairman James Oelschlager and Vanita Oelschlager, the award-winning children’s author, donated the use of their airplane to ferry a group of volunteers and humanitarian cargo in October 2010. Jim shrugs at the notion of being generous, yet he not only flew to Haiti, he donated a ventilator as well to the St. Damien Children’s Hospital. Other third-party donated cargo included 900 pounds of the hand sanitizer Purell from GOJO in Akron, especially precious where clean water for sanitation is hard to come by. Donated toys were selected to include wagons, scooters and rocking horses from Little Tikes, also taken alongon the group’s trip. The group also brought nearly 600 bone marrow needles. Paris Healthcare, the Raverna, OH hospital linen company donated 600 pounds of bedsheets and about 200 pediatric gowns, all of which arrived coincidently at the outbreak of the cholera epidemic.

POPA. Tucson, AZ director Paula Mason and her fellow members knew the Pilatus PC-12 is an ideal aircraft for mission-critical, over-water flights across a variety of capabilities not least of which are its range, short field and wide door. The PC-12′s contribution may have exceeded those of any other single type in terms of number of flights during the first months of the Haiti airlift. Among the association’s 35+ participants were John Arnold and Jim Adair (N421PP), Garratt Gruener (N161AJ), Joe Howley (N7555HF), plus N575PC, N12DZ, N520WA, N777CQ,N412MD, N52NK, N421PP, N777CQ, N57RC, N58WS, N116TH, N649P, N12DZ, N57RC, and Phil Rosenbaum (N289PB) who led a fleet of four PC-12 pilots to Jacmel on January, 2010 in coordination with Grace Flight of America out of Houston, TX. The most technologically outstanding example of these may be entrepreneur Alan Jenkins’ PC-12 piloted by Capt. John Beshers, which carried an advanced diagnostic system with satellite telemetry allowing radiologists in his native Huntsville, AL to diagnose patients in a Haiti hospital.

Rockwell Collins – Flew a team of doctors to Miami to assist in relief efforts. Contributed $10,000 and encouraged employees to give through non-profits.

San Diego State University’s Rich Pickett is SDSU’s CIO and a licensed pilot for 32 years.  On his second flight to Haiti he borrowed a Piper Meridian, N113FT, from a friend, Horacio Valeiras, who generously offered the use of his airplane. On Friday March 12th, 2010 Rich departed from KMYF for Florida, stopping at Rocket Aviation, an FBO at Hale County Airport (KPVW) in Plainview, TX, and was topped off courtesy of Tim Hardage and local donors. During a previous trip to Haiti in February flying a volunteer airlift, it was evident that he’d have to return again – for the fifteenth time. He had contacted an orphanage in Jacmel and was compelled to attend to their needs, including toys. He loaded the plane in San Diego and the rest were shipped to FXE, a major staging airport for mission flights. On the way to Florida he stopped in Oklahoma City to pick up two volunteer orthopedic surgeons. Rich flew medevac missions in and out of Jacmel including adults and amputee children with serious fractures and infected wounds and a baby with a heart defect. Describing approaches into Jacmel, Rich explains: “.. it’s like threading a needle, flying between the peaks and down the valleys at 250 miles per hour,” he says. “Since the clouds cover the mountain peaks at 7-8,000 feet, there are few choices. The airstrip is at the end of a valley near the ocean.”

Sabreliner Corp., Saint Louis, MO – Donated a Sabreliner 65 to fly teams of doctors and relief supplies.

Schmidt Consulting Group, Inc. Pensacola, FL, owner and Beech Baron pilot Gene Schmidts said, “Our business airplane is invaluable. But as soon as I heard about the disaster in Haiti, I knew I could use it to help.” His Baron, like many businesses aircraft, can use unimproved runways in areas inaccessible to larger aircraft. Schmidt went on to render critical  assistance during the Haiti cholera epidemic.

Seaplane Operations, LLC, of Zephyr Cove, NV, has no doubt amphibious aircraft can still play a role in modern day rescue operations and did not hesitate to prove it. They provided their plane, flight planning and logistical support services in an effort spearheaded by Albatross owner Bill DaSilva, an airline pilot in collaboration with Dr. Dan Hardie and Partners in Health. “We will support this effort for as long as they need us” said Ray Wolfe, a SeaPlane Operations partner, referring to the airlift of a Michigan volunteer medical group from KOPF to Haiti in their versatile 1955 HU-16C Grumman Albatross piston twin-engine amphibian with original Navy livery. Also assisting were Joe Duke, another Albatross owner himself out of Jacksonville, FL, as well as Paul and Lynda LeVeque, vintage seaplane buffs and restoration specialists.

Sound Aircraft Service, East Hampton, NY – donated fuel to mission-bound flights from the northeast.

Strategy Aero Group, Sacramento, CA – Marianne  L. Stevenson, CEO , a prominent leader in humanitarian aviation, moved heaven to Earth to deploy hundreds of flights to Haiti, at times ones every half-hour. Working closely with the NBAA, she continues to exemplify a steadfast commitment to propel aviation’s involvement in emergency response and world relief through her non-profit orgnization, AeroBridge, a driving force in the field.

Stratos Jets Charter Inc., Winter Park, FL - specialist Mark Bergau arranged a Beech Jet 400 to fly Gloria Dei Lutheran Church medics and supplies from KFLL to MTPP.

TEC Equipment of Portland, OR donated flights in their Cessna 560 (N92TE) jet and its employees raised $17,000 in just two days, in order to cover the fuel costs. David A. Thompson flew with seven medical personnel so they could volunteer their services and deliver supplies to perform surgeries at a hospital in the Haiti aid effort.

TLO, LLC Boca Raton, FLed by database technology entrepreneur Hank Asher put its midsize jet at the service of medical missions from KFXE to Haiti.

TML Aircraft, Honesdale, PA under the FBOs owner Thomas “Mike” Lovelace at KN30, along with Stuart Hirsch, an emergency services director, RN, pilot and CFI in Kingston, NY, formed Archangel Airborne. Using TML planes for their medical missions, they helped Immaculate Conception Hospital (L’Hôpital Immaculée Conception) in Les Cayes, ferrying supplies donated by AmeriCares, a program that offers free medicines to nonprofit groups working in poor areas.

Tradewind Aviation, Oxford, CT – Flew numerous missions in their C-208 piloted by Adam Schaefer, Andrew Ouillette, Ryan Courtemanche, Bernard Antonovich, Steven Dutil, Matthew Burdacki. In addition Eric Zipkin and David Zipkin, owners of the company, provided dispatch support out of staging airports in Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic and South Florida.

VP Racing Fuels’ President Steve Burns and his wife Sandi covered the fuel for the flights coordinated by Key West, Florida pilot Freddy Cabanas, a renowned aerobatic performer, and his son, Raymond, along with Todd Stuart and Les Weston, flying two planes from Key West to Haiti, a nearly five-hour flight in a Beech craft Baron with a stopover in the Bahamas. Each plane carried nearly 800 pounds of Pedialyte, baby formula and other foods for orphans of the devastating earthquake. The plane was donated by DePoo, owner of Island City Flying Services of Key West, also owner of the second aircraft, an Aero (Shrike) Commander.

The Vital Health Depot, Roanoke VA President Mark Mandell chartered a Bahamian eight-passenger plane in January 2010 to deliver loads of medical supplies to a dry grass strip in the countryside town of Pignon. American medics working there alongside Haitian professionals at the Hospital Bienfaisance de Pignon treated earthquake victims streaming in from the chaotic capital city.