General Aviation Steps in to Help Haiti
January 22, 2010
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  • by Janice Wood •

    Bahamas Habitat’s aviation relief operation is up and running to Haiti, according to officials.

    “Sunday (Jan. 17) was our third day of airlift operations into the outlying airports around Port-Au-Prince and we delivered a lot of medical supplies and evacuated 27 more people today,” reported John Armstrong, president.

    Steve Merritt, the treasurer and chief pilot for Bahamas Habitat, answered the call Jan. 14 and began to chart the course and prepare the way for other volunteers in the organization’s recently donated Beechcraft Baron. He was joined by Cameron King and Matt Hansen, long-term volunteer pilots, serving at the Eleuthera base camp.

    On Friday Jan. 15, the first two flight teams made it into Haiti from their staging base on Inagua, in the Southern Bahamas, delivering medical supplies and evacuating people. Saturday more planes joined the efforts and a significant amount of medical supplies were moved in and more trapped missionaries moved out, according to Armstrong.

    “We have had a rush of requests to help get people out and more medical supplies in,” he said. “Private pilots with aircraft have been volunteering and making preparations to join the efforts from all over the country and even Canada. We have medical and other supplies in Nassau and Fort Lauderdale that need to be moved in and the list of people needing to be evacuated continues to grow.”

    “We are focusing on getting to the airports of Cap Haitien and Les Cayes that are north and west of Port-Au-Prince where the big aircraft cannot serve,” said Abraham McIntyre, executive director of Bahamas Methodist Habitat. “People are moving out to these areas seeking help and evacuation and the clinics and hospitals are overrun there without enough medical supplies.”

    So far the flight missions have involved everything from Cessna 182s, Bonanzas, Barons, Aztecs, to a Cessna 340s and a Caravan. More volunteers that have twin engine aircraft and high performance singles are needed to join in the mission, according to Armstrong. The organization is requesting pilots with aircraft able to volunteer do so online at Organizations with medical and other supplies to donate should email:

    There are many ways those in GA can help:

    Aircraft owners can volunteer to make flight missions. If you don’t have a plane they suggest you help get the message to other pilots who have suitable planes and then join in with them.
    Help spread the word to pilots to request supplies, funds and additional airplanes.
    Donate to support the effort via at
    Pray and then pray some more.

    Date: 2010-01-18