By George Larson
Helicopter Association International member operators have been contacting their association to volunteer their services to the Haiti relief effort, but the HAI says it has been asked to sit tight for now by the Department of Homeland Security’s Critical Incident Management Group (CIMG), which is managing the overall effort.
“We’re being told there’s not enough fuel available and the security situation is not certain yet, and for those reasons we’re being told to hang back,” HAI spokesman Martin Pociask told AWIN today. Air traffic control is now reportedly being managed by the U.S. military and flights are moving in and out more efficiently than early on when lack of ATC was another hindrance to the HAI members.
“Our First Responder program allows members to list their companies and enter their capabilities, but as of right now we are not aware of any members that have been called in. As we learn of participation, we’ll post updates,” Pociask added. “As the smoke clears, the situation will improve, and it’s my understanding there are now some 20,000 [U.S.] troops on the ground.”
Pociask says that it’s not unusual for deployment of civil helicopters to be delayed, noting that in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, there was a period of some confusion and safety concerns for operators in the New Orleans airspace.
Source: AVIATION WEEK