By Chad Trautvetter
As pounding rain and wind exceeding 90 mph heralded the arrival of Hurricane Sandy along the Eastern seaboard earlier this week, companies and operators participating in NBAA’s Humanitarian Emergency Response Operator (Hero) database were already working with national emergency agencies and personnel to assist with post-storm relief efforts using business aircraft.\
The NBAA Hero database, which was created after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005, is a list of people and companies throughout the business aviation community who have volunteered to assist with disaster-response mobilization efforts. Business aircraft–which are able to operate on short notice into outlying airports with small runways, unpaved airstrips or onto roads–can often reach locations affected by natural disasters when airliners and sometimes even automobiles cannot.
Robin Eissler, president of the Sky Hope Network, said her organization has staged aircraft of varying types between New York City and Wilmington, Del. this week and they are ready to be used as needed. “At the moment, we’re evaluating the damage and what efforts will be needed,” she said.
Operators can register their aircraft on the Hero database to help with the recovery efforts. NBAA Air Traffic Services has also set up a dedicated Sandy resource page for aircraft operators.