Jump Planes Can Also Carry A Lot Of Relief Supplies
Skydiving centers across the country have found an unusual way
to contribute to the Haiti relief effort - by using skydiving
aircraft to transport food and medical supplies to the island.
"Jump aircraft are especially well-suited for these missions," said
Ed Scott, executive director of the U.S. Parachute Association
(USPA). "Most have large cargo doors and are easily converted to
carry cargo. Most can also take off and land on short and sometimes
rough landing strips."
Shortly after the earthquake, USPA e-mailed its affiliated
skydiving centers that relief organizations and the U.S. government
needed aircraft to bring supplies and personnel from around the
U.S. to Florida for staging, as well as directly to Haiti.
Keith George, owner of Skydive Jamaica, a new USPA-affiliated
skydiving center, quickly began working with the Jamaican
government. Within days of the earthquake, Skydive Jamaica used its
King Air aircraft to evacuate Jamaicans from Haiti. Since then,
Skydive Jamaica has worked with Missions International of America
to provide airlift support for the organization's efforts in
John Hart, owner of Start Skydiving in Middletown, Ohio, called
Doctors Without Borders to find out what supplies the organization
needed most. With fuel donated by his employees at Selection.com,
Hart arranged for his Cessna Caravan aircraft to transport an
essential digital x-ray machine, plus another 250 pounds of medical
equipment, to Port-au-Prince.
Other skydiving centers are doing their part. Skydive Chicago in
Ottawa, Illinois, has flown several trips to Haiti in its
DeHavilland Twin Otter, transporting 4,000 pounds of food, water,
tents and medical supplies on each flight. Additionally, Frank
Casares, owner of Mile-Hi Skydiving Center in Longmont, Colorado,
is sending his Twin Otter on a two-week aid mission to Haiti.
Twin Otter File Photo
Skydive Cross Keys in New Jersey, south of Philadelphia, is also
sending its Twin Otter to ferry tents and medical supplies to Haiti
for two weeks. Area skydivers are donating tents, tarps and money
to cover fuel costs. Samaritan's Purse, a charity organization, has
arranged for the Twin Otter to land on a remote grass strip in
Haiti, rather than the crowded main airport. "It's great that the
skydiving community has such valuable assets and aircraft to offer
to the relief effort," said Scott. "With so many people looking for
ways to help, skydivers are excited to have this unique opportunity
to make a difference in the face of tragedy."