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Tue, Sep 06, 2005

An ANN Reader Reports On His Recent Angel Flight Mission

One of GA's Heroes Shares Some Insight Into Supporting The Angel Flight Mission

ANN Reader Robert Maier (pictured below) is a man on a mission... an Angel Flight Mission. With his Cherokee 180, Maier has become part of the undersung but none-the-less invaluable mission being undertaken by unselfish, heroic aviators who want nothing right now than to know that they are part of a solution to a seemingly insurmountable problem--bringing relief to those imperiled by the wrath of Hurricane Katrina.

Herewith, some unedited comments from Robert's most recent mission report...

Mission to BTR on 2 Sep, as mentioned an exercise in futility, but a good training mission to prepare for the next mission.
 
Legs:
RBD-BTR 348nm 3.2
BTR-AEX 90nm   1.0
AEX-RBD 258nm 2.1
Total 696nm 6.3hrs 60gal gas, $226 (E-I-C Note: A cost paid By Maier, himself... just like most Angel Flight pilots) 
 
Mission 11180, Take supplies to Lifeguard Ambulance in Slidell LA (ASD) 4 Sep RBD-ADS 17nm 0.4 ADS-AEX 274nm 2.3 AEX-ASD 190nm 2.8 ASD-BTR 82nm 0.8 BTR-AEX 90nm 1.0 AEX-RBD 258nm 2.1 Total 911nm 9.4hrs, 82.6gal gas, $329
 
Impressions:
This was a good mission. The big guys are evacuating lots of people, but taking supplies to Lifeguard Ambulance in Slidell meant something. 30 of the 50 employees are still unaccounted for, those accounted are performing relief missions. They requested toiletries, and lots of vanilla pudding and nilla wafers. Seems the only food they have is bananas; they want banana pudding! The airport is heavily damaged, as well as the city. No electricity, phones, or cel phones. We should strive to take stuff to the forgotten outlying areas.
 
I received clearance from Omaha44 to overfly north New Orleans at 3500. MSY didnt follow the pilot-controller handbook.. "Angel Flight 34J, contact Omaha-whatever-the-fu*k-his name is on 134.9" The news reports dont show a big picture, until you can see it yourself from the birds-eye view. Hearing all the position reports of where the bodies to be picked up, and reports of animals eating the bodies was sobering. Watching the C-130 air-refuel two blackhawks below us at 2000.  The flooding. The broken bridges & pipeline. The underwater amusement park.


 
BTR is better organized now, as well as AEX, but it was still a disappointment to arrive in BTR at 1800 to find no passengers to airlift to DAL. Evidently the shelter quit releasing people is the word I got. The BTR Angel Flight crew is doing an excellent job!
 
At AEX I asked a Army Captain chopper pilot why he was carrying a side arm, first one I had seen, he said "Would you want to be the only one up there without a gun?" I replied, "Undertstood, mines in my pocket." Never know.


 
For future missions, best bet, get your gas at AEX ($4.48 AF discount) BTR is too busy. GO IFR!!! BTR approach, MSY approach, OMAHA44 are overloaded busy ATC folks doing a damn good job. It is hard to get in on the radio, so be patient, brief, and professional. They'll get to you eventually since you are IFR.

Ready for the next mission,

Robert

FMI: www.angelflightsc.org

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