Volunteer pilots flying to Panhandle need more supplies
"It’s a little bit surreal, you see this stuff on television all the time, the news clips, the movies but to actually see it firsthand it’s a little bit humbling to see the power of nature and how quickly your life can change..," said Volunteer Pilot Sean Malone."
Sean Malone witnessed Hurricane Michael's destruction first-hand Saturday when he flew supplies to the panhandle as a volunteer pilot for Operation Air Drop.
General Aviation airplanes, like the one Malone owns are crucial during natural disasters.
"For any natural disasters, particularly the hurricanes the first four or five days are the most critical, most roadways are inaccessible, there's no power. So a lot of the commercial carriers will not legally allow them to go into airports without power or some kind of approach system," Malone said.
Malone said there is a significant number of volunteer pilots ready to fly, but not enough supplies to keep them going.
"Really right now the biggest need is supplies, there is a significant number of volunteer pilots more than willing to step up to serve," Malone said.
Malone said water isn't always the best thing to donate because of the weight limit on the planes, which can only carry a couple hundred pounds.
"We are best equipped to carry are prepared meals, dried goods, diapers, wipes, cleaning supplies, bug spray and First-Aid," Malone said.
Feminine hygiene products are often neglected but one of the most important items to donate.
“That’s a pretty terrible time to have to deal with that issue, anything you can think of that you would need to survive without power without water for three or four days; flash lights and batteries..," Malone said.
Malone and other pilots will be flying back and forth for the next two weeks.
List of supplies they need:
- Prepared Meals
- Dried Goods
- Cleaning Supplies
- Bug Spray
- Feminine Hygiene Products
- Flash Lights
- Underwear / Socks
- Hand Sanitizer