20/10/2017 DAHER SALUTES THE HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS OF TBM OWNERS AND PILOTS IN HURRICANE RELIEF FLIGHTS

DAHER SALUTES THE HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS OF TBM OWNERS AND PILOTS IN HURRICANE RELIEF FLIGHTS

Daher recognized the TBM Owners and Pilots Association’s (TBMOPA) airlift of vital supplies to the Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Houston following the devastation caused by recent hurricanes.

Nine TBMOPA members brought their TBM aircraft to various locations in Florida for the pickup of relief supplies that ranged from food, water and chainsaws to generators, diapers and baby formula. The aircraft then flew to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico with average loads of critical supplies exceeding 1,000 lb. per trip.

“I will never forget being greeted by both hugs and tears at Beef Island in Tortola after touching down on the first of my two delivery flights,” explained TBM owner Dierk Reuter, who coordinated the operation for TBMOPA. He added that a fully-loaded TBM can carry “an incredible amount” of material. “I was surprised that some larger-looking airplanes can't actually take that much more in weight than a TBM, with the other aircraft appearing to be much more sensitive to weight and balance issues.”
 
TBM owner John Ratliff, who also is a director of the Virgin Unite charity (www.virgin.com/unite/), said the private relief efforts with TBM aircraft were critical in providing such items as insulin and dialysis supplies to the right people at the right time.
 
“Relief supplies and medical personnel were flown in – and evacuees were flown out – of Puerto Rico and the British Virgin Islands, with all nine TBMs serving as 100-percent reliable and flexible airlift platforms,” Ratliff explained. “Quick seat adjustments on the TBM enabled the switch from cargo to evacuation configurations in just minutes, which was really important to us because we were racing against sunset and flight curfews.”
The “TBM Bridge” that airlifted supplies to the Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico helped ease the suffering of people in these areas, as have the efforts of owners of other general aviation aircraft, Radcliff said, noting there still is much to be done. He encourages owners with suitable general aviation aircraft to join the outreach, adding there is no lack of relief supplies – while a significant shortage of capable aircraft and pilots to transport the material does exist.
Tom Gessler, another TBM owner, was impressed by the TBM group’s instantaneous impulse to do whatever was necessary to help. “We came together based on a personal and unselfish need to help fellow humans in despair,” Gessler stated. “We all pooled our resources to deal with each obstacle that came our way."
TBM owner Dr. David Pulver conducted an individual initiative – joined by another South Florida TBM owner, Arthur Steier, who served as copilot. Their mission was to bring supplies to San Juan, Puerto Rico, where the material would be unloaded for locally-based aircraft and ferry pilots.

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