Saturday, January 23, 2010

First Relief Mission Complete

A generous construction company owner from upstate NY bought a total of 600 tents and then needed to move them to Haiti. I volunteered, along with my friend, Philip, to relay them to Turks and Caicos on January 20-22, 2010. Each of the two missions transported 18 of the 10-person tents, so enough housing was moved for 360 people. From Turks and Caicos, a combination of King Airs and Barons took them on a short hop into a small strip in Haiti.

The biggest challenge? Not the weight planning, the weather, nor the long over water legs. It was U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and their awful eAPIS tyranny. This miserable site requires very specific information for both entering and departing the U.S. with specific border crossing times in the air. Besides entering all this information, a pilot still has to call the local CBP office ahead of time. The only way to file eAPIS information is via the web. Well, what happens if you are flying to a small remote country that has spotty or no Internet connection? Answer: you're stuck.

It was very satisfying to contribute in a tangible way. I'm probably the only white guy who has stayed overnight in Turks and Caicos but did not go to their world renowned beaches. Another time.

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