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Silhouette of the hand of a doctor on a helicopter on am aviation humanitarian emergency medical flight

Now in its second century of service and growth, the aviation sector has become one of the busiest and safest industries transporting people and goods around the world. Through wars, economic downturns and today’s energy and other challenges, major airlines, cargo and the business aviation industry continue to play a key role in the world economy and earn our trust with stellar service and safety records.

The aviation industry plays an important role in other ways. Aircraft are used not only for military and commercial passenger and cargo flights, but they also spend many hours in the air in support of humanitarian efforts around the world. With their ability to reach remote locations quickly, volunteer pilots and their aircraft bring lifesaving aid to disaster zones big and small, and emergency flights to small communities in rural and underserved areas.

Humanitarian missions include those involving life-flight service, disaster relief and volunteer transport of military and Red Cross personnel. Aircraft  are used to get food, water and medicines to areas that are impoverished, devastated by storms or cut off by conflict or war. Aircraft may provide urgently needed blood, deliver organs for transplant or carry critically ill patients to the hospital.

Aircraft and Pilots on Humanitarian Missions

Each year, a quarter of all business pilots volunteer time to humanitarian missions. In 2015, one out of every four pilot flew a humanitarian mission. Charitable and humanitarian flights involve not only major airlines and organizations like the Red Cross, but regional and business aviation companies and aircraft participate in even larger numbers, saving individual lives and reaching tiny communities when no one else can. Over 15,000 business aircraft flights annually are made in support of some kind of humanitarian effort. Volunteer business aviation pilots fly more than 118,000 hours annually on medical and charitable missions. Companies and pilots work with organizations such as Air Care Alliance, Angel Flight and NBAA’s Corporate Aircraft Responding in Emergencies (CARE) to get life-saving services to inaccessible areas, to families with a critically ill or injured loved one, or to ferry professionals to the disaster site to restore water, power, medical and other vital services.

Those interested in volunteering flight assistance or other help for humanitarian missions can find out more from the NBAA Humanitarian Emergency Response Operator (HERO) or this comprehensive directory of charitable aviation programs.

Humanitarian Aviation Help for Storm-Ravaged Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico town devastated by hurrican fallen trees damaged homes in need of humanitarian aid and flying an American flag

After Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, a large portion of the island was in dire need of humanitarian relief. Soldiers and airmen of the Alaska National Guard  joined others to rebuild and resupply the area. The Roosevelt Roads Naval Station in Ceiba quickly had their air strip reopened in order to support the creation of a 24-hour logistical operation center. Volunteer pilots helped fly in drinking water and food to a devastated population in the weeks after the storm. Aircraft have helped provide relief to remote and isolated areas where the damaged Puerto Rican infrastructure prevents normal distribution of goods due to closed roads and downed bridges. As Puerto Rico is undergoing a financial crisis, support from volunteer organizations, private pilots and the aviation industry may help meet needs that would otherwise remain unaddressed.

Flight to Save Man’s Best Friend

There are many charitable missions that are ongoing for needy causes other than natural disasters and other immediate crisis situations. A year before Hurricane Maria, in August 2016,  the Sato Project and Paramount Business Jets (PBJ)  helped ferry 34 stray dogs in Puerto Rico to find safety and “forever homes” in the United States. The flight to rescue these animals was coordinated to take these strays from San Juan to Morristown, NJ. The Sato Project is dedicated to rescuing and rehabilitating dogs from Puerto Rico’s “Dead Dog Beach” area. Their mission has helped over 1,500 dogs since 2011.

Fabric Aviation Hangars Provide Shelter at Remote Humanitarian Mission Sites

Large fabric aviation hangar interior with aircraft and bright lighting

Some long term missions require a permanent base of operations. All-weather aviation hangars becomes more important in areas not equipped to adequately protect aircraft, supplies or personnel on humanitarian missions. Temporary aircraft hangars, such as Allsite’s high quality, durable tension fabric structures, offer secure aviation hangars for aircraft, maintenance or staging activities, or for storage or warehousing. Deliverable anywhere, usable on almost any terrain and quickly installed and erected, these structures have tensile strength equivalent to a traditional building. They  will withstand strong winds, rains and snows and can accommodated lighting, heating and cooling for the comfort of workers on the ground and to protect aircraft and equipment. Aviation businesses and volunteer organizations use our tension fabric buildings for short or long-term aircraft storage, as well as for day-to-day operations to house supplies and equipment. They may also be used to house personnel where traditional offices, buildings and even hotels are not available.

For more information on how Allsite can help with your aircraft hangar or industrial project building needs, contact us today.

Author Beth Karikari

Beth holds an MBA, Master of Marketing and Bachelor of Business from Griffith University, Australia. Read more about Beth and the rest of our team at

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