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Round-the-World Flyer Brian Lloyd, WB6RQN, Recruiting Pilots for Dominica Airlift


Brian Lloyd, WB6RQN, the Texas aviator who recently circumnavigated the globe following Amelia Earhart’s path, is spearheading “Dominica Airlift — Angels to Eden” to aid residents of the storm-stricken Caribbean island nation. The Category 5 Hurricane Maria slammed into Dominica on September 18, leaving the population of about 70,000 without power or viable telecommunications, in addition to wreaking severe damage to homes and infrastructure, including the island’s port, but sparing at least one usable airstrip. Lloyd learned this week, however, that the relief situation on Dominica is improving.

“Our help is needed, but new information came in last night,” Lloyd said in a September 25 Facebook post. “We established contact with the emergency operations center (EOC) on Dominica late last night. We now know that the port is open again, and other relief materials are starting to flow into Dominica. We are not going to be the sole-source of material flowing to Dominica as we originally thought.”

But, he added, even with international relief from NGOs starting to come in, the EOC asked Lloyd and his airlift volunteers to come to Dominica to help.

“Our help is still needed! We can respond to special needs faster than an NGO can once we are in-theater,” Lloyd said.

Pilots with small aircraft are still needed. “We have lots of people who want to donate supplies, but without the airlift going, the supplies can't get to Dominica,” Lloyd said over the weekend. He plans to arrive in Dominica on Thursday.

Lloyd will take along portable satellite and HF radio gear to set up communication. In addition, he has an HF transceiver on his plane, Spirit, and is carrying a Micom 3 Fly Away HF radio with automatic link establishment (ALE) capability, to use as a portable disaster relief base station.

Lloyd has a donated Iridium satellite telephone plus a small generator to power the communication equipment and to charge batteries. Another pilot, Barry Hancock, “will be contributing his time and his Beechcraft D18 Twin Beech to the relief-and-rescue effort,” Lloyd said.

Plans call for enlisting Patient Air Lift Services (PALS) to set up a base somewhere that’s central to all of the islands, possibly St. Martin or Martinique. PALS has been active in Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma relief efforts. The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) has posted video of a flyby of Dominica on September 20, documenting the extent of the damage there. The overflight spotted several intact telecommunications towers. — Thanks to Bonnie Crystal, KQ6XA, for some information