General Aviation Provides Lifeline for Flood Victims
FET | Fremont Municipal Airport
I think the coolest story isn’t about an individual, it’s about the pilot community as a whole. Talk about a group of people that are selfless, that’s pretty cool. They drop everything, take off work, and say hey here’s my plane.
Collin Caneva, Volunteer Pilot
In times of natural disasters, communities can become helpless when ground infrastructure is compromised. During these moments, general aviation can provide essential support in the immediate aftermath to those affected. In the spring of 2019, Nebraska and other states along the Missouri Valley experienced record flooding, causing damages in the billions and leaving some rural areas stranded.
Forty miles northwest of Omaha, the 26,000 residents of Fremont, Nebraska found themselves surrounded by flood waters after two levees were breached. With no available roads or bridges, the Fremont Municipal Airport became a central hub for rescuers.
As the historic and catastrophic flooding continued, volunteer pilots and aviation companies provided disaster relief to and from the only operating airport for the devastated community. Following this meteorological phenomenon known as a “bomb cyclone,” Greg Kjeldgaard, the FBO’s Vice President, estimated at least 1,000 people were transported to nearby airports in Omaha, Columbus, Lincoln, and Wahoo. As aircraft provided makeshift shuttle services in and out of the area, pilots would continue to return to deliver any amount of relief supplies they could carry to the remaining victims. These efforts proved to be a lifeline for the remaining victims in the four days it took emergency crews to clear the roadways.
Through the generosity and services of general aviation, the state of Nebraska was able to find immediate relief in its time of need.