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Herks to Haiti


Ray
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Fox is reporting "Breaking News - U.S. to Reportedly Begin Using C-130 Aircraft to Fly Aid to Haiti Later Today"

I just spoke with my Marine son and his unit will be there in about 36-48 hours. They will be aboard ships - what a mess.

Ray

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When we landed at 5 pm on the 13th there were two Coast guard herks from Clearwater already on the ramp picking up embassy personnel and one candian herk that just landed before us Icelander Air 757, numerous small acft and a DC-3 with PT-6s. After we had shut down Manisfield landed and came in and off loaded personnel and departed. We brought in the USAID Fair Fax rescue team 1 equipment and couple of personnel the rest of the personnel came in on 737 Miami Air just a few minutes before we landed. Inbound into Port au Prince the controller was doing his best to control the flow of traffic, but everyone was constantly stepping on each other or to low to be heard. I think the guy in the tower controlling everything with what he had a really great job and no radar, before the US took over. The only damage I could see from the airport were numerous cracks in the Terminal and the windows in the tower were all broken and slightly tilted. I admit that us really cannot tell any differance when looking at the houses on approach I guess the only way to tell is be on the ground.

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We are there to help the hungry and hurt. Yes this place sucks but we have been helping places like this for years with no thank you's.

Obviously, some of the comments on this thread are from people who have not spent much time in the 3rd world. In & out of Mogadischu or Mombassa doesn't count. It doesn't allow you see the poverty, the pain or the desperation. That's what Americans, no, not just Americans, that's what the civilized world does when disaster strikes -- comes to the aid of the less fortunate.

My credentials back up my comments. After flying for 7 years in Angola, Rwanda, Somalia, Cambodia, the Sudan, the Congo, etc, I've seen abject poverty, I've seen Angolan Federal Police beat a 6 year old boy almost to death for stealing food because he's hungry. I've flown for the UN's World Food program, the Red Cross, Caritas, Oxfam & some other NGO agencies I can't remember.

The military doesn't just fight wars -- it also has a huminatarian side, too.

OK, enough of my rant -- it's just that some statements here pissed me off.

Don R.

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I'll check with my Captain he was also taking pictures while we waited to off loaded that first evening. We have flow 4 mission into Haiti and are bringing in another herk from Alaska today after it drops of a Helio in Domican Republic. Yes, it is a mess down there and it does not help when you have Hillary yesterday flying into Haiti and today or tomorrow her husband Bill flys in also. You know what that does to air traffic flow in the air and on the ground. Right now everyone has a slot time before they even depart for Haiti unless the military has priority. I do know anything bigger then a Herk or 727 takes up way to much ramp space even though you can put more on a C17 it still takes up to much ramp just my two cents.

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Don while you're thoughts are honorable they are misguided. We are usually always treating the symptoms rather than the cause. Much of the world starvation you talk about and have supported is caused by corrupt governments and men. Plain and simple. We/they'd do better to topple these dictators and install a more friendly leadership. That would go further in helping prevent all these tragedies all over the globe.

In this specific case the destruction was caused my mother nature however it is the corrupt government of Haiti that is making this disaster much worse than it should be.

Obviously, some of the comments on this thread are from people who have not spent much time in the 3rd world. In & out of Mogadischu or Mombassa doesn't count. It doesn't allow you see the poverty, the pain or the desperation. That's what Americans, no, not just Americans, that's what the civilized world does when disaster strikes -- comes to the aid of the less fortunate.

My credentials back up my comments. After flying for 7 years in Angola, Rwanda, Somalia, Cambodia, the Sudan, the Congo, etc, I've seen abject poverty, I've seen Angolan Federal Police beat a 6 year old boy almost to death for stealing food because he's hungry. I've flown for the UN's World Food program, the Red Cross, Caritas, Oxfam & some other NGO agencies I can't remember.

The military doesn't just fight wars -- it also has a huminatarian side, too.

OK, enough of my rant -- it's just that some statements here pissed me off.

Don R.

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From a White House briefing on Haiti. Col Elton was tasked with setting up and running the airport.

COLONEL ELTON: "I'm Colonel Buck Elton from Florida. On Wednesday, we were alerted to deploy a force down here, and arrived with the first three aircraft approximately at 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, with a mission to open up the airfield and provide security, assist with medivac and rescue efforts, and establish command and control.

When we arrived there was no electricity, no communication and no support. Within 28 minutes of landing our first aircraft we had special tactics combat control teams controlling the airspace around the airfield and sequencing in the arriving aircraft that night. Since then, we've controlled approximately 600 takeoffs and landings from this 10,000-foot strip that normally operates three aircraft out of it on a daily basis.

The tower and the terminal has been condemned due to damage, so all of our operations are done in the grass between the runway and the ramp. It's done via radio control from our controllers that are in contact with the Haitian approach control that does not have an operational radar or any navigational aids to assist the arrival of the aircraft, and with a communications link that we have back to the Haitian flight operations coordination center back at Tendell (phonetic) Air Force Base in Florida.

And what we do is create slot times for a flow control to stagger the arriving aircraft so that we can time their arrival with the departure of another aircraft, so that we can maximize the number of relief supplies and personnel that are arriving on the aircraft, keep them on the ground for the minimum amount of time, and then depart them. Our intent is to, as soon as one aircraft departs we have another one arrive. But the way this airport is configured, there's a single taxiway in the middle of the aircraft [sic] that goes from the runway to the ramp, so every time we want to taxi an aircraft out, we have to get on the active runway, taxi back, and then depart them. So everything takes a little bit longer.

Due to the devastation at the airport and around the city, the material handling equipment when we first arrived was insufficient to be able to offload the massive amount of cargo that was coming in, and much of it was offloaded by hand. On Thursday, we had -- the contingency response group from the Air Force arrived and bring in some more material and handling equipment. And they took responsibility for marshalling the cargo and the passengers as they came off of the airplane.

We continue to coordinate closely with the Haitian airfield manager and the approach control, and assist them as they coordinate with the flight operations coordination center, to prioritize and sequence the aircraft so that we have maximum input into this airfield and we don't have any empty space on the ramp. Unfortunately, we have delays with aircraft breaking, or with material handling equipment breaking, or improperly configured cargo that we have to offload by hand. And while we plan for it to take two or three hours to be on the ground, sometimes it takes as much as seven or eight hours. So when we have aircraft on the ground taking up space, it's not possible to bring in another aircraft. So we end up having a stack of aircraft out that the Haitian approach control is holding until we have space on the airfield to come in.

The airfield has not been closed since we started operation, it has just been full. And as soon as we get one aircraft out we get a similar sized aircraft in. Currently, we're operating with a working maximum aircraft on the ground of one wide-body and five narrow-body aircraft. And the one wide-body is planned for two hours on the ground, and the five narrow-bodies are planned for one hour on the ground. We also have room for three smaller aircraft, and then we fit in as much as we can other aircraft that arrive that we have space for. Any aircraft that can taxi into the grass and get off the ramp that the big aircraft need to be on, we use that option.

We have a little bit of overflow that we use on a real-time manner so that if we do have someone delay we can fill that spot as necessary. And although we had probably -- I think it was 50 diverts, some of them diverted, got fuel and came back; some of them had to divert back to their point of origin -- we've only had a couple within the last couple days, because the flow control and the slot time has worked.

What we've set up here would be similar to running a major airport that has only a certain amount of terminals and a certain amount of capacity to move the cargo through, except doing it without any communication, electricity, or computers. So we've done everything via radio. And after we established communications we were able to get some hard phone lines. We ran 650 feet of phone lines spliced together from our operation center on the ramp up to where the Haitian approach control is, so that we can get immediate access. For three days we were using Foxmite (phonetic) radio to relay that information. So communication was challenging.

We also deployed our force down here with security forces, about 25 security forces to help secure the airfield, as well as robust medical teams to prepare casualties for evacuation, and para-rescue teams to go assist the civilian rescue teams, and enough communications and support to be able to sustain operations."

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jbob,

Everything you said in your post is completely true. I think, if you notice, just about every country I mentioned in my post has a corrupt government (Haiti included), but there are still children who die of starvation there every day. They're the innocent ones. That doesn't mean they should "eat each other if they get hungry."

I know you have to be pretty thick skinned to survive on this board, but that just wasn't right. Dan's correct, though. We'll just have to agree to disagree. I know he'll still post some pretty funny $hit on this forum. That I enjoy.

Dan's also right about not wanting to bolox up this thread -- 'nuff said about politics. Back to the relief effort. Over & out.

Don R.

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