Hurricane Sandy Recovery Efforts

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Cessna Pilot Flies Sandy Relief Supplies to Those in Need

November 8, 2012

Pilot Michael McConnell said the desire to just "do something to help" spurred him to assist the victims of “Superstorm” Sandy.

"This all came together [last] Friday," he said. "I saw a posting on NBAA Air Mail about organizations with supplies that needed ways to have them delivered. I worked with AERObridge and with Feed the Children, which had supplies waiting in Elkhart, IN. Before I knew it, I was heading there Sunday."

McConnell, president and CEO of CityBlue Technologies in Peoria, IL, flew his Cessna 210 single-engine piston aircraft to Elkhart Municipal Airport (EKM) where he found boxes of cereal and granola bars waiting. Once loaded, he continued on to Robert J. Miller Air Park in Toms River, NJ (MJX) - a 545-nautical-mile flight, with the aircraft and all costs donated by the pilot.

McConnell was aided in the planning and execution of his flight by Will Swett, flight coordination supervisor at Jet Linx Aviation in Omaha, NE, who made the necessary phone calls. "I called Michael to verify how his aircraft was configured, and his payload capabilities and flight times," Swett said. "I also reached out to [Feed the Children] to let them know when the aircraft would be there.

"Once in the air, I tracked the flight and made sure everyone was on-time, and kept the coordinators at MJX posted on his progress," Swett added. Like McConnell, he donated his time and resources to assist with the relief effort.

"All I did was make a few phone calls," he said. "I wish I could have done more."

"Everyone has seen the devastation on the ground in New York and New Jersey," McConnell said. "Though I don't have a very large plane, I saw the opportunity to help where I could. I could get things there a lot faster than they could by truck. I just wanted to do something to help."