Lincoln, US-based charter operator Silverhawk Aviation has sprung into action in the wake of recent spring floods in the Midwest. Heavy rainfall and rapid snowmelt caused widespread flooding across the Missouri River Basin, leading three quarters of Nebraska's 93 counties to declare a state of emergency.
When rising floodwaters isolated residents of Fremont, a small community in eastern Nebraska, 11 Silverhawk Aviation pilots and crew used five of the company's aircraft to make dozens of emergency flights between Fremont and Lincoln, free of charge to the passengers on board.
During the flooding's aftermath, and over the course of a weekend, Silverhawk flew a total of 30 legs helping to transport approximately 170 people and supplies into and out of communities that were desperately in need of assistance.
“All of it turned out amazing,” says ops director John Geary. “Our employees were proud to be part of a company that would do this and willingly offered any help they could. The perspective both inside and outside the company was that this is what a Nebraska company does in times of hardship.”
Geary points out that Silverhawk was not the only company offering flights. “A dozen or more pilots rented planes or used their own to help transport people and supplies,” he explains. “Other people from the Fremont area came to the airport to donate food to the pilots and people who were there helping.
“It was brilliant to see everyone wanting to help, in any way they could. People wanted to help load/unload, donate money, donate time, donate supplies, cook meals, anything. There was no complaining, just a community and a company pulling together and doing whatever it takes to help out a neighbour.”
President Bryan Burns of the Air Charter Safety Foundation commended everyone at Silverhawk Aviation for their selflessness and community spirit. “We're always extremely proud of our members when they step up in times of need,” he comments. “We'd also like to recognise Silverhawk for its tremendous management and safety record.”
Founded in 1991, Silverhawk Aviation began as a charter operator with just one aircraft and a single pilot nad within a decade, the company grew to 13 aircraft. Today, the charter operation offers a fleet of turboprops, light jets and mid-sized jets. It also has a large and growing regional maintenance department as well as a nationally recognised line service department.