I appreciate this opportunity to introduce Alfa Aero’s concept of aviation as a ministry. Our primary goal is to provide aviation services to humanitarian missions. Simply stated, we arrange free air trans- - portation to benefit U.S. and Canadian missions connecting through or launching from south Florida’s regional airports. We do this by seeking out flight donations, empty seats, or cargo space in small general aviation airplanes.
Part of our job is to ensure the legitimacy of the donations we receive. We go to great lengths to verify that the flight beneficiary is endorsed by a credible organization, parish, or diocese. We also ensure that the donor is duly acknowledged with a 501(c)(3) letter from the flight beneficiary, if necessary.
On occasion, entire flight donations are dedicated solely to one mission, as was the case in the immediate aftermath of Haiti’s catastrophic earthquake.We are developing a database of international mission flight donors to have on-hand for the future. Though our scope of activity is limited, we routinely refer flight requests to for-profit carriers for air or ocean shipments that we cannot complete.
Our home-based volunteer staff offers support to visiting missioners and air crews by providing flight dispatch services, subsidized fuel prices, scheduling organization, southern-style hospitality, and whatever it takes to achieve efficient, successful deployments. We focus on cargo with a high human-value-to-weight ratio, such as emergency relief supplies, medical materials, perishable vaccines, pharmaceuticals, and life-support equipment, but may also include goods such mosquito nets, crop seeds, cots, and tents, depending on circumstances.
Looking forward, we’ve got our work cut out for us. There’s much more we must do in order to reach compassionate private pilots and aircraft owners so that we can satisfy the demand for international-bound missions. Perhaps only one in one hundred potential flight donors realizes how easy and rewarding it is to share a flight to fight poverty, ignorance, malnutrition, disease, and injustice among the poorest of our neighbors beyond our shores.
As of now, we don’t fly our own aircrafts. We do, however, plan to lease a mid-range twin turboprop by 2012 to be operated by an all-volunteer FAA certified crew. Today, we work from a donated office logistics center near MIA, where we receive pallet-loads of donated cargo. Each donated item is parceled, weighed, and conveniently delivered to local regional airports by our volunteer staff. Our 2011 resolution is to collaborate with hundreds of Twinning parishes throughout North America, in order to help as many as we can. We do this powered by God’s grace and His miracle of merciful aviation for His greater glory.
Thank you for this opportunity to share my passion with you this holiday season,
Richard (Rick) Sante,
Coordinator Airlift Flyers Aviation LLC Miami, FL