March 31, 2020

The Colorado Aviation Business Association (CABA) is adapting the concept of its annual Christmas Holiday Charity Drive and VFW Airlift, in partnership with the Colorado Department of Veterans of Foreign Wars and volunteer pilots, to transport medical equipment, medical professionals, COVID-19 test kits and other supplies.

“We are building upon the existing holiday airlift model, changing it to respond to the needs of the current crisis,” said Chris Swathwood, CABA’s chair.

The group has offered its assistance to Colorado Governor Polis’s office and the Colorado Department of Public Health and the Environment, and is working with the VFW to organize ground support in remote regions.

In Colorado, ski resort towns are among the hardest hit by the COVID-19 virus. Many towns in the state – most of which are still experiencing snow and winter road conditions – are in remote locations, often most quickly and easily accessed by small general aviation aircraft.

CABA is also working with the governor’s office to clarify the state’s current stay-at-home policy to ensure pilots are able to maintain takeoff/landing, night and instrument currency to be ready to respond to calls for assistance.

CABA, the VFW and volunteer pilots are no strangers to serving the state’s rural communities, given previous annual holiday airlift initiatives. Instead of delivering food, toys and hygiene items during the holiday season, CABA and its volunteer pilots are ready to deliver equipment to meet essential medical needs.

“We don’t see a massive need for redistribution of medical equipment or personnel yet in Colorado, but we want to be ready so we can respond quickly when the need arises,” said Swathwood. “We know our volunteer pilots and the aircraft they operate are ideal for these missions.”