Nov. 9, 2018

Destin, FL-based Dr. Jordan Harper, DMD, an instrument-rated pilot, used his Cirrus SR22TN to “give back to people who got hammered [by Hurricane Michael],” adding, “It could easily have been us that got leveled.”

This is not Harper’s first time supporting hurricane relief efforts. He was an early volunteer with Operation Airdrop, which organizes aircraft owners to deliver needed supplies as soon as temporary flight restrictions allow private flights to enter disaster areas. Now a 501(c)(3) organization with about 3,000 members, it grew out of a Facebook group of concerned pilots who wanted to help those impacted by Hurricane Harvey in 2017.

Social media remains the primary form of communication, said Harper. It has “become the platform to disseminate information within hours” to groups, individuals and family members. He flew his first Operation Airdrop mission shortly after the hurricane hit the Florida Panhandle. “I made a Costco run and got as much as I could cram into the plane and flew to Apalachicola, FL,” he said.

Flying Dentist Provides Support Hurricane Michael Victims

Through social media, Harper solicited donations and collected them at his practice, Mid Bay Dental, as did his wife, Cayleigh, a neuropsychologist in private practice. And he’s not the only one. “A buddy of mine with a Cessna 195 flew a load of supplies from my hangar to Mariana; there are a lot of amazing stories out there,” Harper said.

Learn more about Operation Airdrop.