April 6, 2020

With hundreds of thousands of COVID-19 test kits waiting to be processed by medical personnel across the United States, business aviation provides a vital logistical link to ensure patients have their results as quickly as possible.

San Francisco CBS News affiliate KGO Channel 7 recently profiled one such mission for Quest Diagnostics. Although Quest flies its fleet of aircraft across most of the Eastern U.S., the national lab-services provider relies on Part 135 pilots like Kevin Perry to transport specimens in other parts of the country.

“They have to get there,” Perry told the TV station. “There’s just no question about it.”

Every night, Perry packs 50 green specimen bags collected by ground couriers from across the San Francisco Bay Area into a Cessna 402C piston twin and flies them from Hayward Executive Airport (HWD) to Van Nuys Airport (VNY), where they are then transferred to Quest’s SoCal testing facility.

The station noted that driving those bags to Los Angeles would take more than six hours – even in light traffic – whereas Perry can fly them there inside of 90 minutes.

“All of these tests kits are under a time constraint,” Perry told KGO. “If they sit here too long, they could go bad and then they [patients] would have to be retested.”

While transporting medical specimens is fairly routine duty for “freight dogs,” Perry noted the added significance of his mission in the current situation.

“It’s the finale of the testing,” he said. “That’s what I accomplish, getting the tests to labs so they could get their results in a timely fashion.”

Read more stories on the NBAA website about how the business aviation industry is helping U.S. citizens and communities across the U.S. during the COVID-19 pandemic.