Jon, et al --
Jon wrote:If you get me wound up I might never stop with the ideas.
Hey, that's a *good* thing :-)
So Dave, how would you suggest we start maximizing our impact on the lives we save, while retaining the informal manner we have always had in doing transports?
I have some ideas, but don't know how to implement them :-) and CERTAINLY don't want to come across as bashing the fine work of everyone here, so please take these musings for the pie-in-the-sky goals that many of them are. With that said, though, ...
I agree that there will always be more who could go -- and even who could be received -- than air seats to carry them, so taking all you can every time is excellent. For some of us, though, that may be only one adult or a handful of babies, but every one counts. A smooth working relationship is excellent, too. I think we can have some structure without becoming rigid but am interested in your definition of "informal" and how we might retain vs lose that (other than the way-way-over option of flying published routes and timetables) just so that I know we're on the same page.
Since I think like a pilot rather than a rescue, it would be great if I could better plot or show what other pilots had what capacity and availability along a route. If I can only carry 5 puppies then I want to see how to ship that size load from A to B rather than thinking about filling up someone else's plane along the way (and, conversely, without overflowing a leg somewhere). Our target is something like 300nm per round trip for maybe three trips per month, so at least knowing who is willing to fly how far, and perhaps who still has some "pet fuel" available, would be great, too. Imagine, perhaps, a bunch of overlapping circles prioritized by color or some such to show cargo and range limitations.
I'd like to actually get notified when there's a run that could include me. 5 puppies from A to B across my path? Let me know. 20 puppies? I can take some of that load. A few entirely within my range, or maybe just a tiny stretch beyond? I definitely want to hear about that. Even better than overlapping circles on a display would be an automatic calculation and notification. "You could carry half of this load as one of three legs. Pick up from pilots [list] and deliver to pilots [list]." "You could carry all of this load as one of two legs. [list]" "You could carry half (or one third or ...) of this load in a nonstop run. Pilots [list] could carry the other half (two thirds)." Of course, "You can carry all of this load in a nonstop run." would be the greatest thing to see (but much less likely).
Some of these ideas probably reflect my frustration trying to put together a ride from here (47A) up to Penn for the 5 I am temporarily fostering. I scoured the route and dug past the balloons to find the planes and sent 19 PMs to pilots along the route, and I got one response (thanks, responder!). Maybe it's the holidays, or maybe it's the fact that we can only send PMs rather than generate emails; perhaps these pilots would love to help but haven't logged in and noticed the waiting messages. I don't even know that the pilots listed are still flying, though!
In the end, I think it boils down first to folks keeping their statuses (stati? :-) up to date, and I'm as bad about that as the next guy; close behind that is having folks enter accurate data about a rescue flight, and once again the people are the weak link. Actually staying up to date and entering accurate information is certainly more formal, too. If we pilots had a way to specify our load and range considerations and really did make effective use of that, though, and shelter/rescue volunteers could and would provide accurate data about who's going (and it's hard enough to get folks to enter the correct zip codes, apparently), then perhaps some new site tools could begin to take advantage of that.
Enough outta me for now :-) Time to go and get the rest of the family moving for the morning.
Happy New Year!