Dedicated Transports

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Dedicated Transports

Postby Jon on Sat Jan 10, 2009 5:25 pm

I wonder what other pilots think of this.

Over the last year I have carried about 120 pups. But at least half of them involve the same shelters or rescues. And about half the hours flow are for these same folks.

Doing animals rescue flights continues to be a learning experience, but I know that there is a great deal of ease in dealing with rescues who have worked with me over and over. The transports are not posted, they usually originate from an email from a rescue I have dealt with saying a load of pups is ready to go to another rescue I have also dealt with. I ask a few questions about the number of pups, who will go in a cage with another, how much they weigh and when the flight should take place (a range of time, not a specific day and time). We agree on everything and on the day of the transport it just happens, everybody shows up to do what is their responsibility and a plane load of animals is transported to safe harbor and a future permanent home. No muss, no publicity, no real problems. Just a bunch of animals saved in the best way with the least hassle.

The reason for bringing this up for discussion is I am seeing the emergence of rescues clearly capable of finding space and them permanent homes willing to regularly take animals from shelters or rescues located where the euthansia rates are criminally high. The good news is that means a lot of animals that would otherwise be killed have the potential to be saved. The bad news is that the distances are 380 to 500 miles. I think the distance issue can be dealt with. All it takes is a group of pilots flying aircraft that can easily do the distances and pilots willing to make the huge effort and investment to go those distances. In my case I have no problem going 500 miles, but I do insist on a full plane so the actual cost to fly is in my mind spread among a greater number of animals helping me rationalize my trip.

I can't say where the regular transports are located just yet, but I do know in some cases it can involve saving 8 to 10 animals per week. I don't think a single pilot has to plan on flying 8 to ten dogs every week, but if a group of pilots working amongst themselves and working with the shelters and rescues involved can create schedules and transport plans to make such an opportunity work the impact will be huge.

Lets pretend 8 dogs per week can be taken from Chattanooga to Central Florida and permanent safety every week. Lets guess the leg length is 450 miles. One pilot flying a Saratoga once a quarter can thus be responsible for savng 32 animals and probably end up putting 25 hours on the plane to do it. Or two pilots could split the transport and each could meet every month at a central point and because of their combined effort could each end up contributing to the saving of almost 100 pups.

If pilots find this a nice way to substitute flying for hamburgers once in a while, let's discuss it. If a positive response emerges I think the next step is to bring some of the involved rescues into the equation.

I don't want this to replace addressing the individual transport requests, but to put in place a means by which large numbers of animals now regularly euthanized can instead be saved.

Jon
Jon
 

Re: Dedicated Transports

Postby kgsheltie on Wed Aug 26, 2009 6:31 pm

That's a great idea, I know of several groups that are struggling to find land transports from the GSP area to the DC\Baltimore area. If we could get even a regularly scheduled monthly flight it would do so much to help us save some animals.

It wouldn't even necessarily need to be the entire distance, even flights from CLT to DC\Baltimore would help.
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Re: Dedicated Transports

Postby davidtg on Sat Jan 02, 2010 7:39 pm

Jon, et al --

Any movement on this in the last year?

Jon wrote:...
Lets pretend 8 dogs per week can be taken from Chattanooga to Central Florida and permanent safety every week. Lets guess the leg length is 450 miles. One pilot flying a Saratoga once a quarter can thus be responsible for savng 32 animals and probably end up putting 25 hours on the plane to do it. Or two pilots could split the transport and each could meet every month at a central point and because of their combined effort could each end up contributing to the saving of almost 100 pups.

If pilots find this a nice way to substitute flying for hamburgers once in a while, let's discuss it. If a positive response emerges I think the next step is to bring some of the involved rescues into the equation.

I would definitely jump on this. We would love to fly as many as possible (not many in our little Skipper) and go fairly often, but we'd definitely have to take part as a leg rather than a whole trip. Meanwhile, we're north of Atlanta and could cover North Georgia just over some borders.


Happy New Year
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David & Laura T-G
C172 @ KCNI - small loads - 150nm VFR (and just maybe farther & cloudier)
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Re: Dedicated Transports

Postby Jon on Sat Jan 02, 2010 10:41 pm

If you get me wound up I might never stop with the ideas.

This year my totals are 259 animals transported and total PNP flight time of 222.2 hours. Virtually every flight except some set up for media purposes are coming from or going to "regulars". So from about 300 plus hours and 350 animals transported I have formed some strong opinions on how we can save more animals easier.

First, as pilots we can form relationships with rescues and other pilots with whom we would link to for purposes of relays. We can in effect have "canned" transports. I have many transports between rescue "a" and rescue "b". I have many between rescue "c" and rescue "d". and so forth. I have started to introduce all involved to one another by either asking if rescue "b" cannot take more animals from "a", perhaps "d" can help out. I have also wanted to see if we as pilots can get a rescue that routinely sends animals from western TN to NJ to instead look for rescues in Chicago, and see if rescues in eastern NC can send to NJ instead of Chicago.

The obvious advantage is we still do transports, but they are shorter distances. Shorter distances means we either get more done for the same effort, or we expend less effort to get the job done.

I would also like ot see pilots think multiple animals per flight. I now have the rescues I deal with routinely all thinking in terms of maximizing my available capacity. I have routinely flown 15 to 17 animals. But I also do not bias my transports towards small animals, but consider a full plane 3 large Dobies or 15 small to medium pups.

If we are going to maiximize our efforts to save animals then I think we as pilots need to do it. The rescues cannot because we have too many factors to consider such as scheduling, weather, type of animals a rescue typically handles, the impact of TFRs on routing, coordination of pilots in relays, etc.

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?
Jon
 

Re: Dedicated Transports

Postby davidtg on Sun Jan 03, 2010 11:21 am

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!
:-D
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David & Laura T-G
C172 @ KCNI - small loads - 150nm VFR (and just maybe farther & cloudier)
see http://justpickone.org/davidtg/email/
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Re: Dedicated Transports

Postby Jon on Sun Jan 03, 2010 12:39 pm

As a pilot I also see things from a perspective not necessarily shared by non-pilots.

First, I see rescues pairing up at unreasonable distances. That is not a criticizm but an observation. The net result is a lot of transports, such as you describe go unfilled because not all of our planes are long distance machines. If you have a 300 NM round trip limit, then you will be part of a relay. To expect to find a 150 NM (one way) transport is not likely because that is driving distance. So your challenge as a pilot wanting to get started is to find rescues with starting points in or around where your live, and see where they typically send animals.

Then if you see a pattern, select one of the routes or typical transports and see if there are pilots that fly similar airplanes as yours located such that they can participate. I know this sounds idealistic and is involving a lot of work on your part just so you can spend a lot of money to help animals, but I don't know a shortcut right now.

From my perspective you need a foster or rescue 300 NM up the route so the transport only includes you, another pilot and the sending and receiving rescues. Any greater distance or more pilots and I guarantee most attempt will fail because as the number of involved pilots involved increases the problems coordinating everything increase exponentially. Although that 300 NM end point may not be the final destination, it should be treated as the end of that first transport and a second one should be set up to piggy back on that one to move the animals to the final destination.

I think it is critical for pilots when involved in relays to pair up with like planes and skill sets. If I can easily carry a lot of animals due to my plane's capacity, I would need to pair up with a plane with similar capacity. I will go in lousy weather so I need to know the pilot I am meeting is also going to be able to go IFR. Far to often I have arrived at my destination and have found the expected VFR weather was in fact IFR. I cannot be stuck on a ramp with a plane load of animals and nobody showing up to receive them.

There are other issues that need to be addressed but the above are a good start. By doing things informally as we have been is OK because we do have an impact, but if we as pilots can somehow pull together to establish guidelines and procedures it will help. I still would like to see a reorientation of alliances among the rescues to shorten routes, but that might be wishful thinking right now.
Jon
 

Re: Dedicated Transports

Postby davidtg on Sun Jan 03, 2010 2:53 pm

Jon, et al --

Jon wrote:If you have a 300 NM round trip limit, then you will be part of a relay. ... So your challenge as a pilot wanting to get started is to find rescues with starting points in or around where your live, and see where they typically send animals.

That's a good idea. I was thinking of pairing up with pilots first but checking the supply might be a better start. Of course, that is its own challenge :-)

Then if you see a pattern, select one of the routes or typical transports and see if there are pilots that fly similar airplanes as yours located such that they can participate.

That's great, but the question is "How?". That, perhaps, is where more site capabilities could help; whether on the pilot map or just a listing, indicate VFR/IFR, S/M/L, short/long.

Although that 300 NM end point may not be the final destination, it should be treated as the end of that first transport and a second one should be set up to piggy back on that one to move the animals to the final destination.

This is a good idea, too. Whether overnight or, more likely, for a few days around bits of weather, having a foster stop in the middle could help take care of scheduling issues. Starting each leg at the next pilot's home airport takes care of some of the challenges, but as the trip gets longer things definitely get tougher.

I think it is critical for pilots when involved in relays to pair up with like planes and skill sets.

In general, yes, although going from VFR to IFR and smaller to larger are better than the other way around. I'd even love to see two "small" pilots share a leg to hand off to a "large" pilot, although that level of coordination seems even more impossible at the moment.

So, then, how do we pilots get to know each other and form "teams" or "frequent partnerships"?
:-D
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see http://justpickone.org/davidtg/email/
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Re: Dedicated Transports

Postby Jon on Sun Jan 03, 2010 5:28 pm

Your last question about how to get to know each other is the key.

You could start with the pilot map and find every pilot 150 NM away, or more likely every pilot 300 NM away. That way you team up with a pilot along the route, or preferrably, a pilot who will deadhead to you and bring a load back to his home base where he may know fosters or rescues or be able to house the animals himself.

But let's go back to the beginning. PilotsnPaws was specifically set up as a bulletin board and the officers and directors limit their activities to monitoring the site to protect against unsatisfactory activities or conduct, to set policy, to attempt as funds and expertise become available to improve the software, and to generally assume fiscal responsibility. The people really running PNP are people like yourself and all the other participants.

Because the registered users have only reasonable constraints such as prohibitions on poor conduct or inappropriate language there is nothing stopping you from becoming actively involved in helping PNP have an even greater impact on saving the lives of animals. Every one of us has been frustrated with shortcomings from time to time, but that is in part the cost of freedom. We are only providing a "meeting place" for people who are then free to set up transports in the best way they can with nobody interfering with their plans. If a pilot wants to fly one puppy 1000 miles he is free to do so, or if a group of pilots want to do a mass transport of 100 animals 300 miles they are equally welcome.

Having looked at this from the perspective of a PNP administrator, as well as a pilot doing transports I see the biggest problems people who want to get started have is getting started. Once a pilot does that first transport he has developed a relationship with at least two parties. The sending and receiving rescues, or a receiving or sending pilot. As more transports are done that pilot will end up with a small group that knows him, is located where he flies from and where he flies to, and if that pilot proves reliable he will have more transports than he can handle from his "regulars".

Virtually all my transports this past year (2009) were for people I flew for in 2008, They and I formed teams. They learned how big my plane was and how many I could carry. They knew I flew serious IFR so weather issues were limited to icing, and not always did that affect our schedule. They knew I wanted a full plane so if they could not fill my plane they knew other rescues that could piggy back on their transport. They never had to ask if the distance was OK because they were setting up transports to rescues within my preferred range. Our biggest topic in our communications related to the day of the transport (some were OK during the week, others wanted weekends) and how many pups could we get on board.

My point is this. Where there is a will there is a way and as we do transports we keep learning and figuring more and better ways to schedule them, coordinate them and get our thinking aligned. I am learning what illnesses keep pups from flying, but what ones the transport will be OK. I am learning about how hard it is for rescues who have run out of room and how I sometimes have to drop everything and get a transport done or risk having animals euthanized.

As I have about 20 months of serious transporting under my belt now my circle of rescues I work with has grown and changed. Some have dropped out, some new ones have been added, some are new at this and still need to learn why some days I need the airport with approaches and why the next day I need the cheap fuel. Some are pros now and literally know how we are going to load even before they get to the airport. With the experienced folks that have worked together I can tell you everyone shows up on time, does their thing (I am preflighting and they are loading for example) and in a few short minutes I have a load of pups on the way to an equally capable rescue that will pull up to the plane as the engine stops and in a few minutes I have refueled, gotten a hug and I am on my way home. Getting to that point has been an effort on the part of everyone, but when it works, it really works.

As an aside I am focussed on having the greatest impact possible and I have gotten in the last several months been able to average about .3 or .4 hours of flight time per animal transported. To me that is significant. I can easily justify the cost of a few tenths of flying to save an animal. By increasing my efficiency I can carry more animals for the same money than I did previously. Going beyond that if I carry a plane load each trip, that means I have opened the pipeline up by the equivalent of that plane load. If I save 15 pups for example, I just made room at a rescue's facility for them to pull 15 that might otherwise get euthanized.

Dave, if you can see a way to reach out pilot to pilot why not try a "prototype". We had a west coast pilot suggest a PNP pilots club or a chapter. Maybe that is how to start. We are headed in the right direction. We just need to get more pilots on board actively.
Jon
 

Re: Dedicated Transports

Postby davidtg on Sun Jan 03, 2010 7:38 pm

Jon, et al --

Jon wrote:Your last question about how to get to know each other is the key.

I figured so :-)

You could start with the pilot map and find every pilot 150 NM away, or more likely every pilot 300 NM away.

I've started that, actually; I've been sending out "Hi" notes to folks nearby to introduce myself and to folks along a couple of routes to ask if they can take part. It's slow going, though. It just takes sooooo long for GMaps to load up so much data (which, really, is a great problem to have). A "list every pilot within Xnm of KXXX" button would be nice :-)

... PilotsnPaws was specifically set up as a bulletin board ... The people really running PNP are people like yourself and all the other participants.

Also agreed! I hope I didn't come across as demanding anything more; I can imagine some tools that would be useful to me, and the technology exists to make them happen (although not necessarily the spare time, nor the dedication to make them useful once they're available), but I understand and support the PnP "position".

... [T]he biggest problems people who want to get started have is getting started.

Ain't it always that way? I definitely feel that way right now. I've seen that in my work dozens of times, too, and one or two things I always try to get out of new hires are the "what you didn't understand" or "what you wish you knew then" lists once they have become productive. The newbie feels all of the pain that the old-timer no longer does, and the old-timer works the system so well that he forgets what was really helpful to learn. That's why I'm being so verbose here :-)

...[I]f that pilot proves reliable he will have more transports than he can handle from his "regulars".

My wife and I have been talking about that and can already see that coming. We just need to get those connections into place. For us it will definitely involve coordinating with other pilots since we carry little and don't go far.

... Dave, if you can see a way to reach out pilot to pilot why not try a "prototype". We had a west coast pilot suggest a PNP pilots club or a chapter. Maybe that is how to start. We are headed in the right direction. We just need to get more pilots on board actively.

I've never done well trying to fit in-person meetings into my schedule, but they work for a lot of people. For me, shaking virtual hands via email is the best way to go, and I've started that. My next challenge will be keeping all of the names, emails, and airports straight, but I look forward to it :-)


HNY
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see http://justpickone.org/davidtg/email/
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Re: Dedicated Transports

Postby Jon on Sun Jan 03, 2010 8:04 pm

I'm behind you. I would like to get deeper into this, but we are leaving for a week and on the road I am not "connected".

Email me if you want to get further into this, especially if you need my help on the five pups. I won't be able to read all my collected emial and the new posts on this site when I get back so I will just go through my emails.
Jon
 

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