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Volunteer Pilots Fly Into Action From Santa Barbara To Deliver COVID Relief To Yurok Reservation

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CalDART volunteer pilots Karen Kahn and Doug Mockett prepare to load supplies from Direct Relief onto an aircraft at Santa Barbara Airport

The challenge of how to get essential medical supplies and PPE to remote parts of California is being risen to by volunteer pilots from Santa Barbara.

The volunteer pilots are transporting more than a ton of supplies to the Yurok Reservation, near Crescent City. 

Volunteers have loaded and flown privately-owned aircraft with more than 800 pounds of medical supplies since New Year’s Eve.

Tuesday will see the final load of 1600 pounds of supplies leave Santa Barbara Airport.

Karen Kahn, a retired airline pilot, is one of those taking to the skies.

"We have been loading up airplanes with supplies provided by Direct Relief. We've been loading large bins of face masks, face shields, hand sanitizers and gowns," Kahn told KCLU. 

The effort is a collaboration between the all-volunteer California Pilots Association Disaster Airlift Response Team (CalDART) and Direct Relief, the nation's largest supplier of free donated medical supplies, who have their HQ in Santa Barbara. 

"This is another wonderful example of the aviation community assisting in disasters, " said Kahn. 

Donations to CalDART may be made on their website www.caldart.org