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To help the San Mateo County Coastside community in the event of a disaster, the Half Moon Bay Airport Pilot's Association formed a Disaster Airlift Response Team (DART) in 2017.  This program was modeled on a format created at the San Martin Airport, which was developed in response to their real-world experience supporting the Santa Cruz community after the Loma Prieta earthquake.  DART is a volunteer airlift resource helping communities and emergency responders cope with a local disaster.  A DART team, based on pilot aircraft availability, does this by providing air support which includes:

  1. Transfer of individuals to distant locations where they have family or friends.
  2. Food airlift into the area.
  3. Movement of emergency workers into or out of the area.
  4. Damage reconnaissance.
  5. Movement of ambulatory medical patients to out-of-area facilities.

With standardized processes and a mission to provide airlift support for both supplies and people, the Half Moon Bay DART team hosted their first disaster exercise in October, 2017.  Joined by San Mateo County managers and emergency groups, this first exercise was one of the largest earthquake and disaster exercises conducted on the Coastside.  Following the event, processes within the DART local chapter were further refined to improve response plans in the event of an actual disaster, and for future exercises.

Additionally, the Half Moon Bay DART team can call on a network of nearby DART partner airports which will help the local team scale quickly, for example with volunteer pilots in Watsonville and San Martin airports.  Locally, aircraft and pilots have established the relationships and ability to communicate among diverse relief groups with different needs and communication protocols.  This has helped to identify processes that need further refinement required in an actual emergency and changing weather conditions, which could affect both flight and communication capabilities.

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