Rick Hendrick owner of Hendrick Motorsports, has loaned two of the team’s planes to the relief efforts in Haiti.
The improvised island nation was hit with a devastating earthquake this week and the damage has been described as catastrophic. Some estimates put the number of fatalities near 100,000 with just as many homeless.
Team spokesperson Jesse Essex said Friday night that Hendrick loaned two 45-passenger Saab 2000 aircraft, which normally carry crewmembers during the season and two flight crews with additional support personnel to Missionary Flights International. The first flight is scheduled to leave Fort Pierce, Florida Saturday. The planes will transport both people and supplies directly into Haiti.
Essex said the team has received a special exemption from the FAA that allows its aircraft to fly these missions into the capital of Port-au-Prince
Once they arrive, the Missionary group will send support teams in and out of Port-au-Prince.
The organization has sent 10 people total from its aviation department: aviation director Dave Dudley, who will oversee operations; five captain-level pilots; one operations manager; one mechanic; and two flight attendants. Each person on the mission volunteered to participate.
The Hendrick Motorsports aviation team is planning to fly at least one roundtrip flight per aircraft per day. No timeline has been set for how long these missions will continue and the Hendrick organization is covering all costs of the flights.
For more information on Missionary Flights International, including ways to get involved or make a donation the team urges fans to visit www.missionaryflights.org.