Local pilots plan to fly to Key West with supplies after Irma

Posted at 2:06 PM, Sep 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-14 17:56:45-04

A group of pilots from Tampa are among the many volunteers and organizations scrambling to get supplies into Key West. Power is still out for many people in the Florida Keys, gas and other resources are hard to find, and cell service is spotty. 

Juan Concheiro, President of the the On The Upwind Flying Club, is spearheading an effort in Tampa to gather donations, supplies, pilots, and planes. 

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"It's total devastation down there. You're looking at landmarks that are now underwater and homes are flooded. We have friends and family down there that need help and we have a lot of licenses and we like to fly," says Concheiro.

It's taken days but finally the main highway, U.S. 1 including all 42 bridges, is clear but access to the lower keys is limited. Residents and relief crews are the only ones allowed to travel. As for the airports, they haven't reopened for commercial flights. Landing in Key West requires a special permit from the United States Air Force.

"We're collecting water, non-perishable items, canned goods, and toiletries. You can donate money toward fuel, too. And we really need more pilots and planes. Our planes can only hold so much," says Concheiro.

If you can donate or help in any way, visit for more information. The group plans to fly to Key West on Sunday.