(TAYLORVILLE) — The history books tell the story of the “Berlin Airlift” back in the late 1940’s when Allied planes flew relief supplies into war-torn Berlin, Germany after it had been sealed off by the Russians. On Sunday, Dec. 19, planes will take off from the Taylorville Municipal Airport to bring supplies to tornado-torn Mayfield, Kentucky.
The idea for the airlift came from Taylorville flight instructor Mike Coady of Wing and a Prayer Flying Service. He and a flight student of his, Jaime Ruan, a chemical engineer with ADM in Decatur, are organizing the event.
“We’re getting a lot of great feedback from all over central Illinois,” Coady said. “We have pilots from Decatur, Mattoon, Springfield, Bloomington all responding to our requests.”
The idea is to take donated items from Taylorville to help in the tornado recovery going on in Kentucky. Items which can be donated include toothpaste, toothbrushes, paper towels, disposable diapers, toilet paper and personal hygiene items to name a few.
Coady said other items, such as bottled water, is not being sought due to weight restrictions.
Down in Mayfield, authorities ave been coordinating with Coady in arranging the flight.
“We have been talking with EMS officials in Mayfield about our flight and they are working to get vehicles lined up to haul the supplies which are being flown into the airport,” Coady said.
There is currently a 3-mile no-fly zone around the town, which was established by the Federal Aviation Administration. The Mayfield Graves County Airport is located about 3-1/2 miles northeast of the city. Its main landing strip is just over 5,000-feet long and 100-feet wide.
Coady said donations can be taken to the Taylorville airport office during the day from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. through Saturday. He expects the flight to take off around 10:00 a.m. Sunday morning.
Donations include a $100 gift card from Walmart to buy supplies and Coady said ADM in Decatur is lining up a donation for the flight.
A local flying group, Central Illinois Aviators, is also involved with the project, seeking to line up pilots from many central Illinois airports such as Litchfield and Champaign.
For more information about the “Mayfield Airlift,” contact the office at the Taylorville Municipal Airport, 824-9313.