Episode 32 – Michael Schneider, Pilots to the Rescue

32 Michael Schneider_FB

32 Michael Schneider_FB

In 2014, friends Michael Schneider & Brian Orter embarked on their first rescue mission. A litter of abandoned “ditch” puppies, a Chihuahua and some mutts from North Carolina were slated to be euthanized. Springing into action, Michael and Brian rose to the occasion and volunteered their piloting skills for the last leg delivering 10 dogs so they could be adopted by loving homes.  Less than a year later, with the powerful life curriculum taught at Landmark, Michael’s dream of combining his love of aviation and rescuing animals turned into a reality. In less than 48 hours, Michael enrolled those closest to him and raised more than $10,000 in startup funds for Pilots to the Rescue. Pilots to the Rescue’s mission is to save potential pets facing euthanasia utilizing an advanced rescue flight system. To learn more about Pilots to the Rescue you can find them here, http://www.pilotstotherescue.org/

Welcome to the Professionals and Animal Rescue podcast, where goal is to introduce you to amazing people helping animals and share how you can get involved with animal rescue. This’ll Podcast is proudly sponsored by Joubert dot com. Do Bert is a free website designed to connect volunteers with rescues and shelters and the only site that automates rescue relate transport. Now on with our show and today’s up. So we’re speaking with Michael Schneider and the summer of 2014 friends Michael Schneider and Brian Order embarked on their first rescue mission. A litter of abandoned ditch puppies, a Chihuahua and some nuts from North Carolina were slated to be euthanized. Spring into action, Michael and Brian rose to the occasion and volunteer their putting skills for the last leg, delivering the 10 dogs, and they could be adopted by loving homes. Less than a year later, with the powerful life curriculum taught at Landmark, Michael’s dream of combining his love of aviation and rescuing animals turned into a reality. In less than 48 hours, Michael enrolled those closest to him and began to raise more than $10,000 stutter funds for path to the rescue pilots to the rescues mission is to save potential pets facing euthanasia, utilizing an advanced rescue flight system, and rolling a network of trained pilots, shelters, ground teams and veterinarians pilots to the rescue gives little souls filled with unconditional love, a second chance and forever home. Hey, Michael. Welcome to the program, Chris. Thanks for having me. So tell us a little about you and pilots to the rescue. All right. Well, um, I’m 41 years old. I’m married with, uh, with two kids and an 80 kind of breast. You go course. Yeah. And my day job is in publishing media cells specifically, and, uh, I consider pilots to arrest you. You know something Teoh get back. And one of the things I love doing is falling, obviously, And if there’s ever an opportunity to to rescue animals, that and that’s that’s where that organization came in. And we started pilots to rescue back in March 2015. Okay. And, um, I learned a lot in the process. Is still considered ourselves a startup rescue group because, uh, the information is always changing. And I’m always taking ah ah, big view as to how we can grow this organization in the right way? Sure. No, no. Do you guys have a specific mission? Our mission is to save animals that are facing euthanasia by using volunteer violence and leveraging the their opportunity to fly and get back. We fly animals from kill shelters. T no kill shelter. So this is not necessarily a new concept. I think our key differentiation with house arrest do is one using do birds system to manage some of the rescue efforts and then also that we accept volunteer pilots from anywhere. Um, and then we actively get involved in the missions with the coordination of the rescue flights. Yeah, I know that sounds. That sounds awesome. So do you have pilots that just kind of come out to your site and join up? Give us a little bit of background? Is how people get involved with you. Yeah, Right now, we have been very much leveraging. Give Roberts system in encouraging pilots to go there to fill out a registration forms. And then, of course, we have are known rescue network, if you will. These consists of shelters we worked with over the last few years, as well as pilots that we are kind of our go to pilots. Most of rescues were doing are happening on the Eastern quarter. Typically, they start in, you know, the Carolinas and can end up anywhere from New York up Dipper Montes way have done rescues with dogs as far as you stand. And, of course, with hurricane. Uh, was it Hurricane Matthew Harvey RV? Yep. Losing track of the name. Yeah. Probably born rescue animals from from Hurricane Harvey and work with a group out there. And we’ve also worked with the group down in Miami and got animals. All right, so it can get up. Well, quite a long distance. So walk a story like it sounds pretty cool. And it also sounds like a lot of work. I mean, are you guys doing you know, Is it one per week one per month? Help us understand some of the numbers behind us. You know, the regular rescue efforts we’ve been doing? We’ve been working for society of companion animals. It’s the woman is a flight attendant, and she gets great rates and cargo, and that eternally comes out of Texas. I saw those animals come from Texas and come into the war radio or new work at JFK, and then we have a ground crew that actually drives them to whatever airport we’re leaving out of. But as far as numbers, I would say in general, were probably during the high season which Ross will be spring and fall because of the way we avoid extreme temperatures. We generally don’t fly as much in the winter and the summer. So in this bring the fall were doing and in the morning, rescued from all, sometimes more than that. Several. So So what’s it like flying animals? I mean, that’s gotta be a little bit different than people. They can’t really tell you what’s going on. Yeah, so I’d say the hardest part of finding the animals is actually loading them. Because if the planes are very small and the baggage compartment most explains Air Force C single engine planes, Sesno’s and and Piper’s and the loading configurations such that you’re trying to fix a large peg into a small hole on these baggage stores air very small. So, generally speaking, you have to deconstruct the crate and you have to go through that mean door to the aircraft, and you have to slide it all the way back over the seats on and then do the top. So that’s just the beginning of the complication of loading aircraft that it becomes like Tetris. So, um, you try to stack the creates a size you can. Oftentimes these animals that have issues, they don’t co mingle with other animals. Sometimes you get lucky, and you can tether them in the back seat. Um, but often times you have several crates to do with and maybe one or two loose animals. So again it becomes like a game of Tetris. How do you load the configured? Very ambition. The aircraft, so on and so forth. If you’re lucky, you depending on the size, the animals you get between five and five and 10 and four in 10 point that I always bring a copilot or or probably a copilot. But if not, it’s someone to help out with the animals. I think you’re adding a level of danger to the mission, so you need someone to help. If an animal gets Lucifer animal vomits on, you know, defecates that kind of thing. Um, this way I can focus on flying the aircraft and I have someone else to help with all those self defense. But in general, the animals just go to sleep Once you once you start the engine and take off the vibration, the noise, they just go to sleep. And hopefully you don’t want to deal with any issues like the vomiting on the F K. Exact sometimes happen. You have to deal with that smell, the whole whole fight. That doesn’t sound like fun. Yeah, so But that’s the hardest part. Is the loading and then the rest is pretty smooth sailing from there. Okay. Very cool. So now is it mostly dogs that you guys removing or cats or help us out with some of the types of animals that you’ve moved so far? 99% of the animals that we brushed. You have the dogs? Um, I’m not quite sure why The cat rescue thing hasn’t really picked up. Maybe there’s some specific reasons for that, but we will barely get request for a cat rescue. Of course, we’re happy to do it. The 1% is mainly consisted of, um you know, we recently did an endangered wolf rescue, and that’s something that we be interested in getting more involved in a conversation with, uh, pita s P c. A humane society, and they’re very much are also focused on dogs and cats. But I think we don’t want to neglect the issues that we’re having with endangered species and not just in danger. It’s in danger. I am. But the whole fresco was important to us. Because what people may not understand it realizes that the domesticated dog would not be here today without wolves. And we, you know, it’s important. We’re only scratching the surface when it comes to dog rescues or even can rescue from, for example, but within dangerous species. If you rescue one, it makes a huge which impactful difference. So as one ways we wanted differentiator organization and start some sort of transformation. And it would be United studio get more involved in those type of rescues. Pita have interesting conversation, Pita. They asked me if I could brush you. Ah, hello, Offense E. I was like, Sure, I don’t know if I can charter a triple seven a little bigger than what would fit in a normal Cessna. Exactly. Exactly. Fight on. Yeah. So for the most part. It’s still gonna continue to mostly be be dogs. But we’re going to try to cherry pick and get a little picky about some of the rescues we get involved in. Yeah, no, that’s a really interesting pivot, and I’m glad you bring it up to move into wildlife rescue because I gotta believe, like you said, it’s it’s something that’s not as mainstream. There’s not as many people doing it. How do you How do you get the word out on that? How do you let these groups and organizations that are saving wildlife? No, that you’re there to help him transport? Yeah, I think it’s just a matter of reaching out to them. You know, the email phone calls and let them know that we have some. Resource is available both financially and with aviation assets that we be interested in doing those type of rescues there are. It is very complicated because a lot of the, uh, these species are used to their native environment. So, um, just transporting them is that’s just the beginning. It’s incumbent on the recipients while life shelter to reintroduce them into a new environment. Um, so it’s really just letting them know that these aviation resources are available and that we would do some hand holding with them on DNA. Maybe it’s just a matter of not necessarily providing financial resources or even aviation resources, but helping them navigate the difficult landscape of identifying organ in aviation organizations that can help with the transport. We’ve done that before. We’ve done a tremendous amount of him full day because they just don’t know like he does Peter asking if we could transport an elephant. I mean, that’s so There’s just a lot of it is education and hand holding. And that’s probably the best thing you can dio, because we going home, these large aircrafts and chartering aircraft is very expensive, as you as you know. Yeah, I know. I can imagine that even just the act of flying animals is expensive. Are all of the pilots that fly with you guys volunteers? Are they doing this at their own expense? Yeah, all of them are volunteers, and they’re doing at their own expense man. Because of the FAA regulations surrounding charitable flights, it’s incumbent on the volunteer pilot to come out of pocket and then claim whatever reimbursable Zell’s he or she feels that they can get. But as an organization, we can’t pay for those flights or reimburse them because it would be considered conversation for flight time. Eso There’s a lot of rules around there in, you know, this has been a controversial subject. Public benefit, flying and bringing Percival’s. There’s been this tug of war, which is unfortunate, but I think for liability considerations and insurance reasons, there’s it kind of starts to explain why those rules are in place. But most pilots are very generous not only with their time but their money, because these missions were so rewarding. What some of your listeners may not know is that you know, pilots maybe call these aircraft with these missions like $100 hamburgers, because you’re flying somewhere, you’re getting hamburger and you’re flying back, and that that’s it’s more like $200 hamburger today, Um, with in terms of hourly rates, generally you’ll see between 152 100 our depending on the aircraft. So when you when they find out that they were able to rescue animals, it’s extra spring them or everything, it makes you feel really good inside and It’s another reason to fly or another mission that you can. You can you can dio Yeah, really? So now are you guys flying rented aircraft or these aircraft that you own? I mean, do you own your own aircraft? I know I don’t know my own aircraft. Like many pilots across the country, we either rent or high part of a flying club. You know, the allure of aircraft ownership is kind of gone by the wayside. It’s very expensive, no economically feasible for most pilots. But when we do hear about those pilots that only long aircraft, we hold on to him very tight because they want to use those aircraft they were. Get them, you know, keeping moving. So you know we mostly rent or part of flying clubs. Buying clubs is just a more convenient way 18 to rent one or multiple aircrafts because you can schedule it yourself. Generally, the rates tend to be subsidized, but as far as aircraft ownership at Paws Rescue is very much in annual fundraising mode and continues to be We happen since day one because one of the hardest things any non profit will tell you is its fundraising So when we and our our big goal in mind at this point is to raise enough money to purchase an aircraft, okay, and mainly for capacity going back earlier in our conversation, A lot of these Air Force C aircraft, but many of them cannot fit for people. Um, so you could imagine. And it’s a weight and balance thing. It’s not so much just spacing. Uh, so, by by purchasing a larger, more powerful aircraft, it allows you better configuration on these six passenger and aircraft. You can even take out the rear seats. Um, so we can quadruple our capacity potentially by purchasing an aircraft. You know, with it with the focus being on doing more rescue efforts and with larger animals, which I know we’re not the only organization doing this, but at least the organizations where they’re renting or relying on volunteer, um, aircraft. They’re extremely limited capacity. So this was just really open it up. I’ve seen the transition of some of these similar organizations from doing what we’re doing, renting aircraft and using violence, your products to purchasing their own aircraft and this their commitment and level, um, the ability for them to rescue more animals just grows exponentially. Um, so we’re looking forward to getting to that half. I think that’s been a huge step. Rocks. Very cool. Now, do you guys have a specific type of aircraft to mine? Obviously. You know, if you’re gonna be doing elephant, you’re going to do you see 1 40 or something? But any particular aircraft that you’re looking at? Yeah. I mean, the economical aircraft will be probably most likely in the form of Ah, Piper Cherokee. Six. If we wanted to get a little bit, uh, fans here and maybe even whether the organization purchasing aircraft or I purchased it personally, that’s something still to be worked out. But the personal pilot myself would be more interested in, like, a beach proper Nunes a 36 ones like a suburban and moans like an Escalade. That’s one way they compared them both have similar useful loads. It’s just the Beechcraft is more expensive to insure and operate. Um, so we’ll see. We’ll see what happens. But, um, and you know, they you can get either either aircraft for around 100,000 depending on how you have that it with the avionics And so for that 36 I mean, I’ve seen them. This low was 50,000. Beechcraft bonanzas can get up in the hundreds of thousands, but yeah, like buying a house. Yeah. Yeah. And you can’t get a 30 year fixed mortgage. It’s five years at, I don’t know, six first, 56% and again from ah, five a one c three perspective. Which panels? The rescue is we are. There’s very stringent rules about purchasing an aircraft who is operating. It might be easier just to avoid all that mess. And by personally, which, you know, I’m the biggest funder of the charity. Maybe collectively, now dominators air started to take that over, which is a nice relief. Um, but I’m happy to donate funds and aircraft in time, um, and then focus those money that we raised on supporting these rescue efforts, which is pretty much the extent that we could We could do that just to remind people that you can’t just take that money and start paying for flight time, right? We could shorter. We could charter aircraft, which is something we would be interested in doing if it was something specific. Like to that endangered species. But most of time it’s me personally or a pilot spending their own money as you touched upon. Yeah, it’s a no. Take us back a little bit. I mean, was there somebody that inspired you to again to this? Was there an organization was or an event? I mean, if you always loved animals, Always loved animals love. I, um I have to give credit where credits dio there’s obviously the biggest organization that’s doing This is called Pilot and Pause, and I started doing rescue missions for that organization. I think that their mission is about one. We all want to save animals, But, you know, I became a little disgruntled with some of the ways they did things, and I decided, Okay, we’ll put it. I want more control. I’m gonna start my own organization. But they’re still very worthwhile organization that the most well known our I’m in most pilots that start getting involved in this fine missions with a pile of pots so that that was where it all started. Just combining my love of aviation and rescuing animals. And I think I did a few missions with them, and then it was just like, Okay, I’m done with that. I’m gonna start part of the rescue on, and I think that it was from a the differentiator was a pilot starting the organisation rather than, um, the people that run that and if they’re necessarily the pilot, so they may not understand all the issues right that come with rescuing animals from an aviation perspective. But yet I was back in March of 2015 and I’ve been remiss without also mentioning program called Land More, uh, the Landmark forum. And it’s a transformational program. It’s like a intense boot camp. It’s truly days in the evening where you basically take a honest look at yourself and understanding how you can get past sir issues that you may have better blocking you from reaching your goals and drinks. So all of us have things that we want to do in life, and from some reason, we just can’t get out of our own way. I mean, became making excuses as to why we can’t do it all the time. I don’t have money. Later, later, one day, one day. So in this time, our program, they have something in the advanced course, they have something called the Big Gate and they challenge you. They basically said You have 20. You have 48 hours 24 40 hours. I can’t remember now. I think it’s for 38 48 hours under, um to figure out how to get something done, no excuses and creating that sense of urgency. And really, it isn’t what happens when you give yourself a time line like that. So my big aim was to raise $10,000 for starting pilots to arrest you. And I think I e. I think we gave each other 48 hours to do this. And what was amazing about it is the moment I walked through the door Landmark was when I raised 20 $10,000. Wow, yeah, And then that’s when Hollister Rescue was started. And with the creating the sense of urgency and not making any excuses, it’s just dialing for dollars, emailing people just totally leveraging my business and personal network on. And that’s that’s how we got the organization started and it was just amazing. I mean, considerable after that, I think we initially I have a check on our website along a state was like $12,000. Um, and since then, in the A S p c A. They grow into the They gave us a $10,000 grant. Um, back in the same year, back in 2015 on the movie has been becoming more more smart about how we can raise more money. But, um, yes, of my inspiration was five missions for pilots and pause and limb or chance. Your question? Yeah, very cool. So as you think about you know, this year, 2018 of what’s coming, where you guys headed, What’s next for pilots to the rescue? Yeah, So it’s ah, doing more endangered species and specialty rescues. It’s focusing on fundraising efforts to purchase an aircraft. It’s, ah, I want to touch upon a program where we’re doing with uber. We’re helping them promote, uh, brand new program to get the flight industry the commercial flight industry involved mainly with pilots and flight attendant, and they they get an opportunity to fly for free on our off time. So letting them know that we have a system in place, or do burdock where they can log in upcoming trip or claim of rescue kind of I’m going that way. Um, which is an exciting programme. And I’ve offered Teoh how removed that. Really getting the word out is the difficulty and money. People know that there’s this availability, but those were probably aren’t through initiatives for this year. Okay, it sounds like you had a lot on your plate. Yeah, we’re longer plate. And, you know, if we’ve tried, we’ve tried a lot of things. We tried it. Events We’ve tried making calendars and through those experience friends. And I realized that sometimes when you’re running an organization like this, you have to just kind of patient and take a step back. You can’t be everything to everyone, and there’s a lot of great organizations out there. So it’s really about navigating the non profit world an animal rescue because I don’t want to step on anybody’s toes. And I want at this point I want to make sure that the funds that we raised are put to the best use possible because it’s very easy to have that kind of mentality. Save them all safe home. That’s impossible to save them all. I mean, a lot of this stuff happens through politics and legislation, and that’s above my pay grade. I think that’s a 500 C three. We can’t even get involved in political lobbying. Um, so you know, I just want to make sure that you use the funds for the past two years possible, and there’s a lot of efficiencies that could be improved. And like, you know, utilizing a system like hubert dot com certainly is a great step in increasing efficiencies in a rescue. We actually abandoned our rescue software over a year ago in favor of using duper because we can’t build a better mousetrap. They spend so much time developing that program. You, you, Chris that and hats off to you for doing that. So it’s sort of like if you can’t beat them, join them. And that’s a a great mentality in the animal rescue world. I would encourage people that are doing this type of work to figure out ways that you can align yourself. Too often, Animal rescue groups are like every man for themselves because there’s only so many dollars we can phone number days and your competitors, and that’s not a good way to think in space. It’s what can we do to center, you know, increase energy is increased efficiencies being more productive and a line in joined forces. Um, and that’s a great way to think in that in that world. Yeah. No, I definitely grew with that, Michael. So that Michael, we appreciate you coming on the program today. Is there anything else you wanted to share? Before we wrap things up? I would just say if any of the listeners we’re looking to get involved in person to join on Joubert dot com and read it. Sure, as a volunteer regards. Support your pilot Ground crew veterinarian. So on and so forth. Um, And if you’re a rescue group and you’re interested in getting involved in politics, a rescue, you can work through that system where you can contact me directly. Always happy. Teoh Germany are my time personally and helping people navigate. Um, because I know there’s so many people that I want to get involved. Yeah, well, Michael, thank you so much for coming on the program today. We really appreciate it. My pleasure. Chris. Thank you for having me. Thanks for tuning into today’s podcast. If you’re not already a member. Joined the air p A. To take advantage of all the resources we have to offer and don’t forget to sign up with do bert dot com. It’s free and helps automate the most difficult tasks in animal rescue.

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