Pittsburgh Aviation Animal Rescue Team (PAART), which is dedicated to providing animals a second chance by offering free transport from danger to safety, announced the purchase of a new Mahindra Airvan GA8 airplane. The purchase of this new aircraft, which offers three times the carrying capacity of PAART’s existing airplane and makes missions rescuing 30 or more animals a possibility, is thanks, in large part, to a generous, life-saving donation from the Rachael Ray Foundation, which helps animals in need. The Rachael Ray Foundation was established by television host and philanthropist Rachael Ray and is funded by a portion of proceeds from each sale of Rachael Ray Nutrish super premium pet food and treats.
“We’re humbled and honored by the incredible opportunity given to PAART by the Rachael Ray Foundation, this being the single largest one-time donor donation in our history,” said Jonathan Plesset, PAART pilot and co-founder. “Since our inception, our teams of air and land rescue volunteers have saved more than 7,500 animals. This donation will help our team cover the financing expenses each month on a much larger rescue aircraft enabling us to rescue the next 10,000.”
“Our team now has the ability to air rescue animals in greater numbers than we have ever been able to before,” PAART Executive Director Mary Withrow said. “This gift will change the lives of thousands of animals. We are truly grateful to the Rachael Ray Foundation”
PAART’s goal is to raise an additional $300,000 to cover the down payment on the loan and costs to outfit the airplane for rescue. Donor support goes to giving animals in need a second chance, as core to PAART’s mission is the belief that no animal should be euthanized for a lack of space when they are merely a flight away from freedom.
The Airvan GA8 was chosen by PAART due to a design that is simple to operate and that fact that it uses a reliable and safe engine and is designed to be forgiving. Most airplanes comply with seven to 10 safety guidelines from the FAA‘s Part 23 safety standard—the Airvan meets 55 of these guidelines. In addition, the plane has an unparalleled crashworthiness rating which factored heavily into consideration as the safety of PAART’s pilots and furry friends is paramount.