|Our Landing at 6500'|
On Saturday morning I woke up at my friend Ben's house. He is a pilot/mechanic with Helimission and I first got to meet him and Anisha when we attended our first Candidacy Decision Camp with Helimission in Switzerland in 2009! Well he was busy trying to get cell service as it isn't so great in Wamena sometimes. I grabbed a shower and when I was done Ben told me we have a medevac (medical evacuation) today and that I would be allowed to sit in the back if I wanted. I was more than eager to see what it's like to fly in Papua, so I accepted. The other pilot, Tim, who was supposed to fly asked if I wanted to fly instead! I was so excited! This was going to be my first flight with Helimission! I have been working towards this for over 10 years and now it was going to happen. We preflighted the helicopter, planned our flight, pushed it out and fueled up. Ben explained the startup for me and then we spooled up, introduced fuel and poof, the engine started to go, and the blades began to spin. After all our checks were done we called the control tower and we were cleared to take off. We started the flight at an elevation of 5100' and we cruised at 7500' at around 100 knots/hour. What an amazing helicopter. 21 minutes later we landed at our destination and landed at around 6500'. Tim and Nus got out to find the patient and see his condition. It was going to be a bit so we shut the helicopter down. After the blades stopped turning Ben and I walked down to the Honai to figure out the plan. Well the patient wasn't able to walk up the steep terrain to the helicopter so we were going to have to land right next to his Honai. Ben and I walked back up the steep trail while Tim stayed below to help guide us in. We started up and repositioned near the Honai, and the patient was loaded while I kept the helicopter running. Once everyone was on board we picked up, had to back out of our spot and then when clear of obstacles we turned and headed right to the hospital. Ben did the approach into the hospital as it was a fairly tight spot, and I didn't know quite where it was. Once we landed he gave the controls to me and he got out to unload the patient onto the stretcher. When he was clear we took off and landed back at the Helimission hangar.
|I love the silhouette of the people!|
It was such a surreal moment for me to start that Helicopter and to be able to finally use the talents God gave me to save a life! I talked with some people and they said that to walk to the village would take 3 days for a fast walker just to get there. Without the Helicopter this man would never make it to the hospital. The terrain here is so rugged. There was an airstrip just a mile away as the bird flies, but to get there you would have to walk down almost 3500' and back up 3500'. When I was in the village the people were so thankful that we came. One lady was crying while she shook my hand and kept saying thank you over and over and touched her heart then mine. It almost made me cry! I wasn't able to take a lot of photos as I was flying, but was able to film the whole flight with the go pro and Tim also filmed for me from the back seat and he filmed the approach to the Honai. I will try to make a short film and upload it, but the internet bandwidth is small here so no guarantees. I hope you enjoy the photos, and I want to thank all of you who have supported or are supporting us to be here! Thank you for investing into God's kingdom and into the lives of the Papuans! They are very thankful and so am I!
|It is hard to capture the setting|
|My first landing with Helimission|
|Ben cascading down to the patient|
|Ben and a Honai|
|This is where the patient was|
|We had to reposition the helicopter |
to the left of that honai
|That machine has saved many lives|
|The red line is my route of flight from Helimission to Mobianggama and back!|