Back up and running in Malinau
Finally, after two weeks out of action in maintenance, the Malinau Pilatus Porter is back! And it’s good to have it back and to be doing some proper bush flying again. There’s nothing worst, as a pilot, than sitting on the ground looking up at the skies and wanting to get back there. However, I wasn’t the only one suffering due to the aircraft being on the ground…
|Dodging the weather climbing out of Binuang|
When I finally did get back up to Malinau three days ago, I realised just how much flying there was to be done. The local people depend on air transport to move between the villages out in the jungles and get back to the “big city” of Malinau (I use the term “big” in strictly relative terms here). When we stopped flying two weeks ago, they all had no idea why because the only way to get the message out to them was via another aircraft; which we don’t have.
So they all just waited around, hoping the aeroplanes would come back. I felt so sorry for them and chatting with a few of the locals in Binuang and Long Layu, it turns out MAF hasn’t been flying there either for just over a week now. Many locals opted to trek through the jungle to get to where they needed to get to.
|Children of Binuang take shelter from the sun under the Porter’s tailplane|
Now that I’m back, my current task is flying with our newest Porter pilot (but not new to flying Porters) to get him familiar with the area and airstrips we go to out here. It’s not as much fun as piloting the aircraft myself but it’s nice to pass on what I know to a fellow aviator. Having two pilots our here in Malinau will allow us to run a bigger schedule, as we can both share the flying out without getting fatigued and hopefully give the people a better, more consistent, daily air service.
I’ll leave you with the photo I took climbing out of Long Layu yesterday, of a neat little house complete with solar panel and satellite dish. That’s more than I have in our house in Malinau! I guess some people just can’t get enough TV!
|All mod-cons in the jungle near Long Layu|