|Jaime flying a line with the Leica LIDAR system|
One positive of leaving Papua for a bit was going to our Balikpapan base and catching up with a load of pilots I’d not seen in a long time whilst also enjoying some first world luxuries (like watching “The Wolf of Wall Street at the cinema – great movie btw!).
Whilst we were waiting for the engineers to refit the Leica survey camera and LIDAR system, I got to try my hand at golf. Having never tried it before I could never really see the appeal but an afternoon spent smacking balls down the driving range was good fun and I reckon I might well have to try a few rounds when I next get the chance.
|Bit of downtime at the golf driving range, Balikpapan|
It only took a few days to get the aircraft and paperwork ready for the survey, so it was time to get back to work. At least the pilot I was scheduled to train on survey was actually an old colleague and good friend who’d left the company about a year ago to pursue other things. He’d actually done a little survey before he left, so I basically had to fly with him for a few days and get him back up to speed with things. As expected, he flew great and I had no hesitation in signing him off for solo survey missions.
|A typically sad sight of the rainforest being burnt, Kalimantan|
|Haze on final approach into Ketapang due to smoke from forest fires|
Sadly the flying conditions in south-west Kalimantan (Indonesian Borneo), where we were doing the survey from, were not ideal. It seems the world’s desire for palm oil continue to fuel the burning of the rain forests in Indonesia. It’s always a sad sight to see.
|Survey camera operators in the back of the Pilatus PC-6 Porter|
In addition to us pilots doing survey training, our camera operators were also doing some training with their new recruits. It’s pretty cosy in the back of the Porter with all that equipment and I don’t envy them on those seats for hours on end; I thought the front ones were uncomfortable!
Thankfully I’m now back in Papua again and in my favourite place of Nabire. Sadly there’s been a problem with the contract negotiations and currently we’re not actually flying. Hopefully things will pick up soon as there’s not much else to do out here and frustratingly my mountain bike is still in Timika. Watch this space!