Hick-ups with a purpose…a pilot’s journal


Connie and I are so blessed to be leading such a tremendous team of servants.  This is a great story written by one of our pilots about a couple days in the life of MAF!

Story and photos Remi van Wermeskerken

Today was a bit of a mess. My schedule was supposed to have been Madang-Nankina-Madang-Dusin-Madang-Simbai-Madang-Simbai-Madang with the Airvan P2-MEW.

The first Hick-ups: No passengers and bad weather
But… the flight to Nankina couldn’t happen because the truck bringing the passengers and goods had broken down. Fortunately the passengers to Dusin were ready, but as they didn’t have a full load we added 75 kg of goods for Simbai. I landed in Dusin as the low cloud was getting worse I and took off just in time, perhaps by two minutes, or it would have been completely closed in. Simbai, which is only a 7 minute flight from Dusin, was completely closed by low clouds. After trying to get down and trying to find a hole to descend through, I had to return to Madang as my fuel was starting to run low.

More Hick-ups: Cancellations, to many overnights and the plane due for inspection
By the time I got back to Madang, weather in Simbai had improved enough to go there again but the passengers for the second flight to Simbai had cancelled. We had to figure out how to most efficiently get me and the plane to Simbai and to Goroka as there was no loading back home to Madang and the next morning I’d have an empty load to Goroka to get there for training with Sebastian Kurz. With already 3 nights away from home this week, I wasn’t too keen on another night away. When we found out that there were 3 passengers from Simbai to Goroka, it seemed the right thing to do to save MAF a lot of expense and just fly Madang-Simbai-Goroka and overnight there. However we figured out that my plane would be due for an inspection before the end of the week and Sharlene Coker, Flight Operations Coordinator, suggested that I swing by Mt Hagen today to swap planes which changed the routing to Madang-Simbai-Mt Hagen-Goroka.

The Outcome of the Hick-ups: A last minute compassionate flight..

Sebastian flying ‘casual‘ to assist an urgent flight request.

The rest of that flight was quite uneventful and because I was quite high in duty hours, I was looking forward to having a short day, getting to Goroka by 2 pm and calling it a day. But whenever we seem to have a short day (seldom…), something happens. And as my plane was parked and being washed in Goroka and I was ready to go home, Sebastian dropped by and suddenly things got urgent in the office. A man came in asking for a charter to pick up his daughter in Chimbu, who had just given birth to a baby who had died. The clinic in Chimbu did not have formalhydrate so they needed the mom and body of the baby brought to Goroka for burial as soon as possible. It was now 3 pm and the weather didn’t look all that great. Sebastian, who wasn’t even in his flight uniform as he only wanted to check on the next day’s training program, was very keen to help this distressed family. So we quickly got the plane ready, and took off to show Christ’s love to this family.

When boarding the plane it was hard for the mother to let go of her beloved baby for a few seconds so she could climb into the Airvan.

It was very difficult to see the mother constantly kissing her little deceased baby, knowing that she will not have a mother-child relationship with this baby she had carried for 9 months. I can’t imagine the agony she must have been in.

The passengers boarding the Airvan P2-MEW.

It was good to be able to support her and the family during their sad time.   What started out as a very frustrating day with lots of hick-ups, turned into a day where all those circumstances caused this flight to Chimbu to happen. If all had gone according to plan, there wouldn’t have been time to add the Chimbu flight.

Another Last Minute Call: A Medevac

Sebastian calling his Goroka base for a weather update while on the ground at Wabo, he finds out about the Junkaral medevac request

Only a couple of days later, when we were about to leave on our last training flight of the day, there was suddenly another emergency call from Jungkaral. A young teenager had fallen out of a coconut tree and badly broken an arm and a leg and they wanted to know if we could assist.   To pay for the flight, they only had seat fares for two people to Madang. So we had a lot of decisions to make. Madang was out of the question as we’re training in Goroka and I would end up with way too many flight and duty hours at the end of the month. Because we don’t normally fly to Junkaral and could fill up the plane, this medevac would have to be declared as a charter flight.   After discussing this with Sebastian, we decided that this is one of those medical emergencies that MAF has some extra funds for. So we departed towards Jungkaral. Due to the late afternoon, clouds were already up to 10,000ft so we had to climb over those and then start a rapid descent into Jungkaral.

Upon landing we were amazed that the community was carrying the boy without a stretcher or mattress without him crying or complaining, even though he had multiple broken bones. Many of the women were wailing, as if someone had passed away.

We got the young man to Goroka in the late afternoon and our base staff transported him to the hospital. I don’t even want to try and imagine what they would have done if MAF had not been able to help and the community would have had to transport him through the jungles for days or weeks to the nearest hospital.


Your prayers and partnership are what keep our planes “Flying for Life!”

Thank you for partnering with us as together we connect isolated people and see lives physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s name!

Todd and Connie Lou

Our Partnership Page

 

5 thoughts on “Hick-ups with a purpose…a pilot’s journal”

  1. Thank you for the updates. Prayers go with you all and your flying abilities that the weather will be good on flight times.

  2. WoW, what a story. Praise the Lord that Christ’s love is being shown through air flight. I couldn’t imagine a young man with so many broken bones being carried through a jungle. I need to pray more for God’s protection over the pilots & planes & weather conditions. I could relate to the story about flying through a small donut hole to land as we experienced it twice. Doug’s first plane was a 150/152 Cessna then he went in with a friend & we got a 4 place 170/172 Cessna. (I forgot which number you call the Cessna….lol). When we took the Bishop Church we had to sell it as our partner lived in Palmdale & we just couldn’t afford it on our Pastor’s salary. We both loved to fly & thank the Lord for the time we had them. I think I had shared this to you before?, but many many years ago at General Assembly Doug tried to apply to be a mission pilot but his age was against him. She had to not be over a certain age to get into the program. This is when it was still under the Nazarene Church. Our plans aren’t always God’s plans. Please continue to pray for Doug as about 3 weeks ago we put him on Optimal Hospice. He only weighs 136 lbs now. He’s still walking around but very slowly. God bless you both & thank you for your up-dates. I think about your family too & that precious granddaughter. 👍❤️

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  3. His Bessings.

    Respectfully Submited *Juan Tony Mejias*

    Cheminot District #2

    On Fri, Nov 3, 2017 at 9:48 PM, Todd & Connie Lou…from Papua New Guinea…to you! wrote:

    > Todd Aebischer posted: “Connie and I are so blessed to be leading such a > tremendous team of servants. This is a great story written by one of our > pilots about a couple days in the life of MAF! Story and photos Remi van > Wermeskerken Today was a bit of a mess. My schedule w” >

  4. I was blessed and inspired when I read this email. God abundantly bless and protect all of you who are flying to save lives and souls.

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