December 23, 2012

Mike Echo Foxtrot

About a 1 1/2 yrs ago I was in Spokane, WA. to do some aviation training. While there, I took a trip over to Sandpoint, ID where the aircraft Quest Kodiak is produced. The Kodiak is a small turboprop aircraft designed for the kind of flying MAF does a fair amount of - especially in Indonesia, you can read my post about it here if you are a keener.

I happened to visit the Quest factory when they had two future MAF planes taking shape, one of them being serial #58. Here's a couple assembly line pic's below:
#56 getting ready for some wings...
The picture above is of the fuselage floor structure of the Kodiak. The four long silver horizontal lines are seat rails which the cockpit and cabin seats attach to, and also act as tie-down points for cargo of all shapes and sizes. This is the main fuselage structure that a lot of other important pieces end up attaching to ( like landing gear, wing struts, etc.) and it is where the Kodiak starts taking shape.

I am about 98% sure this particular chunk of airplane is the beginnings of serial #58. What's so special about #58? Well, it just arrived here in Tarakan last week as our 2nd MAF Kodiak!
All of us MAFer's gathered at the hangar to welcome the new Kodiak as it arrived from Papua. 

Papua, Indonesia? Why Yes! After leaving the factory in Sandpoint, #58 and one other of it's close siblings went to Nampa to receive some MAF modifications, and also to be fitted for a ferry flight to the other side of the world. After Nampa, next stop was Papua, (I think, as I might be skipping a step or two) and that is where the two brand spanking new planes sat until they cleared all the paperwork required to legally make them flyable in Indonesia.

One plane stayed with the MAF program in Papua, and #58 headed to Kalimantan!
Welcome #58!
Luke catching some shade under a wing with his buddy Sean.
Helena catching a hug from Mom.
Two tired looking pilots. Sentani, Papua to Tarakan, North Kalimantan is quite a haul in a Kodiak. It's like going from Vancouver to like Winnipeg...or Thunder Bay, something like that, but with large amounts of ocean underneath the plane instead prairie and airports.
Here's a photo of a guy taking a photo. Very artistic. The photographer is Tripp Flythe, for some awesome photos & great posts check out their family blog here.
 The coolest part of the arrival is being able to all gather around the plane and pray, a dedication of this plane to the service of Jesus Christ.

It would be so neat to one day look back and see all the ways this plane is used to help people.  Who knows how many thousands of flight hours, landing & take-offs, unloading and loading with passengers and cargo, hours spent with maintenance in the hangar, mornings washing & fuelling, that it will rack up. And, how many sick people transported to a hospital, local churches supported, families moved, pigs that get to ride in the cargo pod, the list goes on!
Check out this one more link from Dave Forney (one of the pilot's who brought the plane from Papua) for some awesome photos of the flight over.

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