For quite a few years, MAFers here in Tarakan have dreamed of having a larger plane, that could more adequately serve the needs of the interior community. Last year, with the costs of Avgas rising ever higher, our program began taking a more serious look at this possibility. This past spring, with authorization from our headquarters, a Cessna Grand Caravan was purchased in the U.S.
After stopping for some major modifications and fleet standardization items at our U.S. hanger, it was ferried across the Pacific Ocean to Papua, Indonesia over a month ago. Since then, our MAF teams in Papua and Jakarta have been busy working through the Indonesian importation process, and adding additional things to the aircraft to make it “Indonesian friendly.”
Finally, yesterday afternoon, we proudly welcomed the newest member of our fleet, PK-MAE (Papa Kilo Mike Alpha Echo.) It dwarfs our much smaller fleet of five Cessna 206’s, and seems to swallow up our little ramp. Many, many people throughout the interior have been very anxiously awaiting the arrival of this new, highly capable airplane. It will be used to service our larger airstrips where there tends to be higher passenger and cargo loads. The Caravan will not only be a blessing to the people we serve, but will also play a role in helping to offset the high costs of operating our fleet of very expensive-to-operate, Avgas-burning 206’s.
As Mike Alpha Echo rolled into the the MAF taxiway in Tarakan for the first time, there was a crowd of MAF folks, national employees, friends, and frequent users of MAF waiting to greet her. We took the opportunity to immediately thank the Lord for this new ministry tool, and dedicate it to His work and glory. Please join us in praising God for His provision, and praying for safety as it begins regular service next week.
(At left, a couple of our guys are checking out what's "under the hood.")