All photos and text are property of Dave Forney and may not be used without express permission.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Checkout in Lumbis

Yesterday Paul College and I were able to get checked out at another airstrip (thanks Craig, "Iceman" Hollander!) up near the Malaysian border. Lumbis is a small village that's nestled around a short, flat runway at the edge of a river. The airstrip itself is pretty nice...but the approach and abort path are quite exciting!!

One of the neat things about Lumbis is the Theological Training by Extension that goes on there. In the picture below you can see an MAF plane ready for takeoff. Above, on the hill, is the church that hosts these training opportunities for Indonesian pastors and teachers in the remote interior of Northeast Kalimantan. And MAF is the method by which all of this is possible. Cool stuff!

It's not often that a plane comes into Lumbis and does multiple patterns. The kids obviously found it very entertaining. I guess the view from this tree would be like box seats in a stadium. They had the perfect view!

But it's not just kids that find the plane interesting. Frankly, most of the village was out there watching the show...though I didn't see any adults climbing trees for a better look.

As with many of our strips here, Lumbis has an airborne commit point--in other words, there's a certain point on the approach after which you are totally committed to land, no matter what happens. After passing that abort point, it would be nearly impossible, and probably fatal to attempt a go-around. As part of the checkout at a new airstrip, we always practice an abort at the abort point. As I mentioned above, one of the really "exciting" things about Lumbis, in addition to the tight hooking approach, is the go-around. I shot this picture of Craig and Paul on their go-around, as they were turning to fly down the tight river gorge to the right beyond the end of the airstrip.

And of course, when we were all done with the checkout, we climbed up the hill to the pastors house, beside the church where we all dug into big piles of fried, sugar-dipped bananas, loads of rice, and fresh boiled babi hutan (jungle pig)...oh, and of course, hot tea! After doing some intense flying and then running up and down the airstrip shooting photos and video of Paul, I was so hot and soaked by that time, that my shoes were squishing from constant dripping sweat working it's way from my head to my toes. The last thing I would want at that point is a hot drink. But it's part of the culture here and of course we happily, smilingly down one after another mug full. So four or five steaming cups later, smiling and dripping like a rat drowned by a monkey, we snapped a photo for posterity sake. From left to right, Craig "Iceman", our fearless Instructor pilot, myself, Paul, Pastor Lukas and Pastor Lukas's understudy (I forget his name.)

We had plans to also do a checkout at Long Pala (the last and also by far the most marginal and challenging airstrip for a Cessna 206 in Northeast Kalimantan.) However, conditions have to be near perfect to allow operations in Pala, and yesterday it was too wet. So hopefully we'll do that sometime in the next few weeks.


Kristi said...

What wonderful pictures, and words, to give us a glimpse of what you're doing out there! And the Kodiak pictures on the previous post...oh, made me want to go get my pilots license! Just awesome!

Unknown said...

Dave.....thanks for letting us in on life where you guys are....awesome....

Unknown said...

That sure looks exciting. Praying for your safety as you work to further the Gospel.

Unknown said...

Hey Dave! Would have loved to been along for the ride with you and the guys! Since I can't... your pictures and narrating did the job. Although actually tasting the food would be better than the pics.

Keep up the great work and safety record - Lew