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Saturday, November 10, 2012

More on the Weather...

Sticking with the weather's a shot from a few weeks ago that's very common this time of year.  Half the sky is sunny and blue, while the other half is dark and foreboding.  In this case, I was preparing to take two medical evac patients to the hospital.  An elderly couple had both mistakenly eaten the wrong leaves while out working in their rice field, and they'd become critically ill.  As the thunder rumbled just a few miles away, some of the villagers gathered around the plane while the local pastor prayed for safety for the flight and healing for their loved ones.

It's a tight squeeze to fit two medevac patients into a 206, along with those that are accompanying them. 

I can't even begin to tell you how common a scene this is during rainy season.  One minute it's beautiful...the next it's all closing down.  

When you combine bad weather with rugged terrain, and very few options for alternates, you really have to be on top of your "game" to keep the margins of safety there, and not get caught in a bad situation.  Fortunately, MAF is extremely safety conscious and always promotes safe decision-making, without the added pressure that many commercial operators might feel.

And the side benefit of all the rain and showers are of course rainbows!  In fact, I often call this "rainbow season", because rarely a day goes by this time of year that I don't see at least one rainbow.  In fact, recently I've been seeing a handful of beautiful rainbows every day...sometimes I see double rainbows, like the one below.  And I've even seen a triple rainbow once.

And of course, all of this rain is great for the rice crops growing.  They were planted back in August and September, and will be ready for harvest sometime early next year.  I love looking down this time of year and seeing the brilliant, green rice paddies near the villages in the Krayan region.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Early Evening Rainbows

Smoky season is definitely over!  The skies are constantly changing--clear and beautiful one minute, pounding rain the next, then clear again.  Visibility is almost unrestricted over the jungles of Borneo-- that is if you're not fighting to get around a line of rapidly building tropical thunder storms!  But more on that in a later post.

Starting a few weeks ago we've been getting wonderful, huge thunderstorms, day and night.  I love weather!  I love watching it from the porch, from the plane--from anywhere.  It's always fascinated me, and being a pilot is a bonus b/c I get to see a lot of it up close.  Over the last few weeks we've seen a rather strange weather phenomenon several times over...all from the comfort of our tiny, little porch with a very limited view of the horizon.

As the late afternoon sun (about 30 minutes before sunset) shines up through the super high levels of moisture and ice crystals in the cirrus clouds, framed in the foreground by the tops of massive, developing thunderstorms over the mainland of Borneo, it creates gorgeous rainbows--well sort of.  Technically they're not true rainbows, but you get the idea.  They're very colorful and constantly changing.  These are a few of the freeze frames that I've grabbed to give you a glimpse of what they look like.

Isn't our Creator amazing?!