Thursday, April 29, 2010… Like anything worthwhile, it has taken more than a little effort for KODIAK s/n 0020 to find its way into the heart of Borneo. Last time we caught up with this aircraft it was on tour in the UK (see the log for December 4, 2009 below). It has certainly seen a lot of terrain since then.
Here’s an overview of the ferry flight that brought the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) KODIAK from Nampa, Idaho, USA to Tarakan, Kalimantan Timur, Indonesia.
After a long and dusty journey, KODIAK touched down on Tarakan where Kalimantan’s northeast bay looks out across the Celebes Sea. MAF has a flight base on this little island just off the coast. From Tarakan MAF serves a broad swath of the immense and wild landmass of Borneo, the third largest island on earth. Reports from MAF staff on the ground underscore how appropriate it was that this shiny new aircraft arrived on Christmas Eve. The KODIAK is a long awaited gift for the people who call this challenging region home.
And now, having negotiated mountains of red tape, the Kalimantan KODIAK, with its proper papers and new registration, is negotiating the weather and terrain that make aircraft such a vital link in this part of the world.
The people of Kalimantan live lives confined by the very same environment that supports them. Their most reliable connections are the small airstrips of grass, mud, or dust, that dot an otherwise almost impenetrable jungle. This is the kind of environment where KODIAK PK-MEB is right at home.
Most of these airstrips are pocked with potholes and, occasionally, dotted with animals. Landings almost always draw a crowd but on these first flights the KODIAK has been immediately engulfed by locals who come out to see first-hand the aircraft that will fit twice the load in one less visit.
And here, like everywhere, when the big plane stops and the doors open wide, the faces are always different. And here, like everywhere, the welcome is just the same.
The KODIAK has arrived.