Brad Venter, our Flight Operations Manager shares about some airstrip surveys conducted in January 2021:
We’ve been doing Morobe Province surveys the last couple of days. We did three surveys a couple of days ago and went to Bungawat, Yawan and Tapmange. We also did a resurvey at Sapmanga to check the clearway after the community reported that they had cut them down.
The following day we did surveys in Indagen, Isan and Satwag, we were planning to survey Saidor but it was raining. We are trying to get airstrips surveyed and open in the Morobe Province so that we can start clinic runs in partnership with the Etap Lutheran hospital and also provide service to the people in Morobe Province.
Everywhere we go, the people are very excited to see us. In fact, on one day, we were given 26 cabbages by various communities. We shared them out with the Goroka base staff and the Goroka compound families and all our security guards. Glenys Watson was flying with me. She will be one of our main Morobe Province pilots. Communities are incredibly excited to see the “meri pilot”, in fact at Indagen, she had a major reception and they were all so happy to see her and that gives us a great deal of reassurance that when she starts flying around solo, she’ll be fine and that the communities will look after her.
It’s been really good for these communities to see us coming back again and that we haven’t forgotten about them. We keep telling them we’re talking with the Morobe government, and that we are just working on it slowly. We are going to try and get a program going a little bit by a little bit and that, yes, we as MAF are still interested in coming back to the Finisterres.
There is still a lot of work to do because there are many more airstrips to survey. Satwag is the furthest airstrip on the Huon Peninsula that we’ve been to so far. Beyond that, we have no Caravan experience in that area.
Additional surveys were conducted in the Simbu Province and Southern Highlands. We surveyed Mt Tawa (pictured), Appa, Woposali, and Aue. These communities had not seen an aircraft in nearly one year. On one day alone, we flew 3 medevacs as there were people in these communities that needed urgent medical attention.