The Flying

On any given day, my husband could be flying pregnant ladies in labor, sick children, pastors, businessmen, government workers, piping for water systems, rice, or even pigs.

He takes off in either a six-seater Cessna 206 or a much bigger Cessna Grand Caravan from this small island next to Borneo and lands at little patches of dirt in distant jungle villages. Some of the strips are slippery, sloped, crooked or on the edge of cliffs. Others require blind approaches—where you don’t see the strip until you’re on short final approach, getting ready to land the plane.

This MAF gig is a crazy job—flying in uncontrolled air space over unmapped jungle in a single-engine plane, dodging clouds with no gas stations to fuel up halfway there. And sometimes the passenger is barely hanging onto life, hoping to get back to our small city of Tarakan for medical care.

Talk to my husband if you want to know about all the technical aspects of flying out here. He uses phrases like “hooking approach,” and “STOL approach.”

But if you really want to see him smile, ask him about the people he flies.

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