This report came recently from Flying Mission Zambia Pilot, Rick Rempel, shortly before leaving Macha to be stationed back at Chilongolo:
For the past 2 ½ years my family had the privilege of living in the rural community of Macha, Zambia. We were there with the Flying Mission Zambia Cessna 206. It assists the rural ITC community development programme, Malaria Research Institute, and the hospital. Whilst we regularly fly many local people in the plane, there are always many more who would like to have an opportunity to have a ride. So, with such interest within the local community, an Airport Day was organised……
The ‘big day’ was advertised on the local radio station:
‘Those who would like to see the plane and have a ride can come to the Airport’
and many came forward to say that they wanted to fly. Before the day arrived, the workers at the airstrip worked hard to cut the grass and clean up the surrounding area. One of our other pilots, Joel Bolthouse, came with the Cessna 210 to help with the flights.
The morning of the ‘day’ brought a few light showers which kept many people from setting out on the long walk of up to one hour for some. But we got the planes ready anyway and in a very short while we started to see the people coming. Since the Chief and other community leaders were not yet there, we got started with those who were ready to go. The flight profile was similar to a circuit: it lasted for about 5 minutes, long enough for everyone to see their community from the air.
We flew 160 people or more and finished around 4 pm. It was great for we Flying Mission pilots, who fly most days, to experience the buzz this event gave to these rural folks. Indeed, it was such a success that the community is already starting to organise their next Airport Day!