‘Let’s talk business’ say Timo and Nina, as they explain their parts in connecting people in Zambia.
Timo: Gonzaga University, USA, once a year offers a study trip into rural Zambia to the town of Zambezi and its surrounding area. The students spend three weeks in the bush, learning about the culture, the country and its people and teaching a variety of different classes from which the Zambians may profit. May was the month this year.
How is FMZ involved? Flying Mission Zambia is the bridge between Lusaka and Zambezi.
But how does this work? What preparations are needed? Gonzaga sends a booking request to our Flight Scheduler, Erika. Erika checks the details and co-ordinates the flights regarding date, number and weight of passengers, and weight of luggage. This information is sent to the pilots and contact with the Guesthouse is made.
The flight time to Zambezi is 2.5hours. With 21 passengers to be carried, this adds up to 5 flights in 3 airplanes ( 4 to 5 passengers plus pilot).
Take off for the first three flights is scheduled for 6:30 a.m. so it is the most convenient if the group spends the night in the FMZ guesthouse.
Nina: A group of 21 people easily exceeds the capacity of the Guesthouse. Some can sleep happily in a bed, but for the others a mattress on the floor will do its job – nothing a student normally worries about! We also take care of the hungry ones: food is provided, as you can see from this party of girls.
We do everything we can to make the stay a lasting experience – the same of course is true for the flight.
Timo: My second flight to Zambezi was an experience for me! Take-off was at 12:00; because of the midday heat, the best time for turbulence! Then halfway to destination the engine started to cause problems. The exhaust gas temperature of one cylinder climbed much higher compared to the other 5 cylinders – not good, not at all. By radio I contacted our chief engineer who was flying the other aircraft. After some ‘back and forth’ dialogue and some changes in the fuel-air mixture (one cylinder was running much leaner than the others) we decided that it was safe to continue flying and we would have a closer look at the engine in Zambezi. On the ground the injector nozzles were cleaned and the flight back home the next morning was uneventful.
The group will stay for three weeks in Zambezi and after that FMZ will fly them down to Livingstone and the Victoria Falls for some different memorable experiences.
This is just one scenario in the serving life of Flying Mission Zambia. Every time is unique.
Till next year then, guys!