When I arrive at the hangar it is dark. Today I need to take off as soon as the sun rises. I have a long day ahead of me. I am flying to Kalungu! says Andy Kradolfer, Operations Manager for Flying Mission Zambia.A couple of weeks ago Flying Mission Zambia was asked to re-open an airstrip all the way up in the north of the country. This place is in the bush, 500 miles as the crow flies (or 620 miles on the road) from the capital city, in rural Zambia. It is about 30 miles from the border to Tanzania; in the middle of nowhere….
FMZ has never landed there before. The last time a plane landed there was over six months ago. The missionary who lives in that area bringing the Good News into these remote villages, has already cleared and inspected the runway thoroughly. As Operations Manager, I have to make a decision as to whether it is fit for use with only the limited information available to me. Thank God for WhatsApp and pictures, at least.
I prepare the aircraft and pull it out on the ramp while the sun is starting to rise. It’s a beautiful day for flying! As anticipated, the winds are against me on the flight up; I will be in the plane for more than four hours.
On arrival, I execute the pre-planned runway inspection from the air. It consists of multiple passes gathering information on things like surroundings, condition, and slope.
The last pass is a wheel roll to test the hardness of the surface.
Everything happens very fast: remember I am in an aeroplane…
Happily everything looks satisfactory. Now I can land. I stop in front of the excited crowd that has gathered to see me bring the plane in.
After shutting the engine off, I get out and we all greet each other.
It was a long trip, but not as long as the 12 or more hours that it would take in a car. Our flight service shortens the connection of these people with civilization. There is more than one mission working in the area so, again, FMZ is able to multiply the effectiveness of valuable kingdom workers in a very remote area.
What a blessing that we all can be part of spreading the Gospel here in this part of the world.