Papua New Guinea has people groups that speak more than 800 distinct languages. Many of those are inaccessible to land travel, being located in high mountain ranges or on remote islands. Kodiak airplanes with their short take off and landing capabilities are essential in reaching these destinations. But sometimes no piece of land is available that is long enough to build an airstrip. In those cases, language and literacy workers arrive and depart by helicopter.
These aircraft are intricate machines which must be tuned to precision to make safe passage to distant places where there are no alternative landing strips are available. Pilots and their passengers must arrive at their destinations safely. Working quietly behind the scenes to make this happen are the mechanics of the aviation department.
The first Kodiak arrived in PNG in 2010 and since its engine recently reached its lifetime limit of 4000 hours of flying, it rolled into the hanger for servicing. Expert mechanics took it apart, removed the well-used engine, and installed a new overhauled one in its place.
Since they have operated this aircraft for six years in a fairly harsh environment, the aviation team continued their probe by looking deeper into the airframe than they normally would during a routine 100 hour inspection. This evaluation of the Kodiak involved removing the landing gear and all the flight controls for detailed inspections. Several significant issues were discovered and corrected during the process so it was time well spent.
Soon this Kodiak will rejoin the other three airplanes and two helicopters, flying the skies of Papua New Guinea, carrying translators and literacy workers to all parts of the country. As translations are completed, these planes transport the Scriptures in print and audio form, bringing God’s life-changing message of hope to every language, and people group, and hamlet.