Recently at the MAF Sentani base in Papua, Indonesia, there were big grins all around as two new Quest KODIAK planes arrived for service. Everyone gathered in the hangar to watch the planes as they taxied in, and to get a closer look at the enhancements––especially the ones that were gracing the bellies of each plane.
The most noticeable addition is the cargo pod, which, according to Chief Pilot Tim Smith, “is going to revolutionize the speed of turnarounds at interior airstrips and allow us to increase our carrying capacity.” Extra space will be a big blessing to pastors, missionaries, and passengers who have large baggage which couldn’t always fit into the cabin of the original KODIAK. For big events such as church conferences, when MAF needs to fly in large numbers of people, along with the goods like rice sacks (for food) or bedding, the KODIAK‘s new pod is going to make flights much simpler.
“Having already test flown it in the US, I can’t wait to fly it here in the field,” Smith remarked. Faster turnaround times can make a huge difference here in Papua, where in a matter of minutes a cloud can form at the end of the runway, meaning the pilot might need to spend the night. Getting in and out quicker means more flights each day with less risk of getting stuck interior. While before it took pilots around 40 minutes to turn the plane around, with the new pods, it could take half the time.
Right now customs is still processing the new arrivals. One will stay in Papua, and the other is headed to the MAF program in Kalimantan, Indonesia. But the pilots in Papua are all anxious to get their hands on the controls of the plane, call sign PK-MAX.