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Expecting the Unexpected

Updated: Apr 2, 2019

Jacophin Singh is being inducted to the Arnhem Land programme in Australia and this is her first MAF placement. She is MAF International's first female Indian pilot. Induction training is hard work.

Her flight training has been completed and it’s now time to put it into practice in a remote place. In Arnhem Land, she will be meeting new people and will be developing key skills that go beyond flying an aircraft.

It was another day of flying and Jacophin was working her way through the Line Oriented Flight Training (LOFT) with Lisa Curran, the Chief Pilot for the Arnhem Land Programme. This LOFT will enable Jacophin to take up solo operations in the programme.

Jacophin and Lisa spent the morning transporting a medical clinic team to a remote community. They sat under the shade of the aircraft wing, waiting for the clinic to finish. Temperatures reached 35 degree Celsius and there was no wind to ease off the humidity. The medical team was now carrying out essential ongoing medical management of several patients and the pilots were reviewing the new MAF patient restraint harness system, the approvals from the National Aviation Authority to carry dangerous goods such as medical oxygen as freight and the procedures surrounding such an operation.

Once the medical team finished, the aircraft was loaded and headed to Gove for the next scheduled flight. But on arrival, the pilots were retasked with an urgent medical retrieval from a remote community that was 120 kilometres away.

A MAF plane could make this trip in just about 35 minutes, whereas a drive over the rough and pot-holed track would be a three and a half hour uncomfortable drive. Not the best for a patient who is desperately ill.

Jacophin and Lisa took off with two medical experts, the patient restraint harness system and portable oxygen as freight. On arrival, the medical team was driven to the patient. They found the patient to be an old man who was critically ill and unable to walk. He was in desperate need of expert help.

Meanwhile, the pilots reconfigured the aircraft in double time exactly as they had discussed in the morning. The aircraft and the departure plan were ready as the community arrived with the patient. After a short prayer, they were on their way to Gove airport. Soon after arrival, the patient was safely transferred to the hospital.

This is a tale that is told over and over and this is what we do in MAF. For Jacophin, this was a valuable day of practical training and learning how to manage flights according to all the variables that needed to be considered.



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