Vultures and goshawks are much larger in Africa than in Europe. They can reach a wingspan of 6.5 to 10 feet (2-3 m) and represent significant danger for aircraft. The engine of a passenger plane was blocked just after take-off by one of these birds that had been strolling about on the runway and was sucked into the turbines. The plane crashed.
On a Sunday afternoon we received a call for a medevac flight from exactly the region in the north of Madagascar where we planned our flight program on Monday morning. A man with internal bleeding needed constant blood supplies to avoid bleeding to death. But it was already too late to be back from this flight before nightfall.
I am always impressed by how content the Philippinos are, even though annual hurricanes, earthquakes and floods threaten their lives. It must have something to do with the fact that there are many God-fearing and devout people there.
Helimission coordinated a 5-day mission with various organizations to a remote area of Madagascar. A total of 10 people, including a team of three doctors, and various material had to be flown into the rainforest.
This large family from Canada has been supporting our work for years. They are always coming up with ways to raise money for Helimission. One of their ideas is to offer iced lemonade to neighbors and walkers on hot summer days.
During a mission to the Bemahara region in the west of the island, we used the helicopter to help a man with bullet wounds. This region is known as “zone rouge” (the red zone) which means that travel is not recommended here.
To avoid long flights over water I planned to cross the Mediterranean at the Strait of Gibraltar, but because of the military no-go area I had to turn aside much sooner and aim for Morocco. I needed all my courage for the long flight over water.