Exactly 20 years ago in 1998, following a severe drought in Papua, the government asked us to provide aid to the people living in the mountains. Together with the Australian government, Doctors without Borders and MAF, many tons of food and medicine were distributed.
In 1998 Helimission purchased this Bell 206 Long Ranger L-4 helicopter in Germany with the registration HB-XQP. The helicopter was sent from Frankfurt to Sidney by air freight via Hong Kong. In Sidney, our pilot and mechanic Johannes put the helicopter together again and flew it into Papua, Indonesia. Since then this helicopter has provided valuable service in this challenging terrain. For 18 years it was registered there as PK-HME.
Our personnel maintained the helicopter on a regular basis and it was inspected on numerous occasions. In 2013 during flight, the helicopter was shot at and hit by bullets causing two holes in the front windshield. Thank God no one was hurt.
As the Helimission fleet is being standardized, this helicopter was sold to Australia in July 2018. After many delays, and when we finally had all the necessary documents for the ferry flight, on 13. August 2018 a team of two pilots were ready for take-off. In Merauke in the South of Papua, all the clearing formalities for customs were completed. The next leg took them over the ocean via Horn Island to Australia. The journey continued towards the South along the east coast. After around 20 hours of flight and 1’833 nautical miles, on 19. August 2018, they reached their destination at Coffs Harbour. Generally the weather was very good, and the ferry flight went smoothly without any problems. Thank God!