We got a Medevac call for an elderly man with a serious neck injury who needed to be flown to the hospital. His village, Lokon, is only about 10 minutes flight from our base here in Wamena. At the time, I wasn’t doing solo flights, so Micha and I got the helicopter ready and flew to Lokon.
When we arrived in the village, the injured man was waiting for us with his son. His wound was covered with an old rag and his face showed he was in pain. Quickly we helped him into the heli. We flew directly to the hospital in Wamena where we were met by the medical team and a stretcher, but the man wanted to walk himself.
A month later my first solo flight was planned; how exciting! The day before I did all my flight planning and went to weigh in my passengers, and when I realized who I was returning my heart was full of joy. The man recognized me too and he came right up to me and hugged me. He said, "Look, I'm better and much fatter now!” I told him I’m so happy to see him walking with a smile on his face, and that he looks much better than the last time I saw him. When we landed in Lokon we were greeted heartily. I was impressed to see how grateful and happy the families back in the village were.
After landing at the base I was "greeted" by our team. They ambushed me with a bucket of water - like a "baptism for my first solo flight". It is wonderful to work with a team that gets excited about each other!