A total of 25 flights were carried out between DEC20 and JAN21 by Lynden Air Cargo on behalf of the World Food Program. It was the airline’s first relief mission, deploying its N409LC aircraft twice a day over a period of three weeks, to Rubkona Airfield, Juba, in South Sudan.
The supplies were destined for the United Nations' largest refugee camp, near Bentiu. Rubkona Airfield is a dirt airstrip and requires skilled visual flight rule operations. In addition, security is an issue in South Sudan, as the youngest African country (2011) has suffered unrest despite a peace agreement being signed in 2020. Therefore, a great deal of preparation went into the campaign and each flight required a security assessment and release prior to takeoff.
“We had contingency plans in place in the event that conflict erupted with pre-determined locations to divert and relocate as necessary and backup communication devices,” Lynden Air Cargo Director of Safety, Michelle Fabry, explained. “I was most impressed with the positive attitudes, teamwork, and patience displayed by each crew member, even after multiple delays in getting started, COVID restrictions, and anything else that came up. Our team completed the campaign safely, without incident, damage or injury. We truly appreciate their extraordinary efforts.”
Captain Warren Woods had words of praise for his entire crew which consisted of First Officer Isaac Ufford, Flight Engineer Chris Allen, Loadmaster Leo Lopez, Mechanic Milton Beaver, Mechanic Tim Buchholz, and Project Manager Corné Steyn: “I'm amazed at the team I was allowed to work with, many sharing their vast local knowledge of Africa. Leo Lopez is not only a Loadmaster; he is a magician. He gets things done with limited resources, and his dedication to getting the job done safely is very important on campaigns like this. He earned the trust and respect of all the customer handlers, aircraft loaders and security personnel at Rubkona.”
More cooperation flights with the World Food Program may come.
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