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Airstrip Moves Toward Completion

Published Feb 2, 2008

View from above
Kotidanga Airstrip, November 2007

Have you ever been involved in a church ministry construction project? Like any other building project, many unforeseen things happen along the way.

Moving a mountain-2
Moving a mountain
Bucket cracks again
Bucket cracks from moving mountain

The airstrip at Kotidanga is no different. Many tons of earth have been moved by the skid steer as the mountain has been re-shaped. Since it sometimes takes weeks to get replacement parts for the skid steer, every break-down means lost time on the project. The first bucket has been re-welded several times, and continues to break from all the wear. Now, there is some good news: A new bucket is on the way!

Airstrip takes form
Airstrip takes form
A new bucket is on the way!

When the next container arrives in April, the skid steer will have a new bucket and a hydraulic six-way blade to move the dirt more efficiently. These items were purchased in the States, loaded into John and Selina Allen’s container, and shipped with their medical supplies and personal goods. Once the container clears customs, the bucket and dozer blade will have to be unloaded and prepared to be flown by airplane to the nearest existing airstrip to Kotidanga. The combined shipping weight of the bucket and blade is 1,300 pounds—so moving them will require a lot of manpower and ingenuity.

Bridge to be re-built
Bridge destroyed by flood late in 2007.

Another project that is part of the airstrip construction is the REBUILDING of the bridge that the skid steer uses to get from the mission station to the base of the mountain. The largest flood in recent memory hit the Kotidanga district, taking with it the very sturdy wooden bridge. The force of the flood moved the bridge quite a way downstream, and Matt Allen says that they will salvage as much as they can and re-build the bridge.

Tags: , Airstrip, Aviation, , , Missionary Matt Allen, Papua New Guinea, Short Take-Off and Landing, STOL