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From mud huts to cockpits

avtech_class_students_learn_about_clothing_on_one_of_the_school_aircraft   
May 5, 2011 - Flying in West Africa probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of general aviation, but to Jonathan Porter, this is aviation’s new frontier!


May 5, 2011
By Melissa Pemberton

May 5, 2011 – Flying in West Africa probably isn’t the first thing that
comes to mind when you think of general aviation, but to Jonathan
Porter, this is aviation’s new frontier!

moms_zenith_701_overflying_the_airstrip_built_by_a_fishing_and_farming_village_in_ghana_that_was_destroyed_by_the_floods  
M.O.M.'s Zenith 701 overflying the airstrip built by a farming and fishing village in Ghana that was destroyed by the floods.


 

This winter, my husband and I decided to travel to Kpong Airfield in West Africa to meet Patricia Mawuli 23, the first female Ghanaian to receive the Ghanaian National Pilots License through Medicine On the Move (M.O.M.).

jonathan_and_patricia_showing_the_avtech_students_at_kpong_airfield_in_ghana_the_new_air_ambulance_zenith_801_engine  
Jonathan and Patricia showing
the AvTech students at Kpong
Airfield in Ghana the new Air
Ambulance Zenith 801 engine.


 

M.O.M. was started by Jonathan, a Brit with a dream of general aviation in West Africa. Patricia’s story is one of advancing from mud hut to pilot, cutting sticks to building light aircraft, and now, teaching other young Ghanaian women to learn how to fly!

Rex and I had our first real taste of West African aviation when we went in search of a village that we would take the floatplane into later that week. Several minutes after taking off from Kpong Airfield’s grass strip we were over the vast rain forest circumnavigating the world’s largest man made lake! Lake Volta is both the key to the future of Ghana through electricity and power and the source of water born disease and flooding that destroys homes and farms.

Aside from the occasional mud hut village and hand carved wooden fishing canoe, we were on our own. With nothing but a copy of a 30-year-old map and a GPS with Kpong airfield’s coordinates keyed in to get us home, there were no reliable navigation facilities available to our little plane. With the rapid changing winds and weather it is VFR day flights only and we are our own search and rescue!

melissa_pemberton_flies_with_an_avtech_student_who_will_visit_oshkosh_in_july  
Melissa Pemberton flies with an AvTech student who will visit Oshkosh in July.


 

Medicine On the Move’s mission is to take young girls like Patricia and her students and to train them to return to the villages from which they came to teach first aid and bring education to places where there is no road access. Lake Volta provides an air highway to millions of small communities using a Zenith 801 floatplane. Jonathan, Patricia and the MOM team are changing lives in West Africa, one flight at a time!

Visit www.medicineonthemove.org for more information.


Melissa Pemberton, a full time Air Show performer, and her husband Rex Pemberton, the youngest Australian to climb Mt. Everest and the 7 Summits, are creating a documentary on M.O.M.

Video trailer:

{vimeo}21946586|400|300{/vimeo}  

For funding opportunities visit www.rexpemberton.com
To catch Melissa and Rex at an airshow, visit www.sportsgal.com