Tanzania is a large country, and travelling can be a major challenge. For example, going from the main city of Dar es Salaam to Mpanda, where we were living last year, took an exhausting 30 hours of driving over paved and dirt roads. Earlier this month I had the privilege of being a passenger on the first operational flight of a new (to us) plane which should allow easier travel for our colleagues working with SIL around the country, and even allow access to some areas that are almost impossible to reach by road.

The plane itself is a small Cessna 206, with room for a pilot and 5 passengers (or 4 passengers and their luggage!) We were piloted by Steve, who has experience of flying in various countries around the world, and had been looking forward to this first flight for a long time! Steve, an SIL/JAARS pilot, seconded to MAF under a partnership between SIL and MAF Tanzania, will continue to operate the plane, based out of the town of Mbeya in southwest Tanzania.

Our flight took two and a half hours from Dodoma to Mbeya, a journey that would have taken probably 10-12 hours by road. Apart from arriving refreshed, we also enjoyed some great views along the way!

SIL Flight

Steve with his plane

Steve with his plane

Taxiing for take off

Taxiing for take off

Looking out over the northern side of Dodoma

Looking out over the northern side of Dodoma

SIL flight

SIL flight

SIL flight

Coming in to land at Songwe airport in Mbeya

Coming in to land at Songwe airport in Mbeya

Thankfully we just missed the storm!

Thankfully we just missed the storm!

Thankfully we just missed the storm!

SIL flight

  1. Andrew S says:

    5H-SIL, nice registration! Is that annex MAF pkane? Just wondering if I ever swung a spanner at it 🙂

    Lion’s Rock looks great, can you still climb it with the new palace there?

    • Mark says:

      I think the plane came from Kenya – not from MAF though I don’t think, so probably not one you’ve seen before… Yeah apparently you can still climb Lion’s Rock, although the palace is the Prime Minister’s new house!

      This was actually my first time back to Dodoma since 2006… so many good memories from that time!

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