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Lynden Air Cargo completes first campaign in South Sudan

Posted on Thu, Apr 01, 2021

Blog crop-1South Sudan is the newest country in Africa after gaining independence from Sudan in 2011. Since then it has been plagued by civil wars, ethnic violence and unrest. In 2020 the government and opposition forces signed a peace agreement, but the operating environment remains challenging.

Lynden Air Cargo's aircraft N409LC and crew arrived in Juba, South Sudan, last December to fly supplies to Rubkona Airfield near the town of Bentiu where the United Nations' largest refugee camp is located. It was the first time a Lynden Air Cargo aircraft and crew was based in South Sudan and the first time operating into Rubkona for the World Food Programme. Rubkona has very little infrastructure, so the Lynden plane landed on a dirt airstrip with visual flight rules operations only. Over the next three weeks, the crew averaged two flights per day for a total of 25 relief flights. The last flight was completed in January.

In advance of the crew arriving, Lynden Air Cargo Director of Safety Michelle Fabry and Project Manager Corné Steyn flew to Juba to meet with airport officials, vendors and the representatives supporting the World Food Programme. The threat level remains high in the area, so 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," Michelle explains. "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."

Lynden Air Cargo's crew included: Captain Warren Woods, First Officer Isaac Ufford, Flight Engineer Chris Allen, Loadmaster Leo Lopez, Mechanic Milton Beaver, Mechanic Tim Buchholz, and Project Manager Corné Steyn. Some members of the crew are pictured above.

Captain Warren Woods had words of praise for his entire crew. "I'm amazed at the team I was allowed to work with, many sharing their vast local knowledge of Africa," he says. "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."

According to a member of the World Food Programme Aviation Unit in Rome, "The cooperation was brilliant between the two UN agencies and Lynden Air Cargo. World Food Programme is looking forward to future cooperation, as Lynden has proven once again to be a reliable and professional operator."

Tags: Hercules, Lynden Air Cargo, Relief Efforts

Birthday delivery for a special Lynden Air Cargo fan

Posted on Fri, Dec 11, 2020

Bode with Lynden Air Cargo packageBode Hostetter is a huge fan of Lynden Air Cargo's C-130 Hercules aircraft. Knowing a charter would be visiting their remote Alaska village of Noatak, his parents reached out to Lynden to see if they could purchase some Lynden items for Bode's fourth birthday. "I have a 4-year-old boy that just loves seeing the Lynden Herc flying to Noatak," writes Brent Hostetter. "I am curious if you sell merchandise or something with a picture of the herc?"

"We were glad to help celebrate Bode's special day," says Dani Myren, Lynden Air Cargo Customer Service Manager. Dani sent a birthday package on the next charter flight including a T-shirt, hat and a model of a C-130. "You and the crew made his day," Brent writes. "He did not stop playing with that model all evening yesterday. I had actually been trying to find that model online for him."

Tags: Community Service, Hercules, Lynden Air Cargo, Shipping in Alaska

Lynden Air Cargo welcomes N410LC

Posted on Tue, Nov 24, 2020

Lynden Air Cargo Hercules AircraftAnother L100 Hercules joined the Lynden Air Cargo fleet this fall. After a major overhaul and conformity heavy check, N410LC was delivered to Anchorage in October. "The aircraft was purchased in Africa from Safair in 2017," explains Ethan Bradford, Vice President of Technical Operations. "Our dedicated maintenance, quality control, records, contract vendors and other Lynden Air Cargo personnel have spent many thousands of hours getting it ready to serve our customers." October 8 was N410LC's functional test flight out of Singapore.

The addition of N410LC brings Lynden's fleet to 14. "We operate nine Hercules aircraft; one is a parts plane and four are on lease back to Safair," Ethan explains.

Tags: Hercules, Lynden Air Cargo

Lynden Air Cargo carries massive equipment for mine

Posted on Mon, Mar 09, 2020

Victor Mine Trucks"This was some of the largest and heaviest equipment ever moved by Lynden Air Cargo," says Charter Manager Dave Beach. Lynden assisted DeBeers and Priestly Demolition, Inc. in their Victor Mine decommission and remediation project by flying oversized equipment out of Timmins, Ontario, to remote sites in Canada to ease the burden on the winter ice road.

"It was a team effort due to the size and complexity of the cargo. It required multiple trips to assist in the preparation and two of our most experienced Loadmasters, Leo Lopez and Matt Hise, on the job during the 16-day project," Dave explains. "The flight crew was exceptional, completing flights in difficult fall weather conditions in northern Canada. This equipment was some of the largest we have hauled in this quantity to date. Normally there are one or two pieces required to a location. This was several pieces over 17 flights, with very little margin for error due the sheer size and weight."

Lynden has worked with DeBeers out of Yellowknife, Northwest Territories since 2006, but this is the first project outside of that yearly work. "Both DeBeers and Priestly Demolition expressed their admiration at the professionalism of Lynden's crews and operations department. "We will likely see much more work with both of these groups in the years to come," Dave says.

Tags: Hercules, Shipping and project logistics, Lynden Air Cargo, Oversize freight, Lynden Capabilities

Lynden Air Cargo assists World Food Programme

Posted on Tue, Jan 14, 2020

World Food Program Africa projectThe United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) asked Lynden to fly its L-382 aircraft to the Central African Republic (C.A.R.) to assist after violent clashes between two armed groups left many dead and injured. Over a two-week period, Lynden Air Cargo crews made 18 trips to deliver 600,000 pounds of food, shelter and vehicles to 25,000 displaced people in Birao.

"This work was very special as our crews volunteered to go and rallied to get it done while showing compassion for the humanitarian efforts going on in this region," explains Jim Davis, Vice President of Commercial Operations. "We received the initial request from the WFP to fly six trips in the C.A.R. which is a country in Africa that we had yet to operate in. Our aircraft based in Accra, Ghana, was ready to respond to the request." After the six trips, the WFP immediately requested 12 additional flights. This was not the normal cargo Lynden moves, but critical supplies going to a refugee camp so remote that very few aircraft types can operate on the runway.

"We have the best crews in the world, no question. This project gave us all a great sense of pride in what our company does around the world," Jim adds. "To see the hands-on efforts and genuine enthusiasm for the work the crew accomplished was heartwarming."

Most employees stayed well past their scheduled duty days to see the project completed despite weather delays that extended beyond the original departure date. "It truly was a humbling experience volunteering for this work," says Captain Kyle Zerkel.

"This crew embodies the Lynden Everyday Hero spirit in parts of the world we never imagined we would serve when we started the company over two decades ago," Jim says. "Thanks to the following employees for their efforts during this campaign: Aleksey Alekseyev, Bill Kenney, Philip Ansley, Kenny Horwood, Milton Beaver, Leso Tshimologo, Rock Molanga and Kyle Zerkel."

"We could tell that the Lynden Air Cargo pilots and ground staff were driven by the humanitarian cause. They were experienced with the challenging environment and their knowledge of the French language was a big plus in communicating with the local staff. Thank you for the excellent effort," says Sandra Legg, WFP Representative in Bangui, C.A.R.Lynden Air Cargo World Food Program project

Tags: Hercules, Lynden Air Cargo, Relief Efforts, Lynden employees, Emergency Response

Lynden Air Cargo upgrades fleet for increased reliability and performance

Posted on Fri, Oct 04, 2019

Lynden Air CargoLynden Air Cargo completed another Hercules modification this summer, installing a "Short-POD APU" to enhance the reliability and performance of its aircraft. According to Lynden Air Cargo President Rick Zerkel, the size of the project required Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval.Lynden Air Cargo APU

"It took about a year and thousands of hours to take the military data and convert it to an FAA-approved package, conform the kits, convert an existing Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), modify the airframe, install and test, then compile and finalize over 1,000 pages of reports and manuals," Rick explains. The project required support from multiple groups inside and outside Lynden Air Cargo, such as the staff from the FAA Aircraft Certification Office, engineering representatives, personnel from Lockheed and Kellstrom Defense, KF Aerospace and Lynden Air Cargo's Quality control team, engineering, publications, maintenance and special projects.

The upgrade kit provides aircraft operators with increased reliability, quicker engine starts, and reduced maintenance and operating costs by replacing the out-of-production gas turbine compressor/air turbine motor with a modified APU that will help standardize the fleet with the other APU-equipped aircraft.

Tags: Hercules, Lynden Air Cargo

Lynden Air Cargo returns to Papua New Guinea

Posted on Fri, Jul 05, 2019

Lynden Air Cargo in Papau New GuineaLynden Air Cargo is back in Papua New Guinea. "We are operating out of the capital city of Port Moresby and the city of Lae to support Exxon," says Captain Charlie Wallace. For the past several years, Lynden Air Cargo has been involved in Exxon's Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project to construct a gas plant and pipelines on the island. Lynden's Hercules aircraft are delivering heavyweight construction materials and other equipment. Charlie is pictured with Captain Eric Feige (far left) and Flight Engineer Bill Kenney (right). "This picture shows the flight crew with a local tribeswoman in full traditional garb," he says. "It's always exciting to be working in new locations and meeting local people."

Tags: Hercules, Lynden Air Cargo

Lynden Air Cargo supports UN in African elections, establishes maintenance base in Ghana

Posted on Tue, Mar 19, 2019

LAC baseLynden Air Cargo recently completed a three-month peacekeeping mission for the United Nations (UN) to ensure safe and legal elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). It also established a new line base in Accra, Ghana, to provide parts and repairs to its aircraft serving the Middle East North Africa (MENA) region.

"This photo (pictured above) is of our two planes at our new maintenance base in Accra, Ghana," says Jim Davis, Vice President Commercial Operations. "As our footprint increases in the MENA region, it has become important for us to build a line station facility with a large inventory of aircraft parts. This will save shipping costs, allow us to get the parts to areas where we operate more quickly, and improve our repair time which will have a direct impact on customer satisfaction."

During the peacekeeping mission Lynden's main operating base was in the DRC capital city of Kinshasa, but both Lynden planes were also positioned in other locations to help move cargo throughout the country and into Entebbe, Uganda, which is the regional logistics hub for the UN.

"One of the two aircraft was also temporarily positioned in Kenya to help move cargo out of Mombasa to Kalemie, Goma, and Kinshasa," explains Project Manager Rock Molanga. "Compared to the previous UN peacekeeping mission we supported in 2016–2017, this one was more complicated because of the current political and security situation in the DRC. The president has been out of mandate since December 2016 and this election was already postponed twice. The elections finally took place Dec. 30 and Felix Tshisekedi was elected president in the first democratic transition of power in the country's history." Over the two years Lynden was onsite, the elections were plagued by problems such as fire that destroyed the voting machines, militant attacks and an Ebola outbreak.

In addition to supporting the electoral process in developing countries, Rock is confident that Lynden Air Cargo will have many opportunities in the MENA region in the future. "The UN is present in most of the post-conflict countries in Africa." Lynden's aircraft capabilities are well-suited for the area because of the lack of infrastructure and roads throughout the African continent.

Tags: Hercules, Lynden Air Cargo, Lynden Capabilities

New Antarctica service puts Lynden on all continents

Posted on Fri, Jan 11, 2019

Lynden Air Cargo Antarctica"Antarctica was the final continent on our checklist," says Lynden Air Cargo President Rick Zerkel. "Now we can cross it off." Lynden Air Cargo has joined a short list of operators that serve all seven continents by starting a new project in support of an Italian Antarctic Expedition team doing research on the icy land mass.

The month-long mission lasted from Oct. 30 through Nov. 30 and involved carrying supplies from Christchurch, New Zealand to Italian base Mario Zucchelli Station and Phoenix Field at McMurdo Station, the U.S. base in Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica. According to Lynden Air Cargo Captain Pat Madland, Terra  Nova Bay is about 2,000 miles and 7 hours from Christchurch, and Phoenix Field is 300 miles further south and about 8 hours flying time. "This was accomplished with an augmented crew to allow for rest," Pat explains. "We also carry a loadmaster and mechanic." The whole operation requires nine people on the ground in Christchurch.

"This high-profile project illustrates Lynden Air Cargo’s capabilities in remote locations," says Adam Murray, Director of Business Development and Marketing. "With 98 percent of the continent covered in ice, there are no cities or villages. This is another addition to our capabilities and we hope to provide this service next year and on an ongoing basis if possible."

The flight crew includes Captains Pat Madland and Thomas Lindberg, First Officer Josh Havel, Flight Engineers Bill Spencer, Clint Swanson and John Worley, Loadmaster Leonel Lopez and Aircraft Mechanics Travis Blaszak and Dan Spears.

"The cargo on the first two trips to Terra Nova Bay consisted mostly of helicopters. We carried two Squirrel helicopters on each trip. Since then, the cargo has been scientific equipment and food," Pat says. "Although it’s exciting to go to Antarctica, Lynden Air Cargo crews are used to flying to remote locations in challenging conditions.  Antarctica closely resembles Greenland with its mountainous terrain covered with an ice cap. Much of the continent is around 10,000 feet high although we landed on sea ice runways at sea level. Most of our Lynden crews have been to six continents and it’s nice to add the seventh."

Tags: Hercules, Lynden Air Cargo, Lynden Capabilities

Lynden Air Cargo flies wood bison to new home in Alaska

Posted on Thu, Apr 02, 2015

Lynden Air Cargo, Alaska West Express and Alaska Marine Lines were part of a major wildlife conservation project to relocate 100 wood bison from Girdwood, AK to remote Shageluk, AK in late March. Alaska Marine Lines donated containers that were retrofitted into 'bison boxes' to hold seven animals each. The animals were trucked from Portage to Anchorage for loading into Lynden Air Cargo's Hercules aircraft and the one-hour flight to their new home near Shageluk. The animals were nearly extinct at one point and have not lived in the Shageluk area in almost a century.

Wood Bison Shageluk, AK

Photo credit: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center/Doug Lindstrand

Lynden companies donated containers, employees, equipment and discounted the flights to help the effort. "Wood bison are the largest land animal in North America, and it took Lynden's Hercules aircraft, capable of landing on the short gravel runway at Shageluk, to transport them," says Jim Davis, Lynden Air Cargo Vice President of Marketing and Sales. "We have always been a niche operator, but this move made our top 10 list of unusual moves. We are proud to support this uniquely Alaskan effort."

Wood Bison - Lynden Air Cargo

Photo credit: Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center/Doug Lindstrand

Lynden's commitment included Loadmaster Ike McGowan accompanying the animals on the flights and Director of Cargo Operations Jerry Stout loading the animals into the bison boxes at the Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center in Portage, AK. Alaska West Express Driver Doug Scott transported the containers to the back of the Hercules for loading in Anchorage. "It was a huge undertaking. The animals were brought in from the pens, then radio-collared, vaccinated and shuttled through a chute into the containers," Stout explains. "We moved 100 animals with no incidents. All of them are alive and doing well."

"It's been a privilege to work with the Lynden crew. They have been great partners, and we appreciate their support in bringing wood bison back to Alaska's wild," says Cathie Harms, Regional Program Manager for the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's Division of Wildlife Conservation.

Tags: Community Service, Hercules, Alaska Wildlife Conservation Center, Lynden Air Cargo, Green Lynden, Unique freight, Alaska, Wildlife

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