A 92-year old Tin Lizzie joins the wide array of noteworthy cargo to ride in the hold of a Lynden Air Cargo Hercules. The vintage Model T was discovered in the back of a warehouse in Nome, AK. The owners contacted Lynden recently to move it south to Anchorage.
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Lynden Air Cargo answered the call on Sept. 8 to mobilize relief flights for Hurricanes Irma, Jose and Maria. "We began flights into the Caribbean on Sept. 17 once there was a clear identification of needs," explains Rick Zerkel, Lynden Air Cargo President. Lynden is currently under contract with Diplomat Freight Services (DFS) to provide continued air support for sites in the Caribbean.
"Logistics have been a challenge as there has been limited information on which airports are open and have uncontaminated fuel supplies," Rick says. "Some of the islands have completely lost power. Hotels have also been hard to find in some of these locations because they are still being used as shelters for families who cannot go back to their homes or sustained damage during the storms. We have also had to pause flying when Hurricanes Maria and Juan hit the Caribbean a second and third time – on occasion flying around the storms to get to any locations we could."
Lynden Air Cargo has been conducting flights through DFS, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Red Cross and other supporting agencies and governments to bring in food, water, trucks, fuel and other disaster response supplies. "We anticipate we will be flying continuously for quite some time – there is no indication that it will be slowing down any time soon," Rick says.
As of late September, Lynden aircraft have flown to the following locations based out of Curacao, Aruba and Miami: St. Martin, San Juan, St. Thomas, St. Kitts, Anguilla, British Virgin Islands, St. Croix, Grand Turk Island and Providenciales Island (a part of the Caicos Islands). The company is especially grateful to their flight crew and flight operations staff who have performed admirably while working under constantly changing conditions with limited information.
Lynden Air Cargo has finished the installation of another Retardant Aerial Delivery System (RADS) in its aircraft N402LC (T133). Flight testing and U.S. Forest Service (USFS) inspections are complete and T133 is ready to join sister ship, N405LC (T132), for a second season of fighting fires on behalf of the Coulson group of companies for the USFS. As a sub-contractor, Lynden provides a crew and aircraft to dispense fire retardant until the season ends, typically in the fall.
"It's been a very wet winter and spring, which typically produces a lot of vegetation, or fuel, for fires in the southwest states," explains James Schneider, Lynden Air Cargo Director of Maintenance. "It will be just a matter of time before California, Nevada and Arizona start drying out and desert grasses and underbrush become fire hazards."
Each aircraft Lynden leases to Coulson in support of the USFS mission is staffed with a team of five Lynden employees: the captain and flight engineer for flight operations, and three maintenance crew members, consisting of a lead mechanic, senior mechanic, and driver; the mechanics are responsible for all maintenance activities while the driver is tasked with positioning the support rig (truck and 40-foot trailer) to and from any of the 100 some USFS Airtanker Bases scattered throughout the Southwest. Lynden's crew spent considerable time at the San Bernardino, Santa Maria and Porterville Airtanker Bases last year as they fought the San Gabriel and Reservoir wildfires in California. "Now that we have converted two aircraft to dual role mission capable, firefighter or all-cargo, we are providing twice the crew as the previous season to operate, maintain and chase the aircraft," James says. "Our mechanics are dedicated to keeping the planes in top condition and ready to go at a moment's notice. We put over 20,000 miles on our support rig in ten weeks last year moving from base to base fighting fires."
The firefighting effort is a huge investment of people and equipment for Lynden Air Cargo. According to James, few truly understand the effort required to maintain the planes during a frenzied fire season. "It is a high pressure situation with a sophisticated tank system to maintain on each aircraft, in addition to normal aircraft maintenance tasks. It's a tough schedule for the employees who are away from home, too. We're very proud of their hard work and dedication to the USFS mission to respond as needed when and where needed."
Last year, Lynden's T132 transitioned to Australia to fight fires there after the U.S. fire season was finished. The second Lynden aircraft, T133, will likely do the same this fire season down-under in the New South Wales and Victoria States.
Tags: Lynden Air Cargo
Lynden Air Cargo's Susan Selzer joins Pete Kaiser and other employees who compete in sled dog races outside of work. Susan is a Senior Accounting Specialist who has been racing for 20 years. She entered the Lynden-sponsored Alaska Sled Dog Racing Association (ASDRA) Championship last month in Anchorage.
"I was thrilled to see Lynden as a sponsor of the race," she says. "We had great runs both days. What got me started in dog mushing was my love of dogs and a desire to make winters fun. I've had up to 24 dogs at one point, but now have a more manageable kennel of 10."
Sprint dogs will run 20 mph on a nice trail, and keep that pace for miles. "Our races are won by seconds, so much time is spent in getting the sled waxed just right for the current temperature and trail, and keeping the speed maximized at all times," Susan explains. Earlier in her career, Susan won the trophy for the most first place finishes in Anchorage in the 6-dog, and then the following year, in the 8-dog class.
"I'm planning on a few more races this year," she says. "I've always wanted to run the Limited North American Championship (LNAC) in Fairbanks which is one of the top limited class races in the U.S. and Canada. I am also planning on running at the Tok Race of Champions which is the last race in the sprint circuit every year."
Photo credit: Britt Coon
Lynden Air Cargo is operating its L-382 aircraft on behalf of the Coulson group of companies to fight fires for the U.S. Forest Service this summer. As a sub-contractor, Lynden is providing a crew and aircraft from June 5 through Sept. 1.
“As of mid-June, we have flown 49 sorties and 62 drops everywhere from the rim of the Grand Canyon to the Mexico border,” says Lynden Air Cargo President Rick Zerkel. “We have dispersed a total of 189,705 gallons of retardant on various fires in New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California.”
Lynden fought the Reservoir and San Gabriel wildfires near Los Angeles in June, helping to contain both, as well as others throughout the southwestern states. In September, the L-382 will return to Australia where it will continue fighting fires there. “We are proud to be helping in this effort and proud of our Lynden flight and maintenance crew on the front lines.” Rick says.
Michelle Fabry, Lynden Air Cargo’s Director of Safety, accepted the Alaska Air Carriers Association (AACA) Safety Award from Director John Duncan of the Federal Aviation Administration at the February award luncheon in Anchorage. With the 2015 award, Lynden has received 14 consecutive safety awards which are presented to incident and accident-free carriers each year.
“We are very proud of our safety record,” Michelle says. “It all goes back to our employees and their dedication to safety in the operation of our aircraft, maintenance, cargo handling and following established procedures.”
Also in February, Lynden Air Cargo received news that it is the only carrier in the nation to receive approval of its Safety Management System Implementation Plan (SMSIP) on first submission to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The Implementation Plan details how Lynden will meet the FAA’s regulatory requirements. “We’ve been working on SMS Implementation for over three years. At the time of submittal, we showed that our plan was 80 percent complete with full implementation scheduled for the end of 2016,” Michelle explains.
A team of department managers from operations, cargo services and maintenance worked together to develop the plan which included going through every FAA line item and detailing how Lynden would meet the requirement. According to Michelle, carriers who do not receive initial approval receive a visit from a team of FAA officials to help them finish the plan correctly. “This is a big deal for us. We have a great group here that got it right the first time.” Full implementation of the SMSIP is not required until 2018, so Lynden is not only ahead of schedule but setting the bar for other carriers.
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.
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."
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.
Lynden Air Cargo’s L-100 Hercules aircraft is being put to use flying relief supplies to Vanuatu after Tropical Cyclone Pam devastated the South Pacific Islands March 13. Communications company Digicel Fiji chartered a Lynden Air Cargo plane from Nadi, Fiji, to the capital city of Port Vila within days of the cyclone. It was loaded with food rations and technical equipment to repair towers and networks to restore communications throughout the islands. Now working with the World Food Programme (WFP), Lynden continues to pick up more supplies from Brisbane, Australia, for air delivery to Port Vila in support of humanitarian efforts.
“We are coordinating flights as quickly as possible in cooperation with government authorities,” says Rick Zerkel, Lynden Air Cargo President. “With 65,000 people left homeless from Cyclone Pam, there is an urgent need for relief supplies. We are committed to helping in any way we can for as long as our services are needed.”
Lynden operates a fleet of six Hercules around the world specializing in remote site services and requiring minimal equipment for loading and offloading. The unique features of the aircraft make it ideal for flying aid into isolated disaster areas. Lynden Air Cargo has provided disaster relief assistance at some of the world's worst disasters, including the Haiti earthquake in 2011 and the Indonesian earthquake and Samoan tsunami in 2009. Working with the Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA), the Red Cross and the U.S. Military, Lynden has delivered emergency vehicles, portable hospitals, food, water and relief workers to ravaged areas across the globe.
Lynden Air Cargo is one of the Lynden family of companies, whose combined capabilities include shipping to Alaska, truckload and less-than-truckload transportation, barge service to Hawaii and Alaska, charter barges, worldwide air and ocean forwarding, third-party logistics, trade show shipping, intermodal bulk chemical hauls, scheduled and chartered Hercules L-382 cargo aircraft and multi-modal logistics. Lynden companies are repeat winners in the annual Quest for Quality awards presented by Logistics Management magazine.
For more than 50 years, the World Food Programme (WFP) has been getting food to wherever it is needed in the world, saving the lives of those affected by war, civil conflict and natural disasters. Last month, the program received a boost when Lynden Air Cargo took on a three-month assignment to provide air lift of food and supplies from Assosa, Ethiopia, to Doro, South Sudan, with the potential of several other locations within Africa. Nearly 150,000 South Sudanese have sought asylum in western Ethiopia since conflict erupted in their homeland in late 2013.
“We expect between three to four flights a day, six days a week,” explains Jim Davis, Lynden Air Cargo Vice President of Marketing and Sales. “Our task is to make deliveries to ensure the South Sudanese refugees receive the food they desperately need. I would like to give credit to the Lynden employees who volunteered to do this work. This is one of the most remote places in the world and very poor living conditions. We have an amazing group of people. It is always inspiring to me how everyone rises to the challenges we face.”
The WFP is the food assistance branch of the United Nations and the world's largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger. On average, the WFP provides food to 100 million people per year in 77 of the poorest countries. This year, WFP Ethiopia plans to assist nearly 6.5 million vulnerable people with food and assistance, including school children, farmers and refugees. Up to to 350,000 refugees are expected in Gambela, Ethiopia, by the end of the year.
“We are looking forward to the challenge as this is a new market for us in a new part of the world. We have put together a great team and are excited to get started,” Jim says.
Lynden International’s Chicago and Anchorage teams put together a charter move for the U.S. Coast Guard this summer to deliver radio equipment to various points in Alaska. Eighty-two crates of Motorola equipment were flown from Chicago to Anchorage and were then transported via Lynden Air Cargo Hercules to Kodiak and Juneau while the rest of the cargo was distributed across Alaska. “The move was flawless,” says Jason Hiti-Shannon, Chicago Operations Manager.
“Chris Thallemer, Robert Kokoszka and I went over at midnight to meet the chartered 747 on the field in Chicago to oversee the loading for the flight to Alaska. In Anchorage, we had two Lynden Air Cargo planes waiting to carry a portion of the freight to Juneau and Kodiak. I can’t say enough about the folks in Anchorage pulling off the various transfers and deliveries. It was a great team effort and resulted in a very happy customer.”