Mano a Mano’s New Plane is Flying!
Mano a Mano’s Caravan airplane is now flying in Bolivia! After purchasing it in Minnesota last summer and months of training and prep, it was flown from Fleming Field in the Twin Cities to Cochabamba, Bolivia last October. Over the next 5 months, we obtained registration and certification, customs payment, and the approval to purchase jet fuel for the airplane. All has been completed and the airplane is now flying (5 months is actually an extremely fast turnaround).
Exceeding Our Expectations
Our pilots say that the airplane has surpassed any and all expectations they had. The Caravan is performing beautifully in Bolivia. It lands and takes off in a third of the length of runway in comparison to a Cessna 206. The airplane climbs like a dream, especially in the early, cool hours of the morning. If the weather is rough at 13,500 feet today, the pilots and aircraft easily can choose to climb to 15,500 ft – a difficult task with the 206.
Carrying Additional Cargo
The Caravan is able to carry a monstrous amount of cargo (in comparison to the Cessna 206). On a flight earlier this week, we were carrying around 2,500 lbs of cargo, as opposed to 770 lbs with the Cessna 206. And we are reaching our destination faster and sooner. With the Caravan we do not have to circle to gain altitude. By the time we reach the high pass, the airplane has gained the altitude necessary. Most importantly, we do not have to go around mountains: the airplane has the power to gain altitude and fly over safely. In this scenario, the Caravan reaches destination in 37 minutes as opposed to 60 minutes with the Cessna 206.
The Ministry of Health recently hired Mano a Mano to fly one of its seriously ill officials, and they have reserved a second flight. We are beginning to respond to other emergencies. We are being paid to transport food into the tropics which will be sold by small businesses. Just by making food available in isolated, poor regions of Bolivia we can improve health. I am so pleased we are able to do this.
We are very happy with the airplane. And we are grateful to everyone that has helped make this dream a reality.
– Segundo Velasquez, Mano a Mano International Co-Founder & Board President