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When Pigs Don’t Fly

Editor’s note: Over the past year, this blog has covered the numerous ways that MAF flies various animals like snakes, horses, alligators and, yes, even pigs. And while pigs are welcome passengers, they aren’t so welcome on airstrips due to the hazard they present pilots attempting to land the aircraft. In classic Paul Harvey style, MAF’s John Miller shares how MAF’s policy of no pigs on airstrips once put him in poor standing with an Indonesian villager.

I didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure out he was peeved with me, what with the arrows sticking near my feet. Not your normal friendly reception arriving at a jungle airstrip. It was at best a less than halfhearted attempt to kill the pilot in that he was being careful not to really hit me. Just come close. His pig had just been shot and he was hopping mad – at me! Now for the rest of the story.

Mission Aviation Fellowship Papua IndonesiaDue to numerous incidents over the years, MAF policy is that pigs on airstrips must be killed. So villagers fence off the strip or build pens for their critters. But this poor pig just got up on the wrong side of the pen that morning. Just as I was landing, he dashed across the strip. Within minutes the villagers of the pig patrol A-Team dispatched him to porky paradise. Sigh. I felt badly for the owner. What a shame to lose his pig, perhaps his most prized possession.

As a result of this incident, we had an airstrip meeting to discuss why pigs and planes just don’t mix. The evangelist did the talking, saying the pilot takes no joy seeing pigs killed. But the safety of the people—his passengers—was more important. Everyone voiced agreement (but the pigs weren’t talking).


Persevering in hard places

Just over a week after a devastating 7.2 magnitude earthquake rocked southwestern Haiti, MAF pilot Eric Fagerland landed in the town of Jérémie with a load of relief supplies.

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