Date: June 25, 1982
Location: Montreal, Canada
Newspaper: The Gazette
Montreal pilot Jean-Francois Taschereau is on his way back to the Amazon basin in a new 11-passenger Otter aircraft, destined for relief work with the Wings of Hope organization in Peru.
Taschereau, 28, is a veteran member of the Wings of Hope, a group of volunteer pilots and businessmen who operate an emergency medical and food delivery service to isolated Peruvian Indian villages.
Conditions are similar to northern bush flying which Taschereaudid before and after his first stint in 1976.
“A lot of runways are really steep, up to 10 degrees inclination,” he said before taking off from Dorval. The fields are grass strips, often muddy, the shortest only 700 feet long.
Wigs of Hope, supported by the Canadian International Development Agency, bought the $250,000 Canadian DHC-3 Otter for its ability to land on short strips carrying as much as 2,200 pounds of cargo.
Taschereau, who estimated 50 hours’ flying time from Dorval to Peru, said the service is vital to scattered villages.
“If we didn’t do it, a complete group of natives would be abandoned,” he said. “For them, it would mean dispersal.”
The Otter brings to five the planes operated by Wings of Hope out of two bases in Peru.
The initial operation began with five Quebec pilots. Taschereau has a staff of four Peruvian and two Canadian pilots.
The goal is to eventually make the service all-Peruvian.