Fuel Pump to the Rescue

When aircraft parts fail, it takes a team to get aircraft flying again. Read how the YAJASI team rescued an aircraft that had experienced a fuel pump failure.


Photo credit Dano Whited

It was a normal flight recently when Pilot Brad McFarlane flew Dano and Mark Hoving along with his load of passengers in the PC-12 into Mulia, a mountain airstrip. But Dano and Mark had a special mission: rescuing a stranded PC-6. The airplane had been left in Mulia overnight due to an auxiliary fuel pump failure.

Our Papuan agent, Pak Kosman, who lives in Mulia, slept in the plane overnight to ensure its safety.

The pump is located in the lowest part of the airplane’s fuel system. To change it, the team had to manually pump all the fuel out of the wings and into three 55-gallon drums. This task alone took about an hour and a half.


Pilot Mark Hoving and airport workers defuel the plane prior to replacing the pump.  Photo credit: Dano Whited

Then came a particularly difficult process. Dano had to crawl inside the tail cone of the aircraft to remove the old pump and install a replacement. It’s a tight fit!

Tools are in the floor of the passenger/cargo area with the removed panel that normally separates this area from the tail cone. Photo credit: Brad McFarlane

With the airplane defueled, he unfastened a separating panel so he could squeeze into the tail cone. He then was able to remove the auxiliary fuel pump and install a new one. Once the job was complete, they refueled from the drums, and Mark flew the repaired airplane back to town with Dano and a new load of passengers! It’s great to have the airplane in the air again, serving the people of Papua and playing its part in sharing the gospel in their corner of the world.


Dano reports to work each day in the hangar to the far left. Two other mission aviation organizations have the hangars to the right. Photo credit: Rio Seseray






Dano and Melinda Whited

Dano and Melinda Whited

Dano and Melinda Whited moved to Sentani, Papua, Indonesia in February 2012. Dano is an aircraft mechanic who serves as the Maintenance Manager with YAJASI, our partner there. Melinda is the Hospitality Coordinator for the many who go to serve short-term or long-term in Sentani. She also stays busy running their household and homeschooling four of their seven children.