Photographer's Note

This photograph may not say much to you, but knowing what I do, it speaks volumes.

This aircraft is contracted to the COPEG project and is stationed at the Centro de Dispersión, Tocumen Airport in Panama. The COPEG acronym stands for the local screwworm fly erradication project.

For background to the follwoing paragraphs, you can read about the screwworm fly and the erradication efforts.

The success of these erradication efforts depends largely on the amount of energy put into the program. This photo speaks volumes because Panama has thrown itself wholeheartedly into the COPEG programme. Everybody in Panama knows what COPEG is, they're familiar with the insignia, they know how to treat their animals, etc. Publicity has been excellent and government support strong. Here you see a disperser (in uniform) washing the exhaust trails off of a King Air 90. In fact, you can see they're washed so reguarly that over time they've scrubbed the paint off, repainted with green primer, and started to scrub the primer off.

This is so impressive for me, because I fly for the erradication programme in Jamaica, where publicity and government support are lackluster if not completely absent. There are other factors involved in the limited success of the Jamaican programme such as climate, habitation, and the strain of flies themselves, but social attitude tops the list. Animals (particuarly stray dogs, which have the run of Kingston) go untreated, allowing more and more fertile flies to reproduce and hampering the erradication efforts.

In Panama however, the story is different, and I can see it even in the way that this disperser diligently washes his airplane every day. Sure, he's getting paid to do it, but somebody is willing to pay him. And there is the difference too, between doing a job done just to get it done, and doing a job with pride.

I'll post a view of the hangar here.

Cropped, decreased brightness and contrast a touch, and resized.

ISO 50, focal 38mm, EC 0.0

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Additional Photos by Johnny Five (johnnyfive) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 22 W: 1 N: 44] (94)
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