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Thursday, May 24, 2012

SSJ Accident: Epilogue to one of the Departed

A farewell to the dead is always grave and sad but the words that we choose to express how we feel being left behind by those who departed often brings meaning to something that was previously under appreciated. This blog article is an epilogue given by my good friend  Himanda Amrullah, to Indonesia's leading aviation photo journalists, DN Yusuf, who perished in the Sukhoi Superjet 100 at Mount Salak earlier this month.

DN Yusuf immortalized in a wall poster in Manda's room

In 1995, I was still 11 years old. From a roadside magazine stall in South Jakarta, I got my very first Angkasa (Sky) magazine. After I got the magazine, I, who was still a young kid, was overjoyed seeing the photos of various aircraft type which gave me an everlasting impression, unlike those I saw in the Yellow Pages, which I used to look at before I got to know this Angkasa Magazine.

My parents supported my enthusiasm for the aviation world and would buy me an Angkasa magazine every month. It was from there where I began to know the names behind the photos that impressed me, along with the small letters in a corner of a photo, to credit the photographer, and the name that was stuck in my mind was, DN Yusuf, who took most of the aircraft and airport photos in Indonesia for Angkasa magazine.

When Manda heard about the tragedy, he waited at
Halim Airport to hear news, and took these photos.

Long before the internet invasion, long before the birth of Indoflyer aviation enthusiast community, or aviation photography sites such as airliners.net and jetphotos.net, it was the work of DN Yusuf that gave me the knowledge and opened my mind into airplanes and the aviation world. It was from his work that I began to know the detailed anatomy of various civil and military aircraft.

Between the accident site and Halim Airport, the
helicopters come and go...

It wasn't all about the images, the photos from DN Yusuf were accompanied by articles of Angkasa reporters. After I entered university, the works of DN Yusuf and Angkasa reporter Dody Aviantara, and the others in the Angkasa team, gave me the motivation I needed to chase my dream to become a pilot.

I visited the Angkasa office for the first time in 1997, but I did not meet DN Yusuf then. I finally met him in 2004, and it was then when I wrote my first article for Angkasa.

... and bodies begin to arrive...
After I got to know DN Yusuf, it was apparent to me that he was not just a photo-journalist doing his routine runs as a journalist for Angkasa. He had an aviator spirit and an overwhelming passion for aviation which he took along with him as he performed his duties as a professional photo-journalist. It was then obvious why his works were so powerful that it inspired many young aspiring youths wanting to jump into the aviation world in Indonesia.

Awaiting for the next one...

In 2008, I was given the opportunity to work as a photo-journalist with the Media Indonesia newspaper. Covering aviation news was something that I always looked forward to because it was then that I could meet DN Yusuf on many occassions. After covering the news, we would normally sit together and engage in a long discussion on aviation, and hear his experience covering various aviation events that came with challenges. Not long after those discussions, an article on DN Yusuf's experience, was printed on the Angkasa magazine.

The last time I met him, was at the Bali International Flight Academy graduation ceremony for the 4th batch in 2011, where the graduates all went to Garuda Indonesia. At that time, I was a pilot undergoing training with Lion Air.

DN Yusuf said to me:
"Bro, very few people have the opportunity to be like you, back then you were just a flight simmer playing at home, then you became a journalist and finally you're becoming a pilot.

Write about your experience, not many journalists end up as pilots, you have many photos and works that cannot be made by other people. I'll wait articles you write on your various experiences..."

Brother DN Yusuf, all this is because of the motivation and inspiration you have given through your work and perseverence as a highly dedicated photo-journalist.

The photo of DN Yusuf leads his own funeral procession

I thank you DN Yusuf, I am blessed and fortunate to have met a person such as you.

DN Yusuf and his colleague, Dody Aviantara, died while on duty covering the Sukhoi Superjet 100 demo flight, they died in honor.

Farewell My Friend...


I first knew Manda in his university days when life was always a dilemma between "what can be reached" and "what is dreamt." His story only spanned a few years but is filled with meaning, expressed in his "Children of the Sky" writings that, described his struggle to achieve his dream to become a pilot and the story of his best friend, the late Fandy Aditama, up to the point when Manda became a pilot with Lion Air. Upon reading his epilogue for DN Yusuf, I realized that I was not the only person who asked for Manda to write about his journey. DN Yusuf did so too. From dreamers to doers, the love of flight brings an abstract bond between enthusiasts.

1 comment:

  1. Mr. Didik Nur Yusuf... you tore a deep mark in Indonesia's aviation history. You really played a big part in shaping our skies.

    Rest in Peace fellow.