Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sitting, Waiting, Wishing

Not much happening this week. Joy and I are both looking forward to the weekend; we're not sure yet what we're going to do with our long weekend, but we'll think of something. Flying and camping are always a possibility. On Sunday we actually got to fly out to some of the grass airstrips we drove to last weekend. Other than that, it's been work, work, work. The 206 engine still isn't here (hence the title); it's unofficially scheduled to go back on next weekend.

Servant Wing's 206 served for many years in Venezuela. Once it reached 10,000 hours of service, it was sent back to the states for use here. Now it belongs to members of Servant Wings. Using this airplane will help prepare me for my technical flight evaluation with MAF next spring.

Since I've been talking about 206's the last couple weeks, here's one of Moody's 206's in action. Right after I graduated, I rented the airplane and took Joy out for a picnic lunch...enjoy!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Looking for Fun

This past week has been a busy one. Student pilots were breaking airplanes faster than we could fix them, and on top of our regular inspections, it got a little crazy at times. One student even managed to land so hard that he set off the airplane's emergency beacon (which usually only activates due to the G forces when an airplane crashes). I think I'd be seeing the Chiropractor after that one! I managed to take friday off though, and catch up on some much needed errands. In order to exercise the privileges of my Commercial Pilot's License, I'm required to complete a flight physical exam every 12 months. I am tested on vision (I have to have 20/20), colorblindness, and a variety of other factors. I was able to get that done, along with finishing up our summer newsletter (soon to come). The weekend has been flying bye, and today Joy and I went driving around the greater Vancouver area in search of small, grass and dirt airstrips that Servant Wings will be able to use as "training" airstrips once we get the engine back in the 206. Here are a couple that we found:
The airstrip above runs right through the clump of trees. The little white dots are all airplanes, and the big white dots are hangars. This will be a really good training airstrip for our soft-field takeoffs and landings. You can't tell from the picture, but the strip has a huge dip right in the middle of it where all the water collects after it rains, creating a huge mud puddle. There are also 100' trees at one end, making for a challenging approach and landing, not to mention taking off!

This airstrip is called "Fly For Fun," and is a rather benign strip to what Moody has prepared us for. There are no obstructions to avoid on takeoff or landing, but it is pretty short, testing our accuracy in being able to touch down in a very precise spot (try landing a 2 and 1/2 ton airplane in a 15 foot zone at 70 mph!) Each airstrip has its unique challenges, and both of these airstrips will provide excellent experience for me in preparation for field service. Hopefully we'll get the engine back from the overhaul shop soon. Right now there are no airplanes to fly...the 206 is waiting on the engine, and another member of Servant Wings has the 172 on a long cross-country trip to Arizona and back (which is why we drove to the airstrips instead of flying).

Tomorrow we will try yet another church. Pray that we will find a good church here to get involved in. It's stressful going from church to church every Sunday and not really feeling a part of anything.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Another Side of Mt. St. Helens

On Saturday, Joy and I hiked around the south and west sides of Mt. St. Helens. We snaked through the forests that weren't destroyed, and traversed long stretches of old lava beds. Here's one of them:
We saw a couple of waterfalls...some of which still run a dark chocolate brown from time to time because the volcanic ash.
At the day's end, we hiked about 7 miles. It was fun to get away from the noise of the city and smell some fresh air!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Another Weekend of R&R

The Northwest Mission Aviation Fly-In was a large success, but I am regretful that I didn't get any pictures of the event to share with you. We arrived Friday evening and stayed until Saturday evening, enjoying the seminars and meeting lots of new people from the mission community. In addition, I also got to log 2.3 hours of free flight time giving rides to prospective young mission aviators. I got to give them a real taste of what it's like to perform short field takeoffs and landings, and for some of them, it was their very first flight in an airplane! We returned to Vancouver Saturday evening in order to attend the Hillsboro Airshow, hosted right at the airport where I work.

The Navy's Blue Angels demonstration team gave a spectacular performance (as always), dazzling the crowd with precision and perfectly timed maneuvers that require years of practice to perform safely. Here they are performing one of their maneuvers. What a spectacular show!!

An F-117A "NightHawk" also showed up and performed a couple fly-by's. This $45 million dollar aircraft is unique not only in its strike capabilities, but also in its design. Not a single rounded surface exists on the aircraft, making it practically invisible to enemy RADAR. It is equipped with laser-guided weapons and can destroy enemy targets from hundreds of miles away.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Off to the Fly-In

We're driving to the "fly-in" but that's ok. Today was just another day at the shop; I completed a 100 hour inspection on an R-22 helicopter. Not too much was found wrong with it, so the inspection went pretty fast. Some of you might not know, but my Aircraft Mechanic's Licenses allow me to work on helicopters too, I didn't have to do any extra training in order to fix them.

Other than that, I serviced a light twin engine airplane, changed a starter, and went home a little early. But, not before visiting the flight line to see all the cool airplanes!!

Here's the A-10 "Warthog," the tanks worst nightmare, built to hunt down and destroy enemy ground units. Armed with one of the most powerful cannons ever, the Warthog fires armor piercing shells at a blistering 50 rounds per second! I'd be afraid of it too.

The U.S. Army's parachute team is a pretty cool sight to see. They jump out of a perfectly good airplane and do some stunts in the air before landing within a 15' circle...pretty good.

And last, but not least, the P-47 "Jug," arguably one of the toughest fighter/bomber aircraft of WWII. It's got a big, 2000 horsepower engine, and it's tough as nails. It "takes a lickin' and keeps on tickin'"!!

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Another Day, Another Dollar

It was a little hard to concentrate on my work today...the Navy's Blue Angels are in town, practicing for their upcoming shows this weekend. They made a terrible racket along with P-47 "Jugs," A-10 "Warthogs," and the C-130 "Hercules." My ears are still ringing from the noise of the jets, and I don't really remember what I worked on today. I'm sure it was the usual though...change some brake linings, inspect the airframe, change the oil, eat lunch and do it all over again. Tomorrow the Blue Angels will perform a full "practice show" while I'm trying to dutifully earn my paycheck, but I just can't help peeking out the hangar door every now and then.
I'll hopefully get to do some more flying this weekend at the Northwest Mission Fly-In. Many mission organizations and training schools will be in attendance, including Moody Aviation. So I'll get to see some of my old buddies and flight instructors. Should be always is.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

On My Way

Currently, I'm working as a full-time mechanic at Hillsboro Aviation. I've been performing routine inspections on airplanes as well as small helicopters. I also get to fly on the weekends--this weekend in particular we will be attending the Northwest Mission Aviation Fly-In where I'll get the chance to meet some new people from the mission community and give airplane rides here and there. I'm still trying to do as much flying as I can to get my flight hours up. (Right now I have 315 and MAF requires a minimum of 400 to join). We are still on track to join MAF next summer and it's exciting to see how far God has taken me in preparation for field service.

Last weekend Joy, her mom, a friend, and I flew the 172 to central Washington for a wedding, which (of course) was way better than driving =) I also got the opportunity to "tour" Mount St. Helens on a short scenic flight around the Portland area, and take some boy scouts for their first flight in a small airplane!