Thursday, February 21, 2008

Rackin' Up the Time!

I'm happy to announce that I have accumulated 372.5 hours of total flight time. Only 27.5 to go! It's looking like I'm going to have my 400 hours before evaluation in April.

Monday, February 18, 2008

In The Spotlight

When I was down in Creswell for the 206 annual inspection, the local newspaper came and interviewed me, David, and another missionary pilot, and then featured our stories on the front page. And although none of us really like being in the spotlight, it was great to be able to tell our stories and share the passion we have for serving God and other people. The man on the left is Jim, he is a missionary pilot with New Tribes mission, serving in Senegal. He has been there for eight years flying a Piper Aztec, and is home on furlough until this summer, when he plans to return to Senegal and continue the work there. I am in the middle, with both hands deep in the engine compartment, fixing a leaking component. Aircraft engines are notorious for packing a lot of stuff in a little tiny space, making it sometimes difficult and interesting to fix things. David is pictured on the far right, re-installing the interior of our 206 after it was removed for inspection. David is another mission aviation candidate in the Servant Wings program, and is planning to join MAF this winter. Because of this article, and being on the front page, I got a call from a local Eugene CBS news station, requesting an interview, which I gladly accepted! So, yesterday, I flew the 206 back down to Creswell again for the interview. The story was on TV last night for the 6:30pm news. Here's the link, for anyone who might be interested:

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Up, Up, and Away

The week has been a BUSY one, but it's the kind of busy I like. It's been full of flying, and very well rounded experience at that! In the past week, I've been able to get some cross-country time, unimproved airstrip evaluation/operation, takeoffs and landings, and night flying. I've also been able to work on my instrument flying skills a little bit too. It helps when the weather is nice and clear. On Saturday Joy, her mom, and I went to a small grass airstrip right along the Oregon coast, 100 yards from the beach. Having never been to the strip before, I was able to evaluate the runway from the air the way MAF often does at the airstrips they fly into. They use the acronym wind, LASSO, which means that before landing at each airstrip, the pilot will evaluate the wind conditions, the length of the airstrip, it's altitude, surface conditions, slope, and any obstructions during the approach and departure phases. This was good practice for me since I will be doing it for a long time. As I flew over the strip, I noted the wind direction and velocity, several obstructions on either end, and a soft/wet surface with a length of 2000 feet. Weighing all these factors helps the pilot to determine the safe outcome of the flight and whether or not it can be accomplished with the proper margins for safety. I determined that the landing (and subsequent takeoff) was within my limits as a pilot, and the aircraft limits, so we landed. We then proceeded to eat a picnic lunch on the beach. It was still about 50 degrees, and of course, it's always windy at the beach. But, for the middle of February, it was a much needed break from the endless drizzle here in the Pacific Northwest. After leaving our little picnic spot, we went for a short sightseeing tour of the Oregon coastline. Even though it was clear in many places, there were several spots where it was quite cloudy. Being in uncontrolled airspace, I could fly as close to the clouds as I wanted (without going in them, of course). Sunshine above the clouds provided a nice background for a few shots like this.

Monday, February 11, 2008


I finally got to fly down to Creswell today and finish up a few odds and ends on the 206, and after a bath and a drink (it's a thirsty bugger), I flew it back to Pearson. On the way down, I flew the 172 with one of our instructor members from Servant Wings, who was helpful in pointing out a few areas of improvement, and he's got thousands of flight hours instructing pilots for the airlines, so naturally I listened to what he had to say. Here are a few shots I snapped from the 206 on the way back.

As I got back over the Portland area, the sun was beginning to set...the ending of a beautiful day!

Sunday, February 10, 2008

L O N G, Hard Week

I spent a long week down in Creswell working on the 206. It is in good shape now, after fixing a lot of small things and a few major problems. We put in several 12 hour days, and it is just about ready to fly again. Tomorrow I'll hopefully be flying down again in our 172, finishing up the maintenance issues on the 206 and then flying that back tomorrow afternoon/evening. While I was there I met a cute little dog named Sarah.

Ironically, she looks almost exactly like the dog I grew up with. Sorry Chelsea, I've fallen for a younger cocker spaniel!

Working on the 206 this week has given me the opportunity to brush up on my 206 maintenance skills, and learn a thing or two from the inspector we were working with. This may prove crucial in my preparation for technical evaluation in April, which is fast approaching!

I also got the opportunity to go on a cross-country flight Saturday, and log 4 more hours of flight time. I'm up to 360 now, and still pressing on toward my goal of 400. I will probably get 2 or 3 tomorrow as well, which will keep me right on track. God is providing for our needs and opening the doors that need to be opened. We are excited to have come this far, and anticipate the future!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Short & Sweet

Yesterday I flew down to Creswell to work on our other airplane. Here are a few picutres I snapped along the way.

This one is on final approach. The weather was very marginal, with low clouds, rain and snow, and low visibility. And since we weren't on an "IFR flight plan" it was illegal for us to fly in the clouds. We will be driving down today and staying overnight to work a little extra hours on it to try and get it done. It's going well so far.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

R & R

There will be none of that this week! Each day is packed full already. Yesterday saw our Skyhawk 172 "airworthy" again. The plane was grounded for what we call an annual inspection, a very in depth look over, and in the whole airplane. This was the first major inspection done on this airplane since we acquired it last summer. And unfortunately, we found a lot of things wrong with it. It has been sitting in a hangar for almost two months, unable to fly due to repairs and replacements that needed to be done. Working part time at Hillsboro really limited the amount of time I could spend on our 172, and being down over the holidays didn't help much either. But yesterday we completed all the necessary paperwork, and the plane is "airworthy" (flyable) again. Today the weather was good enough to ferry the aircraft back to Pearson from where it's been sitting for a while, and once again, I got the privilege of putting it back up into the air where it belongs! I couldn't help but take an extra 45 minutes to re-familiarize myself with the little quirks about how it handles in the air, and get the feel for flying it again. Airplanes are a lot like cars in that each one drives a little different, and each one has its own set of quirks. This 172 is like a Honda Civic, very common, easy to drive, light and sporty. Our 206 is like a big truck, heavy, bulky, lots of horses under the...uh cowling, built Cessna tough. It is good that our 172 is up flying again, because our 206 is now down for the same inspection the 172 just got out of. The only difference is that the 206 annual inspection will be done in Creswell down in central Oregon. So, I will spend much of the week down there attending to its needs, and brushing up on my 206 maintenance skills (which I will need for my evaluation in April).
Joy will be working every day this week, as well as studying and doing homework for the Bible classes she's taking right now. And we're in the middle of sending out our winter newsletter! So needless to say, this week probably won't be much of a break for us at all. We're young though!