Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Close, But No Cigar

This past weekend was filled with a little bit of everything: flying, maintenance, cleaning, and fun. I flew a couple days this weekend, focusing mainly on my airwork and takeoffs and landings. I'm trying to keep my 206 skills polished for TE, which is fast approaching. One of Joy's friends was up from California for the weekend, and I got the chance to take her up flying in the 206. On final approach into Vancouver's airport, we come very close to the "Interstate Bridge" as they call it around here. It's the Highway 5 bridge that crosses the Columbia River into Oregon.

Monday I was polishing up on my airwork maneuvers. The weather doesn't usually allow me enough room to practice these maneuvers so I have to take advantage of it when I can. The really exciting part about it is that I have 399.3 flight hours now! Only about 40 minutes left to go! Our MAF application is also in order and will be presented to the board for evaluation. Everything seems to be in order.

Friday, March 21, 2008


We finally got a chance to fly back to Lynden today so we could finish up the work on our 206. We waited for a couple hours for the weather to improve before leaving. The flight up was uneventful (which is usually a good thing!). The weather was marginal, but easy to get around. Once we found a "hole" (as we call it in aviation), we were able to fly above the clouds most of the way. And I didn't do any of the flying this time, so I got to take a few more pictures than normal. It wasn't until we got up around Bellingham that we had to find another "hole" and fly back down under the clouds so we could land at Lynden. Overall, the trip up took us just over 2 hours, a marked improvement on Wednesday's 2.5. Once we landed in Lynden we got right to work on the 206--and then it started snowing. But it's not the kind of snow you usually think about floating out of the sky. No...this snow was like little miny ice-balls, kind of like miniature hail. Combine that with a driving wind and it really hurt! So we huddled under the wings of the 206 every now and then as these showers went by. All in all, it took another 2 and a half hours to finish up the job, but the good part is, that fixed the problem. The airplane runs like it should now! So, around 3pm David took off in the 172 for home, and I took off 30 minutes later. I filed for an IFR flight plan on the way back so I wouldn't have to worry about flying around, over, and underneath all the clouds. Here's what it looks like when you're flying through clouds in a small airplane. Quite a different picture from the morning. I don't know if you can tell, but the windshield (and the wings, tail, and tires) are coated with a thin layer of ice. Flying through a lot of clouds when it's cold out sometimes coats the airplane in a layer of ice, which is a potentially hazard situation if you have no way of getting out of it. 3,000 lb. ice cubes don't fly very well!
My flight time is now 396.2; so that leaves 3.8 left in four weeks. Thanks for all your prayers and support; it is being put to good use!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Taking Matters Into Our Own Hands

The overhaul company seems to be dragging their feet in getting out to fix our 206, so another pilot and I decided to fly up to Lynden and fix it ourselves. We didn't have a whole lot of time, but did get the broken part off, and all we need to do now is install the new part, make sure it works, and then it will be up and running again! We're planning on flying up again tomorrrow to finish the job and ferry it back to Vancouver. The good news is that I have 394 hours, so by the end of this week I should reach my goal of 400 hours. After I get 400 hours, I probably won't fly much simply because it is so expensive. Sorry I still don't have any pictures to show, I keep forgetting my camera. I'm determined to bring it tomorrow so you can get a better understanding of the situation I've been talking about!

Monday, March 17, 2008

In The Soup

We had a much more quiet weekend this time! Our 206 is still up in Lynden; we were hoping to pick up either Friday or Saturday, but it turned out that the overhaul company is still unable to get it fixed. The weather has been pretty bad lately anyway. I did get to fly today though, just in the local area. The weather allowed me to practice my instrument skills again, the only difference between this time and last time was that most of my flight time today was logged as "actual instrument" time. That means most of my flying was done solely relying on the instruments to guide me in keeping the airplane under control and help me in getting where I wanted to go. We flew through the clouds, unable to see the ground or anything outside the airplane for over an hour. And although it is difficult and more stressful, it was one of my goals in joining Servant Wings to gain more instrument flying experience. And Portland seems to be a great place to do that! I don't have any pictures of our flying today, mainly because you wouldn't be able to see anything anyway, but more pictures are on the way. I'm also less than 9 hours away from my goal, and it looks like everything is in order for our MAF evaluation. I'm feeling more and more prepared for the flight and maintenance evaluations, and I'm actually looking forward to it!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Well, Joy and I had a fun weekend! I was finally able to get out and fly again on Saturday, and wanted to practice my instrument skills, so I decided to fly IFR (instrument flight rules) up to Bellingham and maybe visit Joy's brother and her family for a few hours and then fly back. So I filed my flight plan and we departed Vancouver around noon. The flight was pretty normal; we were allowed to fly through the clouds this time instead of having to go around them. I shot the ILS approach into Bellingham, got underneath the clouds and then flew the 5 minutes to the small airport of Lynden. We arrived around 1:30pm and met Doug and his family for lunch, and ended up staying for dinner as well. By the time we got back to the airport, it was dark, but very good weather. We hopped in, strapped our seatbelts on, went through the starting procedures, turned the key, and nothing happened! Without even thinking about it, I knew our starter had gone bad, which meant we weren't going anywhere! So we ended up spending the night at Doug's house (after calling to get some "emergency" amoxicillin, toothpaste, contact cases and solution, and other things like that). We hadn't planned on staying the night, so we didn't bring anything with us.
To make a long story short, in hopes of being able to fix the airplane and fly it back, we stayed until Monday afternoon, before having to rent a car in Bellingham and drive the 4 hours back to Portland. So, by about 1:30pm we hit the road for home. Everything was going great until we got to the north side of Seattle, when Joy and I noticed a green truck swerving and getting really close to hitting the median. We both thought he was drunk, so I got close enough to read his license plate and called 911. While I was on the phone reporting him, he tried to enter the express lanes (which weren't open) and took out a bunch of barricades before narrowly missing the median again. He then proceeded to swerve across all southbound lanes of traffic before finally exiting the freeway. We were both a little disturbed and shocked at what had just happened, but after about 30 minutes our nerves started to calm down. Upon reaching the south side of Seattle, another truck entered the freeway from the on ramp just in front of us. We got back into the carpool lane and he started doing the same thing as the other truck! He would get really close to the median and then drift back into his lane. After narrowling avoiding a semi truck, we decided to call this one in too. So we got his license plate number and I called 911 for the second time in one day. While I was on the phone again, he managed to side-swipe an SUV, but he just kept on driving like nothing happened. So we followed him; it was apparent that he got a flat front tire from hitting the SUV, and tried to exit the freeway, but couldn't hold the road. He ran off into the ditch, stopped, and got out with the truck still in drive, and just started to walk away. After we got on our way once again, we got to within 30 miles of home and traffic came to a stop. We found out later that there had been a fatal accident just a few miles ahead of us. So after almost two hours of going nowhere, we finally started to pick up some speed. We got home around 8:30, making a 4 hour drive well over 7. We made it safe though, which we thanked God for. The 206 is still sitting on the ramp in Lynden, and I'll hopefully be able to go up Friday and fly it back here. I have a charter out to Tri-Cities on Monday if the plane is back and fixed. Between flying up and back to get the 206 and flying out to Tri-Cities, I should be very close to 400 flight hours! God knows best.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Back To Normal

Well, I'm feeling much better than I was this time last week. Seems like the medicine is working. I haven't done any flying since getting back from Great Falls on Sunday; doctor says wait 7-10 days before going up again to give my ears a chance to heal up. I'm itching to get back into the air though. I worked this week at Hillsboro, and then fixed some problems on our Servant Wings fleet, and went to Praise team practice last night. Life doesn't seem to slow down a whole lot even when you want a break.
Well, here's one from the archives! Yep, that's me, providing quality entertainment! This was one of several "shows" I played guitar in at Moody Chicago. When I could find the spare time, I loved playing guitar and hanging out with some incredible friends.

Before & After

How to say "I love you" before and after marriage:


1) Buy her flowers
2) Take her on a date (anywhere will do)
3) Say "I love you"
4) Take a spontaneous "road trip"


1) Plant flowers
2) Create-a-date, taking into consideration the smallest details
3) Do the laundry (without being told)
4) Fix the car
5) Clean the house (without being told)

Monday, March 3, 2008

Traveling with Chills

This past weekend was spent in Great Falls, Montana, where I attended the Montana Aviation Conference. The real reason I went was because our President for Servant Wings needed to attend the conference, and offered for me to fly him over and back in our 206. I gladly accepted, needing the flight time. We flew over both the Cascade Range and the Rockies. This shot is a little west of the Continental Divide (around the Idaho/Montana border) at 9,500 feet. We ended up climbing even higher to 11,500 feet because it was very turbulent over the Rockies. Along the way, we got to stop in Spokane and visit Moody. We didn't have a lot of time to stick around, but I got to chat with a lot of my old instructors and a few of the students who are interested in joining Servant Wings after they graduate. It only took us four hours to make the trip all the way out to Great Falls. It would have taken over 11 hours to drive from Vancouver. The weather was pretty decent over the entire route, making it a fairly easy and uneventful trip. We were also breaking land speed records in the 206. While we were flying over the rockies, we hit greater than 200 knots (almost 240 mph) on our groundspeed. If you look in the lower right corner of the GPS screen, it says 202. That was our groundspeed for more than half an hour, which means that we had more than a 70 knot tailwind. No wonder we got there so fast!

While attending the conference, I helped Perry man the MAF booth, and went to a couple seminars on accident prevention and Continental engines (our 206 has a Continental engine). On Saturday I wasn't feeling too well, and ended up taking a nap in the afternoon to try and kick whatever I had. But, on Sunday morning I woke up with some chills, a fever, and a lot of congestion. Despite all that, I really missed my wife, so I decided that we could leave that morning instead of Monday. Big mistake. Just out of Great Falls we hit a wall of snow in the mountains with very low visibility and high clouds. After attempting to fly some of the valleys and having to turn back several times, we finally decided to try and get on top of the clouds where it was sunny and clear. Reaching 12,500 feet we finally got over most of the clouds and were able to get on our way back home. 12,500 feet is the highest altitude I could fly at without using supplemental oxygen. The airplanes I fly (unlike the airlines) aren't pressurized, so the higher I go, the less oxygen my lungs can extract out of the air, creating a potentially hazardous situation if I go too high without oxygen. And even at that high altitude we still had to go around some of the clouds. And you can imagine being that high, how cold it can be (-30 to be exact), and with a very small heater and chills with a fever, it wasn't very comfortable. But that's only the beginning. We stopped in Lewiston, Idaho, for a stretch and a potty break, and on the descent my ears started to clog up. I reduced my rate of descent to be very minimal, but it didn't really help much, and by the time we landed, both my ears were so clogged up that I couldn't even hear out of them. And it was quite painful. I thought they would open up again when we climbed out of Lewiston on our way to Vancouver, but they never did. And in fact, it just made things worse. By the time I got home, I found out that I had a 103.2 temperature. So Joy took me to the doctors where we waited for over 2 hours to be seen and I found out that I not only had a fever but a pretty bad ear infection too. So what did I learn on this trip? Don't fly when you're sick. My ears are still clogged up today, and it is really painful every time they pop. I'm on a pretty hefty dose of amoxicillin, so hopefully that will kick this thing once and for all. The good thing is that I have 387.6 flight hours now so I only need about 12 more to make my goal.