27 November 2008

Logbook one...done

Its over. L.A. traffic, the verbal abuse while "instructing", and now the final entry in my first logbook has been made. My Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) checkride filled the last empty spot in my logbook that dates all the way back to 1998. Its barely holding together at this point, but in it there are many stories, lessons learned, and moments of pure exhilaration. On this day of thanks I cannot help but think of how blessed I have been to have all these experiences.

Although not recorded in this logbook I remember back to the first time I was alone with a plane in the air. I was 14. It was a glider which was towed into the air by a truck with a 1000' cable. With the thermals in Euphrata, WA it made for about a three minute flight which for a 14 year old was an absolute riot. As soon as I disconnected the tow line on my solo flight I snapped a little self portrait which makes me smile to this day. The intensity, the passion, the pure love for what I am doing at that exact moment is seen all over my face. I try to keep those characteristics every time I prepare to take the controls, unfortunately I have learned to keep those emotions inside.

Skipping ahead to the year 2004 with a whopping 70 hours under my belt I was a counselor at a summer camp in Molalla, OR. I was asked to give airplane rides for some kids which was an experience I will not forget. With a rented 172 I took 28 kids up in one afternoon. Not sure that I need to explain anymore about that.

Being a part of the greatest Air Force ROTC detachment in the country at USC, I was given opportunities to fly the F-16D. Being strapped to the front of 29,000 lbs of thrust is something that few have the opportunity to enjoy and enjoy it I did. Watching Top Gun does not do justice for what a plane looks like passing at 800+ knots within 100 yards. The feeling of weighing 180 lbs one second and 1620 lbs the next while trying to keep all the blood in my head definitely tops the list for my aviation moments.

The summer of 2006 Servant Wings acquired the first plane of its fleet, a Cessna 172 which I helped ferry from Orlando, FL to Portland, OR. Every stop was a new experience. Figuring out weather, cheapest gas stops, and navigating without GPS was all part of the fun in getting back home. I made the worst decision to this day as a pilot on my way out of Denver. It was similar to the way many accident stories start. It usually takes three bad decisions or omissions in preflight for an accident to occur. I took off at max gross...from Denver...in August...later than planned...and did not lean the mixture. Did I learn that day? You bet. There is no classroom or book I could read that teaches what I learned that day.

The seaplane. I had heard all this talk about how great it is. I thought there was no way that flying an airplane in the water environment could ever live up to all the hype. This last summer I had some time to find out. Yeah, it blows the hype out of the water. Flying into a secluded mountain lake, beaching the plane, and then jumping into the water on a 90 degree day is what some might classify as refreshing ;)
Finally, I have spent the last six weeks in Santa Monica, CA working long and stressful hours on my CFI rating which has been the hardest work I have done with regards to aviation. I found out pretty quick that I have the ability to talk a lot without saying anything. Standing up at a white board constantly being challenged helped me not only as a teacher and pilot, but also as a person communicating thoughts in my head to others. Getting in a plane with an instructor who acts as a child one moment pressing buttons and then turns into a yelling drill instructor the next was more experience recorded in my first logbook. It was all preparation for the final exam which was similar, only with a few added elbows to the stomach when I used the wrong words to explain how to do something.
These experiences have all been collected and given to me by the Lord so that I may serve Him better. I make my way over to Idaho in ten days to begin my two week evaluation with Mission Aviation Fellowship. Please keep me in your prayers as I prepare and travel.
Back to the books...

23 October 2008


Well, I am half way through my 30 days of Certified Flight Instructor training here at the Santa Monica airport and I am tired. I just got back from instructing a couple of instrument approaches to another CFI in some of the busiest airspace in the country. It is one thing to fly those approaches, but to teach them is another. I also had the opportunity to do my first talk down to a landing on the historic 16 Right at Van Nuys which made me a little uncomfortable. Flying a plane with my mouth is such a different animal. When I finally end up soloing a student I will be a nervous person. I am taking baby steps, but Im getting there.

I am sad that I do not have the ability to put pictures up right now because Santa Monica sunsets looking off the end of the runway to the Pacific are amazing. I will be sure to put some up when I get back home.

06 October 2008

Whats New?

Well, I just got back from another weekend serving with the Air National Guard. I was given the opportunity to change units which will give me a change of scenery as I finish out my last year of commitment.

I am enjoying a day of relaxation today realizing that once I get back from getting my instructor ratings in Santa Monica it will be all business preparing myself to fly with one of the most elite group of pilots in the world. I will be evaluated by MAF in December (8-19). This time consists of one week of mechanic evaluation and another week of flight eval. This is also just a time for the MAF staff to look at me as a person to see if I am up for the mental, spiritual, and physical strain that comes with being an MAF pilot. Your prayers are greatly needed and appreciated.

Last week I hiked Dog Mountain in the Gorge which showed me how incredibly out of shape I am. More than that though I was reminded of how wonderful God's work is in giving us mountains, rivers, sunrises, and for me a healthy body to just get up the mountain.

02 October 2008

The Beginning

So I have had quite a busy life lately with events, tests, relationships, work, my walk with Christ, and the list goes on. I hope that this will be at least a good supplement to keeping friends and family up to date on my life as I head towards the mission field with MAF.