02 September 2009

Just trying to get my head out of the clouds

I am in the process of getting my life together, but will update this thing eventually with Oshkosh, life back at work, and a certain road trip from Detroit I will be making this Labor Day weekend.

Mucho Love

14 July 2009

All in a days work

Apprehensive passengers who have stomachs full of Olive Garden.  40 pounds short of max gross with density altitude over 4000 ft.  All the mean while I got in some good pilotage work on my way back from Idaho today.  I filed IFR over to COE because I thought I would have a chance to get some good actual (flying in the clouds).  Nope.  The elusive clouds burnt off by 1300 which definitely would not have happened if I just wanted to go for a motorcycle ride or any other summer activity not requiring clouds.

Anyways, it was a good day flying 5.2 hours having to deal with passengers and all the joys they bring.  I love the fact that I flew for 5.2 and did not have to fill up.  I landed with 45 minutes of fuel which means the 206 can outlast almost every human bladder. Bottom line, I made myself a better pilotage/dead reckoning pilot today.  I am getting really good at making use of the "Pilot Isolate" button.  

23 June 2009


Last Saturday my first instrument student Eric passed his check ride and is now a commercial instrument rated pilot.  The instrument rating is one of the harder ratings to get, but with all the hard work he put in the examiner said the oral exam and ride went well.

This also marks the first FAA rating acquired by a Servant Wings member who had a Servant Wings instructor.  It has been amazing to see how the Lord has blessed the organization in the last several years.  One plane, then two, and now an office at the airport which has been great for both instruction and meetings.

I apologize for no picture on this one.  I will have to get one with Eric when I finally go up in his biplane ;)

16 June 2009

Made it home

Made it home safely.  Here are a few pictures from the quick week there in Kako.

This link tells a little bit about what Samaritans Purse is doing in Hooper Bay, one of the villages I flew into.

15 June 2009

Coming Home

Well, it has definitely been an action packed week.  Although my time here has been cut short, I have still managed to log about 15 hours in the air.  In that time I saw uphill/downhill/tailwind landings, fires created by the lightning I managed to miss, low level river flying (which should have been filmed), the Bering Sea, lots of villages in the middle of nowhere, great people, and the Lord working in many lives.

Yesterday evening I heard the pilot who was going to come in to replace me (flys King Airs) was not approved by the insurance company either.  I have come to the conclusion that being approved by the insurance company is so subjective.  They pretty much make up requirements as they go.  Frustrating, but its in the Lord's hands so I cannot be too upset about it.  I've done things here that many pilots will never see or experience ever.

Thank you so much for all the prayers from everyone who has prayed for me.  I am so blessed to have all the things and people around me that I do.  The encouragement and support is worth a lot to me.  I continue to walk and grow everyday in Him.

This picture is from the hike I took yesterday afternoon (Yukon River and Kako in background) You can tell that the downhill approach requires a slight hugging of trees.  And when I say slight I mean major.   Anyway, never in my life have I felt like I was going to be ambushed by bears and moose like I did yesterday hiking up.  The trail leading up to the cross does not leave much room or time to react if one of those wild animals making noise in the bushes does decide to come after me.  There were fresh bear and moose tracks the whole way up.  It provided for a pretty good time;)  Even though I did not see any black bear I could hear them breathing and snorting.  Nothing a 30-06 can't take care of.

Next up...Oshkosh 2009.

11 June 2009

Things Not Going As Planned

Monday morning I was tragically informed that somehow I was not approved on the Kako insurance to fly.  I am the first one ever who has come up to Kako with no Alaska time that has not been approved.  The insurance company wants 250 hours AK time before I can fly the kids which would make sense if I was doing it in the winter, but I'm not.  As bummed as I was it effects the whole camp.    

My first question was why did God bring me all the way here to Kako, AK?  And second of all what now?  I have had a few tempting options come up as either pilot or mechanic in other towns, but I did not come up here to get a job and just log hours.  I came to serve and it is very unfortunate especially after a week of getting to know everyone that I am going to just turn around and head back.  There is definitely something special about this place.  Everything is so different.

For instance planes and atvs are far more common than cars.  When I was being orientated to the area on Monday I would fly over a airstrip, not see an atv with kids on it so I was told to "buzz" the village and sure enough not but a minute later I would see a dust trial making its way to the gravel strip.

Yesterday I went out to Hooper Bay with another pilot and picked up a couple counselors for camp.  It was a clear day which is not very common there at the Bering Sea.  So basically I am only 242 hours away from getting approved on the insurance.  I was joking yesterday with some of the guys who are here from the North Pole doing construction that my .1 hrs taxing to the fuel pump is moving me right along to get "qualified."  It's hard not to joke when guys have come in here with less experience and been approved.

Anyways, before you all freak out about this picture I had to do this considering the name on the plane.  This was taken with one of the three planes that are in the trees at the end of the airstrip.  It was a good reminder that this place is really no joke.  In fact I kid with the other pilot Denny that if the windsocks here are pointed in the same direction at either end of the field something is wrong.

So the last few days I have basically been catching the planes up with a little maintenance considering I am the only licensed mechanic on site. Ha...yeah...Alaska.  It has forced me to work in the mud and think outside the box to get the job done.

The internet is slow so I will post more pictures later.  I tentatively plan to come home on Monday.


08 June 2009

Long Day

Today I woke up after a solid five hours of sleeping in public to the sound of people going through security.  I immediately thought, wow I am not sore from this bench and I actually feel good.  I then got on my hour flight to Bethel, AK where I would wait a couple hours for the 206 to come get me.  As I was waiting there were a couple other kids there trying to figure out if the plane that was currently landing was "it."  Finally, it came and I think they were actually a little more excited than me.

After leaving Bethel I managed to work in 5.1 hours of flying.  I could really feel a wall hit me on the last leg.  Fortunately, (crazy person inside me talking) the wind was horrible so I was told on the radio I was going to have land downhill.  There really are not words.  As soon as I realized I had made it I took a deep breath and realized this is only day one.  It only gets better from here.  The people are great and the backdrop is marvelous.  I have been listening to "Captivated" by Shawn McDonald a lot lately.  Seems to be the soundtrack for this trip so far.

I also just want to say a HUGE thanks for everyone praying for me.  Its pretty overwhelming to know so many have me in their prayers.  I definitely need it along with these kids.

Above is the yellow beast.  Keep in mind I took this about a half hour ago (9pm).  Time for a shower and bed.

My F Box

What time is it?  I landed in here in Anchorage about an hour ago and I could not help but notice how nicely the sunset contrasts with all the green.  The excitement has not dissipated.  I had two people this weekend ask me if I have a new girlfriend (well kind of in those terms) and then I explained, "Nope, just going to Alaska to do some really sweet flying with some really great people."  So apparently the excitement is just coming right out of my pores.

I just read an email explaining the local temp pilot cannot fly tomorrow...errr...today ...Monday so I am going to be hitting the ground flying.  I will fly out of Bethel, do a checkout for the local area (which is funny because the local area is western Alaska) and perhaps pick up some kids in just a few short hours.  Thankfully Starbucks knew I was coming so they are getting some go juice ready for me.  

Actually, I have not ordered any yet, but it will come as soon as I get some zzz on this bench.  I wish the sun would stop looking at me though.  This situation is such a good reminder of why it is always good to consider the IM SAFE checklist.  You know that checklist for flight physiological factors that is taught to private pilots?  When I write I like to talk to everyone not just pilots so to explain.  The plane is looked over thoroughly before each flight which is called a preflight.  Just like an airplane, pilots need to make sure they are in good condition for flight as well. 
I llness  
M edication 
S tress 
A lcohol 
F atigue 
E motion 

With that being said I have an appointment with this bench.

I will start taking pictures tomorrow.  As for this morning you will have to settle for this one of Kako in the Fall.

01 June 2009

Off to the land of guns, airplanes, atvs and wild animals

Last Tuesday I was absolutely blessed with an opportunity to go up to Kako, AK and help out at the Kako Retreat Center for two months.  My primary duty will include flying the kids in and out of the camp.  After talking with my friend last night it looks like I will have a few other duties which I am sure will be talked about in some of my future postings...so stay tuned.

Kako is a little place in the middle of Western Alaska that used to be the home of a little gold mining.  There is still some gold around so I hope to get some before I come back.  Its like the fools gold I used to get going to Camp Tadmor only this stuff real.  Nice.

I will be leaving this weekend and getting into Bethel, AK Monday morning where I will be picked up for my final leg into the camp.  The plan is to come back on the 22nd of July in time to fly over to Oshkosh, WI for some kind of fly-in.  Never heard of it, but I guess its kind of a big deal ;)  

Please pray for the salvation of the kids who come to camp, safety of flight, wisdom as I fly, and protection from everything that Alaska can throw at me.  I cannot remember the last time I was this excited about something.  The flying, the guns, the wild animals, the people, and just everything this opportunity offers...pretty ridiculous.  I look forward to improving my skills as a pilot in the area of pilotage navigation and just professionalism of operating a plane as opposed to just flying it.  The pilot who I am replacing use to fly for MAF so I have some nice size shoes to fill. 

This picture is from my friend Brandon who went there two years ago.  It is absolutely amazing! I stand in awe.  

At this point I am not sure what the internet situation is like there, but I will do my best to put up pictures and stories to document this mini adventure.

26 May 2009

Front Cover.

Kind of old news, but I wanted to put this up just for the record.  The Servant Wings 206 which was a former MAF plane that I have mentioned before made the cover of Cessna Pilot's Association magazine for this month.  Pretty good pub for a young non-profit.  Decent pilot flying too ;)

24 May 2009

What a weekend...actually week.

Where do I start?  Just like every time I get on here I am about to throw up thoughts onto paper. I had what was pretty much the best job ever at the beginning of the week for where I am at in life right now. Increasing my skill as a mechanic while being surrounded by people who constantly made me smile.  I have nothing but good things to say about that shop even though I was let go on Wednesday.  I guess I was initially down about it, but considering where the Lord has brought me it's hardly a big deal.  I am still not sure how I was being paid to be there.  However, I could feel my mind start to get comfortable enough to start thinking about all the things I would like to have vs. what I really need.  I hate money.  It is necessary for life, but such a distraction.  I guess that is one of the many reasons I enjoy the thought of missionary work.  Always having the mindset that God will provide even though it looks like it won't work under human logic.  

One of the things I would like to make note of is that I am very appreciative of everyone reading this thing even though I am hardly a "regular" blogger.  While hanging out around the Kodiak it was pretty awesome to have people I know and those I have never met tell me that they read this.  So thanks.  Hopefully, I will be a little more faithful with the story telling of what is current in my life, because lately it just seems so crazy that all I can do is throw up my arms and say its all you Lord.

This weekend was a very special time for Mission Aviation Fellowship as they came to thank New Heights Church for their support in donating a Quest Kodiak that will help provide physical and spiritual life for people many years to come.  It has been a long road to get it certified and dialed in to the point it is ready for the field.  

After doing a little maintenance on the Servant Wings 172 and a little run down around the waterfront Kodiak #11 landed at Pearson ready for a quick run to Hillsboro for fuel.
To my surprise I was able to get a ride which was pretty sweet.  I think that will be the last time sitting in the back seat (not flying) I will be as excited as I was.  Can you see it in my eyes?

This morning I took a call that was pretty hard. The call of a fellow friend and pilot who went to be with the Lord after getting into an airplane.  I am not sure even what to say about it because I know so little at this point. I do rejoice that he is in a better place, however it is a good reminder of how quick and fragile life is.  I have Pandora Radio on and Chris Rice is singing "Fly to Jesus."  Good stuff.

Well, I guess that is all for now.  Although it has been a pretty sobering day I have enjoyed the fellowship with everyone at the dedication picnic.  Good to see some peeps from church come and support.  I am always so impressed with the people from the family I will join soon.  I am so thankful for the opportunities that have been put before me.  I love the sun, and God is good. Peace.

Oh I have a streak of plane shadow pics so here is a good one of the Kodiak turning base over Hwy 14 for Rwy 26.

Besides the sound of the of the PT-6 spinning up, one of my top favorite things on this bird.

One more...this is Portland, but I am not sure if you can see it with those gigantic flap tracks in the way.

11 April 2009

The Chance of a Lifetime

So as I have been slowly clearing out my old computer and going over to the laptop I have ran across some different pictures, college papers, and just randomness.  Here is a draft that was eventually submitted to Leader magazine while I was going through the Air Force program at USC.  Aww...college.  Looking back it seems like a dream.  Enjoy.

Many boys dream about being a fighter pilot one day or even getting a chance to go for a ride in an aircraft of such great performance.  On the seventh and eighth of November 2002, six AF ROTC cadets from USC had the opportunity to live out this dream.

The first day consisted of egress training for those who were first to go up.  This showed us how to exit an F-16 safely in the event of an emergency on the ground or in the air.  We sat in a cockpit where the canopy came down and smoke was simulated to give the real effect of being in a burning plane.  Between the chair, parachute, and survival gear, there is a lot of equipment to strap on when in the F-16.  It is hard enough to jump out of a jet as it is, but if it is burning and you don’t know where to unlatch or detach, it could mean death.  Along with the egress training was some instruction on what to do if we did need to use our parachute.  We were strapped in to a hanging parachute and given a couple different scenarios for what kind of terrain we were about to land on.  In the same room we were told what type of survival equipment we had and how to use it.  Finally we had a short brief on what type of critters to avoid if we found ourselves in the Arizona desert.

There was enough free time to allow us to pick the pilots’ brains with questions on what life as a fighter pilot was like.  They really seemed to enjoy sharing with us, which we all agreed was a highlight of the trip.  One 1st First Lieutenant went the extra mile in setting up some simulator time before we actually went up for the real thing.  The simulator consisted of to scale size cockpit with all instruments simulating what we were about to see as the real thing.  We were able to feel and get used to the quarter inch movement in the fly by wire stick, which helped a lot by the time we had to take the controls for real.  It seemed to be a lot more sensitive than what most of us expected.  The lieutenant had us take off and then gave us various targets to shoot at.  After about twenty minutes, we were given the opportunity to land using all of the instruments, which we were a little more familiar with by that time  

Before the day of the flight we were all fitted for G-suits, helmets, masks, gloves, and given at least three motion sickness bags.  The fitting of the G-suits was a longer process than most of us expected.  Snaps, laces and zippers made a custom fit of them and we were soon to find out that the process was worth the time.  The process could be compared to that of a woman with a corset in the early twentieth century - very tight fitting.  The fitting process allowed us to talk with all of the pilots who came into the locker room. 

Finally, one of the last steps to qualify us to fly was to get checked out by the Flight Doc.  This consisted of a short briefing on the “G-strain” and what kinds of things to do before take off; get plenty of sleep, eat light foods, no caffeine, and a few other tips.  We were given physicals and were out the door with our paperwork in hand, ready to fly.

Whether we flew on Thursday or Friday we were all ready when it came time to take our seat in the F-16D.  Going into the locker room and seeing my name on the locker and finding all of the customized equipment fitted to my specifications, I felt like I was a part of the 61st Fighter Squadron for a day.  As I strapped and clipped things on I couldn’t help but think how everything I was putting on was not for comfort, but to keep me alive.  It came time to head for the flight line so I followed the Instructor Pilot and the student out to the van.  The next thing I know I am strapped in to the jet with 29,000 lbs of thrust behind me, brakes on, throttle at full military power, and adrenaline pumping.  After a few more checks on all the systems we were off the ground in formation, quickly moving to a tactical formation, side by side.  Twenty feet wingtip to wingtip!  I have ridden shotgun in a KC-10 with a boom operator where planes get close going relatively fast, but this was definitely a bit different.   

Although each flight was unique, thankfully they all had one thing in common - not a single cadet threw up.  Overall, the trip was a major success and helped keep a freshman cadet  motivated for his ensuing years at Detachment 060.  “After this amazing experience, I would say I am definitely “retained” not only because of the great flight, but the great people I have met.”  A senior cadet was also very impressed by the event, “The Luke AFB visit was my most valuable and interesting event that I will take away from ROTC.”  All of the cadets who participated agree that  it was a highly motivating experience -  the chance of a lifetime.

16 March 2009

Left Magneto Breaker Points

As mentioned previously there was an intermittent problem with the left magneto on the 206 which ended up being a nice little project for me while it was down for its annual inspection.  Upon taking the left magneto apart it was clear what the problem was.  The capacitor appeared to have been faulty at one point creating some pitting on the breaker points.  The points were not being allowed to separate from each other allowing the voltage in the primary circuit to go to the secondary which is in turn where the spark is created at the plugs.  After trying one of my freshly produced business cards out on the points to remove what looked to be a grain of sand it was apparent we needed some new points.  I never would have thought this would have happened considering the low time on the engine, but it was yet another great learning experience with Servant Wings as I prepare to get out in the field.
Unlike at A&P school, now I had to re-time the magneto, and fly it away.  There is something pretty awesome about that which I am still trying to put my finger on.  I guess just in general the whole mechanic thing has really grown on me.  I have said it once and will more than likely say it again because of my previous relationship with a wrench and tools in general.  Speaking of tools I need to go clean some...


01 March 2009


In the record of my adventure up to Everett a few weeks ago I stated that Kodiak #11 was in for paint.  What I meant to say was that it was Kodiak #10 which is not an MAF plane.  But you can still imagine the two planes talking to each other if you would like.  My brain just stops working when I get around Turbine Beavers, Kodiaks, etc.  Now that I think about it, it might have just been the paint I was inhaling.
On the topic of the first MAF Kodiak, my parents informed me last week that the first one is going to have "NH" as the last two letters on the tail signifying the church they attend here in Vancouver (New Heights).  Because the church played such a significant role in the purchase of the plane it will be here at Pearson Field for them to see before heading out to Idaho.  I might have to make the three mile ride for that.
So I hope this clarifies things for everyone.  Oh, and Kodiak 10 is going to Malaysia for some lucky bum just in case anyone wanted to know.

22 February 2009

N481P is back in the couve

Thursday afternoon I got a call telling me the 206 was done at Sunquest, so I prepared to go the next day to pick it up.  The trip up there was pretty uneventful which is always a good thing in the flying business.  

After looking over the newest Kodiak paint job, I pre-flighted the 206 and taxied out for run-up.  Right mag...check.  Left mag...no dice.  After taxiing back to troubleshoot the mag the problem could not be reproduced after pulling off the cowling.  I taxied out and took off for a late lunch at Tacoma Narrows.  I highly recommend Narrows Landing for lunch!  Very good service and food.   Before taking off I managed to get a photo with the new 206 paint scheme just outside the restaurant.  

481P is a new bird.  The hardware is new, many of the "character" dents were taken out, and to be honest I think it flys a little faster too ;)  Next up is to get the Servant Wings logo on the tail.

19 January 2009

New paint for an old bird

Well, it has been a while since I have updated this.  Not for a lack of time, but rather a lack of activity.  However today was a little different.  The last week or so I have been watching the weather rather closely up in Everett, WA so I could take a plane up to get a new Servant Wings paint job on it.  This Cessna 206 is not just any ol plane though, it has a pretty colorful history.  When I first started flying it, there was a brief write up about its history in one of the seat backs.

One Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) staff member from Venezuela wrote:

"We retired an old friend.  This was the first Cessna 206 in the Venezuelan program.  During her time here she flew about 9600 hours, carried approximately 4,000,000 pounds of cargo, 20,000 passengers, and covered about 1,250,000 miles.  I know of at least 3 people who entered this world on board her, and a few who went home to eternity.  Tractors, horses, bees, fish, medicine, Bibles, pastors, Love, Hope, and Light were all part of her cargo.  481P is like an old friend that I will miss.  Not just an airplane 481P has been one of God's tools, carrying His love to folks who haven't heard of Him yet."

Pretty incredible.

So today I took advantage of the clear Pacific Northwest day and made the trip up to Paine Field in 481P.  I observed the snow capped mountains of Adams, St. Helens, Rainier, Hood, and a few others.  My dad acting as co-pilot pointed out the strip at Bremerton National that he use to drag race on back in the day which I have heard a few stories about.  

After landing we pulled into Sunquest paint shop which just so happened to be painting the first Quest Kodiak that will be going to MAF.  Unfortunately, I landed a few minutes after they started spraying it so I didn't get any pictures.  I thought it was a pretty good moment though. This plane that has put on over 10,000 hours serving Christ was about to cross paths with the new generation of mission aviation planes.  As I sit writing this I can't help but think about what 481P would say to Kodiak #11.  "Look, I know you feel a little strange at this point being so clean and all.  Don't worry, before you know it you will be filled with all kinds of wonderful people throwing up, giving birth, and learning how to fly you.  In addition you will get to carry some animals that love to be clean.  Soon the masking tape will be off and replaced with mud, nicks, and perhaps a few bugs.  I know you feel pretty strong right now, but soon those crazy pilot/mechanics will get bored with your performance and start cutting on you.  I went under the knife getting modified wings, a gi-normous engine, and a few other things they call 'STCs.' To top it all off they put a mirror on the outside that they said was for 'operational' purposes, but I still think its for the pilots to make sure they look good out in the field. Anyways, don't worry you will be out of here soon."