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.