Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Help Wanted

APRIL!!!??? That was my last post? Well, I try.

I am hoping this post turns up on someone´s search for wanting to come to Ecuador to help. Maybe if I through in enough "key words" it´ll work. Maybe one of the two people who read my blog might know how to help. Or know someone who might be interested.

As a pilot, most of my time is taken up with flying and related duties. I have very much enjoyed travelling to the indigenous communities on my time off to help with various projects. One of the projects that has been met with tremendous interest (and some success) has been an outreach program based on self-sustaining food production.

If you have been following my letters, you are aware of the food needs of the indigenous people. If you haven´t, ask me! My trouble is that my time is so limited and I have very little knowledge and experience in the area of raising chickens, pigs, fish, goats, cattle, etc. I have been trying to connect with people here in Ecuador that can help, but I have not had much success with that.

The primary goal is to reach people spiritually to foster relationships with God. The vast majority of the people living in the jungle of Ecuador have been "reached with the Gospel" but struggle to maintain their churches and teach the next generation. There must be an "in" and a way to build confidence if there is going to be success with teaching the Bible. I have found it incredibly easy to get invitations to communities once word got out that I am helping people learn to raise chickens, fish and construct methane producing bio digesters.

Again, my problem is my time. I would love to help someone who has the expertise and time who is excited about reaching and working with the indigenous community of Ecuador. If you have any interest in this type of activity, be it for a week, two, a month, a year or longer. Please let me know!

If you want more info, look on past blogs or just email me and ask. I can´t wait to talk to you!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"From the Logbook"

Many pilots have posts on their blogs and such that describe some of their flights. We pilots keep a record of all of our flights and usually have a little note about what was noteworthy about the flight. We call this our logbook, so when we share about our flights, it is common to title the article as I have done.

I have intended to blog more frequently about my flights, but those who know me well, don´t expect frequent postings, because I am a procrastinator of the first class.

But, never-the-less, here I am. I am going to try to post the pictures in the order that I write about them, but I haven´t gotten that to work well in the past on this blog.

A couple of weeks ago, I did a number of flights for a camp/spiritual retreat that Compassion International puts on every year. I flew dozens of kids out from the jungle and then a week later, flew them back in. It is a very exciting time for them, and I really enjoy being a part of that ministry because I have friends here and in the jungle who are church leaders because of these camps. I have been dubious about ministries like Compassion International in the past, but I whole-heartedly support the activities here in Ecuador. Learn how a little help can go a very long way by visiting their website.

On some of the same flights going in to pick up kids for the camp, I was able to fly in some of the church leaders for these comunities who were out in the city for a conference. I am very excited to see what God is doing in some of these indigenous churches. They younger people are really taking responsibility for their communities spiritual growth where they have traditionally waited for a missionary or visiting pastor to come.

These type of flights are some of what I consider to be "missionary" flights, because we are flying in direct support of missionary efforts. I really enjoy those and they are very fulfilling to me. But we do all sorts of other flying which helps to pay to subsidize the cost of the missionary flights. We fly Air Ambulance for the Ecuadorian Ministry of Health. We fly medical teams in and out of the jungle for regular, non-emergency health care. We fly tourists, volcanologists (I almost wrote "vulcanologists!"), teachers, community development workers, and many other regular passengers that live out in the jungle and need to travel for business or personal reasons. This is also fulfilling work because I get to interact directly with people and treat them with the respect and care that they rarely get from other aviation companies.

These last two days were especially full for me. I´ll give a short run-down of my activities that may only interest aviation buffs!

In the last two days, I logged 9.4 hours. I landed 25 times, carried over 40 passengers and a little over 3000 pounds of cargo. You can see where I travelled by visiting this link. I carried doctors, teachers, indigenous missionaries, a kid with a broken arm and a guy wanting to go out to the city to visit his sick wife in the hospital. I got to stay overnight at one of the communities to continue planning a mission´s trip I will be hosting in May. The weather was bad in Shell the next morning, so I took advantage and took a short canoe trip up the river! The last time I did this, I was the passenger and my friend did the work. This time I insisted he sit while I did the work!

The next picture is what I get to look at on my way to work sometimes when the skies are clear. This happens about 2 or 3 times a month, so it is not all the time! The picture hardly does the view justice, but it is still very pretty!

Finally, I wanted to brag a little and show you what the view is like from my office window! I love my job!!!!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Pilot AND Mechanic

One of the big advantages of being a pilot AND a mechanic is the ability to fix some of the things I find wrong with the airplane.

Yesterday during my customary preflight inspection, I found a couple of things that would have prevented flight until they were addressed. One was a hairline crack in a piece of the nose gear and the other was a control cable that was chafing. After checking in with the full time mechanics, it was decided to replace the offending piece of nose gear and install a piece of rubber to protect the cable. I was able to help with doing those and was able to get in the air before 10:00 am!

Thanks James, for helping with the nose gear!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

New Toy and Roaming Pictures

I have a very cool new toy!

Our other camera is a very nice one, but it is too big and bulky for me to easily take with me in the airplane and snap shots. So I bought a new one with a very cool feature: it records the GPS coordinates where the picture is taken, and I can easily upload to Google Earth in the exact location of the picture!

So, yesterday, I took it with me on my flight and snapped a few pictures of the strip where I landed. I did the same today and will be uploading all the pictures into Google Earth. It also works with Google Maps, as well as in Panoramio. I just have to figure out how to share links to all these sites.

For now, enjoy the pictures while I figure out how to link to the maps. Explore the jungle of Ecuador in Google Earth and maybe you´ll see my pictures!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

My First Solo Flight and Urgent Prayer Request

No, the two are not connected, fortunately!

I did get to do my first operational solo flight yesterday. In fact, I did two of them. I didn´t even know that I would be flying, but Chad, my boss, told me to get my plane ready as soon as I got to work in the morning! The strip where I was headed was fogged in for a little while, so I waited it out. Then, another pilot went there first and told me the weather was fine. So I got my passengers ready and off we went!

As is usually the case, it was a bit anti-clamactic. Because of the excellent training and preparation, the flight went without a hitch. I returned to Shell to worsening weather and then waited for the weather to clear on this end and made another flight to the same strip in the afternoon.

Apparently, there is a tradition here that the solo pilot gets a "bath" by the other staff upon his completion of his first solo flight. They at least waited until my last flight of the day to soak me!

Also, upon putting the airplane away, I was told that there was a restriction on our newly issued operations permit to only permit Ecuadorian national pilots to fly. Since my status is Resident, I don´t quite qualify; at least that is what they are saying for now.

So, for the time being, we have 5 airplanes and only 2 pilots to fly them. Our staff is busy working with the DGAC (Ecuadorian equivilant to the FAA) to try to change the ops permit and/or convince them to let me fly as an Ecuadorian. We have 3 pilots here that are on loan from MAF that are also unable to fly.

God is in control of this and is allowing this for a reason. We have to trust him to work this out for HIS own good and HIS glory. We are his servants, committed to his work and we don´t always know the WHY of things, but we trust him to allow things to work out.

Please pray for these things specifically:
  1. That the DGAC will allow us to operate with a full staff of pilots (both US and Ecuadorian).
  2. In the absence of a full permit, to allow me to fly as a Resident.
  3. That Richard, our flight coordinator who is an Ecuadorian commercial pilot, will be able to complete MAF flight training quickly to be added to our operations here as a pilot.
  4. That we will accept whatever decision the Lord allows and have good attitudes and be flexible to the changes.
The outcome of this decision will dramatically affect many lives here. But we know whatever the outcome, God will have something better for each one who no longer will be working here.

Thanks for your thoughts and prayers!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Shuar Artifact Photos

Clicking on the link below will take you to pictures of the crafts the Shuar people are trying to sell to raise funds for their self sustaining farming project.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Jan 3

I got to do a little flying in the last few weeks, but not much. I got to do the first flight in "Alas 10" after the engine was changed out. That entailed going up with Fred Schmidt, my instructor and I handled the controls while he wrote down all the numbers for about an hour.

I then flew some strictly training flights with Fred. We flew up some valleys to practice "Terrain Flying". That essentially means flying safely when manuevering in valleys and other mountanous territory.

Today, Fred and I flew into a community called Kapawi to take some health department workers who specialize in Malaria prevention and treatement. Learn more about Kapawi by clicking on this link. See a Google Map of the area by clicking on this link. You can barely make out the airstrip if you zoom in. We then flew to a community called Numbaimi to pick up a passenger returning to Shell. Our next stop was to pick up another snake bite patient in Kuankua. The lady had been bitten earlier in the morning and was convulsing and mostly unconsious when we arrived. Fortunately, we were able to radio ahead for an ambulance was waiting to take her to the hospital.

The Ecuadorian government pays for all the type of flights that I did today and it is really neat to see, despite all its shortfalls, how they take care of the people living in the jungle by providing for these types of flights.