Saturday, December 6, 2008

We have a winner!

The day before thanksgiving I purchased a vehicle! I had been in Lima, Peru for about a week and had a number of vehicles that I was looking at. Finally, It came down to a 2003 Kia Sorento that I got a good deal on! Purchased from the original owner, this vehicle, has 60,000 miles on it and was manufactured specifically for the forgien market which makes it a little different than the other Kia that I had been looking at.

I was very pleased to say under my budget, and had money left over to recharge the airconditioning, replace a broken window (that broke on thanksgiving day!) and transfer paperwork which is different here in Peru versus the USA.

It took two days to drive from Lima to Pucallpa. The journey is only 500 miles but it takes 16 hours. Some fellow SAM co-workers came over from Pucallpa and spent a day with me in Lima before we headed back together. We tested all systems on the car as we went from sea level to over 16'000 feet! Speeds ranged from 5 to 75 miles per hour and I got 25-27 MPG! I have been very happy with the diesel engine and here in Pucallpa, diesel is cheaper than regular gas by 10%.

Finally, as I was driving to work this week it started to rain. I thought about what it would have been like on my motorcycle and was very thankful to be dry and comfortable inside my vehicle! Thank you so much to the many people who gave to this project. It truely is a wonderful blessing for me!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Looking for a vehicle

Right now I am in Lima, looking for a vehicle to purchase and drive back over to Pucallpa. Thus I have been looking though the newspaper classifieds, and stopping at many of the used car lots. There are a number of options out there but I am looking closely at the Kia Sorento. With a 2.5 liter Turbo Diesel, it gets very good mileage and with diesel fuel being cheaper than regular gas, it is also more economical.
Here is a sample of that I looked at today. This is a 2002 model that was imported from Korea 2 years ago. It has 110,000 miles on it, leather, and even seat warmers... which I'm sure I would use all the time in Pucallpa.

This sunday the paper will come out and I will be looking it over for some more vehicles to check out, I already have a couple appointments for monday morning. Unfortunately the last 2 days have been holidays here in Lima, so many people are taking a 4 day weekend and most of the used car places are closed. I will be posting more updates throughout the week.

50 Pieces

After taking apart my motorcycle motor, and finally receiving a new engine case, I was finally able to start putting things back together. However, there were a couple of seals and 2 bearings that I was not able to save from the old engine case. So I had to order parts again from the USA and wait another 3 weeks for them to come.
They did finally come last week, and so I stayed late after hours a couple of days putting the engine back together. I honed the cylinder, installed new rings, lapped the valves, installed new valve guide seals, and even had time to but on a new rear tire with plenty of tread. That will come in handy for the rainy season which is just starting now.
So hopefully I will have a running motorcycle again some time after thanksgiving! More pictures to come.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

100 Pieces

About 2 months ago, I lent my motorcycle out to someone who was going on a four day trip with some other missionaries. On the last day of the trip, he had an accident and ended up breaking his foot and banging up the motorcycle pretty good as well. In fact, the engine case was damaged and it would leak about a quart of oil every week. I finally was able to receive a new case which I ordered from the USA. It was back ordered for a month so but I was able to keep the bike going by using a trick a friend had taught me with his 1966 Ford Galaxy. Whenever you stop, fill up the oil and check the gas.

I started working on the engine once I received the new case, but once everything was in about 100 parts, I found out that I needed a couple new bearings and oil seals. So my motocycle is in 100 pieces while I wait again for 3-4 weeks as my parts come from the USA. I have been able to borrow a friends motorcycle during this time and am taking every caution to make sure I don't damage his bike!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My room

Some people have been curious and have been asking for a peak inside my room at home. Nothing special here, but you can see the new air conditioner that was installed this past week! We had the initial test trial by have a bunch of people over and watching a movie in there with a projector.

You might also note there are some airplane pictures on the wall, those are some pics. that I took and then had printed out in 12x18. I went to a glass worker and he framed them for me.

A view outside my window shows a lot of green. Where I live there are 6 houses connected with an large outer wall but the yards are all shared. A nice place for the kids to play and run around.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


About 4 weeks ago, I was on a two day check out flight with my Chief pilot. We stopped in at 15 different places in the float plane so that I could see them first hand. I had my camera along with me during the trip but after about ten shots, the batteries died. Then on the second day I lost my camera all together.

I had just about committed it's electronic circuits it to the vast jungle of Peru, and finally come to peace with loosing my digital camera of 3 years, when it made an amazing appearance! Off all places, it was found in amongst my Chief pilot's laundry! Well, it somehow grew some type of jungle virus legs and wondered into the survival gear of my fellow pilot. There is stayed for the last 4 months contemplating it's next fiendish move when unexpectedly his daughter found the offending camera and asked me if I knew whose it was.

So now I have a camera again and maybe can post some current pictures instead of digging through the archives. Maybe the camera knew it would be best not to have pictures of my motorcycle incident because it would just scare my mom...

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Motorcycle accident!

Good, now that I have you attention with the vital of this post, I can let you know that my motorcycle is just fine and only came away with a few scraps. Still 100% ridable and no worse for the incident, the Yellow noise machine is still going.
I was returning from the SAM AIR hanger, as I do every day on a dirt and gravel road. I was going about 40 mph when all of a sudden I found myself sliding along the ground wondering what had just happend. I remember the distinct feeling of rocks underneath my chest slowed down and finally came to a stop. I sat up, moving my arms and legs to check for damage. No sharp shooting pain and nothing sticking out of my long pants or riding jersey. Somehow gravel hand managed to get inside of my gloves as I was sliding backwards along the road but none of my clothing was ripped. Pulled my bike out the of ditch, which had somehow managed to get turn around and was standing up right as if mocking me and wondering why I had taken a tumble. Upon returning home, I accessed the damages further and found a few scratches on my right leg along with a 4 inch scrap on my right fore arm. Thankfully I was still able to play soccer twice last week and one week after the accident, I am almost back all healed.

I was very thankful for my pants, long sleeve jersey, gloves, and helmet which kept me from any serious injuries. Also since the road was private, there was no traffic which could have compounded the situation. Thanks for your prayers for safety, they are being answered.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cookies at Twelve-Five

On a recent flight in our wheel plane Cessna 206. I was trying to find some tailwind and since I was light and had a 3 hour flight, I went up to 12,500 feet. I did find some still air which was better than 20 knots on the nose down low. It was cold up there, around 50 degrees but I did have some snacks with me to pass the time. So I enjoyed a cookie that my family sent me all the way from Michigan. Cheers!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Mr. Popular

For all those people who were never popular in school, here is the answer. Create instant crowd presence and popularity with an airplane! Add one part airplane, 2 parts of sunshine, 3 parts of really loud engine noise and mix together until creamy. Next, carefully fold in 1 Indian village and bake at 100 degrees for 30 seconds. When finished, look around and see who is Mr. Popular. For 30 minutes you will be the most popular thing around!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


One month ago, one of the missionaries down here introduced me to homemade granola. It was quite tasty and an instant breakfast hit. Unfortunately I ran out last week and had not where to go to get more! Then it occured to me that I could try to make more. I weighed this against all the other options that I had. 1) Could not buy granola because they don't sell it here. 2) Could not steal from the other missionary because they might kick me out of the mission. 3) Find some way to magically fabricate more granola.
Well, I decided that option 3 would be the best and so I set out to "whip up" some granola. Now anyone who tells you that cooking is easy or relaxing is either not telling to truth or has a morbid sense of humor. As I slaved away for 2 hours carefully measuring out ingredients, turning random oven knobs hoping for a fire to ignite in the proper place, burning all the good hair that I had left on my knuckles, and finally setting of 2 of the 3 smoke alarms in the house... I finally had my granola!
So rest assured that I will be just fine for the next few weeks. Breakfast will be a peacefully and filling affair, but I;m sure of one thing. Next time I'm just gona save myself all the hassle go with option #2!

Saturday, August 16, 2008


This past weekend, I had the opportunity to put two motorcycles and their riders into the back of our Cessna 206 and fly them off to a motorcycle race in the city of Tarapoto. The riders are both missionaries with SAM but they both enjoy motocross and use it as a tool for sharing the love of Jesus Christ with the other racers. The trip encompassed 3 days and my responsibilities included, pilot, baggage handler/loader, motorcycle mechanic, and race spotter.

It was a challenge to put the bikes in the airplane, but thanks to the large cargo doors on the 206, we were able to fit both bikes inside. It was a gross weight (3800 pounds) takeoff with a center of gravity (balance point of the airplane) right on the aft limit, but the cargo pod was a great help as all the heavy things went forward to keep the C.G. within allowable limits.

Todd took home second place in his category and Julio flew through the air landing the 1st place trophy in the 450cc class. I was just happy that nothing I fixed or worked on broke during the race...

Tarapoto is in foothills of the Andes mountains so the change in climate was a very welcome break. This was also grape country and for 3 days straight we sampled wonderful grape juice, a local specialty, with every meal.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

From the Logbook

I just got back on Monday from a 4 day trip to the city of Tarapoto. I was there with two of our SAM missionaries who were racing in a motocross event. More on that along with pictures in the next post, but I did want to mention that we took both motorcycles along with the 3 of us to and from Tarapoto in our Cessna 206. It was another 3 hours of flight time for me and I thought I would give a quick update from my pilot logbook.

Total time logged flying in Peru: 82.8 hours
Total Cross country (more than 50 miles away) 45.0
Total float plane time: 65.9

For being in Pucallpa for around 5 months, I am starting to fly more and more. On a busy month, a fully checked out pilot can log up to 80 flight hours! I´m not there yet, but I am getting more and more experience.

Friday, July 18, 2008


It was supposed to be fairly simple, take the 2 hour Annual Check Ride (ACR) with our program manager. Normally, one hour of flight and one hour of ground review are included. However, some times it can take all day.
Ground review of Peruvian air regulation led to the discovery of 3 types of airspace A, D, and G. With A starting at FL 240 and G from the surface to FL240. D is only used around a couple airports that have control towers.

Anyways, the ground review took 2 hours and then as we were getting ready to fly, a call came in for an emergency flight to a village about 1 hour away. So we changed plans and headed out to pick up the sick person in the village. Landing the float plane, I shut down and got out on the float to dock the plane with a dugout canoe. Standing in the canoe, the wind started to blow the airplane and so I pulled on the tow rope and only succeeded in losing my balance and falling out of the canoe. Waist deap in murky water, I could hear the muffled laughter of my fellow "comrade" and check pilot. I'm not sure what he found so amusing.

We get the patient loaded up in the stretcher in back along with the nurse. I begin to load some baggage into the pontoon when I manage to wrack my head against the wing strut. Wow, that hurt but I think I am ok. As I continue loading I notice red splotches on the white floats and a quick check reveals I am leaking 5606 hydraulic fluid from my head. Thankfully the other pilot is there to wash the wound with my bottled drinking water and put antibiotic creme on a gauze pad. Man, why is he laughing again? Now, what to hold this bandage in place? Oh, of course, my helmet. So off we go with me still soaking wet and my head throbbing away... perfect time to practice an instrument approach on the way pack into Pucallpa.
One VOR/DME approach and 60 minutes later we are on the water again and the patient is on his way to the hospital. By 3pm I am back in the office regaling our secretary with the whole story. I guess sometimes when it rains is pours. At least I passed the ACR.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Float plane landing

Here is a video clip of one of my first float plane checkout flights with our Chief Pilot, Jon. These were taken about two months ago but I have just now had the chance to post them. Only took about 15 minutes to upload each video... which is a miracle in it's own right. Note how EVERYTHING is green down there. Also, if you look close, you can see some of the logs and branches that are sticking out of the river, you want to avoid hitting these with the floats at all costs. Also notice that since none of these rivers are straight, the traffic pattern that we fly is not very "standard".

One of the great challenges of flying the float plane is that the conditions of the river change every time you go somewhere. Even if it is the same place, there may be a new log, a new sandbar, or some other thing that makes you adjust your approach or touchdown point. I won't even talk about docking the float plane as that deserves it's own post. Suffice it to say, it is very tricky to dock the plane when you are fighting the river current, wind, and can only go forward and not backwards with the airplane. It is quite a challenge but I love it!

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cleaning out the fridge

When I first got to Pucallpa, I lived in this small two room house with another SAM missionary. During the day the house was hotter than a pistol as there were no shade trees and at night the steady hum of machinery from a saw mill and the wiff of acrid black smoke gently put me to sleep. I lived here for two months until my roommate moved back to the USA.

I have a number of stories from that house, the roach that I killed the first night by stepping on it in the dark, the frog staring back at me from the shower head 3 inches away from my nose, and of course our refrigerator. REFRIGERATOR? Yes, the fridge. Our wonderful ice making machine. The problem was that it made ice where it was not supposed to. The top freezer portion, if left unchecked, would continue to build up more and more ice, encapsulating anything that was left in the freezer for more than a week.

One saturday I decided to clean out the ice build up. Dethawing would take to long and leave a wet mess all over the kitchen, so I used the one solution that I knew of. Mr. Estwing. A 20 ounce Estwing hammer would make quick work of all that ice! Just five short minutes later, the kitchen floor was full of ice but the freezer was empty! Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


Today I was off to Bellavista with Dave, our cheif pilot. Bellavista is a small community of 100 people and there is a missionary family that has been there for a number of years. They used to have to travel two weeks by boat to reach the village but once they found out about SAM AIR, we were able to show them it would only be 50 minutes by air! They now exclusively us SAM AIR!
The river that runs right by the village is not straight which makes the approach to landing and takeoff very challenging. Read: FUN! (if you are a pilot). We set up on final approach with full flaps (30 degrees for the float plane) and 60 knots airspeed. Coming just 10-15 feet over the approach end trees, you land, and immediately get ready to dock. It all happens in less than 30 seconds!

The missionary family was eager to see us as we had about 250 kilos of food and supplies for them. We were given the grand tour of their house and the village and spent about half an hour catching them up on the latest news from the "outside world". For me, it was really fulfilling to spend time with them and realize that I was part of the team helping them with their work in that village!
Ok, back to flying. So for takeoff, you go up river, do all your checks, turn around and cob the power. Hugging the right hand side of the river, you have to be up on the step and indicating about 40 knots before the bend in the river. Then, just like in NASCAR, you cut the left hand corner on the inside. While you are doing this, you have full left aileron and are putting the flaps down to 20 degrees and raising the right float out of the water. At 50 knots you are off the water and on the way to climbing out above the 100 foot trees in the remaining straight part of the river. What a day!

Note: For those of you who are not pilots or have no interest in aviation. I will try to write something in the english language that is understandable and that you can hopefully relate to in the next blog post. Thanks for your patience, but there are people who actually understand these things and get excited about them as well! I know, we are all just "plane" nuts!

Friday, June 20, 2008

First flight

This past week, I had my first operational flight here in Peru. Having finally received my Peruvian Pilot license the week before, I was able to log 3.5 hours with 10 takeoffs and landings. I guess they would be splashdowns as all of this was in the float plane.
There was a team of 15 people who were visiting an Indian village about 20 minutes away so I got to shuttle people back a
nd forth for the whole morning.

It was a great experience and I am looking forward to going on more and more solo flights. I still and getting checkout into many different places but it is a little slow as we have to work around our normal flight schedule as well. Thus, I have been flying about 1-2 times per week. But, whenever we have space I get to go along and do the flying.

I imagine it will be a snowball type of affect as I get checked out into more and more places, I will be able to do more and more flights. So, it looks like with time I will be flying 3-4 times a week. The main goal right now is to get me ready for this fall when we have two weeks that will be very full with every pilot flying 6-8 hours per day for two weeks straight. I'll continue to keep you posted.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Fathers Day

Once again, I found myself at the South America Mission guest house in Lima. My cousin had just spent almost two weeks in Peru visiting me and helping install a computer network in our office at SAM AIR. Having dropped my cousin off at the airport, I had a day and a half before my flight back to Pucallpa. So, I made the best of my time all day Saturday and it got me inspired to write something up for fathers day.

Growing up, I remember my own father working around the house. Some of my clearer memories of childhood were of me “helping” him repair ovens, replace window screens, build ping pong tables, and other such handyman jobs. When I was 7 years old I even wrote a father’s day card in the shape of a tool belt that said how I wanted to be like my dad. Well, for my day at the Lima guest house, I found myself doing the same things my father had taught me.

From talking with the lady who runs the house, I knew that there were a few different issues that needed to be addressed. So, I spent my day installing a new window screen, fixing a leaking faucet, and buying and installing both a fluorescent light fixture, and shower head/valve assembly. These things, in my mind, were simple jobs yet I knew that not everyone knew how to do them or would take pleasure in them as I did. The satisfaction of fixing something that was once broken or leaking is a wonderful feeling.

So Dad, this blog post if for you. Thanks for teaching me how to work with my hands. Thanks for teaching me that no job, even a leaky faucet, is to small to fix. Twenty years after that card that I gave you, I still find myself wanting to be like you. Happy fathers day!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mini motorcycle trip

A month ago, on a Saturday morning, I went out with a few other missionaries for a little motorcycle ride. The guys I went with, really love trail riding and so we got our bikes pretty muddy.

It was also sweltering so whenever we stopped to lift our bikes over logs that were in the trail, the sweat flowed and even soaked our socks. Most of the trails were cow paths leading back into the middle of nowhere. Thank fully nobody broke down or got hurt bad. It is amazing that those dirt bikes can handle.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Turbo 206 Pictures

As promised, here are some shots of our new Turbo charged 206. These were taken during an inspection by the government. They had to check and make sure the prop, engine, and accessory serial numbers were the same as they had on their documentation. Jon, Craig, and Hammer all jumped in to pull the cowlings and spinner.
I also got a good shot of our tail number N9878Z along with our other SAM AIR wheel plane and a military helicopter in the background.

We are all looking forward to flying behind the Gamin 530 GPS system! JAARS did a really good job on the panel overhaul. Special thanks to Electronics International for donating the 6 point EGT/CHT gauge.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

First visitor

Even though my first visitor is not even here yet I am already quite excited. My cousin, Ed, is coming from Florida to work for a week at the SAM AIR hanger. He will be helping out by installing a network NAS drive. I honestly have no idea what that means, but I think it helps the computers talk to each other and share data faster. So he will be working on that along with our office manager Mike. Then, we will be taking 5 days and Ed and I will be going to Arequipa, Peru. We hope to try all the local foods, do some hiking, and hopefully relax. I know I need it.

The other day I went on another orientation flight with one of our pilots named Craig. We were in the float plane were headed up north to the MaraƱon river. The weather was not great but it was a good learning experience as we were down to 1000 feet above the ground for an hour and half before the clouds started to break up and we could get on top. We were going to 3 different Indian villages to pick up 4 Indians who would be working on a New Testament Revision for their tribal language. Since the center where the revision work is done is in Pucallpa, we picked them up and brought them back to Pucallpa.

I got to load and unload all the cargo but I was sweating pretty good due to the 90 degree heat and humidity. We unloaded a Honda 5 hp engine along with a ten foot out board drive shaft. Think of it as a propeller shaft that hooks up to the motor so they can move their canoes around by motor instead of paddling. There was also a live chicken that came along for the ride but it stayed in the float baggage compartment.

We saw some virgin jungle waterfalls and landed on two very swift rivers. Infact, you could stand still with relation to the river bank while you were taxing in the water! It was 6.6 hours of flying and we were gone from 10am until 6pm. What a day!

Monday, May 26, 2008

More good news

This morning I talked with the DGAC (Peru aviation authority's) about getting my mechanic certificate convalidated. They were a little confused at they told me my license was waiting for me in Lima but that, as I told them, was my pilot license. (It was nice to reconfirm that it is there and ready for me) But as fas as my mechanic certificate goes, I still have to receive a practical check from a government inspector.
Thankfully this past week we had a maintenance inspector out here to check out our float plane and he will be coming back next week to check out our new Turbo 206. So I managed to get my practical check scheduled with him while he is here next week. It was an advantage to meet him previously because when I talked with him on the phone, he was informed about my situation. So things are coming together slowly but surely.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


This past week we had an annual inspection on one of our airplanes. It was very interesting because the government actually has to send an inspector to look at the airplane but he only looks at a few things or check certain things, basically what ever he wants to see he checks out. But Todd and Hammer, our two mechanics did well and I even tagged along for the day and observed. I was hoping I could also do my practical check to get my mechanic certificate but that ended up falling through because nobody had communicated with the inspector...
In other news, we have one of our pilots getting home from furlough tomorrow. So now we will be up to 2 full pilots and me... so that is like 2.5 pilots as I still do not have a license and still have to be checked out to go solo as of yet.
This past week we received our, new to us, Cessna Turbo 206. It basically is the same as our other 2 airplanes but the difference is the engine in that it has a turbocharger that is able to keep the rated horsepower up to 16,000 feet. Non-turbocharged airplanes lose horsepower as they climb due to the fact that the air becomes less and less dense as you go higher. The turbo compresses the air and makes it so that the engine has just as much air as sea level. We still need permission to operate the airplane in Peru but at least we have it down here. Pictures to come!
One last thing, the pilot who brought the plane down stopped in 5 different countries on the way down. Unfortunately he said he had the most problems with clearances, flight plans, and customs in Peru and NOT in the other 4 countries!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The latest

Well I had been waiting for my pilot certifacte to come through and the latest word was that I would have a checkride on the 22nd of this month. Then today we heard from the government that I would need to got to Lima again because my pilot license was ready to be picked up! Without having to do a checkride... So I don´t really understand it, but I will take that! Not sure when I will be going but I would imagine in a week or so.

I am still flying with my Chief Pilot here. We had a 5 hour traing flight yesterday with the float plane. I will post some pictures as I came into town where there is fast inernet. Yes, we do land on there rivers. Some of the approaches require low turns over the river or on take off you have to follow the river while you climb out above the trees!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Still waiting

Two weeks ago I called the Government inspector about scheduling a time to receive my final checkride. This is the last thing, that I know of at least, that I need to do before I receive a pilot license down here in Peru. So he said to call him back the next week on Monday. So I waited 5 days and then called him Monday morning. He told me that that week we was going to be in northern Peru but was going to be coming out to Pucallpa on Tuesday or Wednesday of the following week and I should call him again the following Monday.
So yesterday I called him again and he said he was still in Northern Peru and for the next 2 weeks he was going to be busy. He did suggest that I call the DGAC offices and see if someone else could come out to Pucallpa and to the check ride.
So we called the DGAC, they gave us two numbers for the person that is in charge of the Pucallpa area and of course when we dialed the number it was a wrong number. So we call back to the office and they give us another number which when dialed is also not correct. Then we call back to the DGAC office a 3rd time and they give a 3rd number for someone else and he is not picking up his phone. So at the moment we are not really sure what in the world we are going to do but something has to give right?
Maybe I can just start flying down here without a license because they would never find out because they are never out here and don´t want to work with us or help us in anyway at all. But of course the moment we did that you know they would show up with a surprise inspection. You can´t win for loosing.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Pilot License

It has been a while since my last blog post. I have been putting it off because for the last 3 weeks I have always been "just a few days away" from getting my pilot license and wanted to put a post up once I had it in hand.
Unfortunately it has been a roller coaster ride and I have been back and forth to the DGAC (government aviation) offices about 6 times and even made a 1 week trip to Pucallpa because I thought I was going to get my final checkride out there in SAM AIR's Cessna 206.
So I am back in Lima again and hoping to get a final resolution. I would really appreciate your prayer during this time as I have been disappointed a number of times and often feel as though I am spinning my wheels as things continue to change. I will keep you posted!

Friday, March 28, 2008

Technologically advanced

One of the signs of developing 3rd world countries is the acceptance and implementation of 1st word technologies. Today, I saw this demonstrated first hand.
Peruvians are very resourceful and continue to amaze me more and more every day. I saw a gentleman today who was delivering furniture. Instead of carrying the furniture on his back, like other lesser devolved countries would do, this man had fashion a custom three wheeled furniture transporter!

Featuring a remarkable blend in technology of adequate transportation space, combined with low drag from only three wheels, this man had not only achieve a low carbon footprint (something highly sought after in 1st world countries) but had also solved the problem of maintaining his slim figure by fashioning an ingenious direct drive system that was self powered. A slim figure by the way is HIGHLY desirable in 1st world countries, even more so than low carbon emissions.

Security for the transportation module was simplistically brilliant. Any potential thief would have to be extremely physically fit to out run the Police in their "High carbon foot print" 4x4 vehicles. To top it all off, I also witnessed the very latest in "adaptive new technology use". Two computer mice were used to secure the vehicle from rolling away while the transportation module was not attended. What better way to not only make a fashion statement, but also provide the ultimate in home PC security. Everyone knows, with out a mouse, your sunk trying to navigate about the latest 486 desktop PC here in Peru.

For those of you unfamiliar with the 486 computer, 1st world countries have found the following uses for these multipurpose machines: They are adequately sized to be used as targets for various calibers of guns at shooting ranges, ideally suted for placement in most modern landfills, serve as excellent dust collectors in many basements, and one or two have even been spotted in museums of technology and history. A few users have had occasional operational problems with this most recent of technologies. After all, it's there to HELP you and make life SIMPLER. However, your mileage may vary...

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Done with language school

This past week I finished my Spanish language studies! After almost 9 months of classes, I am done! I do feel fairly comfortable talking with people and doing the things that I need to do with my Spanish, however there is always more vocabulary to learn.
For a while there, I was really worried about my Spanish level because it was not perfect. I finally realized that it would never be truly perfect and that for the type of job that I have, I do not need to be very articulate. It would be something different if I were a pastor or if my job was teaching at one of the SAM bible schools. So I am content and looking forward to begining my flight check out process in April.

On a sadder note, the day I was leaving Arequipa, the father of my host home mother died. He had been living on the first floor of the house along with his wife for a number of years and in the 9 months I lived with the family, he had been to the hospital 4 different times. Then, this past time he had been there for about 3 days but was doing OK. He could still talk, was making jokes, and had a very sharp mind. However, the years of smoking finally caught up with him leaving him bed ridden. As we were driving to the airport to catch my flight to Lima, we received a call that they were doing CPR and we should come quickly. I went on to the airport and the family went directly to the hospital.

The funeral was a day later on the 25th and I was not able to attend because I left for Lima and am still here presenting my paperwork to receive my Pilot license. Two months earlier we had celebrated his birthday. After blowing out the single candle, he announced to the family and friends gathered around that his one wish was that we would all see each other again in Heaven.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Being Sick

For the past 10 days or so, I have been sick. It all started Wednesday evening at our SAM yearly conference. Perhaps 50 people all living in close quarters for a week was just too much for my system. I recognized the dry scratchy throat symptoms setting in so I went straight for the bottle... of water that is. Trying to catch the thing on the uptake only resulted in making frequent trips to the men's room, always an adventure in a new location at night while trying to hold back the sea.

By Friday I was feeling quite tired and congested as well. Thankfully the conference was over and I had the weekend back at my host home to recover. Or so I thought. Saturday the family went down to the beach, a 3 hour bus ride, and a change in elevation of about 7500 feet. While riding the bus in Peru is generally not a terribly pleasant experience, this trip was even more memorable. By the time the bus arrived at its final destination, I couldn't hear a blessed thing as my ears were plugged up tight and I was asking people if the ringing in my head bothered them. Thankfully after 8 hours of sleep and and an equal number of trips to the bathroom, I could hear again.
I have to segway here and say that I have learned Peruvians are very helpful. If there is a problem, they don't hesitate offering a solution. So here are some of the solutions that I was given to cure my cold:

Drink lemonade.
Take flu medication.
Suck on candy.
Stick something inside your ear to "pop" your ears and relieve the pressure.
Sleep on the ear that is plugged up the most.
Rub menthol on your chest and feet before you go to bed.
Drink hot tea.
Drink hot water with honey mixed into it.
Take hot showers.
Take cold showers.
Wear a jacket.
Wear socks.
Don't get wet when it rains.

Anyways, by Monday I had begun to have headaches during the day and I was talking through my nose as well. Naps in the afternoon did not seem to help and on Wednesday, Advil could not even touch the roaring headache I had. It hurt to put my head below my waist. It felt like someone had a bicycle pump inside of my brain and was attempting to inflate a 10-person life raft in record time. The only thing that helped was keeping a very low profile at home and not moving around a lot. Well, expect for the trips to the john (I was still drinking plenty of water).

Finally 2 beakthroughs. I received an e-mail from one of my supporters who is a nurse and she pointed out the color of a person's phlem can tell a lot. I knew this as I had been quite facinated by the kaleidoscope of colors I had seen emitting from the two holes of my personal FFF (far flem flinging) nose. My nurse friend (thanks Rachel) tipped me off to the idea of a bacterial infection but it was not until Friday morning that fellow SAM missionaries (thanks Tim and Hannah) at language school looked at me and sad quite plainly, You need antibiotics.

Suddenly the light when on and without hesitation we headed out to the pharmacy around the corner. After a 30 second "consultation" with the lady at the counter, she gave me a 5 day supply of antibiotics and a nasal decongestant. The price by the way was $7 total.
After 3 days I can happily say the "little drummer boy" inside my head has quite his double timed beat, and my FFF nose has resumed a somewhat normal production rate that only rivals the GDP of a small 3rd world country instead of the previous 1st world phlem which at its height was adequate for greasing tractor wheel bearings. However, the one constant still remains... retracing my well worn path to the head every few hours due to my continued affinity for water.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Some things are in English

The hard part about learning a langauge, I find, is that words in english and words in spanish do not sound the same. DUH!! But some times you get lucky and learning new words does not take that much effort. Here are some examples.

Dune buddy = Tubular

Masking tape = Scotch

Flash = Flash

Internet = Internet or En Red which literally translated is "in fishing net"

Full (as in, the parking lot is full) = Full

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Floats

About 6 months ago, SAM AIR purchased some new Aerocet fiberglass floats to replace the old aluminum Edo's for our Cessna 206 floatplane. I received an e-mail from my Chief Pilot this week with his comments and some pictures. I have posted them for the enjoyment of the airplane nuts... of which I am perhaps the biggest! Pictures are credited to Todd from SAM AIR. The following is what Jon, our Chief Pilot wrote:

I have now flown them (new floats) on several occasions all over the jungles of Peru, and have made some observations. So we are on the same page as far
as how the airplane is equipped. It is on a U206G with the Bonaire IO-550 conversion with the Hartzell Top Prop. It is equipped with the Flint Tips (3800# Gross Weight) and Horton STOL. (Short Take-Off and Land)

The first thing I noticed is that as soon as you crank up, idle tax speed is noticably faster (OK in most places but more of a challenge in a marginal river takeoff where you have no space to taxi upriver and too narrow to turn around most of the time).
2. Water rudders are more effective.

3. Seems to wallow more in the plow, and makes a deeper wake!

4. Step turns feel similar to the Edos.
5. Comes out of the water at #3800 in 40 seconds (Edos were 1 minute plus!).
6. Seems to have more of a suction than the Edos.
7. Very little sence of acceleration on lift off and ve
ry little nose over tendency on touchdown. (very slippery due to no drag from rivet heads)
8. Seems to have a steeper Vx climb, hard to put numbers on it but have been able to climb straight out in places where I used to have to fly the river.

9. Rate of climb is improved by 50fpm+.
10. Flying wires sing on descent.
11. Installed in 32 man hours.
12. Lighter by more than 50 lbs.