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!