Friday, December 24, 2010
There is only one distributor of aviation fuel here in Peru. I am told that every year one tanker ship comes from either Houston or Venezuela with enough fuel for the 40 piston powered airplanes that fly in Peru. At the SAMAIR hanger we have a 9000 gallons storage tank for aviation fuel, however our permit only allows us to buy 3000 gallons at a time. That is enough fuel to keep us flying for almost 2 months.
Fuel arrives from Lima, an 18 hour drive, by tanker truck. We then hook the truck up to our tank and using the electric pump that is used for filling up the airplanes, we throw some valves and are able to pump it off the big truck and into our 9000 gallon tank. It takes about an hour to offload all 3000 gallons at a time.
After checking the fuel level and making sure we did receive a full load, its time to drain a sample and check for water. If everything is ok, we are good to go for another 2 months.
Thursday, December 9, 2010
The rebuild project on our 1980 Cessna 206, OB-1671, continues to move forward. This past week work was completed on a number of bits and pieces. The complete rudder pedal system was stripped of paint, repaired where needed, primed and painted a gloss black. All of the push rods and bell cranks for the aileron and flap systems were bead blasted to remove the old paint, had new bearing installed and shot with a green primer. they will be ready for installation with new hardware once the work on the wings has been completed.
Even the program manager, Craig, visited the bowels of the shop to check out the cowl flap I had just finished riveting together.
At the moment we are anxiously waiting for out latest parts shipment to arrive. It had been in Peru for a month now, but problems with some paint thinner have kept things from moving forward. In the end, we had to send the thinner back to the USA and are looking for other options! Scheduled completion time frame is April or May of 2011.
Saturday, December 4, 2010
This is a short story, one where God was the author, and I was his instrument.
On Thursday, I took off in the morning with a full load of cargo and roofing tin that was destined for the village community of Tsoroja. After dropping of the cargo, I had a short 20 minute flight to a city so that I could pick up a drum of fuel and bring that to the community as well. While in the air, I recieved a call from home base about a request for an emergency flight. I was told the patient was a child and would be at the very city I was landing at to pick up the fuel drum. Upon landing I coordinated with the people to have the child brought to the airport at 1pm so I could pick him up on the way back to Pucallpa.
After making the 20 minute flight back to Tsoroja and dropping off the fuel, my passengers from the Pioneer mission climbed aboard and we were on our way. Ten minutes after takeoff, home base called and said the weather was terrible back at home base! Winds of 30 mph and heavy rain had reduced visibility and the clouds we in the tops of the trees! I told home base to give me a call again in 20 minutes once I was on the ground picking up the sick boy.
Upon landing, I was very surprised to see a grown man with an IV waiting to get on the airplane! All 5 of my seats were already full! I had been planning on having the "child" share a seat with one of the children of the missionaries. After much discussion, we agreed to have one of the missionaries give up their seat for the sick patient. A second flight would have to be done the following day to pick up the missionary who stayed behind.
During this time I was also in contact with home base and was able to check the satilite imagery as well. We had to leave by 4pm or else plan on spending the night and risk not being able to evacuate the sick man. At 3:30, home base informed me that the weather was looking better, I could see there were still large rain showers but there appeared to be away around them. We loaded up and took off just before 4pm. The hour and 20 minute flight to Pucallpa was bumpy and rainy, but the weather held out and I was able to make a landing at the Pucallpa airport in the rain a little after 5pm.
The next morning I called a friend of a patient to inquire about his condition. He informed me that at 10:30pm the previous night, they had operated on the patient for appendicitis. He was in stable condition and recovering just fine. The friend of the patient thanked me up and down for doing the flight and getting him to the Hospital in time. It was a privilege to be part of God's perfect plan on a day when a flight "just happened" to be in the area and to when the weather was "just good enough" to get back home as well. To my supporters and pray partners, I in turn would like to that you for your support and prayers. It would not be possible without you behind me.