Saturday, November 19, 2022

Exit Stage Right?!?

 Another 1st! International Operations to Congo-Brazzaville!

For many years, the team at the "HELP" hospital in Impfondo, Rep. of Congo, have been praying for an established mission aviation service. Since our program is pretty busy, here in Gabon, the best we can do is an occasional trip to lend a hand.  However, we have never tried a flight there... until now!

The Route:
Lebamba (Bongolo base) to Franceville (checking out of Gabon) to Ollombo (red dot on map; checking into Congo-Brazza) then to Impfondo,
where Hopital Evangelique Le Pioneer is located.

We don't have many flights to the "RIGHT SIDE" (East) of Gabon... and have NEVER exited the country this way!  Here's a picture of the "Bateke Plateau" that sits in Eastern Gabon and stretches into Congo.

Here's the moment we crossed the border for the 1st time to Congo!
This is our GPS giving us a birdseye view- the white curvy line is the border. 
The magenta line is our flight path.

Fabulous Weather and a 2 mile long runway welcomed us to Ollombo!
The airport personnel were very helpful and the HELP logistics support
staffer, mister Honore', was there to help with all the formalities.

After refueling, I loaded up some cargo for the hospital and one of their new staff, 
mister Tim, for the 1.8 hour flight to Impfondo

As you can see by the video, this last leg features a few rivers and a whole lot of marshlands and marshy forests!

Again, at the Impfondo airport, there were many helpful hands and the team leaders, 
Dr. Joe and Rebecca Harvey, welcomed me to their hospital campus,
just a 10 minute drive away.

In the morning, we were back to the airport, transporting a patient, 2 short-term medical visitors, and a staffer back to Ollombo where they would transfer to a 5 hour ground transport to complete their voyage to Brazzaville later in the day.

A last minute bandage dressing change for the patient.

Happy Passengers!  This one leg of the trip would normally be 2-3 days by ground... 
The flight is just 1.8 hours!  

Monday, October 31, 2022

Never Have We Ever... Until Now!

 Aviations Operations Hitting New Highs!


... done an Annual Maintenance Inspection in our Bongolo Hangar!

In May, thanks to our LeTourneau University intern, Chad, we pulled off our FIRST EVER annual aircraft inspection in the Bongolo hangar!  Typically, we fly the aircraft up to Cameroon (4 hours round trip of non-operational flying), to a friends hangar which is more robustly outfitted with a wide variety of service material. However, we've been slowly building capacity at Bongolo and, with our part-time pilot/mechanic, Rob, putting in some full-time work that week, along with Chad and I, the inspection went relatively smoothly!  Rob has a mechanic certification level (I.A.) appropriate to be meet the requirements to sign off this work.  We are thankful for this milestone in the program's history!


... found a permanent, relatively hassle-free, parking spot at the International Airport!

After a year of pursuit (letters to government ministers and the military and many visits to offices), we were given a parking spot on the military ramp, not far from where the national parks have their hangar.  Typically, upon arrival on flights from Bongolo (our base of operations), we were parking in a VERY remote part of the hangar where our support vehicles and passengers could not easily reach. Our little airplane was being asked to do all the things that the large commercial airliners were doing to comply and it was, let's say, "a challenge".  With the encouragement of the National Parks (a relationship built over years; mutually beneficial) this HUGE blessing came about.  We really are thanking the Lord. Our operations are so much more efficient as a result.


... landed at the Iguela Airstrip!

The Iguela airstrip is in a remote part of the coast where no roads reach from the capital city.  A request came in for assisting in a community project since all the national park aircraft were unavailable. Since it is our goal to become familiar with as many airports as possible (that have no regular air services), this was a big "win" for us in evaluating this airport that is a vital link in the region.


... landed at the Gamba Airport!

This is another key airstrip further south along the coast from Iguela. The airport is under the control of an oil company so we weren't exactly sure how the procedure to plan a trip there would work (Note: in the photo you can see their aircraft of choice- helicopters). Thankfully, a friend of the national parks sent a local contact and it was taken care of! They even had a tower controller who was very helpful and is also, like me, a fan of the soccer club Olympique de Marseille!  Again, it is very strategic for the this ministry of the church to have visit all the open airstrips to network well in support of their churches and in the case of a needed medical evacuation.

How many Public Airports exist in Gabon?  12
How many Private Airports exist in Gabon?  12 (one helicopter only)

How many of those has AMB, our operation, operated in/out of?  All but 5!!!  
(helicopter pads don't count 😄 )


... been the lead pilot and gone on vacation with Flight Operations continuing!!!

My copilot here is Rob P., who has previously been flying in Gabon, but he and I were never on staff at the same time!  So, in May and in August I was able to take some vacation time with family and Rob was there to keep the program running!!!  Rob's wife is a doctor in the ophthalmology training program. Rob is part time in aviation, but wears many hats (Dad-duty with son Isaac and I.T. especially) and they are gracious to juggle their schedule and he steps into full-time mode here and there.


... had a month with over 50 flight hours!!
June '22 was over 50 hours; October was a close 2nd "never have we ever" with about 45 flight hours! For a small operation with only one full time staffer and one part time staffer, this is a lot of work! We pray for another teammate (instructor) with the heart of a teacher since the national church and our mission team have tasked us with empowering local believers in the aviation department. 


... had an African mechanic helper!

A skilled young man in the community joined Rob and I during the last inspection- a sign of things to come, we pray! As mentioned above, our goal is not to indefinitely be an aviation department staffed only by foreigners. Our mandate is to include local people of faith who are also affirmed by their faith community in these efforts. To do this, as mentioned, we pray for at least one more staff to join us, with instructor certifications and a mentors heart, so that we can develop this area.

Please consider partnering with us in this important work to SHOW and TELL about God's Love.




UPDATE: Cessna 207 on Hold in Kenya

 When we last updated, in February ("Aircraft Engine Work")...

Our good friend from Cameroon, Emmanual, was on the job, installing the new exhaust and performing other critical elements to get N207BH ready for operation.

 BACKGROUND: You may recall that our next aircraft to join our fleet came from Zambia to the AIM AIR hangar in Nairobi, Kenya (July '21), where the team there (a few pictured here) generously agreed to host the aircraft's work to be visited by an FAA designated representative to re-register this aircraft under the US registry of aircraft.  The US registry is important so that our Gabon pilots and mechanics (at the moment, Rob P. and I) can exercise our FAA certificates as we operate.

GOOD NEWS!!!  ... the mechanical aspects of the aircraft are all done and it's running great thanks to the team at AIM AIR and our visiting tech's, like our good friend Dan S. from JAARS.

BAD NEWS!!!  ... the FAA inspector had some issues with the paperwork and questions about proper documentation about work completed on the aircraft more than a decade ago!  So... 

STEP 1: Digitize our Logbooks to better access and share. In the photo, our dear AIM AIR friend, Mel, diligently turns pages of logbooks and photos and then uploads them to our shared google drive.  An estimated 200 photos or more!!!

STEP 2: Contact the repair station that did the work in question (year 2010)... then we found out it's closed!... then found a former worker who knows where their archives are kept... then he get's back from vacation, finds (!) and sends the records; our team reviews them and new paperwork and information is prepped for the FAA inspector.

STEP 3:  Shared information with FAA inspector; got initial feedback; made a second draft of paperwork / information and resubmit.

This brings us to today...

STEP 4: Waiting for FAA feedback and, if approved, FINALLY make the official application for his visit to Kenya (he lives in Germany).


In the meantime...

We're flying a lot!!!
We're so thankful for the loaner aircraft from our SIL Aviation 
friends in Cameroon (a Cessna 206)
(standby for a posting regarding our stats)

... and we're SO VERY THANKFUL for all of you who encourage us
and who stand strong with us through prayer and resources.
God Bless You!

Please consider partnering with us in this important work to SHOW and TELL about God's Love.




Wednesday, July 6, 2022


 Our Annual Shipping Container

Saturday, 2nd of July, 2022
After over 3 months, our annual shipping
container arrives in Bongolo, Gabon!

29 March, 2022... Container leaves 
Omaha, Nebraska, USA

Depot 4 arrival: on a busy Saturday, the team & 
friends mobilized and the unload process started.

Did you know Bongolo had a fire truck?!?
Every now and then it needs a workout, so...

What better way to get your packages delivered?!? likely has not tried this method.

The containers bring the Bongolo team Hundreds
of pounds of medical equipment and medication
that doctors, like these (Dr. Deb and Dr. Bintou)
are able to use to serve patients at the hospital.

This doctor (Dr. Alicia) is also happy that, 
on top of all the hospital stuff, we get to add
in some personal items that help us to beautify
our homes, yummy treats that get us through,
and other odds and ends important to all the 
non-medical work that we do here as well.

Down to the last item- an anesthesia machine! 
These containers are "GAME CHANGERS"
and can only happen due to teamwork.
Speaking of which...

29th March, 2022... The Amazing Peeps at
CCC Omaha who loaded up this container!
 only 13.5 weeks later...
we're enjoying the fruits of their labor!!!

GET INVOLVED!!!  Join The FUN!!!

is the link for all this collaboration.  We're audacious
enough to believe that, like the scriptures teach, 

The Love our our Father, displayed through Jesus 
compels us.

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

Medivac 18 June

At Bongolo, a patient arrived, unconscious, 
with head injuries, after being hit with a car.
The Bongolo team relieved the pressure on his
brain, but a scanner and neuro-surgeon would 
be needed to continue care.  PIC: The Bongolo 
team makes arrangements for care to continue, 
after the medivac flight, in the capital city, Libreville.

Bongolo is currently without proper ground ambulance
transport, so a pickup truck was the best we could do.

Our Cessna 206 was prepped and ready to receive 
the patient.

One of our lead nurses, mister Bruno, provided care 
for the patient during the flight.

After an hour and 40 minutes, we were in Libreville where
an ambulance arrived and took the injured man to get a
head scan under the care of a neuro-surgeon.

It was late in the day, so Bruno and I spent the evening
in Libreville and then returned to Bongolo the next

Thanks to your teamwork, the aviation service exists 
to bless the people of this region of central Africa 
in the name of Jesus!  Please consider an investment
to keep this critical work moving forward.

Please consider partnering with us in this important work to SHOW and TELL about God's Love.






For many years we've enjoyed our Isuzu D-Max
Pickup, but now it's showing its age.
(pic: Alace snapshot of Megan circa 2010)

We rely HEAVILY on this pickup to transport
many items for the hospital and aircraft- especially 
when we refuel- we put a drum of fuel in the bed
and pull under the wing to make 1-person fueling possible.
(pic: Alace and Steve loaded for mobile medical clinic circa 2010)

We're seeking to replace this truck and add one 
like it for our Bongolo base of operations- a big
"ask"!  But, our Lord is able.  If you would like
to join us and invest in one of these pickups, 
please email us of your interest-
(pic: circa 2019- pickup still working strong; loading meds and equipment for Bongolo)

Without the truck, we struggle to move the fuel drums in 
place on the ground, and it becomes a 2-person operation.
Thank you for considering joining us in this CRITICAL
investment.  We've identified 4-door, 4x4 pickups available
NOW in the capital city of Libreville
(new Toyota Hilux approx. $41,000 USD).

(pic: our friend, Gustave, who assists in this work in many ways)

Please consider partnering with us in this important work to SHOW and TELL about God's Love.





Monday, May 30, 2022

Friday, April 22, 2022

Easter Medevac


Easter, 6am, at the Lebamba / Bongolo airport.
By God's grace, great weather.

Koulamoutou airport, a 40 minute flight East

With the help of the family and the doctor (seated behind me)
we quickly loaded and made our way to one of the few CT scanners
in the country, in the capital city. Two brothers were in a horrible 
car accident- one with a broken arm in the co-pilot seat, the other with 
a neck injury in the stretcher.

After an hour and thirty minutes, we were Libreville.
It turns out that this family was related to the minister of health
and church leaders have shared that this medevac has touched
many lives and helped them to understand the reach of God's Love!

We can only do this work with your help!  Thanks for being part of our team.

Please consider partnering with us in this important work to SHOW and TELL about God's Love.