Thursday, December 31, 2015

Spinning in the New Year!

The "ADOPT-A-PROP" campaign has finished up this morning, here in Africa!  Rob called to report a successful "RTS- Return to Service" test flight where the new prop was put through its paces.  Here is more from the process:

"The new prop and spinner are installed. Paul (Bongolo Hospital facilities director) helped me enormously by building a 3" wrench extension for loosening and torqueing the prop.  It is pretty tight between the case and studs.

Jean (one of our hangar workers) gave a great idea for how to push the prop off (using wood between the case and studs and then backing off the nuts against the wood)."
Nicolas and Jean, our two teammates at Bongolo Hospital airport, with the new, Hartzell Scimitar propellor on the front of the Cessna 207.

Thanks to everyone, as always, for your support and encouragement to make this work possible.


To donate to this work...

To support our work:

1.  Log on to  and enter "Stephen Straw" under "Give to International Workers".  You can make your donation recurrent with this choice.  (If you wish to channel your giving to the aviation operations and airplane, you may enter "Gabon Airplane".)

To make a year end gift to the work of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, click here.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Only with your teamwork! Merry Christmas!

The AMB Cessna 207 only stays airborne with your teamwork.  This year, we are especially thankful for the faithful monthly donors to our aircraft account as well as the one time donations that help us with some upgrades and replacements.

One such gift came out of our "Adopt-a-Prop" campaign.  Here it is upon arrival in Bongolo, on our most recent container.  The container was cleared from the port with some extra effort- a bit delayed, but the team is happy it was before Christmas!  So, soon, it will be spinning away on the front of our Cessna 207. 

Thanks for your encouragement and support.  
We truly are so grateful for how you support us.

We wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a great New Year.

To support our work:

1.  Log on to  and enter "Stephen Straw" under "Give to International Workers".  You can make your donation recurrent with this choice.  (If you wish to channel your giving to the aviation operations and airplane, you may enter "Gabon Airplane".)

To make a year end gift to the work of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, click here.

Disorientation, Vertigo, Nose Dives and The Fix

I enjoy flying.  Not sure if you picked up on that by reading any of my earlier posts, but I thought I'd clarify, just in case.  Not only do I enjoy flying, but I enjoy aviation, in general.  It's always changing, upgrading, tweaking, and evolving.

Frankly, that describes most of our lives.  If your like me (and I know I am), then you are putting forth some type of effort to be a life-long learner.  We get up in the morning, do our morning ritual, and then get out there and put to use the equipping that we've been blessed with and look for opportunities to take it to the next level.

In the aviation industry, the same has and is happening.  In the early years, the reasons for aircraft accidents were 80% mechanical and 20% pilot error.  Now-a-days, it's the complete opposite.  Our learning about how to make, repair, and maintain aircraft and the components has resulted in an amazing safety record.  Accidents are more rare and, when they do happen, it's likely NOT a mechanical issue, rather a human error.


In life, it'd be wonderful if we had a "mechanic" or "engineer" to blame for our mishaps, but, for most adults, we find ourselves to blame for most all of the "accidents" of life.  I realize that there are some (too many) that are in very sad, sad situations where there is little to no control over their daily state of affairs and are paying the price for others poor choices.  For those outside of that category, we have the great opportunity to make a choice.

To make a choice, however, we have to have a foundation that informs us what IS, indeed a good choice.  For many that read this, we would point to a knowledge of what is good, lovely, pure, and
just based upon our understanding of scriptures and on who God is as revealed through Jesus, His Son (Merry Christmas everybody!!!).  The challenge is that, when we stray from a firm foundation where we can trust our decision making process, we can start to make faulty decisions.

For pilots, we have quite an array of information staring back at us from our instrument panel that is the basis for our decisions.  For pilots of smaller aircraft, a vacuum pump is at the heart of a some of our primary instruments and, when that pump starts to fail, those instruments don't quickly give indication of the failure... it's slow, quiet, and insidious.  Everything appears normal, but it is sometimes slow and, before it is too late, the pilot is unknowingly following bad indications and flying the aircraft off course and, many times, toward an accident.  The Air Safety Foundation conducted a 14 year study and found 40 accidents where the vacuum pump and/or system was mentioned in the cause.  In 80%, there were fatalities. One such accident, in the year 2000, killed the Governor of Missouri.

In our daily journeys, if we're not in "our right mind", then our judgement is off, calling into question every move we make.


Here, at the SIL (JAARS) program where I'm interim manager in Cameroon, they have a Cessna 206 with dual vacuum pumps, giving them a built-in backup- a great setup.  More recently, many smaller aircraft operators are swapping out their vacuum system with a more reliable and reasonably priced electrical systems.  Once again, the aviation industry is learning, adapting, upgrading, and becoming safer.

Thanks to a generous donor from Pennsylvania, we were able to apply this new technology to our aircraft in Gabon- a Cessna 207.

The instrument at the top center is the Attitude Indicator- part of our new system.

Our Chief Pilot and Mechanic Ace, Rob, after the successful install, in our Bongolo Hangar.
Thank you all for your support and encouragement 

Sunday, December 6, 2015


Sam, our son, is a senior at RAIN FOREST INT'L SCHOOL where he is on the running club.  They have been training super hard (up to 39 km running this week!) and are now focused on fund raising for their Mt. Cameroon Climb in January.

Between today (Sun. 06 Dec) and Tuesday night (08 Dec), Sam is putting on the finishing touches to his efforts to raise about $200 to support his trip to climb over 13,000 feet to the pick of the mountain!

If you are interested to getting funding to him, we can receive your donation via our family's funding stream through the C&MA and you'll get a receipt.

You can make a per-lap (1 km) pledge (he's planning for 15km) or you can make a one-time donation.

Here is the link to the C&MA website to make the donation (please enter Steve Straw in the "search" near the middle of the page).  IMPORTANT: Please email Sam so he can tell us that your donation is meant for the climb.


Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving... at the break of dawn

As dawn was breaking, our team at the SIL hangar in Yaounde, Cameroon were prepping for an eventful day...

The sun rose and light filled the hangar as we prepped N123TM, our Cessna 206.
Emmanuel L., our Cameroonian colleague, is an essential part of the team.

Our Thanksgiving Day Mission was to move a team from the US Embassy
in Cameroon from Yaounde to meetings in the North where Americans are
serving.  The gentleman in black in the photo is the US Ambassador.  His team
wanted to take their Thanksgiving day to visit and encourage fellow Americans

 Loading up...

Aircraft moved into starting position for passenger loading, start up, and the launch.

The line shows you the track of the flight.  This is about the limit on where
we will go toward the extreme North of Cameroon due to security concerns.
The flight up was about 3.5 hours; coming back, the winds were more favorable
and it was just over 3 hours.

WE ARE SO THANKFUL that you all are standing with us on this exciting journey, especially in this year of special assignment in Cameroon.

You may be wondering...

What does transporting US State department personnel around Africa have to do with Great Commission work?  

                                                                ... I'm glad you asked!

FIRST, flying people that are working outside of missionary organizations gives us, the pilots, mechanics, and support crew, an avenue to directly connect with some that may not ever get exposure to the Gospel.

SECOND, flights like this one are HUGE relationship building opportunities with people that can team up with us to do great things like enhancing community peace, security, health and education.

THIRDLY, when we build relationships with people of influence in our community, it helps instill good will toward all of the faith-based initiatives in the region.

FINALLY (but not certainly not the last reason), flights like these assist our program to stay active and assist in revenue that goes into keeping our mission flights dramatically cheaper for our national and international Bible translators.  The chart below shows why this is so critical...

Today, if one of the things that you are thankful for is God's written Word, then it is because someone took the time to translate your language, develop the alphabet, and work to get it printed for you to read.  Currently, as shown in this graphic, Africa is the continent with the highest need for people to be working toward Bible translation.

Again, our family wants to express how THANKFUL we are that you are standing with us on this adventure.  Enjoy your day and celebrate how blessed we truly are!!!   We are blessed to then, with love, extend those blessings to others.


Thursday, October 15, 2015

Tuesday's Medevac

Here's Tuesday's flight:

Blast-off from Yaounde

Great weather enroute on this leg (1.3 hours)-
You can see Mount Cameroon rising in the distance.

The pickup happened at an airport next to this large Del Monte
Banana plantation- "TIKO" airport
With the patient loaded in the Cessna 207, the clinic workers got out
their cell phones to snap a couple shots with the aircraft.
Next leg was to the mountainous and beautiful NW region of Cameroon.
Our takeoff was at sea level, we cruised at 11,000 feet, and landed at 7,000 feet.
The airport (Mbingo) sits in a "bowl" of mountains.  This is on the "crosswind"
portion of the traffic pattern.  Yes- those are water falls up in the mountains.

In this valley sits the Mbingo Baptist Hospital- where nationals and internationals
come for great medical care.

We landed, taxied to the top of the sloped runway (12% upslope) then
spun it around to prep for takeoff.  This is looking NW'erly out of the end of
the horseshoe/bowl of the valley.
Dennis refuels some Jet A into the Cessna 207 (turbine engine modification) while
a thunderstorm cell passes down the valley.  We already offloaded the patient to
the ambulance- the second time in a week that ambulance
drivers watched me do their job.  Hmm...
Interesting sign at the end of the fenced in airstrip (on the inside).  Apparently they don't want
pilots jumping the fence and getting loose among the community!
(by the way- in NW Cameroon there is an English speaking region)

On the way back to Yaounde, we buzzed by the national soccer stadium where
the "indomitable Lions" play their games.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Update From the Flight Deck - September 2015

Here are some great reports from our chief pilot, Rob:

Inflight entertainment with some international staff and family.
June was AMB's (Aviation Medicale de Bongolo's) busiest month of flying since the program began! We are encouraged to see the program serving well and the extra flying is helpful for us to meet our 200-hour goal this year in spite of the program being suspended while we were in the US.

AMB Gabon also conducted its annual runway inspection with the local aviation authorities. In order to maintain approval, we had to
widen the width of the runway. Bongolo hospital provided the use of the hospital backhoe and, after 30 days of work, we were granted approval for an additional year of service!

In the beginning of August, the mission team held its annual spiritual retreat in Lamberene. It was a blessing to spend time with Pastor Blaine and his team that came from the US. The theme this year came from Galatians: "until Christ is formed in you."

During the month of August, two families had to return to the US for medical care including a medical evacuation flight. As a result, our team has shrunk considerably since the retreat time. Please pray for the staff of Bongolo as they carry a very heavy load.

Also in August, Efi Tembon, the Director of CABTAL, a Cameroonian Bible translation organization, returned for his second trip to Gabon. This was a follow-up trip to meet with church leaders and begin the practical work of organizing a national interchurch committee. Since that meeting, The Seed Company (a Wycliffe sister organization) is now planning to visit Gabon in early 2016 to explore partnering with the Gabon churches! It was encouraging to see how Pastor Jean-Marc and the other locally-led churches have stepped up to provide leadership. AMB Gabon provided transportation for Efi to and from Cameroon.

Yaoundé for the annual inspection of the airplane. We are thankful for another 100 hours of safe flying and no cancelled flights due to maintenance issues!

September was another full month of flying for AMB Gabon- the second most flight hours logged in the program history!

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Bible Translation Support Flights

In summer of 2013, we shared about Pastor Jean-Marc, a local pastor from the Christian & Missionary Alliance Church that was working full-time on completing the Old
Testament in Nzebi, the local language. Fast forward to today - the initial translation process is complete and he is now pursuing the next step which is the checking of the complete text! 

More recently, the summer of 2014, chief pilot Rob was discussing needs and opportunities with him and found that, although the Jesus film had been dubbed into Nzebi, it was not widely available due to a format compatibility problem. Rob networked with Campus Crusade, JAARS, and SIL-Cameroon's media department to start producing microSD cards with both the Jesus film and the New Testament that could be played using readily-available local hardware!  
Pastor Jean-Marc began the promotion and distribution project and has now distributed over 1100 DVDs or memory cards in Nzebi, Ipunu or French! One of the testimonies from this effort came right from Bongolo. A young boy disappeared unannounced from his house one day. Hours later he returned carrying the family’s radio that plays memory cards. He wanted to listen to the Word of God without being disturbed so he had taken the radio and gone to the family farm!

As the distribution continued, other language groups began to approach Pastor Jean-Marc asking how they could have the Jesus film in their language. As we prayed and discussed the possibilities with various Bible translation entities, it was clear that CABTAL, a Cameroonian Bible translation organization, should come to both spread the vision for Bible translation and see if the Lord was leading them to be personally involved. In June 2015, Efi Tembon, the director of CABTAL, made his first trip to Gabon. 

Rob had the privilege of flying him-saving him days of traveling by road.  The first stop was Bongolo where he spoke to a national meeting of the leadership of the C&MA (Christian & Missionary Alliance) Church of Gabon. From there, a flight east to Franceville to meet with the Teki community both in the city and in several villages. This is one of the least reached areas of Gabon and several of the leaders caught a vision for how the audio New Testament could be used to evangelize and disciple. 

Town meeting in Franceville with community and church leaders.

From Franceville, it was a return flight to Libreville to meet with church leaders from a variety of denominations. We were very encouraged by the response as each denomination designated representatives to form an inter-church committee to form a strategic plan for Scripture impact in Gabon!

Church leaders from at least 5 denominations!
In addition, the committee is working to establish a partnership with CABTAL. The proposed vision is to start projects in 5 languages starting with the translation of Luke including audio and film. Efi is planning to return to Gabon regularly to speak to another church national assembly as well as meet with the inter-church committee. This is a high-priority prayer request and step as the formation of a strong inter-church committee and the development of a solid strategic plan is key to local ownership and long-term Scripture impact.

We are excited to see the growing interest and engagement within the church and communities. Please join us in praying this small beginning would grow and result in many communities being transformed by hearing the Word of God in a language that speaks clearly to them!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Cameroon Helicopter- Re-registration

Lot's happening at the SIL (JAARS) hangar,  here in Cameroon (bigger update later).  One item was a "re-naming" of the Robinson 44 helicopter that is in town- normally based on its own, in the town of Banso.

The registration had started with an "N"(US registration) and is now becoming a Cameroonian registration- "TJ-HSL".  "TJ" is the Cameroon country code; "H" is for helicopter; the last two were the choice of the organization.  Since they are "SIL", they went with "SL".  I like to think of it as "TJ-HUSTLE".

I took the opportunity to make a very amateur video, thanks to the "slideshow" function of iPhoto along with some experimentation with the "time-lapse" function on the old iPhone.  Enjoy!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Feature In Industry Newsletter!

Last September, you'll remember that we had our triennial safety audit by Mission Safety
International (MSI).  They periodically write us summaries of their audits in their newsletter which is read by the majority of those involved in mission aviation all over the globe!

Our article is on page 6.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bongolo Airport Work

Annually, we work hard to have the Bongolo Airport
December 2009- Installing
the first wind sock... Iwo Jima
(aka. Lebamba airport) in good shape for the inspectors from the civil aviation department in the country we serve in.  Some times it is a challenge to know all the expectations and standards we need to comply to, but we're happy to report that, for the last 6 years, we've kept the airport certified and open as one of the few public airports in Gabon.  This is no small feat!

Here are some of the pictures from this years work to keep the airstrip in good shape.  A big thanks to the workers running the backhoe and Captain Rob for his oversight.  Enjoy!

In front of the hangar looking West.  Previously a ditch had been running along this side of the runway for at least a third of the length.  Civil aviation said that it was too deep.

At the East end of the runway looking off the end.

From the Western half of the runway, looking East, back toward the hangar.  You can just make out a sliver of the shiny hangar roof just left of the picture's center.  The main work was filling the ditches along both sides of the runway and then blending it all in with the runway.

Here is the intersection of the ramp taxiway and the runway.  Again, a ditch needed filled in here.  This mound of dirt will be leveled out.

The view from above.

Monday, July 13, 2015

On-Going Projects

Here are some on-going projects for your consideration- ways to invest in specific aspects of the effort.  Thank you for considering partnering with this important work in Expediting Health and Expanding Hope in Central Africa.


The "Lee's Pipes" exhaust maximizes durability and comes with a 20 year / 2000 flight hour warranty! They increase fuel efficiency and horsepower (about 10%), while reducing down time due to repairs.

COST$3200 (includes shipping)              


Donate On-Line  (enter "Gabon Airplane" in prompt)

Email Us - Let us know your funds are for "Engine Exhaust Upgrade"

PROJECT:  Smooth Ride Engine Upgrade

The hardworking engines of mission aircraft put a pounding on the engine mounts and airframes.  A "Smooth Ride" engine mount system means longer airframe life and less vibration (70% less!) for our precious cargo.

COST$3975 (with shipping)                      FUNDED:  0%

Donate On-Line  (enter "Gabon Airplane" in prompt)

Email Us - Let us know your funds are for "Smooth Ride"
PROJECT:  Hangar Tools

When you're based in one of the hardest to reach corners of the world, you don't have the luxury of reaching for your neighbors toolbox.  Help us add the wide variety of specialty tools we need, on top of our basic sets, to optimize the care we take in maintaining our fleet of one!

COST$4800 (with shipping)                      FUNDED:  0%

Donate On-Line  (enter "Gabon Airplane" in prompt)

Email Us - Let us know your funds are for "Hangar Tools"
PROJECT:  Where Most Needed

Whether it's assisting to subsidize a med-evac flight or other ways of being the Hands and Feet of God, we'll apply your contribution to the pressing need of the moment.  

Donate On-Line  (enter "Gabon Airplane" in prompt)

Email Us - Let us know your funds are for "Where Most Needed"

PROJECT:  Store Room Container

Our hangar is just big enough for our aircraft and some minimal workspace and cabinets.  To have the storage we need, a shipping container pulled next to the hangar will be a perfect solution, just as pictured here.  These shelves are need for med-evac equipment, aircraft parts and tools and more.

COST: (waiting for quote)             FUNDED:  0%

Donate On-Line  (enter "Gabon Airplane" in prompt)

Email Us - Let us know your funds are for "Store Room Container"
PROJECT:  Critical Parts Inventory

HELP FILL THESE EMPTY SHELVES!!!  Some parts wear out quicker than others; some parts you hope never give you problems, but if they do, it means that the airplane is grounded for an extended period of time while parts are ordered and delivered.  To keep our aircraft prepared for some of these worst case scenarios, we need to build up a strong inventory of critical spare parts to have on hand- alternators, magnetos, starters, batteries and more.

COST: (waiting for quote)             FUNDED:  0%

Donate On-Line  (enter "Gabon Airplane" in prompt)

Email Us - Let us know your funds are for "Critical Parts Inventory"


Friday, July 10, 2015

10 July Update

Here’s an update:

With all of our speaking engagements and associated travel over, we’re enjoying being “home” a bit more!

The countdown to our return to Africa has started- just 3 weeks to go! So, we’re putting together the final version of our “to-do” list and starting to knock them off. This week has included updating our typhoid and yellow fever shots- ouch! Then, to add insult to injury, the clinic called 2 days later to say that they’re worried our yellow fever shot had expired and we’d need to come back! The good news- they’re gonna reimburse us for the first shots and not charge us for the new ones!

The most difficult part of returning to central Africa is not being with our two oldest children, Joe and Megan, for about 10 months or so. We’re doing all we can to make sure they have what they need prior to leaving. Please pray for a significant item that has come up- Megan’s financial aid package got cut in half and we’re dialoguing with her school to figure out why. She loves Nyack College and is doing well- we want her to return, so we are hoping for a solution.

We’re looking forward to time with Steve’s family this weekend at his niece’s wedding in D.C.

Alace got done with her first week of class and did great on her first assignments!

Thank you for your prayers for the flights in Gabon. After a few weeks of constant flying, this week has slowed down a bit, giving Rob, our chief pilot, time to breathe!

Have a wonderful weekend!
Steve and Alace

Friday, July 3, 2015

Happy Fourth!!! Update for the Week

Our trip to Houston went great and we’re finally done with the over 50 presentations we’ve had during our home assignment.  

Megan returned from her short term mission trip to Macedonia with the other 5 women from our home church (York Alliance Church).  They had great stories about connections with the 3 national churches and international workers based there.

Sam and Joe wrapped up their York area (PA) outreach with our home church.  The event went well, although they had to change some block parties to inside the gym due to weather.

Alace has started her online classes with Liberty Univ. towards her degree in counseling.  It will be a long journey as we’ll only be able to sign up for courses as funds allow.  Classes on the web take some getting used to, and Alace is struggling a bit to get going, but has plenty of reading to do.

Aviation Médicale de Bongolo (AMB):

FUEL!  The wire transfer of funds to the seller of the unexpected 40 drums of fuel that showed up on our doorstep in Gabon has gone through!  We are so grateful for the provision of the finances to make this great deal happen.  As we said before, it was too good to pass up!  Now we are making plans for the in-country transport of the drums to the hangar at Bongolo airport.  This gives us a fuel stock lasting into the second half of 2016.

PROPELLER!  A second wonderful provision to report is the full sponsorship of our “Adopt-A-Prop” fund-raiser.  Now, we’ll be able to get a new prop on the next container bound to Gabon (Sept.) and have it installed and spinning away by Thanksgiving.  The new prop will be more efficient and give us all-around better performance.  The existing prop will be disassembled and make its way back to the US, piece by piece, to be reconditioned and ready for future use.

FLIGHTS:  Rob, our chief pilot, has been flying more days than not, lately.  Many visitors and patients have been coming and going to Bongolo.  Thanks to your support and prayers, the tool of aviation is maximizing Kingdom impact of a team passionate about demonstrating the love and compassion of our God and making disciples of Jesus.  Please pray for good weather and endurance for Rob and the team.

STRIKE:  In the news I read that some national doctors are on strike and only caring for critical patients.  I haven’t heard from our team how this is effecting Bongolo but, in the past, strikes like this have sent an overwhelming amount of patients to Bongolo, pushing the staff and resources there to the limit.  Please pray for a resolution soon.  
This update is a bit longer since some of you are getting it for the first time and for the fact that much is happening!  Future ones will be shorter.

Thank you for your prayers!

Steve and Alace

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Prayer for the week

Another C&MA pastor, Skye Jethani, shares a prayer per week, as an attachment to his daily devotions. I'm really finding them helpful.  Below is this weeks prayer.  For more info on Skye's "With God" devotions, click here.

from Johann Habermann (1516 - 1590)
Almighty and merciful God, 
you are the strength of the weak, the refreshment of the weary, the comfort of the sad, the help of the tempted, the life of the dying, the God of patience and of all consolation;
you know full well the inner weakness of our nature, how we tremble and quiver before pain, and cannot bear the cross without your divine help and support.
Help me, then, O eternal and pitying God, help me to possess the soul of patience, to maintain unshaken hope in you, to keep the childlike trust which feels a Father’s heart hidden beneath the cross;
so shall I be strengthened with power according to your glorious might, in all patience and long-suffering;
I shall be enabled to endure pain and temptation, and, in the very depth of my suffering, to praise you with a joyful heart.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

AMAZING!!! Update to the Update...


We are so thankful for a generous donation that has covered the remaining need for our ADOPT-A-PROP effort!

I'll update with more specifics about the HARTZELL Scimitar propellor that we'll be purchasing (lighter, less costly to maintain, eliminates repetitive inspections, 7% improvement in climb performance, 2-5 knots increase in cruise speed).

This prop will be purchased soon, then delivered to our container shipment in Cleveland, then overseas delivery to Gabon, departing September.  We hope to have it on the aircraft and spinning away by Thanksgiving!!!

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Keep 'em Flying: Part II

In a previous post, I mentioned two opportunities for the aviation work in Gabon (AMB).  Here are a couple of updates:

1. AVGAS:  Out of nowhere, we were offered a chance to purchase 40 drums of 100 low-lead aviation fuel for an unheard of price (about $7 a gallon).  The drums are ALREADY IN GABON!  They got through customs and, as soon as the funds are wired, they're ours!  This will give us enough stock of fuel to last well into the second half of 2016.

So... it appears that the funding is coming together and the transaction could happen this coming week!  After that, we'll arrange the transport of the drums to our hangar at Bongolo and be good to go!

2.  PROPELLER:  We have heard a couple rumblings of those that are interested in assisting on this, but nothing 100% sure.  Please keep praying that the funding will happen and we can make the purchase and get the prop onto the September 1st container in OHIO bound for Gabon.  Read more about the propeller need by CLICKING HERE.

Friday, June 19, 2015

(Video) Our Good Friend Carolyn

This is a great video from the sending church of our wonderful friend, Carolyn, whom we served with for years in Gabon, prior to her retirement this year.  Enjoy!

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Time, and Steve, are FLYING!

It was great to reconnect with my friend, Michael, today.  He's a fellow pilot and, like me, has a
"heart" connection to a special African country- Gabon.  It's where he is from and where some of his family still live.

Michael currently lives in the US and is working in the New York City area.  He is a member of the Paramus Flying Club and made me a VERY happy man today by coming over to PA and taking me for a spin in the club's Cessna 182 powered by a diesel engine.

With only a couple months left in our time in the US prior to redeployment to Africa, it was high time I made it back in the air.
Joe came along for the ride and DJ duties!  The intercom had
bluetooth capabilities.

We met at "Capital City Airport" (CXY)- where I used to be based
when flying a Cessna 182 patrolling oil pipelines.

After a thorough preflight and passenger briefing, Michael deftly
headed us out to the runway for a southerly departure.

We headed South for a flyover of the York area. Next to the church, between
two pine trees, you'll see our current home, next to I-83.

Airborne "selfie" at 2,500 feet!

A wider shot from above "Leader Heights" interchange of I-83, looking North.
(from Michael's iPhone)

It's great to have connections with people that cross continents.  I enjoy chats with Michael discussing how the tool of aviation can be used to inspire people- especially in Gabon!

A shot from Michael's trip home- high above the clouds.