Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Fueling Progress Update!

Many of you remember that, last October, we launched the "FUELING PROGRESS" effort with a big event near Indianapolis

Since that time, we've been blessed to see the sponsorship of the barrels of AvGas (100 low-lead) has continued to grow.

This summer, we were contacted by a friend who committed to sponsoring the last of the 78 barrels!!!  WE'VE DONE IT!!!

Here is what the stack of barrels now looks like...

We are so very blessed!  Thank you to everyone who prayed and gave to see this stack of empty barrels become full barrels!!!

We will be contacting the sponsors soon to alert them when we are ready to get the container ready and on it's way to Gabon!

This shipment will help us cut our fuel costs in half!!!  Read all the details HERE.

Future Runway!

Subtitle:  Men versus Jungle!

Here is the site plan for "COSAC" - a campus that will be the home of many of the social words of the local Alliance churches, here in Gabon.  Notice the gray band across the top- this is will be the airstrip!  They have invited me to counsel them on the construction of this airstrip.

From time to time, it's nice to load up and go do some "hackin' away" at the jungle.  Some day, a big machine will make quick work of this, but, for now, the Straw men (Joe, Sam, and I) are happy to fight the jungle back, little by little.  The hot pink arrows show where we hiked to to find the corner post and start clearing this past weekend.

You can see the corner post behind the tree that I'm chopping on.


The clearing starts to take shape!

Sometimes, just for fun, Sam would simply push trees over!  Notice the brute, Straw strength!!!

Next to the clearing was a dead tree still standing to about 20 feet high.  We made a burn pile at the base and thought we might see it weaken and fall by the time we departed, but, we waited... and waited... flames shot up the tree and even through the middle of it!  But... it still stood.  We're going back soon to see if it's still standing.  Did I mention there's no such thing as "forest fires" in Gabon?  It's rumored that, here in the jungle, you can even pour gasoline in the jungle and you will not succeed in lighting the jungle on fire.  (not that I'm going to try!)

Men versus Jungle!?!  I think, in this instance, "MEN" win for this 10 foot by 10 foot space!  Of course... give it a month and you'll never know we were there!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

FLYING STATS from 1st Half of 2012

Thanks to your team work, all this is possible!  Private funding from the US and around the world is what assists the airplane to fly and my family to have the funds to direct this non-profit work.

Please pray as we need to build a team to carrying on the growing work in Gabon, and as we build the critical team of prayer support and financial support from all over the world.

General Aviation alive and well in Gabon!

On the last Saturday in June, I sat at a table with 12 other residents of Libreville at the Aero Club cafe at the Libreville International Airport.  We spent almost two hours discussing how, together, through the formation of an association, we could see the environment in Gabon more conducive for general aviation.  The name of the association will be "Aviation Generale du Gabon" (we're on FaceBook!).

I really should have snapped a photo, because this was our biggest turnout to date and shows the momentum that has been growing from our humble beginnings.  Here is a photo of one of those meetings (left).  Saturday's meeting was our largest yet!  The conversation was lively and all agreed to, in one way or another, participate in the group's work going forward.

The group of 13 agreed that, once our association is formed, we will aggressively lobby for a fixed base of operation for general aviation at the airport.  A hangar!  What a blessing this would be for our group and, especially, for AMB!  Our beautiful aircraft has weathered storms and the harsh sun rays tied down on the ramp with no home.  
Please pray for the completion of the constitution, the elections of officers, and our initial steps to enhance the aviation environment in Gabon!

Monday, July 9, 2012

JUNE! A busy month of flying!

 So, I've just done some tabulations and...

In June, we had 3 times as many flights as January, 3 times the number of miles covered, and 9 times more useage from our teammates!

We had our most total number of patients flown in June, the most flights delivery mail/equipment/groceries, and a whopping 28 visitors to Gabon made use of our flights!

It was one busy month!  Thanks to God.

We are a growing program and our praying for additional teammates.  Please join us in praying for another pilot/mechanic (or one of each) and some administrative help.  Our vision is to support the national church initiatives (like Bongolo Hospital) and to add an education component to invite others in to how aviation can be used to bless others as a way to live out the Gospel of Jesus.

Do you know someone like this?  Please have them contact me at -


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Flight pictures- 29 June

Preflight- Adding oil.  One quart of Aeroshell 100w is $18 for me.  By comparison, it's about $6 in the US.

Departure off of Runway one-six from LBV International.  "Point Denis" off to the right...

... Libreville off to the left.

We were following the coast up at 4000 feet- mainly clear as we headed 187 degrees.

Oil operation along the coast.
During dry season. many people like to burn off their fields to keep the jungle at bay.  Dry season is generally June through August.

Some interesting sights along the coast as we came back north toward Libreville, after our Omboue visit.

A cool eco-tourism outpost in one of the protected areas of Gabon- Wonga-Wongue.

A large compound at Point Denis, across the estuary from Libreville.

Turning onto final approach for runway one-six, behind the Lufthansa Boeing 737, we passed the "Friendship Stadium"- one of the main venue's for February's "Cup of African Nations" soccer tournament.

Flight- 29 June Visit to Omboue Hospital

Just a one hour flight from Libreville is the coastal village of Omboue.  It's a popular tourist destination as the savannah's surrounding have a high elephant population and the beautiful lakes and the ocean nearby are also attractions.  Access to this village is limited to boat and airplane.  We touched down on the gravel runway and were greeted by Dr. Kisi, the medical director of the regional medical center (pictured to the left).

Dr. Kisi has been in Omboue for a few years and was thankful for our visit and offer to assist in linking them through our service- Aviation Medicale de Bongolo.  Dr. Kisi took us on a tour of the hospital.  This is his office and examination room.

Here's part of their lab.

The lab tech spoke to the challenges of keeping the lab running when access to technicians to maintain the machine and the material to use in the machines are so limited.  With our aircraft, we hope to enhance their services to their community.
This young mother (who agreed to the photo) brought her child to the hospital, traveling by a dugout canoe (pirogue), after he stumbled into a cooking fire and burned his hand.  

Patient room.

Labor and delivery... in case you couldn't tell...

Just down the street, I was greeted by a delegation at our local Alliance church.  The pastor's wife is far right, front row.  Her husband was traveling on this day.  They were very welcoming!  Dr. Kisi attends this church.

Then, as if the warm welcome, tour of the hospital, meeting the local Prefet, and a visit to the church weren't enough, they invited Jeff and I to Dr. Kisi's house for a HUGE lunch!  Did I mention that all this was set up only 24 hours earlier!?! The Gendarme never left our sides!  We were treated like V.I.P.'s all afternoon long in Omboue.

Here we are just prior to departure:  L to R; Jeff (flight nurse from Alaska), Dr. Kisi, myself, and the elder from the local church.

Flight Pics- 02 July

Our last flight produced a few more than your normal nicks in the prop- an unimproved gravel runway.  So, a little TLC on each propeller was needed with the file.

An hour and 40 minutes later, we were buzzing by the Bongolo Hospital, descending for the airstrip.

Final approach, runway zero-niner, Bongolo International Airport!


Our humble Bongolo base.  Plans are afoot to enhance this hangar and place a 20 foot container adjacent to act as office.  We're still trying to solve some solar power issues.  After adding electrolyte to the 10 year old batteries, our voltage went from 17.7 to 18.8 in one week.  Let's hope it continues to climb back to the 24 volts that they should be at.

See that big bug along the bottom of the window sill?  Our back seat passenger snapped this photo right before trying to kill it.  The bug flew into the window as we were taxiing for takeoff at Lebamba.  The passenger managed to shove the bug deeper into the sill, so it was his job to keep an eye on it for the next hour and 45 minutes!

During dry season, there is a constant cloud deck that ranges from 500 feet above ground level to about 3000 feet- usually on the low side.  On the way back to Libreville, we had enough room to stay at a lower altitude for the first 45 minutes so that the passengers could do some sight-seeing.  Later in the flight, we headed up to 8500 feet and caught a nice tailwind into Libreville.

Here's take off from Bongolo- about 400 feet off the deck, getting ready to pass over the Bongolo Hospital as we continue the climb.  The is the view from the 3rd row of seats.

A neat aspect of this flight was my co-pilot, Joela.  Joela is the son of one of the chaplains at Bongolo Hospital who would like to become a pilot!  This was his first ride every in an airplane!  He spent the first half of the flight taking photos and videos (he posts a lot on Facebook!) and then, the second half of the flight, asked a lot of questions and followed me on the controls.  His flight was sponsored by a visitor to Bongolo, a surgeon, who Joela had shadowed for about a month, doing his translation from French to English.  Well done Joela!