Saturday, July 5, 2014

Chief Pilot Update - June 2014

From our Chief Pilot, Rob (warning: technical, aviation chit-chat to follow):

"I was originally expecting to fly up to Cameroon for the 100hr inspection in early June but several important flight requests by the hospital delayed that until the 9th.  One of the biggest challenges was that several wires in the guest house shorted out and the downstairs was operating with very limited electricity. I flew Paul (Bongolo maintenance manager), Keir (Bongolo Medical Director) and his son up to Libreville on a Friday and spent Friday shopping with Paul for electrical supplies.  I returned with another passenger on Saturday while they continued working and were able to finish early the next week. I was able to combine their return flight with other flights and bring them back.
"The inspection in Cameroon was really intense, but...  

...went very well. SIL CMB aviation (JAARS) is in the midst of a big transition with the aircraft registration and operations so they had quite a bit of other activity going on at the same time but Dan, their head of maintenance, was able to lend a hand with the 100hr inspection (as inspector) and Emmanuel, their maintenance assistant, was a huge help with the work. 
 Fuel Flow read out on the JPI unit.
"I was able to, finally, finish the installation of the fuel flow upgrade on the JPI. That was a project that a friend and fellow missionary pilot started and was completed by Mark H., a radiologist and pilot who comes to Bongolo annually.  We also re-sealed the brake calipers along with a number of other misc maintenance.
"Mark H. also helped us by selling the oil cooler that we removed from N207FD when we installed the remote unit. $200. We will reinvest that in the airplane and upcoming work.
"While I was in Cameroon, I was able to complete my FAA flight review (24 month requirement), Instrument proficiency check (6 month) and a JAARS proficiency check with Ray using their Cessna 206 (N123TM). I also took the bus to Douala one day to renew my FAA flight medical which is valid again until the end of June 2015.

"I have flown about 15 hours since the completion of the 100hr and oil consumption looks stable and the engine is running great.
"We pushed hard and finished the inspection, return-to-service flight, proficiency flight and wash/wax of the airplane on Monday afternoon. Due to the roads being closed I got home about 7:30 p.m. that night to start packing. Tuesday we flew all the way to Bongolo. Both Wednesday and Thursday, I carried a load of visitors to Libreville and then returned from the 2nd trip on Saturday. I had another trip yesterday which is my only scheduled one this week. There has been good participation on these flights and a lot of cargo too so that will help us cover June’s maintenance costs. I also paid the 2nd insurance installment in June.
"AFFS (Flight Following) continues to work quite well and a recent disappearance of a US-registered Cessna 172 between Nigeria and Libreville reminds us again to be very diligent about flight following.
"Carman F., an avionics tech, is planning to come to Cameroon in August to complete the bi-annual transponder inspection on the SIL airplanes. I am planning to synchronize our inspection schedule with theirs so we don’t have to carry this financial burden alone in the future. Carman will also be bring another exchange HSI gyro with him when he comes and hopefully he can protect it adequately so that it isn’t damaged like the last unit.  
Cabinets like these.
Actual fuel cart
"The new storage cabinets and fuel cart are in the hangar!  I need a few days to catch up at the house and in the office and then I’ll shift to hangar work. The PowerTow is also working great!   
"The runway inspection went well and the civil aviation inspectors seemed pleased with the upgrade work, according to Bongolo's Administrative Director's (Pastor Serge’s) feedback. I printed out the picture (below) and gave to our airport workers, Jean & Nicolas, who did virtually all the work. I’ll have more specifics when I get the report from the ANAC.  In principle we still need to widen the runway but we are having trouble finding someone with adequate equipment to do the work.
Notice runway end and side markers, as well as the markers blocking ramp area from road traffic.
"The annual overflight permit renewal from civil aviation is due in mid-August so I expect to draft a letter soon to start that process. It is always a time consuming process to make copies of all the aircraft records and documents to submit with the request.
"I am working on a parts order list for the September shipment. 
"I was able to carry the second stretcher that we'll loan to the Libreville C&MA health clinic up to Libreville on Tuesday along with about 120# of Hope House stuff. 

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