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.