Monday, June 12, 2023

Containerization Exaltation!!!

It's a bittersweet thing... sending our very first airplane, the one that literally launched the aviation program, here in Gabon, back to the US in a shipping container, but, we are happy to get it closer to it's next chapter of life.  Here are some highlights to the story...

Once upon a time, a lot of people, mostly in the US and Gabon, prayed and supported
the launch of aviation service, in Gabon, in partnership with local churches, 
to benefit their social works, especially Bongolo Hospital. This Cessna 207
was purchased, refurbished, and put into service in 2009. 

The airplane served for 100's of hours until an inspection in 2020 showed
some corrosion advancing near the landing gear attach points that 
needed special attention. So, we spent time considering the best
course of action, but couldn't act mainly due to the pandemic.

We gave many passengers their first ride in a small airplane and 
some their first ride in an airplane EVER!!!

...many colleagues to and from the capital city, medivacs, patients,
100's of pounds of medicines and medical equipment....

Little did I know... in November of 2020, this would be my last flight
in N207FD... for now! This is the SIL Cameroon hangar in Yaounde, Cameroon.
We are still praying about what is the best
for the future of this great bird. 

Then... just now in June 2023... here is the state that I would find N207FD...

The team at SIL Cameroon were so kind to help the disassembly process
and have it ready to be containerized. We started in earnest on Friday, 09 June. 

We filled up the interior with aircraft parts wrapped in blankets, taped up,
sitting in a sandwich of layers of foam, topped by some more layers of 
interior plastic molding, then a cut up cardboard box for the topping
with another set of ratchet straps.

Once we knew what could fit IN the airplane that we'd end up rolling 
into the container, we fixed out attention on what else had to get 
fastened down for the journey across the the Atlantic Ocean.
(LeTourneau U intern, Chad, in the pic... couldn't have done 
this without him!!!)

With the wings attached to the walls of the container, we pushed
the fuselage, tail first, inside, down the middle.
(SIL Cam friend, Grant, in the pic... also a MAJOR
help making this project so smooth!)

PRO TIP... if your the one helping to guide the tail into the container, 
ALWAYS make sure there will be wiggle room to get back 
out... otherwise... it may be a couple months and another
continent until you are freed.

Other part that we didn't strap to the wall, we made another foam
sandwich on the floor of the container and strapped them in, as well 
as the landing gear. We had 36 ratchet straps and used 35!!!

Here's the customs agent (left) and the shipping agent
at the end of the load today. It went very smooth!

The final step- putting the registered seal on the container!
Thanks for all your support and encouragement!
It's our great joy to share the love of God through
the tool of aviation to many people in need in remote
corners of the globe.

Please consider partnering with us in this important work to SHOW and TELL about God's Love. If you would like to specifically assist with one of the above needs, please let me know with an email to "Gabon.Pilot@gmail" and follow the giving instructions below. Merci Beaucoup!




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