Thursday, August 24, 2023


Today was our FINAL and BIG day with two flights: Obo to Bangui, then Bangui to Libreville, the capital of Gabon.

I was up at 4:30am for a small bite of breakfast, instant nescafe coffee, preflight, and blast off around 5:15am with the daylight. It was a 4 hour flight from the mission base of Obo, in the far east of Central Africa Republic, to almost the opposite side of the country to the capital of Bangui.

Arrival in Bangui. The air was a bit tense- there was a referendum vote and security at the airport and in the city was ramped up. 

For the first 3 legs of the flight, since there was no AvGas available at Bangui, I had 12 jerry cans (63 gal.) along for the ride. It was nice to get the fuel out of the cockpit and up into the wing reservoirs! I was on the ground for about an hour to do the fueling and formalities. It went surprisingly smooth and I was finally launching for the FINAL LEG  of this reposition mission! 

Here's a short video on climb out from Bangui with a nice view of the Ubangi River on a southern heading. Soon I'd be turning more westerly and continuing up to 10,000 feet for about 4 and a half hours to Libreville... or so I thought...
At 10,000' I had a nice tailwind and soon I was passing the corner of Cameroon, Congo-Brazza, entering into Gabon... and then...

The "Low Voltage" light came on and, sure enough, I verified that my battery power was dropping off- typically a sure sign that I had an alternator issue. I turned off all non-essential electrical equipment but determined that, even though I was just ONE HOUR from our destination (Libreville), it'd be best to make a precautionary landing and check things out.

I communicated my intentions to the Libreville approach controllers and then landed at a nearby airport called Oyem, where I've been several times previously. It was about 4pm and I was hopeful to open the engine cowl and simply find a broken alternator belt that I could replace easily. However, the belt was fine and all the connections looked fine, so, the problem was likely internal to the alternator and we'd have to get a new one. 

Being on the "home turf" of Gabon, I was able to make a couple of phone calls and, voila!, my rescue team from the local Alliance family was there to help! The regional superintendant, Pastor MOUETA, with his wife and friend, picked me up and took me to dinner and to a nice hotel- they insisted to cover all costs! How great to be in God's family and experience such generosity!

The next day, other friends joined me on some troubleshooting efforts, but nothing worked. So, we ordered a new alternator from the US and a teammate arriving from the US to Gabon soon agreed to put it in their luggage! 

For the time being, we secured the aircraft on the ramp, put the window coverings in place, and bid "adieu" to "Seven-Bravo-Hotel". Pastor MOUETA says he'll be keeping a close eye on it for us.

    We are so blessed to have "Three-Tango-Mic" through the end of August, on loan from our key partners, SIL Cameroon. Within two days of having one airplane "grounded" (Cessna 207), I was back in the air with our loaner aircraft (Cessna 206- in this picture).

In Summary, our Cessna 207 is IN GABON! It's not exactly the way we had in mind, but soon enough, we'll have the part and be able to install it and get the aircraft to Libreville where civil aviation will inspect it and issue the permit for flying in country for the next year!

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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