Surgery in the Theatre!

A few times a month my flights take me on overnight trips to places all over Zambia, I thought I’d give you a taste of what one of these types of flights look like!  One of the organizations that we fly for works with specialist doctors and organizes for them to fly out to rural hospitals where there is a need for their specific specialization (orthopedics, gynecology, plastic surgeon etc). These trips are usually 3-4 days long and so the pilot usually stays for the duration to keep from having to make two trips.  The last trip I did was with an orthopedic surgeon and a orthopedic post graduate student.  On the first day we met early and took off out of Lusaka to a city called Mongu.  If the roads are good one can drive to Mongu in about 8 hours, if the roads are in need of repair it can take double that, but it only takes 2 1/2 to fly there.  So we arrived in Mongu mid-morning, and were picked up at the airport by the Irish Catholic sisters that run a guest house where we stay.   After resting with a cup of tea, the doctors went to the hospital and screened the patients to see who was the most urgent and in which order to do the surgeries (they don’t want the most challenging to come last).  The second day they began surgery early in the morning.  I was allowed to come along and observe!  So I got dressed up in some scrubs and hung out in the theatre.  Here in Zambia (and the UK) we call an operating room a theatre, and what I saw was as good as a movie.  🙂  Sometimes they do as many as 15-20 surgeries in 1 day! In this particular location they have a large number patients so they stay and do 2 days of surgery, this time they did around 30 surgeries over 2 days.  The final day the surgeons made their rounds and checked the patients, and then we headed back to the airplane and made the short trip home!  If I’m not observing what the doctors are doing, I often ask around (or get asked) to do odd jobs that need done at the mission stations or places we stay at.  Or I sit and write prayer letters, catch up on emails, and do website postings, just like the one you’re reading now.  But really lets be honest, for me watching surgery is much more interesting.  🙂

Most of the surgeries that I saw were for a problem called Club Foot.  A child with Club Foot is born with the tendons in the foot and ankle too short on the inside of the foot causing it to be pulled inward.  In most western countries it is a relatively easy fix with casts and braces used until the child walks to stretch and lengthen the affected tendons and put the foot in a normal position.  However, here in Zambia most children with club foot aren’t treated until they are close to or already walking.  At that stage it requires surgery to correct.  The surgeons basically go in and cut some of the tendons longways in half and then on one side each at the ends of the slit and then sew the two pieces back together, effectively making the tendon longer.  It can heal that way and will strengthen itself as it heals.  This then allows the foot to extend out and lay flat as it should!  Quite interesting to watch the whole thing first hand!  Something I’d never be able to do in the states…I’ve included some pictures but they aren’t for the weak stomached so be warned!!!

 

 

Notice the Bosch battery operated hand drill… Nope it's not for aircraft maintenance it's for the surgeons!

Notice the Bosch battery operated hand drill… Nope it’s not for aircraft maintenance it’s for the surgeons!

Preparing the theatre for surgery!

Preparing the theatre for surgery!

 

Getting started on a little guy with Club Foot.

Getting started on a little guy with Club Foot.

First incision, where's the blood?

First incision, where’s the blood?

Notice how curved the foot is sitting that's the furthest flat it will go.

Notice how curved the foot is sitting that’s the furthest flat it will go.

Finding the ligaments to "extend" them!

Finding the ligaments to “extend” them!

The foot can sit flat and normally now!

The foot can sit flat and normally now!

This boy is older and has already been walking on his foot this way.  He'll have a new gait in his step after the surgery.

This boy is older and has already been walking on his foot this way. He’ll have a new gait in his step after the surgery.

Update March 2014

Hello from Zambia!
I hope this update finds you well. Many things have changed for me since my last update! Firstly, on February 27th, I celebrated one full year here in Zambia!! It seems like it has gone by really quickly, and I am thankful for all of the things I have learned and experiences I have had so far. Secondly, I passed my exam to become an aircraft maintenance engineer here in Zambia!! This is exciting news, and will help Flying Mission on the aircraft maintenance side. Thirdly, all of the paperwork for the truck I purchased has been finished, and the vehicle has been working great! Thanks again to all who gave me a little extra help with this. Now I am able to reliably get from place to place in the air, and on the ground. 🙂 Fourthly, I have begun getting checked out in the Cessna 210, a faster and slightly more complex airplane. Once I am checked out in it, I will be able to fly all of the aircraft we currently have at FMZ. Finally, my roommate of just over 6 months has moved on and gone back to Canada, we are grateful for the help he gave us while he was here!! I am thinking about getting a dog for company and security (see my SME below), but am waiting for the right one to come along. 🙂

Flying Mission Zambia is still raising money for our runway purchase, our base is located on 25 acres just south west of Lusaka, this is where all of our operations start and end, and we have been steadily working to improve it since we purchased it in 2005. Unfortunately, half of our runway has been leased from a family and they have not been willing to sell the land until now! We have finally reached an agreement with them!! But now need to finance the purchase of the second half of the runway. 🙂 If you are interested in helping with this CLICK HERE for more information!

SME (Share my Experience)
Most of the houses here in Zambia are one story and have steel “burglar bars” in the windows to help with security but no screens. This keeps anyone from climbing into your house through the windows. When I moved to Zambia I was told that it is a relatively safe place to live, but that petty theft is a problem and to be careful. So I keep my vehicle doors locked when I’m driving through town, and always lock my house etc., but kept most of my windows open, assuming the burglar bars would be enough security to keep everything safe inside. But I underestimated the ingenuity of those that would like to steal! I woke up early one morning around 4 AM and heard this faint “tapping” noise, I fell back asleep, and was in and out having dreams that continued to have this tapping noise in them. Finally about 4:30 AM I fully woke up to a loud tap. And laid there and listened and heard it again. So I got up to investigate. As I went down the hallway, I could hear the noise and it was coming from my living room! I stopped at the corner of the room and saw a young boy probably around 10 sitting on my windowsill hanging through the burglar bars with a rigid wire (like a long clothes hangar) “fishing” things off of my desk!!! The tapping noise I was hearing was his wire hitting the top of my computer. Well I wasn’t sure what to do, so I started walking towards him and got within about 3 feet without him noticing me, and then I yelled at the top of my lungs, “HEY, HEY, WHAT ARE YOU DOING!!!” I think I about scared the daylights out of him (and my sleeping roommate), he was out of the window and into the bushes in about 2 seconds flat. After a couple of minutes of calming myself down and trying to see if anything was missing, I decided to go outside to see what it looked like out there. As I got to the back of the house, I found my computer charger, my kindle charger, and a few other things, as well as his rigid wire and a couple tools. Thankfully, he didn’t stop to pick up what he had taken when I scared him out of the window. It turns out the tools that he had been using were stolen from my co-worker’s/neighbor’s house several months earlier using the same technique. After doing an inventory of my things it doesn’t look like the kid actually got away with anything, but a hand held GPS that he apparently dropped from my desk onto the floor no longer works. Overall, I’m thankful because it could have been so much worse! But still it’s a good learning experience about leaving windows open with electronics within “fishing” distances!! Most of my windows are now closed, and I haven’t had any more problems. So that’s good.

Well that’s all for now, but if you have any questions or comments please email me, I’ll be happy to answer them and give you even more information on what life is like here in Zambia!

God’s Blessings on you all,

Jonathan

Send me Mail!!!!
Jonathan Weaver
Postnet #197, P/Bag E891
Lusaka, Zambia

Praises For:

  • Passing my Maintenance Exam!!
  • Celebrating one year in Zambia!!
  • The Lord is blessing me with a good attitude through all the changes and challenges.

Prayers for:

  • Continued good adjustment and focus on God.
  • Safe Flying and a good transition into the new type of Airplane.
  • For the ministries we support to be blessed by God in the work they are doing for him.

 

Well turns out my feet are quite a bit smaller then an Elephants...

Well turns out my feet are quite a bit smaller then an Elephants…

Look who wants to come to breakfast!!

Look who wants to come to breakfast!!

I love the clouds here!!

I love the clouds here!!

Update November 2013

 

Hello Friends,

The rains have returned to Zambia, and everything is becoming lush and green.  It is amazing how quickly the landscape changes.  Farmers are busy planting their crops for the growing season, and at Flying Mission Zambia we have also had a busy couple of months.  In addition to the normal flying, we have been able to help the Zambian Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) with an aerial survey of the large mammals in their national parks.  Flying Mission and a couple of other companies here in Zambia were selected to help with this important job.  The aerial survey helps ZAWA track how healthy different mammal species are and if the populations are rising or declining.  It is also good for Flying Mission because it helps us make connections with individuals and the Zambian Government.  I was able to help with this survey and spent 90+ hours in one of our airplanes bouncing around at 350 FT above the ground while the spotters counted animals.  We took off shortly after sunrise, took a break mid morning, and then flew till sunset; I saw a lot of very beautiful sunrises and sunsets during this time, and it gave me the opportunity to get to know some great people.  I also enjoyed spending some time in the amazing Zambian National Parks!!  For some pictures and a short writeup I did on this project check out my post HERE.

Thank you so much to those who helped out with my truck fund.  While I still have not been able to sell it, I think I have at least come to a temporary resolution.  After my last update, I got my truck back from the mechanic that has been working on it and he was able to sort a couple of issues, and told me that they were responsible for the “consistently inconsistent” engine problems.  However, the problems came back almost immediately and I began to look into the wiring and was able to find a loose connector.  I secured it and the problems have not returned.  So I am hopeful that at least this problem has been solved.  This gives me a bit of breathing room, I am still trying to sell the truck, but I can wait for a better buyer at a better price now, and I am thankful for that.  Please continue to be in prayer about this!
Otherwise, I have settled into a bit of a routine here in Lusaka, our flying schedule will slow down in December and January and it will give us the opportunity to catch up on other projects the mission is working on.  I have been studying for the Aircraft Maintenance Engineering test, and will shortly be writing the exam.  If I pass I will be able to do more on the aircraft maintenance side.  It is going to be strange to experience a hot, rainy, and humid Christmas, but I am blessed to have a close friend coming to visit, so I am looking forward to it.  I want to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving and a Merry Christmas!

SME (Share my Experience)

In this episode of “share my experience” I want to tell you a little about the church that I have been attending here in Lusaka.  Living near the capital city in a developing country presents the expatriate with extra options and opportunities when it comes to choosing a church.  We have “village” churches in the neighborhood surrounding our base, as well as churches that are predominately full of white expatriates in the city.  While the village churches are great because they are full of Zambian culture, often most of their services are in one of the local languages, and until I learn more of the languages I wouldn’t really be able to participate.  The expatriate churches are also great because they are more like what I am used to, and are in English and feel more like home, but they lack Zambian flare and culture.  In my beginning stages here I was hoping for something with a mix of both, and for the time being I think I have found it.  I have been attending a large church in Lusaka called Miracle Life Family Church.  The preaching is in English with an American pastor, but is a 90% Zambian congregation.  The worship is led by a Zambian worship band and they rock!!  But the words are on a screen so when they sing songs in the local languages, I can read and understand what they are saying.  Many of the members of the congregation are middle to upper class Zambians, these are the people that can truly influence the future of Zambia in a positive way, and I am enjoying getting to know some of them.  Not sure if I will attend this church for a short time, or long term, but so far I have been blessed by it.

Well that’s all for now! If you have any questions or comments please email me, I’ll be happy to answer them and give you even more information on what life is like here in Zambia!

 God’s Blessings on you all,

Jonathan

 

Praises For:

  • Safety with all of the wildlife flying.
  • Figuring out some of the problems with the truck.
  • The Lord is blessing me with a good attitude through all the changes and challenges.

Prayers for:

  •  My Aircraft Maintenance Engineering Test.
  • Continued good adjustment and focus on God.
  • Safe Flying through the rainy season!
  • For the ministries we support to be blessed by God in the work they are doing for him.
  • The ring beam has been set, just a few more layers of blocks and the church will be ready for the roof!

    The ring beam has been set, just a few more layers of blocks and the church will be ready for the roof!

Wildlife Counts and Safari Camps!

During the months of October and November Flying Mission Zambia has been able to participate in some flying that was different then our normal fare.  It was challenging, fun, and at times exhausting, but overall I enjoyed it!  The Zambia Wildlife Authority (ZAWA) conducts aerial wildlife surveys throughout their parks and game management areas every few years.  Flying Mission has participated in the past and was asked again this year to do some of the flying for the count, so we allotted one of our airplanes and rotated through 4 of our pilots to accomplish our part of the survey.  This was an opportunity I was excited about because I haven’t been able to explore the Zambian parks yet or see much wildlife.

The basic purpose of the survey is to estimate the population and distribution of many of the different species of large mammals within the parks.  We were asked to help conduct the survey in the Kafue National Park (large park in the middle of the Zambian Map) and it’s surrounding Game Management Area’s (GMA).  The Kafue Park is the second largest park in Africa, and with the surrouding GMA’s the square footage amounts to roughly half that of the state of Ohio.  So it’s was a BIG area to cover.  While the survey can’t cover every square foot, we flew paths are set up as parallel straight lines each separated by a couple of miles over the entire park and game management area’s (see picture below).

The flying was challenging; flying low to the ground within specific limits while trying to fly a very straight line in turbulent 90F plus weather for 7-8 hours a day can be a bit tiring.  But there were many firsts for me as well, which made it exciting.  I got to stay at a couple different safari camps near the airstrips we were operating out of, and when I wasn’t flying I could participate in whatever activities were going on.  I went on a few game drives, a walking safari, and even went swimming in a natural hot spring.  And while from the air I was mostly too distracted trying to keep the plane straight and level, so see many animals, on the ground I saw my first Lions in Africa (a mother with a cub, as well as another lioness chasing an Impala), Hippos, Elephants, Warthogs, crocodiles, buffalo, more antelope then I could count, and even a porcupine scurrying away from our vehicle.  At night amidst the consistent lullaby of insect sounds, I would fall asleep to the sound of Hippos grunting and Lion’s roaring.  It was quite the African experience.  In the morning, I would awake in my grass chalet as the first rays of sunshine were appearing and enjoy some coffee and praise the Lord while listening to the birds and watching the impala and puku grazing on the plain stretching out before me.  It was pretty cool.

It was also fun to get to know the different members of the ZAWA team.  Everyone was very friendly and I was even able to fly with a member of the ZAF (Zambian Air Force), as part of the survey took place in Zambian airspace controlled by the ZAF.  I hope to run into them again as I visit different parks run by ZAWA.  At Flying Mission we try to pray before every flight, and when doing secular flying like this, these prayers are conversation starters, and I was able to share with many of the people I interacted with the real reason I am in Zambia.  My plane mates were even so used to the prayer before the flight that they would remind me if I forgot.  🙂

For those that have made it this far and are wondering how the survey actually worked here’s a brief explanation.  In the airplane with me were two spotters in the back seats and a recorder sitting in the front seat. I was instructed to fly at 350ft above the ground and 80kts (a relatively slow speed) over all of these straight line courses which were just GPS coordinates running through and separating different sections of the park, while the spotters in the back looked though a set of poles attached to the wing strut and counted any animals within the poles (see pictures below).  The recorder kept track of the sections and subsections we flew through and my altitude and airspeed.  When the numbers are complied they will know how much square footage was surveyed based on the altitude of the plane and the known width between the two poles on the wing struts.  The planes actual flight path was being recorded on a GPS unit in the airplane and after the flights all of the information is compiled and sent to a consultant who puts it all together and writes up the findings of the study.  A copy of the 2008 study is available HERE if you’re curious.

One of the last mornings as I was getting ready to land at the bush strip to pick up my ZAWA passengers, I lined up on final approach and looked down to see 3 adult and 2 baby elephants crossing the runway below me.  I’m not gonna lie the phrase “living the dream” crossed through my mind.

Well that’s all for now.  God Bless.

Jonathan

Joint venture with FMZ and the ZAF.

Joint venture with FMZ and the ZAF.

These was my ZAWA crew with our Airforce representative.

These was my ZAWA crew with our Airforce representative.

This is what the spotters saw from above.  Can you see the Lechwe (Antelope) on the island below?

This is what the spotters saw from above. Can you see the Lechwe (Antelope) on the island below?

This is a sampling of the lines we flew throughout the park.  Our GPS was recording it all.

This is a sampling of the lines we flew throughout the park. Our GPS was recording it all.

The Kafue park is the large one near the center of Zambia.  We surveyed the park and most of the areas around the park.

The Kafue park is the large one near the center of Zambia. We surveyed the park and most of the areas around the park.

 

Can you see the bat? This little guy shared the chalet with me for a day.

Can you see the bat? This little guy shared the chalet with me for a day.

Night game drive revealed a lioness and her cub resting peacefully, and not bothered at all by our light.

Night game drive revealed a lioness and her cub resting peacefully, and not bothered at all by our light.

Met a few neighbors!  Sadly I didn't get a picture of the hippo that I almost ran into twice.

Met a few neighbors! Sadly I didn’t get a picture of the hippo that I almost ran into twice.

Safari Accommodation!  Grass walls, thatch roof and outside bathroom beside.

Safari Accommodation! Grass walls, thatch roof and outside bathroom beside.

I got to see the sunrise and set every day.  The best time for smooth flying is just after sunrise and just before sunset.

I got to see the sunrise and set every day. The best time for smooth flying is just after sunrise and just before sunset.

This was the view from my Chalet.  Impala grazing on the plain.

This was the view from my Chalet. Impala grazing on the plain.

 

This is what the bathrooms looked like at one of the safari camps.  Can you see the hideaway in the picture?

This is what the bathrooms looked like at one of the safari camps. Can you see the hideaway in the picture?

This baby Impala was rescued after his mother died.  He will be released back into the wild after he is old enough.

This baby Impala was rescued after his mother died. He will be released back into the wild after he is old enough.

 

 

 

 

Pictures are worth a 1000 words.

My house!!

My house!!

Just before I had to start bailing water out of the boat so we could stay afloat!!

Just before I had to start bailing water out of the boat so we could stay afloat!!

Local on the Zambezi!

Local on the Zambezi!

Sunset on the Zambezi River!

Sunset on the Zambezi River!

Up close and personal!

Up close and personal!

Lovely view before sunset.

Lovely view before sunset.

The beautiful "common bee eater"

The beautiful “common bee eater”

My (semi) sea worthy vessel on Lake Tanganyika.

My (semi) sea worthy vessel on Lake Tanganyika.

Hungry hungry hippos...

Hungry hungry hippos…

Almost looks like paradise!

Almost looks like paradise!

Zimbabwe off in the distance.  Can you see the bungee jumper?

Zimbabwe off in the distance. Can you see the bungee jumper?

Avionics upgrade on one of our airplanes!  It's gonna be nice.

Avionics upgrade on one of our airplanes! It’s gonna be nice.

The walls are going up at the Church!

The walls are going up at the Church!

My tools finally arrived!!!!  Yay!!

My tools finally arrived!!!! Yay!!

My cousins the Weaver birds!

My cousins the Weaver birds!

We got a nice welcome from the choir at the local baptist church when we arrived in Solwezi.

We got a nice welcome from the choir at the local baptist church when we arrived in Solwezi.

Fresh Fish!!

Fresh Fish!!

My little Gecko friend.

My little Gecko friend.

Mongu Harbor, anyone want some fresh fish??

Mongu Harbor, anyone want some fresh fish??

I learned a ton in my cultural orientation class!

I learned a ton in my cultural orientation class!

My living room!

My living room!

Driving in Lusaka is always exciting.  Driving in Lusaka is always exciting.

I often get stuck in heavy traffic.

I often get stuck in heavy traffic.

Swimming hole just off the Zambezi River.  No Crocodiles because it has rapids on both sides.

Swimming hole just off the Zambezi River. No Crocodiles because it has rapids on both sides.

Just a little more time!

Hello Friends! Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!

I hope this email finds you well.  I am writing with plenty of news!  First, I have just finished and “graduated” from the JAARS pre-field flight and maintenance orientation, and I moved back to Ohio.  I realized as I was coming back that it has been a year now since I officially started raising support.  I am surprised and overwhelmed by how quickly things have progressed.  The Lord is good!  During this past year I have raised most of the necessary funds, quit my job at Kent State University, moved to North Carolina, completed all of my pre-field flight and maintenance training at JAARS, and moved back to Ohio!  It’s been a busy year!  Secondly, I have finalized a date when I am beginning my trip to Africa: February 15th!  Less than two months from now.  Wow I can’t believe it is so close.  There are many details to take care of between now and then, and I would appreciate much prayer!  Also, I want to see as many of you as I can before I go!!!  If you have some time and want to see me please feel free to contact me.  🙂

Brown

Support!
My support level continues to be very close to full support!  Praise the Lord!  I do still need to raise about $5000 dollars for my outgoing costs, and am still looking for about $200 a month to round out my monthly support and assure that I will be set once I am in Zambia.  I know the Lord is going to take care of this, but if you have have some year end money that you would like to give that would be great!  Click HERE to go to my website and you can simply print off the form and send it in with your donation!  If you have signed up to do monthly support but haven’t started yet, now is the time!  If you need more information on how to start automatic credit card donations just email me back and I will give you the details!  Thank you so much!!

Prayer and Praise!
I know that many of you have been praying and I very much appreciate it!  Praise the Lord I know he was with me during my time at JAARS and I learned a lot!  It definitely felt like I was in the right place for the right amount of time to do some intense learning.  Praise the Lord for safety for everyone involved in my training!  Please pray for the details of shipping my tools to Arizona and then to Zambia to come together soon!  Pray that I will have wisdom in packing and choosing what to take and what not to take.  Pray for my heart to continue to be prepared for what God has for me.  Pray for my time in the Cross Cultural course that I will learn what I need to!  Thank you in advance for your prayers!

Strawberry Ridge

My Schedule:

Praise the Lord, my time to leave is coming soon!

Now until January 20th: Home visiting and packing!

January 21-February 8th:Cross Cultural Training in CO!

February 15th:  Leave for Zambia with a quick stop in Scotland!

Copyright © 2012 Jonathan C. Weaver, All rights reserved.
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So what am I learning down here anyway???

Many have asked what exactly I am learning during my three and a half months here in Waxhaw, NC at JAARS.  Well there is almost too much to list.  But I’ll at least give a brief overview. First on the maintenance side, I am learning the detailed systems of the Cessna 206, the aircraft I will be operating in Zambia.  JAARS has been operating the Cessna 206 in missions work around the world for longer then I have been alive, so they have a pretty good handle on how to maintain them and what areas to pay special attention to during inspections etc.  In addition to classroom learning, I will be doing “projects”  on a maintenance 206 that is no longer flying.  This will give me hands on experience working with, fixing, and rigging the different systems.  Further the two 206’s that we are flying for orientation are also our responsibility to maintain while we are flying them.  So we perform post flight inspections, and if any discrepancies are found it is our responsibility to fix them (under the supervision of the maintenance trainers).  At orientation with me is one maintenance specialist who is headed to Indonesia, one other pilot/mechanic who is headed to Kenya, and a helicopter pilot headed to Papua New Guinea.

On the flight side of things, I am learning many things as well.  Basically we are learning to operate the Cessna 206 safely at the edge of its operational limitations.  JAARS has a well thought out philosophy of flying, and a very good safety record, while operating in some of the most challenging flying environments in the world.  They have been able to do this because they are won’t just accept any pilot, and then the ones they do accept they train well.  That is the training I am receiving.  Most of the flying will focus on STOL (Short Takeoff and Land) procedures, and emergency procedures.  But perhaps even more than that, they are teaching me a philosophy of flying and STOL is the platform for teaching it.  The JAARS philosophy of flying focus’s on 3 fundamentals: positive aircraft control, consistency by reference to standard models, and the discipline to adhere to close tolerances.   A pilot is in positive aircraft control while flying a STOL approach when he understands what control movements need to be used to get the results desired, and carries them out with precision while also reacting to constantly changing  environmental factors (wind) at speeds barely above stall.   We have to fly the airplane and not let the airplane fly us. 🙂 They have set up a standard model of aircraft pitch, power settings, rate of decent, and altitudes at key points, that help us confirm we are on the right track for a stable and safe approach and landing with positive aircraft control.  Finally they have set a strict set of tolerances for us to adhere to (4 degree approach with a landing in a 100-200ft touchdown zone).  When we combine these three things and discipline ourselves to always follow them, the margin for error goes down and safety goes up!  Well that got a little technical… but somebody that reads this will think it was interesting.  🙂 All that to say, I probably won’t fly many STOL approaches where I am headed in Zambia, but I can apply these fundamentals to any aspect of flying (and perhaps other areas of life) and it will help me to have many safe years of flying in a harsh and unforgiving environment.

Speaking of safety, that is the other huge focus.  Safety is paramount, JAARS procedures take into consideration the risk verses the payoff, and they will not do things that do not have a acceptable amount of safety margin built into them.  A safe pilot is a pilot who stays alert, he knows exactly how his aircraft should perform in any given situation, and if it isn’t performing correctly he takes appropriate action if possible before it becomes an emergency.  These are the things the JAARS instructors are drilling into my head over and over, day after day.  And I think it’s a good thing.  🙂  I am being stretched, and pushed to learn new skills and pick things up at a pace that is faster than I am used to, but I know in the end I will be as prepared as I can be for what I will face as I serve with Flying Mission in Zambia.

All of my instructors on both the mechanic and pilot side, have spent years overseas doing the very things they are now teaching me.  It is truly a blessing to learn from them.  Real world examples take on an even greater significance when the person telling the story was actually there and experienced it.  If you want to pray for my remaining time here, pray that I will learn and soak in as much as I can, and not grow weary, but finish strong!

I made it to JAARS!!!!!

As many of you know I will be spending the next 3 1/2 months in Waxhaw, NC doing aviation flight and maintenance orientation with JAARS to prepare me for the missionary service I will be doing in Zambia, Africa with Flying Mission.  I arrived earlier this week and will begin my training next Tuesday, September 4th.  Waxhaw is located near the South Carolina border just south of Charlotte.

Here’s a brief look at who JAARS is and what life will look like for me here in Waxhaw, NC!!!!!

Who JAARS is (this info was taken from their website, follow the links to their website to find out more):

“We’re a nonprofit that provides technical support services—such as aviationinformation technology, and media—to advance Bible translation and literacy programs worldwide. Our work impacts teams with SIL International, the Wycliffe Global Alliance, and many related organizations.”

“For more than 60 years, JAARS aviation has provided safe, dependable flight services to translators and support personnel, enabling Bible translation to flourish in locations that would otherwise remain inaccessible.”

JAARS used to stand for “Jungle Aviation and Radio Service” but at this point they do a lot more than aviation and radio service so the acronym was dropped and it’s just JAARS.

Because Flying Mission doesn’t have any training facilities in the United States, JAARS handles most of the evaluation and pre-field training for FM pilot/mechanics.

JAARS owns and operates out of JAARS-Townsend Field, and does much or their training on the field, as well as at other strips in the area.  While their main runway is long and paved, they have short grass strips set up on the side that can progressively train pilots to land within precise limitations.

 

 

For my training this fall I will be flying this Cessna U206G.  The Cessna 206 is a 6 seat single engine aircraft with a rugged design and powerful engine.  It is a popular bush plane, and is used all over the world by many different mission agencies.  The first airplane that I will be operating with Flying Mission in Zambia will be the 206, so my experience this fall will be invaluable when I begin flying in Africa.

 

I have a small (it’s smaller inside then it looks :-)) apartment that I will be living in during my training.  It is about a 5 minute walk from the airport, so it’s the perfect spot for me to be!