Sunday, April 17, 2011

Big Shift of Gears

Our Bible translation colleagues in Tanzania have for some time been asking for JAARS' help in assessing their transportation issues and making recommendations.  Last year we sent someone to do a survey, and the upshot was the recommendation to bring in an aircraft in partnership with another mission aviation organization already in the country.  The next step is now to answer all the difficult questions that require aviation expertise.  Debbie and I were asked to come to Tanzania and quantify what it will take to accomplish this.  On March 20 we departed for Tanzania, and its industrial coastal city, Dar-es-Salaam.

Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa's highest peak, as we cross the Kenyan border and descend into Dar-es-Salaam

The "Dar" staff come from all points:  Europe, Canada, US, South Africa and of course Tanzania

We have met with the field administration of the "Uganda-Tanzania Branch" of SIL (Summer Institue of Linguistics) and talked to the team in "Dar," and have been getting a picture of their current situation. Our linguists are working in 26 language projects, with that many more still not yet begun.
Cessna Caravan going into the MAF hangar in Dodoma

We made a short trip by bus to the central town of Dodoma (technically the capital, and seat of Parliament) to visit with our colleagues of MAF, Mission Aviation Fellowship International (formerly known as "Euro MAF").  This branch of the MAF organizations is based in London and serves in many of the African countries.  Our linguist colleagues use MAF frequently, but there is a limit to how much service they can offer.  And our work is growing in Tanzania -- thirty new people arriving in the coming year, up from about a hundred and twenty presently.  So we visited with MAF in Dodoma to propose that we work in partnership.

Our next step will be to spend about a month in the town of Mbeya, in the southwest of Tanzania, to get to know our workers there and understand their need.  By the end of it all, we will hopefully have an idea of where to proceed from here.  Some of the key questions to answer are:  What exactly are the needs, for all the team, and what will they be in the future?  How can we improve the situation, and plan for future needs?  How can we adequately plan for the expense of air transport?  How, and how soon, can we implement the solutions?  As we progress through this three-month project, we will keep this site updated.

Soloy Cessna 207 Arrives at JAARS

  After many years of planning, on March 19 JAARS finally received its first 8-seat Cessna 207, coverted by the Soloy Corporation with a small 420 H.P. turbo-prop engine. The aviation program managers in Cameroon had asked for this special airplane because of the exhorbitant taxes there on aircraft the size of the Kodiak and larger.

The engine, a Rolls Royce Allison turbine, burns jet fuel which is readily available in Cameroon, and much cheaper then aviation gasoline ("AVGAS") which is actually hard to find at any price.  We have used aircraft with this engine before, including the Jet Ranger helicopters in Papua New Guinea.  The conversion involved extensive modification of the aircraft forward of the firewall.  We hope to see this aircraft in Cameroon by July, serving in that country as well as another five surrounding countries.  I was involved with this project for a long time, and we thought that we would be helping with its implementation, but we have been asked to step into another project on the other side of the African continent....

Sunday, November 21, 2010

038 in Aiyura

On Friday 038 and 008 made the 75 minute flight to our aviation center in the central highlands of PNG.  Our aviation team there serves with seven airplanes and two helicopters, carrying personnel and supplies in and out of approximately the 400 airstrips sprinkled all over the mountains, lowlands and islands of that geographically and linguistically diverse country.


With nearly 800 distinct languages within its boundaries, PNG provides a very concentrated opportunity for the ministry of the Bible translators (expat and PNG citizens) who dedicate their efforts to providing the Word of God for this population.

Here are just a few more images of the aviation facilities at Aiyura.   The Kodiaks will be replacing the aging Cessna 206's, and our team has already sold the twin turbine Islander (pictured here with the two Kodiaks in Port Moresby).  As Quest produces more Kodiaks, we look forward to a fleet of four based out of Aiyura, besides the two Long Ranger helicopters.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

038 Joins 008 in its New Home

On Sunday November 14 Leon made the final flight into Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea, after 16,000 miles and twelve days of flying since leaving Moundridge, Kansas.

First Half of Day Eleven

Final Day into AYPY

Our team in PNG is wrapping up the details of re-registering it in its new country, with the tail number "P2-SIR."  Once the paper work is finished, and the new numbers are put on its tail and wings, 038 will join our first Kodiak in service to the people of PNG.  For images of the ferry of 008 across the Pacific last year, you can look back to entries in this blog from September '09, and for images of the environment in which these two planes operate, you can go to posts for October of last year.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Kodiak 038 Tonight in Colombo

Leon's been making good time, arriving in Sri Lanka around 9:00 p.m. local time.  As he heads further south, the winds will be less favorable, but each individual planned leg is easily within the range of #038 with its auxiliary ferry fuel tank.

For better detail, just click on the SPOT tracking image.  Here's a snapshot of #038's arrival in Europe:

Friday, November 5, 2010

038 Has Launched!

Tonight our newest Kodiak is sleeping in Santa Maria in the Azores on its way to Papua New Guinea.  Last night it was in St. Johns, Newfoundland.  These images are from our SPOT tracking site.  If you want to join the spectating fun, go to the JAARS tracking site.  You can watch up-to-date position information for 038 as it makes its way around the globe.
The week before, Mark Wuerffel and I had dropped 038 in Moundridge, Kansas, handing it over to the care of Carl Weaver, founder of Weaver Aero International.  Carl's company has already delivered four or five Kodiaks for different customers to SE Asia, Europe and South Africa.  Carl is a former MAF pilot, and intimately familiar with our type of flying.
The pilot is Leon Stoman, pictured here with 038.  Notice the Red-cowled Kodiak in the background -- MAF's next delivery to SE Asia.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Close to Ready

Kodiak 038 has been in the JAARS hangar for the past six weeks, undergoing final touches before its trip to Papua New Guinea where it will join Kodiak 008 that has flown over 500 hours in service to missionaries and villages.  Our team in PNG is eager to get their second one.

"Why does a new airplane need to sit in the shop for six weeks?" you might ask.  There are a few modifications that we must do to it here before it's ready to enter service.  One is the installation of a high frequency "HF" radio.  Another is the installation of an engine fire detection system.  Neither of these are offered by Quest as options yet.  So our engineer and maintenance team here has designed these installations, and must get FAA approval before the airplane is returned to airworthiness.  Add all the other minor additions, and six weeks goes by pretty fast.

Here you can take a look at what's behind those pretty screens -- just a collection of boxes creatively called "LRU's" by Garmin -- "Line Replaceable Units."  Perhaps that gives you an idea of how maintainable these boxes are on the field -- not!  Basically they're "remove and replace" maintenance items for the avionics technicians.

Lloyd Marsden is one of our technicians from PNG who was in the States and came to JAARS to get in on the fun.