Good Example

I wanted to let you guys know of a good example of what Great Commission Aviation is being created to do.  I have made friends here at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary who are in the foreign mission study field.  We will call them Bill and Sue to keep them anonymous on the internet.  The International Mission Board (IMB) wants missionaries to not be identifiable as Christians on the internet so we try to scrub their identities.  Anyway, Bill and Sue want to present the Gospel to nomadic tribes in the North Africa desert.  He has a private pilot’s license but had to pay an exorbitant amount of money to obtain the license.  He explained that driving around the desert looking for the nomadic tribes is almost pointless, but a small plane could locate them by air, then land or fly back to a landing strip where an off-road vehicle could be used to reach the people group.  However, he doesn’t know of anyway to do this and no one will help.  Hopefully, one day in the not-so-distant future, Great Commission Aviation can be that help.

I am coming across these types of stories every day.  I am praying that we can assist these missionaries and future missionaries in their efforts.



Checkride Prep Almost Done!

The past couple of weeks, I have flown solo once and with Richard twice.  We have been completing my simulated instrument time with a hood on my head which only allows me to see the instruments.  I have to fly as if I can’t see outside.  We have also been reviewing all the different required maneuvers and “polishing” my skills.  Landing after landing after landing and stall after stall after stall.  He said that I am within standards and would like to schedule my checkride within the next couple of weeks.  That is the final exam for the private pilot license.  It will be a long day.  Typically, a FAA checkride will last 4-5 hours!  The examiner will start with the oral portion of the exam and ask me questions in a conversational format about all of the “book” stuff, including required documentation, medical issues, aerodynamics, radio, navigation, instruments, engines, etc.  After he/she is satisfied that I know the information, we will get into the plane and I will treat the examiner just like a passenger, except he will let me know what he wants done.  After I demonstrate all the maneuvers, he either passes me or fails a portion of the exam.  If he fails a portion, I will have to fly with Richard again, he will have to sign off that I have learned the missed portion of the exam, and then I retake that portion with the examiner.

Well, it is time to really hit the books for a couple of weeks to brush up on everything.  Hopefully, my next post will be at checkride time.

Long Cross Country Done!

What a long day!  The weather was good with few clouds and light winds, so I went ahead with my long cross country.  I took off from Burlington and flew direct to Cape Fear Regional Jetport (KSUT) on the coast just south of Wilmington.  That is a distance of 144.5 nautical miles (about 166 statute miles) each way.  During the flight, I was in radio communication with Raleigh Approach, Washington Center, Fayetteville Approach, and Wilmington Approach.  I think I handled it pretty well for still being a student pilot.  I was able to easily find all of my landmarks for navigation and used the VOR navigation radios as well.

Here is the obligatory picture of Cape Fear airport:


Notice the palm tree to the right.  All small airports have the “fixture.”  This one had a guy who was in his 70’s who has been working at the airport for decades.  He assisted me in refueling the Cessna 152 and chatted for a bit about where I flew from and flying a student cross-country.  We said goodbye and I took off again for Fayetteville and then back to Burlington.


This is the view getting ready to depart Cape Fear (nice name for a solo student, huh?).  Also notice the altimeter.  I am at 0 feet above sea level, right on the coast.

I then flew from Cape Fear to Fayetteville where I performed a touch-and-go on Runway 4 before heading back to Burlington.  This completed the requirement to land at a towered airport.  Fayetteville Approach cleared me to enter their airspace, fly at or below 2,000 feet and proceed to Runway 4.  He then transferred me to Fayetteville Tower, who cleared me for the “option” on Runway 4, then proceed on runway heading and recontact Approach, which was now referred to as Departure.  Once I climbed to about 2,000 feet, Departure had me turn direct to Burlington.  I flew very close to Pope Air Force Base and could count the C-130’s on the ramp.

On the way back to Burlington, I got to see the runway work at Sanford.  All I could really see was the large yellow “X” letting overflying planes know that the runway was closed, DO NOT LAND!

I got back to Burlington at sunset when the air was cool and smooth!  After landing, I took a big sigh of relief and signed in after 3.7 hours in the airplane.  As I explained earlier, the clock ticks on the plane as long as the engine is running, even if you are not flying.  I actually was in the air about 3 hours.


Sunset at Burlington.

I immediately texted Liani to let her know I had landed safely and then called Richard to let him know the same.  He congratulated me on a major milestone and said we would immediately get to work on prepping for the FAA checkride to obtain my Private Pilot’s License.  Seems unreal.

Night Flying/Simulated Instrument

Well, I have scrubbed my long solo cross-country twice now for weather.  The first time, the projected sunny weather ended up to be low clouds and rain all day.  The next attempt was welcomed with beautifully sunny skies but 18 knot winds (approximately 21 mph).  My maximum as a student pilot is 15 knots.  I will attempt to fly the cross-country again tomorrow afternoon.

In the meantime, I flew over 2.5 hours today with Richard.  We flew close to dark so I could become current on my night landings.  I already had enough time flying at night from my previous training in Little Rock.  While waiting for dark, we flew to two other airfields and practiced landings.  He then made me fly without being able to see outside, only by instruments.  Even though the license is for visual flying, we still have to practice just in case something happens where you can’t see outside.

Just like most of Generation X that wants to be a pilot, I was raised playing Microsoft Flight Simulator.  Because of that, I seemed to fly more precise by just instruments than flying visually.  Richard made me fly all the same maneuvers by instrument only as I do flying visually (steep turns, climbing turns, slow flight, stalls).  Everything seemed to be great tonight.  Sometimes, things just click for a period of time.  Oh well, I am off to finish planning the cross-country again.  Long day ahead tomorrow.