Thursday, July 30, 2009

The real deal: my first flying in Africa

So it came together pretty fast. Nate is a pilot that came just before we did, and has paved the way for getting through the Kenya licensing requirements. He needed a handful of hours before he could apply for his license. So a plan was devised. We needed to swap a Cessna 206 with one in Uganda. The 206 was rebuilt just last year, and is the "shipping container sister" to the plane I have been working on, and maintenance wanted more hours put on the plane. It has been sitting in our hangar because of regulatory issues here in Kenya (imagine!)

So this was a good chance to get some training done. The trip was longer than the hours Nate needed, so they invited me to come along. I will need 10 hours of recent flying to get my Kenya license, too.

We left on Isaiah's birthday (Tuesday) ... I know... I will make it up to him. We returned home today. We carried some mail, equipment, a nurse working in Lake Victoria and her mom from Germany coming to visit her, and also engine oil for the pilots based in Uganda. I saw Nate put some pictures up from the trip, so all apologies for borrowing those. I shot some video, which I will crunch together into something coherent hopefully!

The picture above is one of our first stops. The runway is right on the beach. Lake Victoria is more beautiful than I imagined.

The highlights were:
*Visiting the missionaries working at the lake and hearing about their work. The church is maturing there, and they are finding less focus needed for church planting. Most of the work is now medical related, with a big emphasis on HIV/AIDs. Approximately 8 out of 10 people around Lake Victoria are infected.

*Seeing friends I had met before. One was a nurse out there we went to Africa Based Orientation with, and also a family we met at homeschool week at RVA.

 *Meeting the other remote AIM-AIR pilots. We had a float plane accident shortly after our family arrived here. But the pilot in charge of work on the lake (Dale) was very optomistic about the future and a replacement float plane. A lot of people have come offering support. He loves to use aircraft and boats to reach the fisherman in the many cramped fishing camps around the lake.

*Being able to spend a day landing on that strip off the lake. Great practice and a great location.

* Spending some time fishing with Dale and his son Josh.

* Visiting Entebbe airport. Very nice facility. It was the location of hostage crisis during Idi Amin's rule over Uganda, but has been redone quite well.

* Flying again.

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