Monday, August 03, 2009

When you try so hard to do everything right...

Last Friday I stayed late in the hangar to work on a personal project: repainting a bicycle as a belated present for Isaiah. I stepped out of the bead blast room and Ryan our piston fleet supervisor, motioned for me to come out to the ramp.

“I need you to help me push this Caravan into the hangar.”

Caravans are usually moved by our little tractor tug. But another operator had a DeHavilland Dash 8 idling on the ramp waiting to get past. Hence the urgency.
Ryan grabbed the tow bar and we strained and pushed against the beast. We got it out of the way.

Behind the Dash 8, one of our newer Cessna 206s appeared. Frank was returning from a day of flying.

After shutting down out of the way, he came and asked us, with a smile on his face “Did you guys make that Dash 8 wait?”

Ryan explained how we moved the caravan by hand. He added our other caravan was fully loaded. There was no way we could get that one to budge.

I looked at Frank and said “Now if you had been here, it would have been no problem!”

He laughed. Its a great laugh, one I hear a lot in the pilots room.

Yesterday afternoon I was making pancakes for a late lunch and the power went out. I was annoyed because it seems to be happening more and more. I didn’t think anything of it.

Some AIM-AIR friends knocked on the gate a couple hours later.

“We stopped by to see how you guys are doing.” they said.

“OK” I was a little confused by the strange look on their faces.

“You haven’t heard anything?”

I shook my head.

Then I learned that same airplane that had taxied in Friday afternoon, with Frank and Ryan on board, had crashed through some power lines and into a residential estate less than a mile from our house.

Frank did not make it. Ryan has severe burns and several broken bones. Please remember Ryan and his family and Frank’s family in your prayers.

Right now we have more questions than answers. We just went through an extensive evaluation of our operation, identifying ways to make it as safe as possible. This is a very hard time for the AIM AIR family.

I am not sure if there are aircraft to move around in Heaven or not, but I can imagine whatever God is working on up there, He is probably turning to Frank, with a smile and a twinkle in His eye “Frank, now that you are here, this will be no problem!”


Jonathan & Rachel Koski said...

We had the great opportunity to fly with Frank from Ngurunit to Nairobi a few years ago. He had just started flying on his own and was pretty excited. He knew that I was interested in mission aviation so he brought along an extra pair of headsets so we could talk on the flight down. I was shocked to hear yesterday of the accident. Know that we are praying for the Toews family, Ryan, you and the AIM-Air family.

Leslie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. I'm glad that you can rejoice in knowing you will see your friend again!

Rebecca Schumacher said...

Thank you for your story and memories. This must be so hard for your extended AIM family. Thank you for sharing. We are praying for you all.