Friday, 24 May 2013

If you want to invest for your retirement? Well I have a secret.

Just got back from the Dr's down in St Peter Port, for a routine appointment and paid my £41.15 and thought need to go to the Dentist soon which invariably is another £40-50 if they find no holes, cracks or voids in my mouth! I thought even though I do not really have any spare cash, I can always find it from somewhere and as a result I can go to the Dr or Dentist when-ever I need to. They are always there, dare I say it waiting for my call!

A few months a go in Chad I flew a couple of dentists to an area where there had been no dentist since probably the last time they came! We (I use that term carefully) took out 144+ teeth and filled many others and gave out toothbrushes and it convinced me again that I am so glad I am not a Dentist or Dr. I just find it great that as a high speed taxi driver, I end up working with some amazing people, men and women of resiliance and tenacity, imperfect they may be but they just love other people, often  doing remarkable things, in peculiar places. How brilliant is it to be given an invitation to join in and be part of the team!

Unloading freight in the outback in temps 30-35-40-45+ Actually in a dry heat with some friends and a job to be done, it is good fun. The drive to the village is far far more hazardous than the flight; certainly rougher.
Hotel accomadation is provided free of charge! 

Working with some peculiar people, comes with the territory. Here is our diminutive pilot Jim Le Huray with a couple of enthusiastic scholars.

Keeping fit involves at least 500 circuits of the aircraft before take-off. Here I am waiting for the next blast of sand that caused white out every 15-20 minutes, am waiting to medi-vac my passenger who had been involved in a vehicle accident.

Simmering under the sun, refuelling at 42C, ideal for increasing Vitamain D levels, but what job invites you to spend a restful 20mins in the sun in the heat of the day. Then provides you with evening entertainment down at the local water -hole. This is in  Zakouma National Park, head much further north and you find rather alot of sand. 

A waddi offering underground water and shade. Sometimes you need to climb up to a hill top and take time out to enjoy the majestic hilltop view.

We need in MAF more managers, pilots, and lots more engineers! Perhaps it's time you started training for something new a few years down the road. It will be hard work, costly, challenging, difficult but brilliant. If you want to invest for your retirement live your life full on now! 

Jesus was saying in  John 10:10b something along the lines of:- 

I came that 'you' might have life, life in all it's abundance.

All the photo's were taken in the last 4 months.

Friday, 3 May 2013

A Morning in the Life of a Diesel 182 in the Sahel Lakeland!

04:28 I am wide awake, how is that possible the alarm is not due till 0430! Leap out of bed, shower, mango and mug of rooibos, drive, open hanger doors, pick up weather, passengers briefed. Under the calming effect of my noise cancelling Bose headset the throaty rumble of the diesel Cessna 182 is converted to a complex mix of sound the gentle clatter of a tractor with the hissing chatter of a sowing machine. I love tractors and the sound of a sowing machine brings childhood memories of mother sowing flooding back. So...

The diesel 182 is MAF's newest tool in our aviation toolbox. This airframe is a '79 so it's hardly new yet if you look up SMA's history (Societe de Motorisations Aeronautiques) you will find this engine is. It is one of the new generation of aircraft engines that use diesel technology but burn jet fuel (Jet-A1), the same stuff our turbine Caravan burns, as does your favorite Jumbo jet.  Jet fuel-paraffin/kerosene is cheap compared with Av-gas, more environmentally friendly, plentiful and a safer fuel. Plus this machine burns about 2/3rd of the fuel of the avgas powered version so fully fueled it can carry a bladder busting 9.5hrs of fuel at 110kts/hr that is a fair old speed & distance and because it goes in straight lines a lot more economical that your average Toyota or Land Rover bouncing circutous routes at 50kts below you!

The early morning Chadian air is delightful, warm, fragrant full of promise, imaginations of the tock of willow on leather flicker through ones mind as one ponders the prospect an ‘English summers day’ ahead of us, though I come mid-morning the Saharan sun has very different ideas. The colours are all ready washed out by the bright sun as we climb on track through 5000ft, the land to the left and right merge into a khaki haze. To my port is the Chari River, as it wends it's way towards Lake Chad, it makes a distinctive border with Cameroon and we are only a stones throw from Niger and Nigeria. Our two local passengers are delighted with the views on this short 80 mile, 45 minute hop, they work with Margareta a Swedish linguist who we are going to pick up from Bol.

Bol a small town that has a 800m asphalt strip on one of the many shores of Lake Chad. It is not long before the 'every shade of ochre' turns into the greens and blues of a beautiful spread of glittering waters. Such a contrast to the golden sand dunes 'a few miles away'. Whilst the Lake has receded dramatically in recent years, remember MAF started working here in a floatplane in the mid 60‘s! It was never that deep in parts and even now varies with the season, a couple of feet of water depth can make a huge difference to the area covered by water.

We skip onto the 800m asphalt strip in a cloud of sand as TT-BRT bounces into land and taxi to the little terminal where  Margareta our Swedish passenger is waiting for us, everyone seems pleased to see the aircraft arrive - I doubt it is a busy place! 
Camels, horses and donkies amble cross the airstrip on their way to and from town. Whilst there are trees and shrubs the lakes effect stops only metres from the shore line as a lot of the soil is silver sand. Margareta is so thankful for our aircraft and chats freely telling me stories about how the flying makes makes such a difference to her travels and she goes onto say that over the years it has saved the lives of a number  of people who she has managed to get flown out.  I think she would be worth chatting to as you feel she has many many tales of God’ providence to tell. 

                Some passing camels drift by to have a look at our ship of the desert. 
                                                                                               Then we are off.