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Preview: Mexico Aviator

Mexico Aviator



Preparing for takeoff from Amoltepec, Mexico.



Updated: 2018-03-05T16:28:49.717-06:00

 



Current News

2009-10-23T22:44:58.095-05:00

For the latest info on where we are at and what we are up to with MAF, check out my other blog by clicking here, thanks for stopping by.



Speaking Engagement

2008-08-29T15:17:04.900-05:00

We have been off and on busy these last few weeks as we get closer to our departure date this coming Monday. Now, it seems a lot easier as our "big" household shipment finally made it out the door yesterday. The only thing left to pack is our airline baggage, which shouldn't be to hard.

A few nights ago, I went out for coffee...(no not at Starbucks)...with a friend from language school. We met and enjoyed classes together while in Costa Rica. It was fun to finally sit with him and see what has been happening in each others lives since we all left Costa Rica a few years ago.

After talking with me, he realized that I know some of the Waorani Indians in Ecuador that are mentioned and even shown in the movie End of the Spear and the documentary Beyond the Gates of Splendor. My friend works at the local Baptist Seminary with Mexican church planters. They were all inspired by the account of the 5 missionaries in Ecuador, but were left wondering how things are going now with the Waorani people.

I was able to fill in the gaps last night. After we all watched either the documentary or the movie, I spoke and answered questions to a group of around 45 people for around 30 minutes. It was a fun time to be able to encourage these young Mexican church planters with some of the stories from Ecuador. Some time around 11pm I finally made it back home and fell into bed...dead tired.



Just About There

2008-08-25T06:37:36.459-05:00

We are still here....and doing just fine. We have exactly one week left here in Oaxaca. We leave for the USA next Monday. Our packing is going well, as well as our plans to get everything else sold. Nothing much to report...just checking in.



Backyard Critters

2008-08-17T09:00:49.777-05:00

(image) Walking past our sunflowers this morning I saw that someone had already made their breakfast. I guess having a stinger on your tailpipe doesn't make you invulnerable to the predator world. Just check out those spider legs...sexy eh?



From the Logbook...Last MAF Flight?

2008-08-15T20:13:32.087-05:00

Being that we are fast approaching our "two weeks left in Oaxaca" mark, today was my last day of planned flying. We are going to work hard next week getting things ready once again for an international move. It was a very bittersweet feeling to be "hanging up my hat" today, but it only means we are that much closer to our next season in life as well.

(image) The photo above is from Wednesday when we had two airplanes in Amoltepec. I had landed first and about 15 minutes later our other airplane was landing. I was thankful to be able to get some shots of an airplane landing while in Mexico. As I stated earlier, we usually don't have two airplanes in the same place here in Oaxaca, so it was special to have experienced it right before we leave.



From the Logbook...Interesting Cargo

2008-08-15T06:34:56.778-05:00

(Due to very poor internet this week, I have been unable to post very much. Keep scrolling down to see what we have been up to this week. Don't worry...I am still here!)

(image)
While in Ecuador I had the opportunity to fly a few cadavers, and today was the first time I have seen it here in Mexico. I was going to fly this young man of 19 years back to his village be buried. At the last second, I asked a co-worker to do this flight for me because of some things I had to take care of in the office.

Supposedly, the young man left his home in the Sierra to come and work in Oaxaca just one week ago. This morning, his photo turned up on the front page of the newspaper in a very gruesome way. According to the news account, he was stabbed to death. Without being crude, remember that in most countries embalming a body is either impossible or too costly. Therefore bodies are usually in the ground less than 24 hours after the persons death. This is a good thing, because this poor young man was starting to "smell of death." Not something I recommend experiencing.



From the Logbook...Another neat experience

2008-08-14T21:55:19.259-05:00

(image) Yesterday, I was able to see a small glimpse of something special. I was waiting in Amoltepec for some passengers to complete some work in the pueblo. Every Wednesday the pueblo has a mid-week church service. I was able to accompany my Mexican boss, another pilot and his family, as well as our visitor from Texas to the church service. I was unable to stay for much of the service due to my previous comitments to my passengers but it was neat to see this small group of Christians in a VERY hostile community. This is the same community where the pastor was murdered over a land dispute just a few weeks ago.

(image) While walking back to the plane, I returned to one of my favorite photo spots to see the airstrip with the both airplanes on it. It is rare to have both airplanes on one airstrip at the same time in Mexico, so it was fun to be able to take a picture of it. Because there isn't much room to turn around in Amoltepec, I flew the most uphill airplane into AMO, and flew the other one out while my co-workers stayed for the church service and returned in the airplane I flew in. Confused? Just think musical airplanes.



From the Logbook...A Special Passenger

2008-08-14T18:37:46.794-05:00

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Finally, this past Tuesday, I had the chance to take along my most favoritest passenger...my wife. After all these years of flying a little Cessna to Latin America's remotest places, she was finally able to come along just because. It was a fun time to be able to show her where we go and what my "job" looks like on a daily basis.



From the Logbook...Plauged by the Wind

2008-08-07T17:09:29.875-05:00

(image) The mountain airstrips that we fly into are already challenging enough, but when the wind sock looks like the picture above, it can make for an interesting approach. Thankfully, it was right down the runway today blowing from north to south in San Mateo. If it would have been south to north, I might not have been able to land due to some very mean terrain in the vicinity.


(image) While waiting for a wind report from my next destination of Amoltepec, I just sat around near the airstrip to see what was happening. In most places, the airstrip is also a multi use road, for cars, animals, and of course airplanes. About 45 minutes later, I received a call from AMO saying that the wind was calm enough to attempt an approach to land. We made the landing there just fine, where I boarded 5 teenagers coming out to attend a Christian conference.



From the Logbook...How Many?

2008-08-02T08:44:10.945-05:00

(image)
That was the question as I took off from Amoltepec yesterday and reported my ETA, amount of fuel, altitude and people aboard on my way back to Oaxaca. I anticipated having 3-4 people to pick up upon landing, but it was 3 adults...and 6 kids...and 1 in the hopper. All told, including the pilot, we were 10.5 (remember the hopper) people in a six seat aircraft. It made for a fun flight with a lot of laughs. Obviously this would not be possible with adults. Because of the size and weight of the children, I was able to bring out a lot more people than a typical flight, and I was still under my maximum takeoff weight.



Date Pics

2008-07-31T11:33:57.948-05:00

I finally posted some pics here and here from our date. Great day!



From the Logbook...More Bad News

2008-07-27T17:13:34.198-05:00

Earlier last week I had the privilege of taking 4 Germans into the community of Amoltepec. One is a bible translator, another was his young son, and two other were visiting from Germany. The plan was to be in the area of AMO for a few days and I would pick them up Saturday morning.

Yesterday morning I took off into crystal clear skies en route to AMO. On final approach to landing I almost aborted due to the wind but was able to still make it in safely. After shutting down and opening the door, I was once again greeted by hysteria, just like the previous night with the 3 patients. Now that I was back on the ground, all those family members of the 3 patients wanted to leave still, at least 8-10 people, or two flights worth. This wasn't even including the 4 Germans I was there to pick up.

As I looked around at the mob of people, I realized only 3 of the 4 Germans were there. Standing right next to me was the German missionaries son. Luckily he speaks English (as well as German, Spanish, Mixtec, and who knows what else). I asked him where his dad was and he began to tell me that "he would be coming out Monday now because the pastor of the community was murdered last night and he wanted to go to the funeral." This blew me away! I don't even know the pastor. All this killing and fighting is so normal to these people. It really shook me that one of our own was murdered. I don't think it was related to what happened with the three patients from the previous night, and I don't think it was directly related to his faith, but once again I didn't ask questions.

Because of the squirly winds I had on final approach to land, I anticipated takeoff being the same and it basically "closing" the airstrip for the day. I didn't want to tell the mob of people while still on the ground that I didn't think I would come back. Also, due to the fact that they had homes to go to, and the 3 Germans did not, I told everyone that the 3 Germans were leaving with me and 2 more people of their choosing. They sorted 2 more out from amongst themselves and soon we were finally loaded up and ready to takeoff.

Sure enough, the takeoff was a right at my limit for fun and I called the community back on the radio and told them it was too windy to return. I assume most of the people that thought they would leave by airplane soon left over land...arriving in Oaxaca some 12 hours later instead of 27 minutes.

The fact that the pastor of the community was murdered really got me thinking on the flight home. You don't read about martyrs in Mexico very much, although they are VERY common. It makes you dig deep to question yourself whether you would really die for your faith if it came to that. I don't know that anyone can answer that until the moment is right in their face. It also reminded me to pray for those that are persecuted for their faith around the world, at whatever level. We are definetly fighting a war against "this present darkness."



From the Logbook...At War Again

2008-07-27T16:49:55.961-05:00

Although I am the on call pilot this weekend, I thought things would be a little more relaxed this weekend. Around 5pm Friday night our secretary called and informed me that there were 3 severely injured people in Amoltepec. I have blogged before about the ongoing feuds and lack of forgiveness in this community. I quickly changed gears from winding down on a Friday night to spooling up to do a flight.

The surrounding weather was threatening with thunderstorms and by the time I took off at around 6pm things were looking dark. Thankfully the mountian passes and valleys were mostly open, and I made my way to AMO quickly with little in the way of diversions.

As I overflew the airfield for landing I could tell a mob of people awaited the airplane. Sure enough, as I turned the airplane around and shut the engine down, I opened the door to hysteria. There were 3 patients and at least double that in family members that wanted to go to the hospital. I only had 5 open seats and due to the tailwind I would have for takeoff from the already marginal airstrip I told them I could take 4 people...period. They all complained about how mean I was, but I told them I had a family that I wanted to see again as well. Finally, they renigged after I told them I was about ready to leave with or without my 4 people. That seemed to get there attention and soon we were boarding patients.

The first patient was a 14 year old girl with a severe gash below her left buttock. Blood everywhere! The second was a 20 something guy with a huge gash in his leg which left it inmobile...blood everywhere! The third was a 42 year old woman with a huge gash in her right ribcage, right below the armpit...blood everywhere!

I didn't ask about the details of who was mad at who, why it all happened, etc, etc. I know it would be the same old story, one that only the power of Christ can change.

(image) When we arrived in OAX it was a little unnerving to imagine this tiny little Cessna parking on the ramp to the awaiting THREE ambulances...lights ablazing. Only two ended up being used as the blue one was for reserve and is meant for the airport. The ramp was just as crazy as the scene in Amoltepec. There were at least 5 policemen, a reporter, 6-7 medics, and our secretary. Everyone was asking names, what happened, how old they were etc... It was a proud feeling to be able to help these people late Friday evening, despite my disgust for why I was helping them. I guess that is part of the job.



Happenings

2008-07-22T18:16:19.903-05:00

  • I have been a little wiped out these last 5 days or so with a severe case of Montezuma's Revenge. For those of you who know what that is...enough said! For those of you that don't, that's why there is Google.
  • Finally found tickets to a sweet event for next week that I am taking my wife to. It's going to be a date. It's going to be sweet!
  • We do have some big news. Most may already know. Read Rebecca's blog to read it for your self.
  • I haven't been flying for a while due to my "problem." Now that things are on the mend hopefully tomorrow will see me boring holes in the sky.



From the Logbook...More "Welfare" Flying

2008-07-14T20:54:52.701-05:00

I had two flights today, the second of which took me to a "new to me" airstrip. I had never been on the ground in Tlacotepec but I had seen it from the air numerous times. Because I had never been there, I flew there with our instructor pilot. We dropped off the two government "welfare" workers and their 150 lbs of money. We were both too afraid to ask how much money we were really carrying.

(image) While it may not appear like it in the picture above, this airstrip poses many challenges like rising terrain in the vicinity, a large and hard to see antenna right off the runway, and of course...slope. Thankfully, the wind was really calm and the weather was beautiful, although the morning started out with a lot of clouds and moisture in the state of Oaxaca. Some of it was due to the current Pacific hurricane that eventually made a more northern course thus avoiding landfall with us.



From the Logbook...A Little Exploring

2008-07-12T18:25:17.294-05:00

Yesterday, I had a mid-day flight to take a few people back into the Sierra and then bring a few government workers out. We had taken the government folks in a few days before with boxes full of Pesos in order to distribute to the communities, kind of a welfare type program. They had forgotten some important paperwork which I delivered. While they drove into the community to have they papers signed and finish their work, I had about an hour to explore around the airstrip as I waited for them.

(image) Looking to the North in San Mateo you'll see a huge valley with an impressive plateau on the other side. Taking off that way is usually dramatic as well due to the way the ground falls away from you as you fly over the drop off seen in the picture.

(image) While climbing a nearby hill, I came across the community graveyard. Cemeteries have always been of special interest to me. No, I am not morbid. I have just always found it interesting how quickly they remind you of how mortal we are, and that life is truly short. That regardless of beliefs, race, nationality, gender, age, etc; we all share the same destiny. It is also interesting to read the epitaph on some of the headstones. Most that I saw yesterday were very simple, but occasionally you will find some very interesting poetry, and I don't like poetry.



Another Photo Collection

2008-07-07T21:57:11.031-05:00

I have debated for a while whether or not I should put up pictures of my "job" on my Flickr album. I finally decided to go ahead and do it and put a little over 100 photos showing what it is to be a "missionary pilot." For those of you who follow this blog some, you will recognize a lot of the photos. Regardless, you can get a big picture idea of what my everyday life entails while at the "office" by clicking here.



As Requested...

2008-07-06T11:51:40.179-05:00

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Que Rico!

2008-07-06T11:36:31.515-05:00

(image) A few weeks back we found this great restaurant about a 30 minute drive from our house out in the country. Their food is awesome! The have an incredible menu for very cheap prices. Most of the things on the menu we don't recognize, but everything we have had has been very good. I'm not one for caring much how my food is presented, but yesterday I couldn't help but take a picture of my dish. It was a stuffed poblano pepper topped with cream, minced nuts, and pomegranite seeds. It tasted as good as it looks, and it sure made us already want to go back.



Flight School Crash Update

2008-07-05T15:30:18.743-05:00

The following day after the flight crashed their Cessna 152 due to running out of fuel, the airplane was back on the ramp, but in a sad state of affairs. As a coworker and I walked around the thing it is definitely totalled for all but the most experienced sheet metal shops.

(image) An interesting thing did happen that same afternoon. As I went to go turn in my flight plan, the gentleman said there was an ELT (Emergency Locator Transmitter) broadcasting on the emergency frequency. Due to it's strength, it sounded like it might possibly be on the ramp. Everyone's first thought was the newly placed and totalled flight school airplane, but the signal was just now being received. The crash happened the day earlier. Regardless, I told the guys in operations that I could take a look and see if it was the ELT from the flight school, they are easy to access in a C152 and easy to disactivate as well. Sure enough, after opening the access panel for the ELT, it was the C152's ELT broadcasting. It doesn't make sense that it only began to sound more than 24 hours after the crash. What makes matters worse is that the ELT was installed TOTALLY WRONG! ELT's are not rocket science, nor is their installation. It just gives me that much more "confidence" in the maintenance of the flight school. I wonder if they sell Cracker Jack here in Mexico?



From the Logbook...On Call Weekend

2008-07-05T15:16:11.838-05:00

(image) I finally have to "blessing" of being the on call pilot this weekend. It has been several months since I have had to spend a Saturday flying. I'm not complaining, I cannot think of many things more fun than flying. Thankfully, I was able to get a flight done this morning. Clouds were lingering on the ridges making our passes all but impassible. We had good reports from the airstrips, making me think that if I could work my way through one of the passes, I would be able to get to the airstrips. Sure enough, after working up into some terrain, I found a way to get through and it broke wide open, at least in front of me. The cloud deck never did get very high, but the scenery once again was beautiful and stunning.

On my return flight to Oaxaca, I did have a "puker." Poor little guy, he just couldn't hold down his cookies. I prided myself in Ecuador for never having a "puker" but here in the mountains of Mexico, there is just too much wind and turbulence to make every ride smooth and soft. At least his mom helped him use the sick sack!



From the Logbook...Do you see what I see?!

2008-07-03T16:20:35.527-05:00

It was an interesting day of flying for me here in Oaxaca, Mexico. I took off soon after I got to the airport this morning only to turn around 7 miles later because I received bad weather reports from the Sierra. After waiting a few hours, the clouds had lifted enough to make the valleys and passes operable and off I went.


(image) This time I was successful in reaching my destinations. Can you see the airstrip that serves the community of El Carrisal in the photo above? If it doesn't jump out at you, look just about in the middle of the picture and there she is! That was my first landing.


(image) Just before my second flight something happened at the airport that we as pilots read about all too often. The picture above isn't that great because it was bumpy and I was trying to get ready to land, talk to the control tower (in Spanish), and focus a camera at the same time. (It doesn't really work) That said, I didn't want to be joining my buddy in the corn field down below so I counted my "losses" and made a greaser of a landing instead.

That is a Cessna 152 being hauled out of the dirt after it lost power on takeoff and crashed. Thankfully everyone walked away. Most times crashes like this result in fire and there is nothing to see afterwards. But, there wasn't any gas in the tanks to fuel the fire, thus the flight school instructor (who doesn't have an instructor's license) and his student just about bought the farm today...literally. Rule #1- Always know your fuel situation!!!



From the Logbook...

2008-07-02T19:19:18.446-05:00

(image) I had two flights today, both dead heading to the Sierra and bringing people out. The weather was great this morning which always makes flying a joy. On the way out on my second flight a little deviation from my normal route by the control tower had me flying almost right over El Convento de Cuilapan. I blogged about this place a while back, and it is impressive from the air as well. It is about a 30 minute drive from the house, or a 3 minute flight from the airport.



Back in the Office

2008-07-01T21:05:30.298-05:00

(image) We made it back yesterday afternoon after a great time at the beach. We are always in awe of the beach, since we don't have a great understanding of it or it's ways. The waves at Puerto Escondido were absolutely HUGE all day and and all night long. It didn't take long to see why the surfers converge on this place. I am working on putting a bunch of pictures of our trip on my Flickr site. My internet has been funny, so it might be tomorrow by the time they all make it there.



Out of the Office

2008-06-27T20:37:57.387-05:00

Tomorrow morning we are flying one of our airplanes to "Puerto." Be back Monday.