July, August, September Newsletter

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The first 11 days of this month I spent on the ground in the office playing catch up with the schedule. This was a follow on in the hole we had dug ourselves in June. On the plus side we made many changes that will eventually allow us to get ahead of things – we hope. Being the developer and user really makes changes quick and easy – some problems are identified and a fix implemented in less than a minute. We should really use a database but I can’t bring myself to making that transition – just not enough time to learn Microsoft Access.
Finally on 12 July I got back into the air. We first flew a group of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers to Tanana on their way to the Kockrine Hills Bible Camp. We brought a previous group out and on the way home landed in Anchorage to pick up Jonathan & Indira Maraj and take them to Soldotna. Each year they come to Alaska during the summer to evangelize several villages. We then picked up a second group of Samaritan’s Purse volunteers and took them to Tanana and then flew home. The weather was beautiful and we were able to take both groups right by Mt McKinley for a close up view of Alaska’s grandeur. Unfortunately I had forgotten my camera.

On 14 July we flew a combination flight taking an Arctic Barnabas work team and supplies to White Mountain up near Nome and on the way back picking up youth from Golovin and Unalakleet and taking them to a week long Child Evangelism Fellowship camp at Hooper Bay. We strive very hard to schedule one group out and another group back because it cuts the cost to each group in half because neither group is paying for a deadhead leg – which is a trip with no passengers.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................ABM to White Mountain

On 19 July, Brian and I flew down to Homer to pick up Pastor Nathan Hanna and his family who had been on holiday in Kodiak. He said it was the best vacation that he and his family had had in years. We flew him and his family to Mekoryuk which is one of the places that has the worst weather. This day however it was clear, the first time I had really seen the village and island. We picked up a Arctic Barnabas 6 person work team who had been working on their house while they were gone. The flight home was uneventful and we were home by 5 PM; one of our shorter days.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................ABM & Hannas home

On 23 July Bob and I had a combination mission to fly. We started by taking a 2000 lb load of construction material to Scammon Bay in preparation for a work team 2 weeks later. We then hopped over to Hooper Bay and picked up 5 youth who had been at the CEF camp at Hooper Bay. We dropped three in Unalakleet and then took two of Pastor Jerry & Lucy Daniels kids home to Golovin. From Golovin we flew to Hooper Bay again to pick up part of the team who had been running a CEF Camp and flew them to Soldotna.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................ABM home from White Mountain

On 27 July Mike Harwood, a pilot who comes up each summer to fly for us, and I flew another combination mission. In the morning we flew a group from 1st Baptist Church of Bossier, LA through Unalakleet (for fuel) and on to Deering, about 50 miles south of Kotzebue. Then We hopped over to Buckland, 40 miles east where we picked up eight 10 to 14 year olds and flew them to Wasilla for Native Youth Camp. We had good weather for all these flights and were very grateful to finally see some summer like weather.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................1st Baptist & Buckland youth home

On 2 August Mike and I were off again, this time to Wassilla, which is just on the other side of Anchorage to pick 9 youth we had delivered on the 27th of July. Stopping in Unalakleet for fuel, we delivered them to Buckland. Dodging several rain showers we made our way to White Mountain, about 80 miles west of Buckland, where we picked up the Arctic Barnabas work team that we had dropped off two weeks before. On our way back to Anchorage we were able to drop down into one of the passes and give the work team an awesome view of Alaska’s beauty - once again my camera was at home, firmly hanging by our back door.

On 3 August, the Mike & Don team flew one of the two aircraft on a marathon, flying Moravians home from their weekend festival in Togaik. We flew a total of 45 people home to Kwigillingok, Bethel, Quinhagak, Kipnuk and Anchorage. After Kipnuk, we took a slight detour through Hooper Bay to pick up the Funks + 2 and take them to Bethel. On the leg from Togiak to Quinhagak we took off about 15 minutes after the Caravan that flies about 20-30 knots slower than we do. As a result we passed them and since it was such a gorgeous day we got some great pictures of the Caravan in flight. We are not permitted to fly formation with passengers onboard so we flew a slow fly by. The weather was spectacular all day long which was a good thing because we didn’t get back to Soldotna until 2 AM. I took a picture of us refueling in Bethel at 11:15 PM and it looks like it’s noon.

Click on picture for more photos ...................................................Moravians & Funks

On 8 August, the Mike & Don team had another combination mission. We deadheaded to Aleknagik, an airport neither of us had been to before. After landing we noticed that this didn’t look like a typical village. It looked like a resort town with several large house that looked like vacation homes. It is probably the most beautiful of all the villages I have been to. We picked up part of the CEF team ,led by one of the MARC mechanics, Ricky Hellings, then flew to Dillingham, about 40 miles west where we picked up the rest of the team and flew back to Soldotna. After refueling, about 1 PM, we deadheaded to Napakiak where we picked up three people and took them to Bethel to catch commercial flights to Anchorage. After refueling we flew back to Napakiak to pick up the 9 remaining members of the Global Partnership work team and flew them back to Anchorage. Once again we were blessed with gorgeous weather and were able to drop down into one of the passes to give them a birds eye view of several glaciers.

Click on picture for more photos ..................................CEF & Global Partnership home

On 23 August , the Mike & Don team was dissolved and I flew the King Air full of cargo (as only Bob can pack it) with Bob Widnman out to White Mountain to pick up the Arctic Barnabas work team, They weren’t quite done as we had roof tar paper with us that they needed to put on the roof of the addition they had built onto the pastor’s house. There had been a total of 5 work teams that had been working for 6 weeks on renovating the parsonage – while the pastor’s family were living in it. It was quite a project with nary a room being left untouched. We were once again blessed with great weather and were able to fly all the way bacck to Soldotna, some 423 nautical miles ( about 600 statute miles) without refueling.

Click on picture for more photos ..............................................ABM from WMO

In September the other scheduler, Mark, was off for the whole month so I was left doing all the scheduling. As a result I did not fly one minute. Mostly I fought with my computer.

Around MARC are some pictures of some of the cargo we carried this year.

Click on picture for more photos ..............................................Around MARC

Around home we had a family of bunnies to keep us entertained as well as a moose and her two calves. Cat & I were able to participate as team for another Walk to Emmaus weekend. I love to see the smile on Cat’s face as she plays her guitar and sings. They kindly brought a drum for me to bang on as well. Contrary to the weather out where we were flying the weather in Soldotna was wet and cold. I think we had 3 sunny days in June, July & August with the hottest temperature in the low to mid 60s. Bah, Humbug. However the last week of September were beautiful and sunny. The leaves started to drop so that in the gentle breezes beautiful yellow leaves slowly floated to the ground. It was leafing yellow leaves.

Click on picture for more photos ..............................................Around home