flight training

“Why do you guys need additional training after thousands of hours of military flying?” people ask us frequently. While flying fighters is demanding and specialized, mission aviation is not really any less so. It is just different. We have trained to use aircraft as weapons, both offensive and defensive. Now we’re training to guide them safely into and out of very challenging airstrips and terrain.

For example, here are some of the problems we trained for in and near Nampa, ID:
– Moriah – landing zone slopes 10% then levels off to 2%. On take-off, you start on a 2% slope that rapidly increases to ~6% before lift-off.
– Johnstone – only a 2% avg slope, but has a nice curve on south end and the whole runway curves slightly.
– Steiner – about a 10deg turn halfway down and about 1.5% slope.
– Murphy – about 2% slope; nice greasy burger place across the street
– Holdout – 4% average slope, one way in, one way out because its up against the foot of a mountain
– One Way – runs along a ridge, ~5% slope; one way in and out
– Owyhee Res State (28u) – had a crashed plane next to it when I was there. The visible strip was only as wide as our wheel-base.
– ZX Ranch (pvt) – 4% slope, slightly curved; must take off toward the valley but can land either way
– Loomis (pvt – this is where we want to live!!) – 1700’ long w/500+ drop on east end! And views of snow-capped peaks and moutains all around.
– Garden Valley (u88) – WOW. Gorgeous! Nice wide, 3% sloped grass strip beside mountain stream… Camping anyone?
– Idaho City (u98) – paved, gravel, dirt, grass, fades into forest on SW end
– Graham – 2900’ long with about an average 4% upslope that varied over the length. Too wet to use the south 1/3. A forest service cabin on the strip can be reserved & rented. Any takers?
– Weatherby – 2200’ w/trees on both ends & no go-around capability from below about 100 feet when landing to the east (uphill). In a narrow valley – beautiful!
– Atlanta – right up against steep slopes on 2 sides. One way in and one way out. We opted not to land there because the departure goes down a narrow canyon and the winds were getting squirrely.
– Pine – short, wide, fun strip on the north end of a lake. Side slope towards the water. Crooked final approach to the south due to terrain.

So now we have sort of “advanced flying degrees” in two different specific fields within aviation. Can’t wait to use these skills for things that matter!

After dinner, we prepared for a short walk, driven by 21-foot-trailer fever. As we donned jackets, carrier and Zoe, Slick realized he hadn’t yet combed his hair today.

Meanwhile, I’ve been pondering the solidity of pigs versus that of rocks, trees, bushes or goats – and which would cause a low-flying airplane the least damage. Apparently pigs are right up there with rocks! Who knew!

In direct answer to your prayers, God is gracing us with much humor and many unforeseen opportunities as we reverse our roles for the month. Thank you for praying!

“Onward and upward,” my dad used to say as we traveled. The last few weeks have included much of both.

We departed Vancouver, WA and the helpful folks at Servant Wings on 20 Feb, stayed with old friends in Hermiston, OR (where?!) and arrived the next day in Nampa, ID, 2500 feet above sea level. Slick has survived a week of grueling ground school, several flights and a day of cross country skiing with Zoe & me. Another two weeks or so of flying and he’ll be “fully trained” and ready to…be earth-bound for another year while we finish travels in the US and go to language school. But he’s looking forward to being finished and relaxing with family for a few weeks in…Colorado, of all places. That is, if God allows us to actually get there this time!

at the end of the trail, tho we did go a little further…of course!

14 Feb 10: Nearly three thousand miles from where we began a month ago, our trail toward Africa continues. Beneath God’s hand of protection, we rolled through the Rockies and arrived safely in Vancouver, WA, as February began.

We praise Him for maneuvering us through many repairs and improvements to our home-on-wheels; for allowing us to visit with many friends, both old and new, along the way; and for the many miles through which Zoe slept! He also directed us around the state of Colorado, coming no closer than seven miles to its border. Both of us would love to live in Colorado, but God has resoundingly slammed the door every time we have tried to find employment there. This time He delayed us in Texas just long enough to discover a winter storm we were heading into and choose to detour around it to the north – and completely outside of Colorado instead of through it. Perhaps He knew it would be too much of a temptation. But given our history with trying to move to there, we have to smile at His rather dry sense of humor!

Over the next month, we will complete our flying training in Vancouver then Slick will begin his training in Nampa, Idaho. We greatly appreciate your prayers for safety, for quick minds and hands to grasp a set of flying skills very different from those God has already afforded us, and for the patience to enjoy life in our 8×21 foot mansion.

Chili uses Mommy's leg as a pillow across much of Wyoming