MERCY AIR KODIAK ON THE WAY TO AFRICA
As you all remember it was March of 2013 when Ron and John Herbert tried to fly the Kodiak to it’s home in Africa. After spending almost a month, working on the aircraft, doing the annual inspection, getting the extra fuel tanks installed and trying to get them certified by the FAA and waiting on weather to clear so they could depart to St John’s Newfoundland, they never departed. Asking the Lord for His best and His timing He said, “No, it’s not the right time. Wait!” That was a big disappointment for us and many others, like yourselves, who have been praying and supporting and working to see the Kodiak fly home to Africa and go to work!!!!
Well the time has come for it to depart, Lord willing it will be leaving Bangor, Maine tomorrow, Wednesday the 18th. Mercy Air’s chief pilot, John Herbert is in Bangor now. Holger Ziessler, the chief maintenance person of Mercy Air came to the States and did the annual inspection on the Kodiak a month ago. The ferry trip fuel tanks are installed and certified. A South African man from our church in White River, South Africa, Neil Clark is a commercial pilot for South African Airways, he has also done many ferry flight across the Atlantic to Africa in small aircraft. He has flown free to the USA to join John, he will fly with John across the ocean, at no charge, which is another a huge blessing. While John has been in the States, he found another South African pilot who had just ferried an aircraft from Africa. Mercy Air can the survival gear for their flight, rent free and return it to South Africa, at no charge. The Lord is always good and providing everything that is needed, at just the right time. Paul Middleton, with Mercy Air, will join John in Accra, Ghana, to complete the flight down Africa to Mercy Air’s base in White River. It’s good that the Mercy Air pilots are getting more time and experience in the aircraft. Once the Kodiak arrives home at Mercy Air, they will be flying three different outreach trips! Praise the Lord! The Kodiak is finally going to work to do what she was created to do!
The Spidertracks system installed in the Kodiak, it is a tracking system which updates the aircraft’s position every 3 minutes. You can flight follow it on this address.
The ferry flight of the Kodiak will take 55 hours of flying time, which will be done in 5 days, Lord willing. The weather looks great, everything is in place. They plan to depart for St John’s Newfoundland at 9:00 am in the morning. The flight will take about 5 hours. Then Thursday they will fly from St Johns Newfoundland to the Azores. The map will show you the details and timeframe of the rest of the trip. Thank you for your prayers and support!
I will try to keep you posted on the flight as best we can. It’s more difficult when we aren’t doing the flying ourselves. We miss the front line involvement with Mercy Air but it’s a new chapter for us as well.
We have written a newsletter, which was mailed on Friday, that will explain better what is happening to us and in our lives. Basically we are settling in Sutton Alaska to serve Mercy Air and a ministry called Kingdom Air Corps. Ron will be training the next generation of pilots and mechanics in mountain flying, flying into remote airstrips and hands on maintenance experience. Many of the pilots and mechanics are studying at LeTourneau University in Longview TX, where Ron graduated from as well. We are excited about the opportunity, it is a privilege to be able to share from the experience which we have had the last 22 years in Africa. We will be located about an hour and a half from our son Paul and his wife Rhonda and kids Reise and Harmony, that is a bonus from the Lord to us all. We are departing on Saturday, driving to Alaska, with some of our belongings. Most of our belongings are still in Africa, we were the stewards of them while we were there, now they are blessing others. What a privilege it has been!
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Hugs and gratitude for each of you!
Ron and Barb