As the Kodiak departed Bangor Maine Wednesday morning at 9:00 am, we had a brilliant double rainbow.  It was a reminder of when Ron & I were flying the Cessna 180 in 1991 and the Lord gave us the sign of a rainbow over St Johns Newfoundland after flying through the clouds.  That rainbow was a complete circle around the aircraft.  A big hug from the Lord, saying I am with you, my promises are true, I won’t fail you, be strong and courageous.   Wow!  What a faithful God we serve!

The Kodiak arrived in St Johns yesterday safely.  The guys prepared for departing today for the 9 hour flight to the Azores.  

I hope you are doing flight following on the Kodiak through Spidertracks.  

Thank you for your prayers!

Ron & Barb

This us a first hand report from John Herbert, Mercy Air South Africa’s chief pilot, who wrote this last night and they are on the way to the Azores at this time.

Hi all,

I will try to update you all after a long day. 

We have had an amazing 2 days of beautiful sunshine and the weather has co-operated beautifully, or should I say God seems to have blessed us with great weather in which to get used to the aircraft, both for the test flying I did in the USA as well as a very low stress trip to St John’s

I have to say that chasing around for all the paperwork and logistics leading up to the pasture was rather stressful and I became somewhat per-occupied with the details which I thought may trip us up.

We managed to get customs and immigration clearance yesterday before we left and that was a very painless experience. At breakfast this morning, we met Leon, the South African ferry pilot who lent us the survival equipment. He was a wealth of information and reminded me of the Canadian customs requirements, which I had forgotten, this turned out to be a very easy 10 minute phone call to the Canadian customs. When we landed in St John’s the customs guys were waiting on the Tarmac for us, a bit of a surprise, but they were incredibly polite and helpful. they of course wanted to see all our paperwork, specifically the permission to operate the aircraft overweight and modified in Canadian airspace.

The FBO for fuel and handling was a complete surprise to me as the woman, Sarah was more than incredibly helpful. She bent over backwards to help us. She even found accommodation for us in a town where all the hotels are fully booked right now.

The only surprise is the North Atlantic weather. Hurricane Humberto, or rather what is left of it, is sitting mid Atlantic with a forecast to cross our path. the problem is not Humberto, but the low pressure associated with it. this has fed another huge ( approximately 800 km in length) system with embedded thunderstorms and nasty stuff inside. A call to the weather briefing office in Halifax bore the bad news that the system would be right a Ross our path tomorrow. We were advised to check again this evening and we are seeing what is looking like the system breaking up a bit. While I write this (10:30pm), Neil is calling the weather office again to find out what we are likely to face tomorrow. So right now our departure is uncertain for tomorrow. 

We are in some apartment suites downtown in St Johns as the only available place. Very comfortable although not very convenient to the airport, but good anyway.

The flight to St John’s was very beautiful, visibility was unlimited and the view of the countryside and islands was spectacular. The ferry tank performed almost flawlessly, we did have a small burp after 2.5 hrs on the ferry tank with a low fuel reservoir light. This was quickly fixed by switching the main tanks on briefly before carrying on on the ferry tank. I did test the ferry tank in flight with very low fuel and bumpy conditions, the day before yesterday, and was flawless.

We expect about 9 hours for the leg to the Azores and have almost 12 hours endurance, so we do have some reserve for diversions for weather.

Listening to Neil on the phone right now, it seems that we may have an open window in the morning, so watch Spidertracks for the next episode. It seems that I can send messages, but I don’t seem to get any replies.

Neil is a fantastic asset with his experience in crossing the Atlantic numerous times in airliners and his weather judgement is well informed and his extensive experience really is a bonus.

Sorry, no pictures yet, as it has been a busy day and no time to download pictures.