Friday, December 30, 2016

Giving a Helping Hand to Finish the Work

Giving a hand to help finish the work to get a mission plane in the air.

Giving a Hand to Help Finish the Work to Get This Mission Airplane in the Air.

       This is Steve writing. After we arrived in Miami with the turbocharged Cessna 182 we went to visit my parents in Atlanta. Then we planned on making a make a quick trip to Canada to renew Helen's passport since it was about to expire and the trip up filled up her passport with stamps. Helen's family was also gathering for a family reunion in British Columbia which we wanted to go to.
       But we did not leave for Canada as planned. You can read about what convinced us to delay our departure for Canada by clicking on the link below  to James Ash, the chief pilot in Guyana, telling the story.

To read James side of the story click here..

Below is a link to Edwin Davidson finishing the story where James left off.

To read Edwin's side of the story click here.

     This airplane we were working on was bought by Todd Anderson, who was working and dreaming about serving in Guyana with his family.  Below is a link to a blog that James wrote about when he learned that Todd Anderson had cancer and that he was stopping work on the plane to undergo cancer treatment. Sadly Todd died, and he did not see his plane fly in the mission field.

To read about when James learned about Todd's cancer click here.

     In the link above you can read in the last paragraph, above the list of ways to help the Anderson family, a call was made for mechanics to help finish the work on the airplane. Sadly, nobody answered that call for a long time. Todd was an excellent mechanic and he had almost finished the work on that plane.

     When James called me asking if I could help with this plane, I told myself  "I can do that, and it will cause much good if I help". This made me think of  James 4:17 which says, "So whoever knows what is good to do and does not do it is guilty of sin." I did my little part to help with finishing the work on this plane. In order to make the trip to Canada I was not able to stay till the job was finished, but was able to help to get it over the "hump" by completing the airplane inspection, signing off the airplane as
unairworthy and leaving a list of defects and unairworthy items that needed to be corrected. Then the aircraft mechanics who are not inspectors were able to correct the unairworthy items on the list. Thankfully two aircraft mechanics (Darren Lea from AWA and Tom a local retired mechanic) volunteered to help James and Edwin finish the work on Todd's airplane. I along with everyone else who helped finish working Todd's airplane, will share in the joy.

     What joy will we share in? This reminds me of a book that I read. "King of The Storm" by Jewell Parrilla, written about Frank Hutchins, a pioneer Adventist missionary to Central America. Frank Hutchins died before he saw the fruit of the mission work he accomplished, and his wife returned to the U.S.A. a widow. Imagine the joy of Frank Hutchins at the resurrection, when the multitudes that were saved as a result of his mission service thank him for his work.

       Likewise, when Jesus returns, we will see Jesus's joy in seeing all who were saved as a result of the mission work that was accomplished with Todd's airplane. Imagine Todd's joy at the resurrection, when he sees the results of his efforts, the joy on Jesus's face, and hears Jesus say to him, "Well done good and faithful servant".

I want the thank everyone who supports us with prayer and financially. You helped us do this. At the resurrection you too will share in Todd's joy.

Thank you,
The Wilson Family

Todd Anderson

We are volunteer missionaries entirely funded by donations. 100% of your donations go directly to us and our project in Bolivia. If you'd like to be a part, we accept tax-deductible donations through Gospel Ministries International, Inc.

Donate via:
1.  PayPal  (
2.  Check:  P.O. Box 506, Collegedale, TN 37315

With either method, please include a note stating:  "Bolivia Aviation Services - Wilson"

Thanks for your support!

Sunday, December 18, 2016

A Big Trip In A Small Airplane. An Intercontinental Flight In A Four Seat Airplane

An Intercontinental Flight in a Four Seat Airplane  


Hello Everyone,
This is Steve writing.

     We kind of dropped off the radar for some folks. Others have seen us personally. These pictures show what we have been up to over the past couple months. Where have we been and what have we been doing the past couple months? The next couple of updates will answer those questions.

    I flew the turbocharged Cessna 182 (T182) from Santa Cruz Bolivia to Miami Florida. The T182 needed to go to the US for the engine and propeller to be overhauled, and for an inspection for an export certificate of airworthiness. The export certificate of airworthiness is needed to change the plane from a US registered airplane to a Bolivian Registered airplane. When the plane is Bolivian registered, it will have less restrictions on where it can fly in Bolivia.

          Finishing the annual inspection was one of the major preparations for the flight to the US and it took two weeks to accomplish. The flight spanned 11 days, with 11 stops along the way, with a total of 32 hours in the air. Above is a screen shot of the route of flight.

The major defects preventing the plane from flying intercontinentally was two leaking exhaust valves. So I had to remove two cylinders for repair. This does not sound like much, but the airplane was located at the airport in the city, meaning we had to take all tools and parts there on public transportation in order to work on the plane. It slowed down the work.

While I was in the city working on the plane, Helen was alone with a newborn and a two year old  back at home, packing up our stuff to move. It was tiring. You can see my motorcycle in the truck. That meant that I had to go on public transportation into the city to work on the T182. That added two hours to the commute, round trip. I had to carry tools and parts by hand about half a mile to catch the closest "bus". It was tiring.

After the T182 was fixed and flying, I did and annual inspection of the Mooney while waiting for permission from the Bolivian aviation authority to exit Bolivian airspace. During this time Timothy and James came down with colds and were not sleeping well, so we were not sleeping well. It was tiring.

Here we are about to get in the airplane to take off. At this point Helen and I now had the cold that the boys had. We got in the plane and took off. We flew for a few minutes and I noticed that with all the radios and lights on, the alternator was not charging the battery. So we turned around and landed and I fixed the problem by tightening the alternator belt. By the time I fixed the problem it was too late to leave that day. A cold front passed through and brought rainy cold weather while I was working on the plane. It was tiring working on the plane sick and in the cold.

The next day we were able to fly to Guayaramerin Bolivia with stop along the way to pick up a Bolivian missionary named Dorca who was traveling to Guyana. The airport in Guayaramerin had been hit by a storm. Above you can see the damage to the airport infrastructure. The terminal buildings had the roofs ripped off them and walls were falling down.  After the storm had passed I had called the control tower and they told me that the airport was still open. So we had permission from the Bolivian aviation authority to leave Bolivian airspace from Guayaramerin only.

   However, when we landed in Guayaramerin, the local news was there filming. I filed a flight plan and we went to immigration in the town to stamp out of Bolivia (immigration is at the port on the river border with Brazil). When we went back to the airport they told me that the airport was closed to international flights and that it was only open to emergency flights. The reason why they let us land there was because we often do emergency flights. They told me that I should move the airplane to another airport in a nearby town so that the airplane would not get stuck at the closed airport. So I immediate flew the plane to the airport in the nearby town of Riberalta Bolivia, 40 miles to the west.

To make a long story short we had to get Brazilian visas in order to sort out the immigration predicament we were in. We went to the Brazilian consulate in Guayaramerin and started to tell our very unusual story, but they told us that they had seen our story on news on the TV the night before. They began to expedite our application to get the visa that day, helped us through many of the steps, and even drove us in the Brazilian consulate vehicle to lunch. We were exhausted and God new that we needed some help.


We had to wait for a new permission to exit Bolivian airspace, now from the international airport in Cobija Bolivia. When the day arrived to leave Riberalta for Cobija, a cold front had passed through the night before bringing cold rainy weather with low clouds. When we arrived at the airport in Riberalta in the morning, the Bolivian Air Force security guards told me that they had been standing guard at the gate since three in the morning with only tropical gear on and blanket wrapped around them. They said they were freezing. The weather in Cobija was below minimum for an instrument approach there.

We had to wait until noon for bad weather to clear out. The warmest place to wait was for the five of us to climb in the plane. Above you can see us in the plane. I would turn on the radio every hour and ask the control tower how the weather was in Cobija. We spent five hours waiting in the plane on the airport platform. We would spend the next four days in the airplane.

By the time we made it to Cobija it was late in the afternoon. We decided to spend the night in Cobija. The leg from Cobija Bolivia to Manaus Brazil was the longest leg that I have ever flown a Cessna 182, a little over 750 nautical miles in 7.5 hours, single pilot, with no autopilot in the plane. I had to fly slow in order to have a fuel reserve upon landing in Manaus. The pilots reading this can do the math to find the average ground speed over the flight, and we had a tail wind all the way too because of the cold front from the south. If we had not had a tail wind, I think I would have had to make technical stop for fuel early in the flight.

The cold front had arrived in Manaus and the weather there was bad, but the weather was forecast to improve by the next morning. The instrument landing system in Manaus was out, so if I had not waited in Cobija, it would have meant flying a non precision instrument approach in the middle of the night in bad weather. We slept snug that night in a hotel in Cobija instead.

The rest of the flight was uneventful, that is another way to say it was a good flight.

Above on the left: At the marina on the Amazon river in Manaus. Above on the right: Arriving at the airplane to depart Manaus.

Above: Approach to landing on the island of Grenada.

Above: Flying over the Bahamas on the last leg to Miami. The were thunderstorms covering the Bahamas the day before and the day after we flew through the Bahamas.

God gave us the stamina and patience to complete this trip. We want to thank everyone who supports us through prayer and financially. Thank you for helping us do this.
The Wilson Family,
Steven, Helen, Timothy, James.

We are volunteer missionaries entirely funded by donations. 100% of your donations go directly to us and our project in Bolivia. If you'd like to be a part, we accept tax-deductible donations through Gospel Ministries International, Inc.

Donate via:
1.  PayPal  (
2.  Check:  P.O. Box 506, Collegedale, TN 37315

With either method, please include a note stating:  "Bolivia Aviation Services - Wilson"

Thanks for your support!


Gospel Ministries International

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Flying, Flying!

More Missionary Flights

Sunrise preflight inspection, a frequent occurrence when there is a busy flight  schedule.

Flying, Flying!

For the last three weeks of June and the first week of July I was busy flying while Herman took a break while their daughter was born. We flew about 60 hours in about four weeks. The 60 hours includes the flights that we told about in the "Medevacs and Missionaries" post. The following pictures are a selection of pictures from some of the flights we made after the flights that were included in the "Medevacs and Missionaries" post.

We made a multipule stop, overnight flight for the ADVenir TV network. We took engineers to towns and cities in the lowlands of Bolivia so that they could do some technical studies for the TV network.
 Heading north from Santa Cruz we passed over much jungle.
Nearing our first stop we passed over a large area of swamp. For about ten minutes we were flying  over swamp as far as you could see.
The TV engineers with the Mooney on the ramp of the first airport where we stopped.
This is what these dirt runways look like. The runway
centerline more or less follows the cow path.
The next stop was a larger airport. It has a gravel runway instead of a dirt runway. This is the arrivals door to the terminal where arriving passengers enter the
terminal from the airplanes. The next picture is a closer shot of what is says on the glass of the door.
It says that it is prohibited to enter the terminal riding a motorcycle.
Here the airport was located inside the town so the engineers performed their work in the terminal, analyzing radio emissions in frequency spectrums.

At the next stop the airport was a grass runway that often floods, so they built a concrete ramp to park on. However, they built it a bit elevated above the taxiway from the runway. The little 200 horse Mooney did not
 have the guts to make it all the up on the ramp with four people in the plane, but
 with only one person it hopped up on the platform. Our next stop was next to the  mountains on the horizon.
Chinese Hunda, not to be confused with Japanese Honda.
The Atlanta native Coca Cola meets the South American native Coka Quina.
Some of these places had slim pickings for vegetarians. If you don't mind fried
 carbohydrates then you may not go hungry.
Our next stop was a paved airport with potholes in Rurrenabaque,
and another sunrise preflight inspection.
This is why a Mooney is so good for this type of flying between airports with no fuel. 4.9 gallons per hour is not bad. This is the second day of flying and we have 32 gallons left onboard. We made two more stops at airports with dirt runways. At the second stop, an active TV transmitter was repaired and was able to be put back on the air. We ended up making a fuel stop at the city named Trinidad that is 200 nautical miles north of Santa Cruz, because I was too yellow bellied to try a 300 nautical mile flight with only 20 gallons onboard even though the plane could have covered the distance in three hours burning four gallons per hour. We arrived in Santa Cruz with about a 50 gallon reserve rather than a five gallon reserve.

The TV network was awarded broadcasting licences in most of the towns and cities that we flew the engineers to. Praise the Lord.

Next follows a few pictures of mission flights and another medevac flight.
A picture of a flight moving volunteers to help build the new boys dorm at the school in Guayaramerin.
A picture of Wes and Patty on the way to Rurrenabaque. They were on the way to join a mission trip up the river from Rurrenabaque in the mountains in a native village. We also flew a couple who were a doctor and nurse who were going on the same mission trip.
This is another sunrise preflight inspection for a medevac flight I made to Rurrenabaque.
The rising sun hitting the mountains after taking off from the TV station runway in Santa Cruz.
The local news reports in Rurrenabaque interviewing the mother of the boy that we flew. The news channel was fundraising for the boy's medical expenses in Santa Cruz. They thought that the boy had a deformed hip bone that was causing his hip to be dislocated. They believed that he would need surgery to correct it. The boy was in very much pain and the only other option was a one or two day trip over very rough roads to either La Paz or Santa Cruz.
The boy after we landed in Santa Cruz. They gave him pain medications when he got in the plane, that is why he was smiling for the picture.

I want to thank all those who support us so we can do this work. This is made possible by people like you. I want to thank those who support us in prayer and financially. Thank you for being a blessing to these people.

God bless,
Steven, Helen, Timothy, and James Wilson

We are volunteer missionaries entirely funded by donations. 100% of your donations go directly to us and our project in Bolivia. If you'd like to be a part, we accept tax-deductible donations through Gospel Ministries International, Inc.

Donate via:
1.  PayPal  (
2.  Check:  P.O. Box 506, Collegedale, TN 37315

With either method, please include a note stating:  "Bolivia Aviation Services - Wilson"

Thanks for your support!