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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Back from Europe

Well I (Rob) have been back from my trip to Europe for almost a week now and things here are busy busy busy. You probably know from the last post that there is a new (to us) aircraft on it's way here to Madagascar inside of a 40 foot container. This aircraft is the reason that I had to travel to France, it is a very special aircraft and we are very excited about what the future will bring in regards to its technology. The aircraft itself is not all that special but what makes this aircraft so unique is that it has new engine technology on it, this engine doesn't burn the typical Avgas but instead has been designed as a diesel cycle piston engine running on Jet fuel.

To sum it up, basically it operates on easily available and relatively inexpensive Jet Fuel which costs about $1.50 US per liter, rather than Avgas which is much harder to find and can cost up to $5.00 US per liter. The great thing is that it will allow us to transport 1 or 2 people for a lot less expensive than using our turbine powered Caravan.

So what does France have to do with getting an aircraft in Madagascar? The engine that is on it is manufactured by SMA engines in France and I had to travel there to take a course and receive certification to be able to maintain this new engine. Also while in Europe I was able to go over to Straubing Germany where the propeller is made and take a course on that as well. The best part about going to Germany for the propeller course was that it gave me certification to disassemble and reassemble it for shipping purposes. The implications of just that ability alone will save MAF thousands of dollars just in shipping costs alone.

So for now while we wait for the container to arrive (which is supposed to be around the end of April) we are being kept busy with updating all our manuals, writing new maintenance schedules, starting the paperwork with the Civil Aviation Authority here for registering it in Madagascar, preparing our hanger for another aircraft, making or gathering all the tools that we will need to reassemble it once it arrives and so on.

I was also very happy that out of the two weeks away I managed to have one day off to go into Paris and see some sights.

More to follow later        

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Airplane in a Box

As I write this, a disassembled Cessna 182 is traveling via shipping container across the globe. It was meticulously taken apart in Nampa, Idaho at the MAF Base in the US, and then packed in a container to be shipped here to Madagascar.

Rob, and the other experienced national engineer here, will be carefully assembling this aircraft April or May. The pilots are excited for this opportunity to further serve the isolated people around Madagascar with it! A smaller aircraft means more economical flights for 1 or 2 persons = ability to serve more.

Check out more information here

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Brief Update, After a Brief Absence

Just a short update: Rob is safely in Paris this week for the SMA Course, and then to Germany this weekend for a propeller course, and then to England next week for a week of training at MAF UK Headquarters. They call it "Role Induction Training". There he will learn what he's really gotten himself into as Chief Engineer, I suppose. *Wink*.  No, they want to help him learn the financial systems and record keeping systems, and also help him learn more of what his responsibility here in Madagascar entails.

The kids and I remain here in Madagascar. It has been beautiful and sunny so far during his absence! That always helps make the childcare easier. The kids love being outside. Faith and I are plugging along with Kindergarten, and this week I am preparing a bit of a portfolio to send to her Kindergarten teacher in Canada. It's actually pretty exciting to look over this last school term and see everything that we've covered together.

I have started hosting a Ladies Bible study in my home on Thursday afternoons. We are going through a Nancy Leigh DeMoss study called Seeking Him.

The internet, since Cyclone Giovanna, still is not what it used to be when we first arrived. Even last night as Rob and I tried to Skype together, it was almost impossible to just get audio to come through properly. My guess is, the already poor internet infrastructure, is still being worked on (I hope, anyways).