Lessons at the End: Quest KODIAK Pilot Familiarization Day 8

My 2.5 week audit of Spokane Turbine Center’s PT6A Comprehensive Overview and Quest KODIAK Pilot Familiarization courses ended today. I began this journey desiring to share the experience of taking professional missionary aviation training courses. The final sim session of the final class was done just after noon, and I said goodbye to my classmates. They’ve become part of our family while they’ve been here.

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From left: Rod, Ken, me, Pieter, the Bird Butcher, and Pauline.

Here’s some of what I learned about missionary aviation and Spokane Turbine Center:

  • The people of missionary aviation love people more than airplanes. That love for people is inspired by personal relationships with Jesus Christ and encounters with a living God. We want to serve others in His name so that others can also experience the hope we have in Christ. This is very similar to my own journey toward valuing God and his people over myself.
  • My classmates are clear: Missionary aviation is a critical lifeline to many remote areas. Connection to the outside world provides access to education, healthcare, and needed physical items. The spiritual needs met are closer to my heart: Bibles translated into native languages, missionaries supplied, and local pastors connected to needed resources. With airplanes, unreachable people are reachable, and challenges are overcome.
  • Turbine aircraft are needed in missionary aviation. With limited availability of aviation gasoline overseas, missionaries must use aircraft powered by jet fuel in many locations, which is comparatively cheap and available.Turbine aircraft are also very reliable, with high performance.
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One of our final lessons was walking through a KODIAK preflight inspection.

  • The piston-to-turbine transition is hard work! Missionary aviation needs a source of turbine expertise to help this transition.
  • Good turbine instruction takes expensive resources. I’ve used tools like the classrooms, G1000 trainers, the KODIAK simulator, the PT6A run-up stand, and much more. Fortunately, individual missionary organizations do not have to duplicate these costly resources. Spokane Turbine Center resources are available for all missionary organizations, so aircraft are not taken from missionary service for training purposes.
  • The most critical resource is gifted instructors who are experienced with turbine engines. Pauline, Ken, Rod, and the whole Spokane Turbine Center team are knowledgeable and passionate about changing the world, and I’m proud to be on their team. Missionary organizations can keep their pilots serving overseas, and utilize our collective expertise.
  • Spokane Turbine Center needs donors. We’ve had a rough year financially, and are in need of donors to continue operation. Our heart is to offer turbine training in more aircraft types, and provide deeper discounts to our missionary partners. If you agree this work is important, please join our donor team.  We value one-time donations, but regular donations at any amount are especially needed.
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I’m sampling fuel on the real airplane. Someday, maybe I’ll fly it.

Personally, I’ve learned a few things:

  • Blogging is hard but rewarding work! I’ve stayed late many nights, or spent time away from my family to write each night. But it’s been a great experience.
  • This was more than I was ready for! Most pilots would transition back into flying with a simple airplane like a Cessna 172, but I stepped up into a huge turbine Quest KODIAK. It made my head spin, but for the most part, I could follow along after over 10 years of flying my desk around.
  • Should I get current again? While I may not be called to be a missionary pilot, a passion for flying is still dormant in my heart. A simple piston Cessna 172 is probably a better start. Maybe some day I can actually try flying the KODIAK sim (or the airplane?). This will be a function of time and money.
  • I’m thankful to be telling the Spokane Turbine Center storyGod is changing the world through the work we do here, and telling others about it is a challenging but rewarding calling.

Thank you all for reading the blog!

 

 

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