More Mission Pilot Training - Part 1
With the emphasis on MISSION
July to December, 2006


After completing his SCUBA certifications in Florida, Daniel flew to Lincoln, Nebraska.  His goal was to get his Instrument and Commercial flight ratings, and accumulate another 400 flight hours by December.  That way he'd have enough experience to begin serving as a full-time mission pilot by 2007.  And several families from his home church in California promised to stand behind him financially.

But God had other plans.



Veteran mission pilot Clyde Peters offered to train Daniel so he could get his Instrument rating, as well as build up flight hours.  Daniel could also get valuable experience as he helped Clyde rebuild his Pacer.




Some of Clyde's many mission pilot adventures and photos of South America are featured in Wellesley Muir's book The Man Who jumped off Clouds, available by clicking here.

Of course, Clyde was just a little younger many years ago when he flew the Fernando Stahl, our first Adventist mission plane in South America.  And he still enjoys flying to this day.



Corrie's parents Jack & Elana Sample live near Lincoln, and her brother Ray kindly allowed Daniel to stay in his rented apartment.  Food, transportation, utilities, and high-speed Internet were provided by this kind family who have been involved in missions for many years.


Daniel learned a lot about engine repair, and in between he worked on his Instrument training by using Clyde's Flight Simulator.

But soon it became obvious that it would take awhile before the Pacer was ready to fly.  After two weeks, Daniel spoke with David Gates, who invited him to Collegedale, TN where he could fly right away.



A retired Cessna 172 that had flown in Guyana was available for training future mission pilots.  Retired pilots were willing to assist with training.  So for the cost of fuel, Daniel could make rapid progress and stretch out donated funds to the maximum.





Since the mission plane in Venezuela was still being repaired, Bob Norton was back in the U.S., and lived only 1/2 hour away from Collegedale.







He spent many days flying with Daniel, teaching him more tactics for mission aviation as well as preparing him for Instrument flying.






The weather was great, flying was fun, Daniel was learning, and he was making progress toward his goal.







Daniel also got to learn more
about airplane mechanics.








The David Gates family provided a place to stay in their rented home. Family friends helped with groceries and transportation.







Having been born and raised most of his first 11 years in Mexico, Daniel's decor reflected his love for his "home."




Daniel was really living it up - he had free long-distance phone, free high-speed Internet, friends from Weimar and DayStar living in the area, and FLYING!  God is SO GOOD!

But unexpectedly, things changed.  After being there less than a month, he went to the dentist with a bad toothache.  He would need a root canal and a crown - which could cost up to $1,500. 

And Daniel was careful to use donated funds for flight training only.  He was already barely scraping by with the little he could earn doing odd jobs.  He certainly didn't have the money for dental work.

So he hopped on a Greyhound bus and headed for Camden, Maine.  His uncle Norman Medina is a dentist there.  Along the way he had an unexpected adventure.  A substitute driver boarded at Charlotte, NC, and for some reason was extremely upset.  He drove like a madman towards New York, late at night, passing trucks and cars, weaving in and out of traffic on the highway - until a Highway Patrolman pulled him over.  He almost lost his license, and drove more sensibly the rest of the way.  All the passengers were grateful to reach their destination safely.  A week later a Greyhound bus overturned in New York state, killing or injuring most of the passengers.  Now we understand how those things happen. 

While in Maine, Daniel enjoyed spending time with his aunt, uncle & cousins.

They went bike riding, got together with friends, and he shuttled the girls to music lessons, art classes, gymnastics, and other places.

He also enjoyed the yummy, free food!



And he enjoyed splitting firewood as well. 

What about his tooth?  Norman checked it and discovered all he needed was a filling.  So Daniel could get back to flight training in Tennessee.  Until he found out that:

1. The plane was grounded until it got a new paint job, which could take months.
2. Bob Norton returned to Venezuela, and no other pilots were available to train him.
3. The Gates family moved out of their rental home - Daniel had no place to stay.

Everything seemed to come to a screeching halt with Daniel's mission pilot training.

Next: More Mission Pilot Training, Part 2

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