Being unemployed Ben spent the following week at home organizing and cleaning the vehicles. You could have eaten off of the Maxima's hood! But being a house husband wasn't to last long and on Friday we both drove down to Jupiter to help Brian Parker (runs Samaritan Air) take the tail boom off of an Robinson 44 helicopter and get it packed up for shipping to the factory. Helimission introduced us to Brian via e-mail back in January and about a month ago we visited Jupiter to meet him face to face. Ben will be flying and doing maintenance with Brian to get some "real world" experience to better prepare him for work with Helimission.
Ben worked on the R44 with a New Tribes Aviation guy, Justin Wallhoff, who is also flying with Brian to build experience. Justin and his wife Courtney are at the end of their training (10 years of training!) and will be heading to Sulawesi, Indonesia in a couple months. We hope to be able to see them on the field one day and maybe we really will get the chance to - they will be operating a Helimission aircraft!
In addition to meeting and spending time with some really great people we were absolutely spoiled rotten by the Parkers! They cooked us breakfast and fed us like royalty. Robin spent Saturday morning showing me the sights, I relaxed by the pool in the afternoon and occasionally wandered out see how the boys were doing with the helicopter. Sunday morning we went to church (Christ Fellowship), out for brunch and then headed back up to Titusville. What a weekend!
So the plan is now that Ben will head back down on Monday for a week of flying and I'll stay here in Titusville and continue working. He'll come home on the weekend and then look at re-sitting through some of the ground school classes at Bristow Academy. The weeks he isn't in class he'll be down in Jupiter. And sometime in the coming months he'll look at doing his Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) rating and attending the pilot safety course at the Robinson factory in California. I'm sure things will be crazy, but we are very much excited about what lies ahead!
Samaritan Air is a a helicopter ministry that trains and equips pilots for the mission field. Samaritan Air is also currently operating an R44 down in Haiti.
They do some pretty amazing work, please take the time to check out their site http://samair.org
Justin and Courtney Wallhoff are missionaries serving with New Tribes Aviation. Justin is both a fixed wing and helicopter pilot as well as an A&P mechanic and Courtney is a counselor. They are headed for Sulawesi, Indonesia in July. Check out their blog http://wallhoffs.wordpress.com