If you have the opportunity to look through a pilot’s logbook, prepare for disappointment. Most likely you will find line after line of entries that state little more than how many hours were flown, on what aircraft and where. I once had the opportunity to read through my great-uncle’s logbook. He was lost over Berlin in WWII. I expected many exciting, maybe even terrifying entries. Instead I found just plain entries: hours flown, aircraft type and distance, albeit with a number of interesting aircraft types from Ansons to Wellingtons and Lancaster bombers.
For many pilots, a logbook represents much more than the number of hours flown and licenses and certificates. The numbers and odd comment on a line does little to capture the imagination or give meaning to the numbers but for the pilot, the numbers may invoke memories of people, places and planes that are too difficult to capture in writing and are best relived in memory.
When someone discovers that I am a pilot, it strikes me as odd that the first thing I am asked is “how many hours do you have?” Even the language is strange because pilots do not collected “hours” rather, they have used them. Deducted, so-to-speak, from our life as we add up how much of our time we sit looking through the windscreen or at the instruments. Can you imagine if everyone kept a log of driving miles or watching television or sitting in front of a computer screen? Despite the life-time of hours spent flying, I have indeed collected many blessings in the form of memories, experience and relationships, while I fulfill a purpose that the Lord has given me … to serve others. I have seen the world from a perspective that can only reinforce the notion that God created it with an imagination (and sense of humour) that is beyond our human understanding. I am forever in awe of Him and His creation.
Since joining Mission Aviation Fellowship, I have had to work very hard to keep up to the very high standard that MAF expects of its pilots. There are many younger pilots, with much less time in their logbooks, who are very talented pilots and amazing individuals. The MAF standard goes beyond how well one flies an aircraft. It is more about how we interact with our co-workers, the people working for organizations we serve, as well as the people that are ultimately the end-recipients of what we bring with the airplane. That is why we are here: to bring hope and healing to some of the most isolated places in the world using aviation and technology.
Being that I have crossed another milestone of hours in service with MAF, I am placing a summary for those of you who like statistical details. Having an electronic logbook means that there are a few photos and special notations that might not be found in a paper version but it is not practical to show them here. There are many tears of joy and thankfulness wrapped up within these statistics. There have been great experiences as well as near disaster. I have seen landscapes that make the spirit soar and I have seen misery and tragedy that can rock one’s faith to the core. Whether good or bad He is always with me; Amen
Flying in Service with MAF began in 2010. Flight statistics on MAF aircraft follow:
Total hours flown: 2519.8
Total Take-offs: 2157 Landings 2160
Instrument approaches flown: 185 Visual approaches under Instrument Flight Rules: 222. The majority of flying has been VFR.
Total distance flown: 299037.1 Nautical Miles or 344125.7 Statute Miles or 553816.7 Kilometers or about 12 times around the earth at the equator.
Note: I do not keep statistics on size of load or how many passengers are carried but the best estimate would be combination of passengers and freight that would equal approximately 1.58 million kg. Average adult passengers where I have been flying are about 70kg (with carry on bags) and the mix of flights over the past 5 years in a combination of about 50% so that would be about 11285 adult passengers and 790000kg of cargo. All of this work was done on Cessna Caravans (C208A, C208B) flying at an average speed of around 150kts.
I pray that every mile, every kilogram, every hour be for the glory of the Lord.