Confidence 101

By Rachel Greco

Avionics technician Daniel Jezowski had attended training at JAARS as an pre-field orientee before, but this last time, he spent two months here as a teacher.

Daniel spends most of his time entangled in wires, installing new systems in SIL aircraft in Papua New Guinea (PNG). Now SIL Aviation has asked him to take on new responsibilities.

Like many mission organizations, SIL Aviation lacks enough hands to do all that is required for Bible translation to occur at a steady pace. So, Daniel’s supervisors wished to give him more skills so he can fulfill a variety of roles. The primary reason for his two months at JAARS was to learn how to lead an inspection on the Kodiak airplane.

For the last 11 years or so, Daniel has participated in inspections in PNG. When a plane needed examination every hundred hours, someone would hand Daniel a list of items to inspect. He would take the plane apart, then test and inspect those items. Now, JAARS wants him to assume the role of assigning and supervising these tasks instead of doing them.

Daniel showing items needing inspection

It’s a little more responsibility than he’s used to. “I enjoy working with people,” Daniel shares. “I don’t see myself as the ultimate manager, but a middle manager, which I think I can handle. So with a little more experience, I will be very confident with this new responsibility.”

During ground school of the Pre-Field Orientation Course, Daniel taught the orientees how to work on the Kodiak, an aircraft loaned to us by Mission Aviation Fellowship. Teaching about the diverse aircraft systems—fuel, landing gear, engine, propeller and wings—reinforced what Daniel needed to know for his future responsibilities. Several times while learning about these systems, he realized, “Oh, that’s why we do this.”

Daniel describing part of the inspection process to orientees

When it came time for the Kodiak’s inspection, Daniel led it. There was still someone over him, but Daniel took most of the control, like he’ll be doing in PNG.

Since Daniel was part of the training team of JAARS Aviation this time, he had the opportunity to sit in some of their staff meetings. “It’s been interesting to see how much [the instructors] care for the students to be successful on the mission field. This is shown by the thought and design that goes into the curriculum and prayer for the students.”

About to start the engine on the turbine engine run stand

When Daniel attended JAARS Pre-Field Orientation in 2000, he worked on assigned projects. This time, he worked on the engine run stand, which holds the first turbine engine he had run. He and others tested some items they had added to the engine test stand to make it better—more like the engines on the planes they fly. “[The engine run stand] is a very helpful tool. It’s a good way to help people understand how a turbine engine runs. So once they hop into the plane, they’re much more confident.”

Daniel perusing the Kodiak maintenance manual with Mark Wuerffel and Robert Handasyde

Although Daniel encountered challenges while here—working in a shop unfamiliar to him, on a plane which required different procedures, and stretching his leadership capabilities—he grew from the experience. He can now confidently lead the inspections necessary to keep aircraft airworthy. Reliable, safe aircraft are essential for the pilots who fly Bible translators and God’s Word to the remote places in Papua New Guinea.

Avionics technicians and other skill sets are needed to take the Gospel to the ends of the earth! Learn more here.