A Really Big Dream Comes True

Remember that saying: Good things come in small packages?  Some good things come in really big packages. In a time when many dreams have been delayed or taken away, we’ve just seen a really big dream come true with the arrival of a really big package!

A new simulator vacuum packed in industrial gift wrapping. Photo credit Christopher Clark

A team of many players contributed years of perseverance, dreaming, research, meetings and hard work. The team’s dream has finally been realized. In 2009 our aviation department here in Papua New Guinea received the first Kodiak aircraft, serial number 8, a modern aircraft specifically built for the demanding operations of missionary aviation flying. With the new aircraft came a need for a new simulator that could replicate the Kodiak’s complex cockpit and allow captains to hone their skills on this specific machine.

Preparing to move the simulator into its very own climate controlled room. Photo credit Christopher Clark

Unfortunately, back in 2009 with so few Kodiak aircraft on the market, no company was interested in producing a simulator to the quality we needed at a price we could justify. Thankfully, what you’re seeing is the answer to a decade of prayer and hard work.

Putting all the puzzle pieces back together again. Photo credit Christopher Clark

Set-up, testing, and official certification in-country are now complete for our new Kodiak-specific simulator. For the technical types, an AATD (Advanced Aviation Training Device). We are happy to update our simulator training programs to utilize this new tool, with all of its realism, to prepare and keep sharp both our pilots and our mechanics. We’re also enjoying the chance to let a few others experience this wonderful dream come true and encourage them to dream of what God may do in their lives.

Nathan and Hannah Clark try out the new simulator. Photo credit Christopher Clark

Dealing with the Unexpected

Josh, Christopher’s fellow pilot, adds his enthusiastic endorsement of the new simulator. “While I’m flying along in the clouds, a warning bell sounds and indicates that there is a malfunction with the aircraft. I quickly move to shut off the non-essential electronics and begin running through the emergency checklist. I turn the airplane around, inform the controller that we have an emergency and bring the airplane back to a safe landing at Port Moresby.

While this story is real, there is one detail I left out—this is all happening within our new flight simulator!

“I was excited when we received the approval from the Papua New Guinea (PNG) government to begin using the simulator in August. It enables us to train our pilots using some of the worst-case scenarios without actually burning any fuel. To put it another way, we can do better training while saving money at the same time.”

The simulator has realistic controls and outside visuals via five TVs. Even though the simulator doesn’t move, you feel like you’re moving due to the realism of the visuals. Photo credit Josh Eicholtz
Instrument failures and other aircraft malfunctions can be programmed from the instructor station shown here. Photo credit Josh Eicholtz

We’re thankful to Christopher and Darlene Clark and Josh and Katie Eicholtz for sending us this information about PNG Aviation’s new Kodiak-specific simulator.