What’s with the Green Donut?

JAARS has a green donut in the hangar at Waxhaw! What’s that all about?


So now you’re asking yourself, “What in the world does the green donut in this photo have to do with Bible translation?” As you might have guessed, it isn’t a real donut. It’s a shock absorber. Our Maintenance Training team is working with the Aviation Research and Development (R&D) team to determine whether this donut can help us solve a problem that has hampered one of our overseas partners.

Over the past couple of years, some turbine engines shipped to one of our field entities have been damaged due to rough handling during the shipping process. When an engine arrives damaged, it has to be sent back to the overhaul facility, repaired, and shipped back—risking further damage. This problem creates a lot of extra expense and ‘down’ time for the aircraft and has the potential of slowing Bible translation. If the aircraft can’t fly, translation teams can’t get to their villages or don’t get the supplies they need.

The crate on skids with the donut

One possible solution we’re exploring is whether the green donuts on shipping skids make effective shock absorbers. The donut, an air-dampened polyethylene cushion, is designed to be mounted on pallet bases to provide protection against vibration and shock. The crate containing the engine is then mounted on the donuts.

Close up of the donuts tucked into the skids

Our R&D team is also developing a design for a new energy-absorbing crate that can provide even better protection than the crates we use at present. This ‘outside-the-box’ thinking is what JAARS is all about—developing solutions than can remove the barriers that hinder Bible translation.

By far the biggest challenge in my job as maintenance training coordinator is keeping our many technicians “current” in maintaining the variety of aircraft we have in service. Because aviation technology continually changes, we stay on top of these changes and train our technicians to stay current and know how to work on the equipment they are dealing with. To do this, we hold maintenance training events at the JAARS Center and schedule factory schooling events for areas we are not equipped to train in. We also intentionally teach technicians an awareness of the human factors that have a direct effect on how maintenance technicians carry out their maintenance projects.

Our maintenance training team was thrilled to participate in the “donut project”. We understand the importance of being able to ship these expensive engines back and forth to our field entities. We were happy to make a classroom and a tear-down engine available for the R&D team to use for drop testing in place of a runnable PT6. This non-running engine was a perfect fit for their needs. Praise God for not only providing this engine for “tear down” training but also for R&D.

My wife, Missy, and I are privileged to be part of this team of multi-disciplinary problem-solvers who are committed to the belief—and the vision—that people’s lives and communities are transformed as they experience God’s Word in their own language.


Jon Damon

Jon Damon

Jon and Missy Damon have been members of Wycliffe since 2001. The majority of their time has been spent working in aviation in Papua New Guinea. In 2015 they joined the aviation maintenance training team at JAARS where Jon now serves as the Maintenance Training Coordinator for the organization.