01 June 2011

David's Day

What’s a day in the life of a pilot like? Well, let me try to explain…

*Got up at 6:00. Had breakfast, found his captain’s bars, a pen, and calculator (the essentials). After a quick kiss and prayer, he was out at the gate, waiting for the carpool, by 6:45.
*Made it to the hangar by 7:15. Went through security, double-checked the schedule and filled out flight plans.

*First flight: Two people to an island called La Gonave for the Wesleyans. While he was there, our strip agent said he might have someone wanting to go with David back to Port-au-Prince. We try to take advantage of backloading flights as much as possible, but David also had more flights to do today, so he said he’d wait 20 minutes.
*20 minutes later, the passenger comes screeching up, ready to jump on the plane. However, they have to delay a few more minutes to find out who’s *paying* for this flight. Strip agent makes a call, and a few minutes later, they’re airborne for Port.

*Second flight: 900 chicks to Cap Haitian. Yes, you heard that right! They can’t be fed during transportation, so it’s essential to do it quickly. David said the smell and the noise were noticeable, so he opened the window. Tiny feathers went flying everywhere. Oops. Live and learn!

*Got to Cap Haitian safely in 30 minutes (as opposed to a six-hour drive), but it looked like weather was moving in, so he wanted to get back to Port ASAP. However, while on the ground, he got a call from our flight scheduler. There was a medical flight in Port de Paix (Port-duh-PAY) that needed picking up—could he make it? He said he’d try. So much for lunch.
*Flew to Port de Paix and waited an hour. Remember, the weather still isn’t looking great. Just as he was about to call our scheduler back and find out if they were still coming, an overflowing tap-tap pulled up. 20 family members plus the patient piled out.
*He proceeded to load the patient into the plane. The man was injured in a motorcycle accident and they were worried about paralysis. They had told our scheduler that they had a backboard for him, but it turned out to be a piece of thin plywood instead. A backboard has a place for the cargo straps so that the board won’t slide, so plywood wasn’t ideal, but they did the best they could.
*As he finished strapping him down, David looked up to see a lady cramming herself in into the tail of the plane. She figured it was a good enough seat, since the rest had been taken out to make room for the chicks. David had to tell her, “Sorry, but only one person can come along, since there’s only one seat besides mine!” She argued for a while, but got out eventually. It was determined that his brother would come with David, while the rest of the family stayed behind.

*The team from Medical Teams International was there to meet them at the airport. They too were disappointed to see the plywood instead of a backboard, but at least they brought one with them for the bumpy ride ahead. They loaded him into the back of a pickup and left for the hospital.
*After some paperwork and some food (finally), the pilots all piled back into the car at 3:00. After fighting through traffic, David arrived home at 3:45 to regale me with stories about his day.

A full, rich day for a pilot in the Caribbean! Thanks for your prayers, so that we can have days like these.


  1. Sounds oddly familiar...I know all too well the smell of feathers and poo. Never tried opening the window though, that belongs on an SYE so we can all learn from it :)

  2. Never a dull moment! We thank God for you in our prayers daily. Thank you for making us all a part of your service to the kingdom!

  3. Thanks for all you do to make life in Haiti more bearable. We are proud of you and Christine.