Making Preparations

Take a moment to consider the two-fold mission statement of MMS Aviation:

Preparing people and planes for worldwide missionary service

Our mission statement really does mean something to us. It governs our decisions and actions, and speaks honestly about what we intend to do. Let me tell you about a couple of ways this is happening right now.

Preparing a Cherokee Six

I have been working on a Piper Cherokee Six owned by Flights For Christ. They use the airplane to fly supplies to Haiti, primarily to support orphanages there. The airplane was donated to them a couple years ago, and they are still working on getting it configured for the flying they do. It is in our shop for an annual inspection, and we did some alterations too. We installed control surface gap seals, which help the air flow more smoothly and efficiently over the wing. The pilot told me that they will pay for themselves in fuel savings in under five trips to Haiti.

Gap seals in place.

Another task was to install a USB port in the instrument panel. This isn’t so you can plug in a thumb drive and play your favorite music. It’s actually just a power port. Pilots used to carry reams of paper: navigational charts, approach plates, airport directories, and such. Now all of that and more is available digitally. Many pilots fly with an iPad, which needs a source of power for long flights. This airplane was built before USB was ever dreamed of, but now it has its own ports.

There may not be nuts and soda, but the volts are complimentary on this flight.

These modifications are an important part of preparing this airplane for service in its role as a missionary airplane. Just like the servant Jesus told about in Matthew 25:16, we want to maximize the benefit our Master gets from this airplane. Conserving fuel and giving pilot more resources in the cockpit are expanding the utility for God’s kingdom.

Am I Prepared?

We plan to move to North Carolina in the first quarter of next year. Our time there with Missionary Air Group will be a little different than our time with MMS Aviation has been. For one thing, I will be doing more flying. I am looking forward to that, but I recently realized I’m not really prepared for the task. One thing I will be doing early on is learning to fly by reference to the instruments, without any outside visibility. That type of flying requires access to a lot more publications: navigational charts, approach plates, airport directories, and such. Sound familiar?

I’ve decided it’s time to modernize my own flying routines. I recently bought the parts and built a small digital receiver called a Stratux. It is device that receives traffic and weather information from air traffic control and displays it on the pilot’s tablet.

The Stratux: A little box with a big punch

The ability to see traffic and weather visually on the map is a tremendous safety enhancement for a pilot. The tools that were available before all relied on verbal descriptions over the radio, and this is exponentially more useful.

A more modern picture of traffic awareness

As an aside, I used it for the first time over the weekend, going to visit a pilot near Cleveland who has built a sweet little airplane called a Pietenpol Aircamper. It’s a beautiful little airplane, and I’m told they are quite fun to fly. I got to sit in it and pretend, and it felt about right.

The Pietenpol cockpit is perfectly sized for me.

As I look toward spending more time in an airplane, I see that I need to do a better job at managing the tools and information a pilot needs. The upgrade to digital charts are a step of preparation for me.

Are you prepared?

What is on the horizon for you? You may not have a clear vision of where you’re headed, or you may have a road map. Either way, God wants you to be prepared to the best of your ability. “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much.” (Luke 16:10) If you do your best with today’s stewardship, you will receive much from the Master’s hand for tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by.


  • Reply Mike Brubaker September 18, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Thank you for the update. Sometimes God takes us on a journey that is not on our road map! We just have to be ready for the detour! He will still be our pilot!

  • Reply Mark September 18, 2017 at 5:31 pm

    Thanks for the update Brad. May God bless you and Crystal as you continue to seek his will for your lives. I have been encouraged by observing your lives and your commitment to service for the kingdom. Keep pressing on!!

  • Reply Lisa September 18, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Excited for you!! Flying is your thing. You look good in that cute little airplane😄

    • Reply Brad September 18, 2017 at 6:38 pm

      “Good” is relative, I guess. 😀

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