With your help the people of West Africa have "a chance, not only to change their own lives and their own destinies, but to change the future of an entire generation".

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

How we change lives.

During Aero we were asked to make presentations about how and why we do what we do in changing lives using light aviation. As always, the presentation never follows word for word what you prepare, and each presentation was adapted to the audience and the questions that arose. One thing is certain - everybody agreed that light aviation was a fantastic tool for changing lives - and in so many ways. Here is the outline of what we spoke about and we look forward to hearing from you what you think after reading it! Aero Presentation

Water, water, everywhere!

Submitted By Marcel Stieber

Grass starts to grow only a few short hours after the rains hit the airfield. Similarly, when four men set to work on plumbing, water points start appearing out of thin air! Newly installed right next to the workshop is a nice little water spigot ready to clean greasy hands and fill buckets to clean the planes. Another water point is now on the outside of the Agric building ready to work with the pressure washer for keeping vehicles looking nice. Along the fence line behind the hangers we've added yet another water point to help with bush fires and the usual hand washing as well. And most importantly, the bathroom in the Agric building is water plumbed and now ready for the porcelain treatment to finish it off! That's all in a days work for us here at the field. The next updates on this project will surely shock you!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Waste not. Want not.

The new Agric building brings many new things to the airfield including a covered storage area for the tractors and a better space for all the wood working. One of the nice additions that it also brings is a new set of toilets! In some of the previous blogs you saw the septic tank being prepared at the back of the new Agric building. Today Mr Solo taught Lele, Newton, and Bernard how to route the waste pipes from the stalls to the entry point of the septic tank. Proper levels, slopes, lengths, and turns are needed to ensure many years of blockage-free operation! In short time, our student pilots will really appreciate the proximity of these stalls for those times when nature calls you onto a short final!

Friday, April 26, 2013

In the trenches

The Agric building is getting closer to completion everyday! The past week has had many hard days work trenching behind the hangars to get ready for power and water to be run to the new building. Lele and Bernard took advantage of the fresh rains softening the rock hard soil to make the digging a tiny bit easier. They've put in a good three days work in the trenches getting everything ready to go. The total water run is just over 80 meters to get to the building and around 100 meters for the electrical run. The Kia truck is happily back in service and is getting put to good light use picking up water pipes and plumbing fittings to be installed in the next few days. Stay tuned for more updates soon!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Thank you Aero Messe

Bettina from the Aero Organisation was thrilled to meet the Ghana team.

Our stand was fully sponsored by Aero and we extend our warm thanks to the Aero Messe organisation for their support and encouragement to all that we do.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Aero Friedrichshafen starts today

Aero Friedrichshafen starts today. Patricia, Lydia and Emmanuella are busy telling visitors about medicine on the move and the Avtech Academy.

Already the interest level is high. We have had visitors from Russia, Germany, Poland, Czech, UK and Holland.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Belly pod... finishing touches

Pod finalisation is taking place as Lydia and Emmanuella put the finishing touches to the system.

We are very excited at the potential this new delivery system will open up for the rural communities.

Perhaps the most exciting part of this current development is that the design and construction has been led directly by young West African women. They have only needed guidance on the technicalities during the process. With nearly 700 rivets this really is a work of art!

We are thrilled to see West African problems being solved sustainably by West Africans and to be a part of changing their lives one flight at a time

Monday, April 15, 2013

Belly Pod update

Could these be the doors of opportunity?

Next week we will demonstrate our new drop system. These are the prototype doors for the drop pod.

Watch this space for more details coming soon.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Field Repairs

Submitted by Marcel Stieber

As an electrical engineer, one of my favorite pastimes is to take things apart and put them back together
again. In most cases, I hope that the things work better _after_ I put them back together. The joke around the airfield these days is for people to keep their distance from me if there is a screwdriver in my hands for fear of getting taken apart and put back together again!

Sometimes this "disease" comes in handy for fixing the many things that keep breaking or needing repair from the harsh environment. Recent examples have included broken charge cables on our battery-backup light fixtures and mouse-chewed computer mouse cables. All of which were subjected to a quick and painless screwdriver session and a bit of fresh solder to bring them back to life. My personal favorite example is the LCD monitor from one of the computers that had an intermittent connection on the power connector and was frequently shutting itself down. Screwdriver in hand, I proceeded to take the whole thing apart to get to the power module that had some cracked solder joints on it from metal fatigue in the heat. A quick reflow and a dabble of solder was all that was needed to breathe a fresh life into an otherwise junked piece of electronics.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Fly Me Day 2011 - A blast from the past!

Submitted by Marcel Stieber

Yesterday, while looking for some Kente print fabrics for our AERO booth, the shop owner's 11 year old daughter Harriet recognized our yellow shirts from the Fly Me Day she attended 2 years ago at Kpong Field! Harriet beamed a great big smile and excitedly told us that she had flown in the "red and white" plane with Captain Yaw. Her mother was also proud to tell us about all of our planes that she sees flying overhead and how she tells her friends about the airfield and what an amazing experience it was for their students. Apparently all the girls in Harriet's school are now aspiring pilots and engineers; thanks to their flying experience 2 years ago at Kpong Field! It is always wonderful to see the direct effects of our outreach to these communities and how much change it can bring for the student's lives. We did end up buying the cloth from Harriet's mother for our booth at AERO so the stand decorations in Germany will be products from the mother of one of our Fly Me Day candidates. That is the sort of symbiosis that gives us the inspiration to keep going day after day!

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

A roof above my head...almost.

Submitted by Marcel Stieber

Progress on the Agric Building is ramping up! Earlier this week, a big team of us worked to place and secure the 4 steel roof trusses on the concrete pillars. Mr Solo carefully directed the workers to position the trusses so that the roof is level and aligned correctly. After a hard mornings work positioning the _heavy_ trusses, Carol and I spent the afternoon welding the trusses to the concrete steelwork to secure them in place for the final casting. Carol started as a safety person for me to weld, but quickly jumped on the ladder and tried her hand at ARC welding on two of the trusses! Our volunteers here are never idle and always jump up to the occasion, Carol can now proudly say that she welded the roof trusses on the building on her next visit when it's all complete!

With the roofing trusses in place, Mr Solo and Bernard are hard at work getting the complex forms ready for casting around the trusses and finishing up the pillars to the roof height. The masons come next week to cast the columns, every day getting us closer to completion of the project! Three big tasks remain: electricity, water/plumbing, and roofing! Each takes quite a bundle of time and money. Hopefully Mr Solo, Bernard, Lele, and I can work to trench the water and electricity to the building while the rest of the team is at AERO this year. Once we get a sponsor for the roofing materials, then the final construction can take place and the building be brought into action. Maybe you are interested in helping out?

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Walled in!

Submitted by Marcel Stieber 

A previous blog showed the foundations being constructed for the new Agric Building at the end of the Hanger Complex. In the last month, once the water finally came back, we were able to continue construction and pour the floor slab for the building. Just this past week, the walls have risen from the ground and the pillars ready for the roofing trusses. Emmanuel and his team of masons have been hard at work with bricks and mortar, mixing bucket after bucket of concrete for the construction. Mr Solo, Bernard, and Lele have been busy supporting the construction with all the wooden forms and complex scaffolding necessary for the masons to work safely. Next update when the roof trusses get put into place!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Air Conditioning

Submitted by Marcel Stieber 

A huge thank you needs to go to Patrick, one of the pilots here at Kpong Field, for his generous assistance in procuring an air conditioning unit for the new briefing room! After a pleasant afternoon with the installation team having prepared the electrical systems in advance, the new 18,000 btu unit roared to life and started to cool the new office with graceful expertise. This welcome addition to the airfield means that laptops, printer, and pilots alike can enjoy a longer operating life with less overheating and improved productivity in this cool new space. Thank you Patrick and Atlantic Air Conditioning!

First Briefing in the New Briefing Room!

Submitted by Marcel Stieber 

A historical moment occurred on March 19th, 2013 as the first student pilot was signed out to fly from the new briefing room! Jonathan and Patricia were there to witness this small step forward for Kpong Field, but the giant flight forward for Franz, who had recently found his love for aviation and started his flight lessons in Ghana. The new briefing room is coupled with the main office and is a dust free zone thanks to floor tiling and plastic roofing and wall boards. This means a better environment for our computers, printers, and workers! We're expecting an air con unit very soon for this room to keep the temperatures down, the comfort high, and the overheating printers to a minimum!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Disabled Flyme day

Our first successful ' disabled fly me day' was a joint effort of the 99s from 3 continents. Dr Carol Munch from the USA, Ute Hoelscher from Germany and Patricia Mawuli from Ghana assisted by the Aviation and Technology Academy girls (also 99s) from Kpong.

Inspired and financially supported by the efforts and experience of Ute in Germany, where she works principally with visually impaired and blind youngsters, we tried to make a similar event happen last year, but without success.

This year however Ute, Carol, Safi and Mavs ( whose krobo language skills were outstanding) visited the education department and convinced the relevant responsible adults that flying disabled students was a viable and inspirational opportunity - and went on to prove it!

Francis and Emmanuel Norman with Mike Pullen, MoMies from Germany, provided musical interaction including drumming on backs of the hearing impaired ( gently), as well as donating a variety of educational and gastronomic gifts for them to take home.

We flew 6 children during the 3 hour programme, 4 visually impaired and 2 with hearing challenges. The teachers present also gained from the experience and we hope that this will be the beginning of a regular feature in our calendar.

Our challenge with recognition of equality of disabled people in Ghana made progress and we hope to be able to build on this modest success in the coming years. Disability awareness and acceptance in the rural communities is a challenge we see as a part of our health education outreach.

MoM has a fantastic set of 99ers in its ranks, with our 99 chapter at Kpong inspired and supported by Melissa Pemberton, who provided the Polaroid camera that enabled each student to take home a photo of themselves next to an aeroplane!

Thank you ladies, thank you MoMies, thank you 99ers, but most of all, thank you to the responsible adults who enabled these young people to have a day that has inspired them towards a future of equality.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Come see us in Friedrichshafen...

Thanks to the international interest in what happens at Kpong Airfield we will be at Aero
Friedrichshafen Germany global show for general aviation at the end of April.
Avtech and MoM have a stand presence, donated by the German organisers of the event. An active member of Mom Germany is lending us a vehicle for the event, our tickets covered by another MoM Germany friend and our accommodation by another. The teamwork from the newly formed MoM Germany organisation is impressive.
Patricia, Emmanuella and Lydia will staff the stand and MoM Germany translators will take shifts to ensure that any language challenges are addressed appropriately. Capt Yaw will be there to make two presentations about using light aviation as a development tool in West Africa.
With visitors from more than 20 countries telling us that they plan to visit our stand we are very excited. We expect friends from the UK, France, Ireland, Australia, Poland, Czech Republic, USA, Italy, Spain, South Africa, New Zealand and the list goes on. We hope to get a great visitors book at the end of the show!
The international interest and support for our outreach is heartwarming as we launch the appeal for financial support for the Afram Plains air drops and our funds towards a CH750 too, we hope that this event will springboard 2013 s activities.
Thank you to all of you for your kind support from all corners of the planet - and if you can please visit us at stand013 in Hall A7 at Aero Friedrichshafen!