IMG_5792I’ve heard it said that, on average, the airplane will attempt to “rise up and smite” the pilot once every 1,000 hours. Oh joy–I passed the 1,000 hour benchmark last year.

Today, the airplane did her best to smite me, but she failed.

It was a routine flight, very normal for what I do with our plane–I was picking up two of our national pastors. They had just finished preaching an Easter Revival in a distant village and I was bringing them in for our Pastor’s Conference.

An 11-minute flight saves them almost 3 days of hiking. It’s a no-brainer.

I flew up to Menyamya, picked them up, and flew back to Kanabea. Upon landing, I thought to myself, “That was too easy. No long flights today; no bad weather to work around; just a simple out-and-back.”

That was when the plane saw her chance–I was relaxed. As we touched down, I felt a shudder in the left gear and initially, I thought we were hydro-planing (which is normal on a wet grass strip). But then I realized we were still getting the same shudder without my applying brakes. That’s when it started to pull to the left, very strongly!

I looked out the window as we slowed and I saw the tire doing this weird warble-y shape-shifting. A flat tire!

I applied opposite rudder and opposite brakes and we came to a quick stop.

Here is the cool part–I was already planning to do the 50-hour inspection on the plane today. We had a generator, air compressor, and my toolbox all at the airstrip. We pumped up the tire and limped it up to the top end of the airstrip and out of the way for other aircraft to land. The tire will definitely have to be replaced (MAF will be flying the replacement tire into us tomorrow). As of right now, we don’t know what caused the tire to go flat, although I’ve got a feeling there might have been something on the runway where we departed. We will be able to confirm that when we jack up the airplane and pull the flat tire off.

When I shut down the engine with the airplane leaning heavily to the left, I looked at the pastors in the plane, and we had a quick word of prayer thanking the Lord for His protection.

Special thanks to those of you who make it a habit to pray for us daily.