Monthly Archives: July 2012

Let the people speak!

Or in this case, let the young people speak, for themselves. I could tell you everything the 39 participants said about what the “Warrior On Wheels” trip meant to them, but why? Read their own words.WOW trip


High water

Rains in the upper Olgilvie River (Yukon Territory) had caused ¬†water levels to surge, resulting in “high water.” It was reported that a cabin had been caught up in the flow, already carrying a heavy load of sticks, logs, stumps and entire trees, which had put ferry service on hold.

(The following photo, taken of a different cabin a few years ago near Eagle, AK on the Yukon River, during the spring ice break-up, illustrates the effects a moving river can have on buildings.)

After becoming water borne,the cabin traveled about 75 miles and drifted by Fort McPherson, NWT. Continuing its journey, now on the Peel River, it passed Aklavik 100 miles later, still in “very good shape.” A local announcement on the radio declared “anyone who wants it can fish it out” and apparently some boaters looked into; it was partially furnished with a table and chairs. Amazing!

I wonder if they checked the fridge?


No, not in Colorado.

The pilot needed to drain off extra fuel in order to increase the weight capacity for carrying additional cargo; a relatively simple procedure involving a container to catch the fuel, a funnel and an open petcock under the tank, located in the wing, to allow the fuel to drain.

Set it up, open the petcock, make sure the fuel doesn’t spill, wait until the container is full, close the petcock and put everything away. No big deal, right?

Except on this day there was one additional step, unforeseen and catastrophic. A static discharge.

As the pilot’s finger neared the metallic petcock, intending to close the valve, the accumulated static electricity contained in the aircraft “arced” from the plane to the man, spanning a minute gap of air space…right where the fuel was flowing.

You can imagine the result. The gas vapors ignite. The pilot instinctively pulls back. The fuel continues to flow. The container is engulfed. The fuel continues to flow. The pilot calls for help and attempts to extinguish the growing flames. The fuel continues to flow. The plastic container melts, spilling more fuel. The fuel continues to flow.

Thankfully he received help and they were able to pull the plane out of the fire and close the valve. Thankfully, God spared this aircraft from total destruction, which I’m told is the usual result in cases like this. And thankfully no one was injured.

I’d appreciate your prayers for the pilot, who, not surprisingly, feels very bad about this. And pray for a quick damage assessment and repairs for the plane, as it is needed, especially during the busy summer season.

Guns in the work place

I picked up the 44 magnum off the file cabinet and headed for the door. As I passed a man walking across the parking lot, he gave the pistol a second glance and kept moving. He’s from the Middle East, so maybe he’s accustomed to fire arms. Maybe not.

I was raised in the greater LA area of southern California, so I have a little perspective on people and guns. Alaska and LA have few similarities.

A gun in the work place down south would likely result in a 9-1-1 call, the arrival of a S.W.A.T. team and possibly a story on the 11 o’clock news. Up here it just means a co-worker went camping over the weekend and was returning his “bear protection.”

(and one in the pocket when you’re out in the woods can be worth a dozen left back at home)