Friday, August 11, 2017

The Story Behind God's Miracle Wings

The Story Behind Acquiring the Super Cub

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The Miracle of Wings

May 2015 I was gleaning bush flying information from an online forum when I noticed a picture of a Super Cub with a large stretcher door in the side.

At the time we were beginning to raise money towards an airplane for the Bolivia Highlands medical project. I contacted the owner - a well-known Super Cub rebuilder - and as I learned more about his personal Cub, it seemed ideal for the medical program. Dan told me that he was thinking of selling N118AK to build a more thoroughbred competition airplane. The only catch was that we had nothing to put towards the $109,000 asking price. It seemed like the right thing at the wrong time.

I stayed in contact with Dan, but by the time I had a chance to go look at the plane, he had decided to keep it. We were also getting confusing/discouraging answers from the DGAC (Bolivia's Civil Aviation Authority) about the process of importing an Experimental aircraft. After lots of prayer, we moved on to our second best option: build a kit Super Cub in Bolivia.

At the Javron Super Cub Kit factory in August 2016.

Fast forward to Spring 2017. Our ground-based medical program was in full swing with groups of medical volunteers forging deep into the remote parts of the Inquisivi province on a monthly basis. On one of these visits we heard about Margarita. The villagers had buried her just before we arrived. From their descriptions it could have been Appendicitis. On another visit we heard of a woman from the same region who had died in childbirth, likely preventable with emergency medical care.
We felt that it was time to revise our plan and include bit more urgency. I estimated that we were a minimum of 18 months from having a flying kit Super Cub and maybe much more. We began pleading with the Lord that He would show us what to do and how to move faster. With the encouragement of our board, we started looking at other options.  

Some of the Piper Cubs we looked at in Bolivia.

Through numerous phone calls and some travel in country, we worked through the backstories of the five Piper Super Cubs in Bolivia. Eventually, due various factors, we narrowed the search down to one. It was a "flying project" that would stretch the budget and require a large time/labor investment to rebuild, but it was our best in-country option. The owner was traveling, however, and told me I could come and see it in a few weeks. The delay turned out to be Providential.

Meanwhile, we were also looking at our Stateside options. All of them (like the Bolivian options) were 150 or 160 horsepower Cubs. We had planned on using a bigger engine in our kit to compensate for the high altitudes in the Andes. The less powerful Cubs would haul less, climb slower and need more room to take off. To complicate matters, we already owned a lot of parts for the kit. How would we find someone to take over our kit purchase if we found a flying Cub?

One afternoon in late July my phone buzzed with a notification from The headline read…
"2011 Experimental Super Cub: For sale by proud owner $95,000."

I looked closer. The airplane was located in Maine, and the pictures showed a red and white Cub with a large stretcher door… I could hardly believe me eyes; it was Dan's Cub! 

The camping aka "stretcher" door.

I closed the ad and called my friend Phil who builds experimental aircraft for a gentleman in Santa Cruz, Bolivia.

"Hi …DJ?"

"Hey Phil, the ideal Cub for our project just came up for sale, but it is Experimental. Do you think we can get it imported?" I asked, a bit breathlessly.

"Sure you can, let me pass you the contact for my friend Klaus. He imported an Experimental a few months ago."

Klaus patiently explained everything. Yes, we could import an Experimental, no, it was not complicated, no, we would not need to pay any bribes. I told him about my earlier troubles getting the green light on Dan's Cub from the DGAC. He explained that previously there had been some confusion about the process but assured me that I wouldn't have any trouble now.

Jodi and I immediately put the matter to prayer. The whole thing seemed providential and we decided to move forward, praying that God would show us clearly if it wasn't His plan.

Within 24 hours, with help from a friend in Maine, a deal was negotiated for a price on Dan's plane that included our kit parts in trade! We also started on the paperwork process for DGAC approval in good time to receive a response before we would need to close on the plane. It was really hard to believe. We had come full circle.

Over the next few days, as I pondered on how everything had worked out, I could could count dozens of major pieces that God had put in place at just the right time to make this opportunity.
It was like crossing back over our tracks on a path that we had been walking for years, praying and crying, believing and doubting, and there, in the jungle mud and desert sand, seeing God's footprints next to ours.

Lessons Learned: 
  • Prayer – It matters, even when you can't see the difference.
  • Patience – sometimes He asks us to watch and wait.
  • Action – when the time comes, expect great things and move forward prayerfully with what you have in your reach.
  • Power – God has a thousand ways to provide that you have never dreamed of.
Facebook: GMA Bolivia Highlands

Super Cub

1st Phase:
Purchase N118AK


$83,050 raised!

N118AK Key Features
  • Built in 2011
  • 180+ HP Engine
  • Custom Stretcher Door
  • HD Landing Gear
  • Ballon Tires
  • 1100 lb Empty Weight
  • Catto 86" Propeller



more will



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