I decided not to write about Oshkosh - since there was a lot already.. .but the Medicine on the Move (MoM) team are just winding up their USA tour - and looking forward to getting home to the team that are still in Ghana working hard on keeping the airfield ready for our return (they chose to dig out some large stones whilst we are away... and now need to fill the holes!!)


Last week we had the wonderful opportunity to visit the Zenith Factory.  For Patricia this was her first visit to the USA, and so a first visit to the Factory was clearly in order.  Clay Hollenback (CH750 builder and webmaster for MoM) kindly drove us there once we had gave him a hand to get his CH750 rear fuselage under-way...  

The clear blue skies were very inviting and whist at the 'maternity centre for Zenith babies' Patricia was to have the time of her life...


First up was her 'welding visit' - Patricia does all of our TIG welding, but mainly the building/repair of Stainless and 4130 steel - since we do not have a welding rig unit suitable for aluminium... Kelly, the Zenith Queen of fuel tanks gladly provided her the opportunity to try some fine work...


and then wanted to keep her as an assistant!! But Patricia had other plans.... there were planes to see and fly...


Our focus in developmental aviation is 'high wing strutted STOL aircraft' and so the three had to be flown... (she has built two CH701s and is nearing completion of the CH801 air ambulance...) and so a start was made in the 701 demonstrator...

Her first impression was 'the air is easy to fly with here', since the air at home in Tropical West Africa is generally over 100F, turbulent and changeable... Roger came back smiling, as always, and Patricia quickly made her way to the 801... 

This is no small plane and when Patricia has finished the one in Ghana it will be regularly moving teams of health educators and doing other medical related mission work - and she really wanted to get her hands on one before completing her build..

Despite her LSA background and having never flown a 4-seat aircraft before, she quickly took control and managed the plane with dexterity.... I sat in the back of the plane, and was chuffed at her rapid integration and confidence - as well as the performance of the aircraft with my bulk in the rear seat!

Finally she got to fly in the CH750 and that made her day!  This is not yet 'LSA' in Ghana, but, acording to Patricia, ' I would like to build one of these and use it as a machine that can carry a semi-recumbant patient.  This plane has a lot of potential in the developing nations'.  Therefore I must spend a few more hundreds of hours working on regulations in Ghana and raising the weight limit for our National Licence... 

Finally, Joyce and Shirley from the office admired Patricia's latest award, where her efforts brought Kpong Airfield, her home base in Ghana, second prize in a worldwide contest for 'the most woman friendly airfield'.... Girl power reins!

Of course, Patricia noted the positive effects of the VGs on the tail of the aircraft and insisted that we install them at home too, and then she had a list of parts she desired to work on challenges at home, so Joyce readily made up an invoice.  


Our thanks go to all of you who visited us at Oshkosh and for all of the encouragements, special thanks go to the Zenith staff and the Heintz family; to Chris for his warm smile and encouragements to Patricia, to Mathieu and Sebastian and family - you provide the parts that make us a part of the Zenith family and enable us to change lives, one flight at a time...


If you would like to know more - please visit us at http://medicineonthemove.org/index.php and if you know somebody who can help us with fundraising we would really appreciate it... donations can be made to Zenith (marked 'Medicine on the Move donation' or via the Silicon Valley Community foundation http://medicineonthemove.org/index.php/volunteer/51-donate


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Comment by Joseph F. Truncale on August 13, 2011 at 7:47am

Unbounded enthusiasm, dedication and compassion. Very humbling.


Comment by David Peterson on August 13, 2011 at 6:30am
Awesome story ... what an inspiration to us all!

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