EAA AirVenture Oshkosh - The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration

[ NEWS ]

  Latest News
  Awards / Group Photos
  Media Room
EAA AirVenture Oshkosh RSS FeedFly For Life: Profiles in Caring

Read more profiles

Name: Mike Mower, EAA 841809

Affiliated Organization: JAARS-An organization founded in 1948 as the Jungle Aviation and Radio Service and often referred to as J.A.A.R.S. In 1986 they dropped the acronym and became known simply as "JAARS."

Type/model aircraft operated in mission or public benefit flying? Where is most of your flying activity?
I flew Helio Couriers, a Super Cub and an Aero Commander 500B in the Philippines. I also had the opportunity to ferry a Helio Courier to Cameroon where it is used in mission service today. Presently, I am a representative for JAARS flying the Helio Courier in our Missions at the Airport program around the country, as well as flying STOL demonstrations in air shows and airport open house events.

When did you become involved in mission or public benefit flying and why?
I became involved in mission flying early in my flying career after hearing a mission pilot speak in my home church. I was in flight training for my private pilots license at the time. After that all of my flight and A&P training was in preparation to become a mission pilot. I joined JAARS in 1981 and was assigned to the Philippines from 1984 to 2004. I chose mission aviation as a career because of my love of flying, my desire to serve others, and my love for God. Mission aviation allowed me to use my gifts, talents, and life experience in service to the Lord and others.

What is the most memorable flight you have ever had and why?
First would be the three weeks of flying in support of relief efforts following the 1990 Baguio earthquake in the northern Philippines. With almost all roads closed by landslides, our flight program in the north - with one Helio Courier and a Hiller helicopter - was overwhelmed with requests to fly people to/from Manila and Baguio. I took our Aero Commander from our southern flight program to the north and flew relief supplies, medical teams and refugees in a triangle between Manila, Baguio, and Bagabag, our northern support center. Flying from sunrise to sunset I never knew where I might overnight.

Some days our two airplanes and helicopter were the only aircraft to get in to Baguio. Our pilots were very familiar with the mountains and low-level routes and could often reach the stricken city when other aircraft could not. I remember being cleared for landing at the Baguio airport listening to USAF, Marine, and Philippine Air Force C-130 pilots holding above the clouds asking the tower how that guy got through the weather.

Other memorable flights included medical and peace and order evacuation flights and serving local government agencies.

Of course, as a mission pilot I will always remember the flights in support of Bible dedication celebrations after the completion of translation projects. To fly boxes of Bibles and outside guests to the location of a dedication celebration was always a joy. When a people group receives the Word of God in their own language for the first time there is a very real sense of excitement and expectation. Many of the dedications were for languages that had never been written before the arrival of the missionary translators.

What would you like EAA members to know about the type of flying you do?
Mission flying brings life, both physical and spiritual, to very remote people groups. It is challenging, exciting and very rewarding.

I remember the time one of our Helio Couriers was damaged on a remote island following a landing gear structural failure. The airplane had flown many people off the island for medical emergencies. I went to the island to affect aircraft repairs and ferry it home for permanent repairs. I was stopped on the trail by an old woman who thrust 37 Philippine pesos, about $0.85, into my hand. This was all of the money she had, and she wanted to use it to help repair the airplane. I must say that when I turned away from her to continue down the trail it was with tears in my eyes. Mission aviation is satisfying and fulfilling work.

Why is the Fly For Life program important to EAA AirVenture 2009 attendees?
It is so easy to get caught up in the daily grind of life, especially in these difficult economic times. Our focus turns inward. Fly for Life will allow others to see ways they can use their passion flight in service to others.

FUTURE AIRVENTURE DATES: 2014: July 28-Aug. 3; 2015: July 20-26; 2016: July 25-31; 2017: July 24-30
Copyright © 2014 EAA, Inc.
All content, logos, pictures, and videos are the property of the EAA, Inc.
EAA Aviation Center, 3000 Poberezny Road, Oshkosh, WI 54902
If you have any comments or questions contact webmaster@eaa.org.
Disclaimer/Privacy Policy