November 5, 2009
By Alton K. Marsh
The Lindbergh Foundation received a donation from airshow performer Rich Sugden allowing it to send a new Aviat Husky A1C to the Kenya Wildlife Service. Each of the service’s seven aircraft have crashed and been rebuilt at least three times.
The aircraft are often shot at by ivory poachers. Poor maintenance is a contributor to the accidents. American pilots have aided the service, including aerobatic champion Patty Wagstaff and aviation trainers John and Martha King. The Kings traveled to Africa to offer training, and Wagstaff has done that for years. There is also an effort to bring the head pilot of the service to the United States and give him flight instructor training so that he can train other pilots. One of the Kenya Wildlife Service pilots is a Maasai warrior.
The new Husky is in a crate in Kansas where it will be shipped by GUT-Works, another sponsor of the project, to Kenya in January or February 2010. Lindbergh Foundation head Larry Williams, also president of BRS Aerospace, will travel to Kenya to transfer the plane to the service. The aircraft is equipped with a Forward Vision infrared system to allow the pilots to see wildlife on the runways in Africa. The aircraft can also be used to herd cattle away from water supplies needed by wildlife to survive.
AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Alton Marsh has been a pilot since 1970 and has an airline transport pilot certificate and instrument and multiengine flight instructor certificates, aerobatic training, and a commercial seaplane certificate.
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