Schroeder interns in Alaska
August 17, 2009

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Senior Michael Schroeder interned this summer in Soldotna, Alaska, at the Soldotna Airport with Missionary Aviation Repair Center (MARC). He primarily worked with Director of Maintenance Travis McCullough and Director of Parts Bob Martin to install landing and tail lights, wash planes, rivet, and install the complicated wiring for emergency locator transmitters that send out a signal in case of a rough or crash landing.

Michael checking the fuel quality before flight
"God opened a lot of doors," Michael stated, "to allow me to have the opportunity to learn, to serve, and to meet the needs of missionaries who are working very hard to reach even the most remote villages in what truly is the Last Frontier in America. I experienced glimpses of what it means to live and work as a missionary. As I am a licensed pilot who wishes to pursue aviation as a career, my internship at MARC was truly priceless."

Michael's view flying through the mountain pass
A summer highlight for Michael was when he co-piloted a seven-passenger Piper Navajo on a one thousand mile flight with MARC pilot Bob Widman to deliver much needed freight for missionaries in Aniak and then flew the missionaries from Aniak to Fairbanks. Because they were carrying altitude sensitive freight, Michael was able to fly below mountaintop level through a pass in the Alaska Range. Michael stated that it was "a beautiful flight in which I got to see glaciers from thousands of feet in the air and to fly through the narrow valley to cross to this remote area of Western Alaska."

After a long day of salmon fishing, about
5,000 pounds of salmon are iced up in
the hold ready to be taken back to dock
Michael also had the opportunity to learn from The Aurora boat captain Sam Larsen what it takes to be an Alaskan commercial salmon fisherman and deckhand. Michael explained, "Sam taught me so much about the boat, the salmon, and techniques for how to pick salmon off of the net.  Commercial salmon fishing is really tough and strenuous work, but the sense of adventure and the fish kept us going strong and working until the job was done each day.  There is nothing quite like the rush of watching a group of salmon hit the net and splash in the water."

Michael summarized his summer by saying that he was "blessed to be able to work with and encourage Sam as we fished the Cook Inlet for salmon.  And I greatly enjoyed working in a missionary organization that is focused on serving others and equipping them to be able to reach remote villages for Christ. Someday I would love to return to MARC to maintain airplanes and especially to work alongside the quality people who are missionaries at MARC."