The blog of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) describes how the group took a 1980 Cessna 206 and broke it down to its smallest components in an extensive rebuild effort:
[The] 1980 Cessna TU206, named HC-BMO, served 20 years in Ecuador… After accumulating almost 10,000 flight hours (about 1.4 million miles) we reassigned it to Africa. But first, we routed it through Nampa for a new engine and a major airframe overhaul…
We drilled out and replaced over 11,000 rivets to expose and check every square inch of every surface. We inspected each Read more…
Mission Aviation Fellowship recently noted the changeover to an “electronic flight bag” in their ops in the Democratic Republic of Congo:
Each of our pilots has an iPad. Flight documents are generated by our flight scheduler using Wingman, a flight operations planning tool developed by MAF…Additional documents including manuals, airport strip charts, airstrip photos, and other important references are available in electronic form.
In the morning before a pilot takes off on his first flight he connects to the wireless network with his iPad, and synchronizes it with the file server. In mere seconds he has all the flight documents he needs for the day…
In a coincidence of timing, the US Air Force published an article on precisely the same thing, albeit at a slightly higher price: Read more…
Former MAF pilot John Miller tells a fascinating “So there I was…” about losing his engine in Indonesia:
Without warning, the plane began to shake as smoke fumes poured into the cabin.
Since they say in-flight fires are no fun, I quickly shut down the sick engine and watched, fascinated, as a wayward chunk of metal punched a hole in the engine cowling. My not-so-trusty Cessna had just become a powerless glider with two anxious occupants over not-so-friendly real estate below. Yes, I’d say this was definitely turning out to be an abnormal flight with lots of distractions.
Read more of the story and the comments below, which expand on this and related stories.
Missionary couple Jay and Katrina Erickson were killed in a recent crash in Zambia after working at a local hospital. Jay Erickson was reportedly the pilot, trained by Moody Bible Institute’s Moody Aviation. The aircraft was a 6-seat Cessna.
The couple were in their 20s and had left their two young daughters at the hospital:
Their daughters, 2-year-old Marina and 1-year-old Coral, had stayed behind at the hospital. Katrina Erickson’s parents, who live in Wisconsin, are preparing to travel to Zambia with Jay Erickson’s mother to reunite with their granddaughters, said Pastor Ron Ulmer of Hillyard Baptist Church on Monday.
While there are no further details, it remains true that mission aviation — arguably, even civil aviation — is a dangerous profession. Though they are largely unknown and under-appreciated, missionary aviators support missions around the world.
Students and adults from Hillcrest International School in Papua, Indonesia got together for “Outdoor Education.” It wasn’t your standard field trip:
OE is a two-week trip to an interior mission station Read more…
Ever wonder how they get small, limited-range General Aviation aircraft to the mission field?
They put’em in a box.
Mission Aviation Fellowhip (MAF) has a short write-up on boxing up a Cessna 182 before it is shipped to Mozambique.
Hugh Beck pokes and prods the Cessna 182 like he’s a physician giving his patient a physical. No joint overlooked, no piece misplaced. Meticulousness is required when you’re about to put a plane in a box and ship it 8,000 miles to be reassembled in the jungle…
The Mission Aviation Fellowship blog has a short post on a medical evacuation by float plane in Borneo:
After flying over four hours in the middle of Borneo navigating low rivers, reverse currents, boaters, swimmers, logs, docks, and shooting eight landings, this is why we do it Read more…
The Mission Aviation Fellowship blog has an impressive blow-by-blow day in the life of an MAF pilot in the Amazon. With a 0635 show at the airport and an 1805 last landing (2 minutes prior to sunset), the day is filled not only with a variety of sorties, but also with challenges from the weather, diversion, passengers, and emergencies.
Though abbreviated, it makes for an extremely educational peek into the work of mission aviation.
Missionary aviation is a unique environment in which to operate, leading to the Top 10 Aviation Tips, brought to you by Mission Aviation Fellowship:
10: Always let your ducks go to the restroom before boarding.
…I ended up loading my Cessna 206 with 60 ducks that were in several cages. As I was closing up the cargo doors, one of the ducks relieved himself through the slats in the cage, dousing my pants. The flight was only 24 minutes long, but that was the smelliest 24 minutes of flight time I can remember. I flew with my head up in the air vent the whole time. – Mike Brown
9: Make sure your pig Read more…
Missionary Aviation Fellowship has reportedly received a $1.7 million “challenge grant” that will fund the acquisition of another KODIAK. As previously discussed, the KODIAK is a purpose-built bush plane created by Quest with input from the MAF. MAF assets have already seen service in Haiti, among other locations.
Links to MAF and other similar organizations can be found on the Links page.
According to a news release, Missionary Aviation Fellowship has leased a Cessna Caravan from Samaritan’s Purse to aid in its ongoing efforts in Haiti; the aircraft was leased for $1 for two years: Read more…
Steve Saint, son of martyred missionary Nate Saint, and the organization he founded called i-Tec (The Indigenous People’s Technology and Education Ministry Center) have created a flying car inspired by humanitarian and missionary needs:
Saint, the founder of Dunnellon-based i-Tec…said the idea for a short takeoff and landing all-terrain car, plane and airboat grew out of his family’s missionary work in remote areas of Ecuador.
Saint’s Maverick is a dune-buggy type car that can be mounted on pontoons or underneath a wing parachute, after which it is propelled by a six foot propeller at the rear of the vehicle.
The Maverick Sport flies at a fixed 40 mph using a 36-foot-wide ram wing, or wing-shaped parachute, deployed on a 27-foot mast and stored on top of the car during road use.
The Maverick was at the experimental aircraft fly-in at OshKosh this past week (the Experimental Aircraft Association’s 2010 AirVenture), though it couldn’t fly in due to paperwork issues with the FAA. They documented their drive from Florida to Wisconsin. More information is available at their Maverick LSA website.
Several articles have recently highlighted the accomplishments of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, who flew a variety of non-combat roles during World War II with the goal of allowing men to deploy to war. In July 2009, President Obama signed a bill awarding the group the Congressional Gold Medal for their accomplishments. A few weeks ago more than 200 gathered for a presentation of the medal to the group.
What some may not realize is at least one WASP played an integral part in the early days of missionary aviation, including a direct role in the Read more…
While most understand the dangers of remote missionary aviation, recent government reports have brought grim reminders of the factors that cannot be controlled.
In April of 2001, American missionaries Jim and Veronica Bowers, along with their young adopted children Cory and Charity, were flown from Brazil to Peru by pilot Kevin Donaldson in a small float plane. They were sponsored by the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, and had to leave and re-enter the country in order to obtain a permanent visa for Charity, who was just a few months old. The family had been missionaries to the Amazon since 1993, following a stint in the US Army in Europe.
In a unique program, the CIA was working with the Peruvian government to intercept, and potentially shoot down, aircraft suspected of participating in drug smuggling operations. The Bowers’ plane was mistakenly suspected of being Read more…
Missionary Aviation Fellowship (see Christian Aviation Links) has dispatched one of its new Kodiak aircraft to assist with its in-place team in Haiti. The Kodiaks are unique aircraft that specifically meet the needs of the MAF to fly into remote and rough fields with a significant cargo. The MAF has four of the aircraft; the three others are already flying in other remote locations.
The MAF has long had a presence in Haiti, and that persistence has paid off in the current relief efforts. The US Air Force, which currently controls the Port-au-Prince airport, has been sending relief aircraft to the MAF hangar, where the MAF has been assisting with cargo offloads and customs clearance.
The Kodiak will join three other missionary aircraft that have already begun flying missions to distribute aid around the devastated country, as well as returning to Port-au-Prince with foreign nationals who want to evacuate through the airport.
While evangelism is one of the goals of the MAF, right now it is aptly serving as the “hands and feet” of service that are required to assist a people in great physical need.