Category Archives: Missionary Aviation

Steve Saint Builds Flying Missionary Car

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.

WASP Flew First Flight for Mission Aviation Fellowship

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

Congress Faults CIA over Missionary Plane Shootdown

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

MAF Kodiak Heads to Haiti

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.

MAF Responds to Indonesian Earthquake

Missionary Aviation Fellowship, a Christian aviation and missions organization, has already begun to assist in the humanitarian crisis following the magnitude 7.6 earthquake in Indonesia.  The MAF has had aircraft and a small team in the country since the tsunami in 2004, and has already been supporting local governments in response to the crisis.  Their assistance is in demand, with

the phone…ringing off the hook with requests from the Red Cross and others

The MAF has requested prayer support, and financial donations to support the humanitarian relief can be made through their website.

Update: Christian Missions Aviation…in Space

On August 26th, NASA published a fairly detailed article on what the astronauts were taking up on Discovery when it finally launched last week, as well as the historical precedent that allowed astronauts to take up personal items (as noted in the previous post).

Two days after that article, American Atheists issued a press release criticizing NASA’s decision to allow Mission Specialist Patrick Forrester to take up a part of Nate Saint’s airplane.  The group said the action was a “violation of the separation of church and state,”  as well as Read more

Christian Missions Aviation…In Space

Updated with NASA’s “What’s Going Up?”

When space shuttle Discovery finally lifts off (after two unsuccessful attempts so far), it will carry a crew of seven and a very unique piece of missionary aviation history.

Mission Specialist Patrick Forrester is taking up a piece of Nate Saint’s missionary aircraft.  Nate Saint was one of five missionaries martyred by the Ecuadoran natives they were evangelizing in 1956.  The incident was international news at the time, and brought attention and interest in the fields of missions and missionary aviation.

Astronaut Patrick Forrester is an Army helicopter pilot and graduate of the US Naval Test Pilot School.  This will be his third shuttle flight in his 16 years with NASA.  In taking up a piece of the bush aircraft, Forrester notes the importance of his faith and his hope that he can inspire an interest in missionary aviation:  Read more

Mission Aviation Featured at Oshkosh

Mission Aviation Fellowship displayed its new Kodiak aircraft at the Airventure airshow in Oshkosh recently.

MAF has always participated in the air show, but the organization’s presence was greater this year due to the event’s “Fly4Life” theme. The theme focused on public benefit aviation, with a whole section devoted to missionary aviation.

John Boyd, President of MAF, said the ministry is still in need of more people to serve in remote areas where isolation and poverty are facts of life. He asked for people to consider partnering with the ministry in some way, whether financially or by giving of their time.

Links to MAF and other mission aviation organizations are listed here.

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