International (MNN) — Time is running out for JAARS' aircraft supporting Bible translation.
The current Cessnas run on avgas, a fuel that is growing more expensive and scarce. Oil companies plan to cease supplying it in the near future. Without avgas to fuel the existing planes, there will be no way to fly translators to Bible-less people.
JAARS' president Jim Akovenko says the new Kodiak planes, designed by Quest Aircraft Company, LLC, are the ideal missionary aircraft. "We've been in on it from the beginning, so we've had input into field readiness. You have newer aircraft, less maintenance, more capacity per flight. You'll have fuel availability which means you don't have to wait for fuel to arrive from the producer, and you have the option to do the ministry you want when it's called for."
The Kodiak flies on the readily available jet fuel. Its size and short field capability is also a benefit. Smaller villages tend to have shorter airstrips, which generally require smaller planes. As the larger planes got retired, these isolated villages, with the greatest need for air service, would be left without it.
Akovenko says without the Kodiak, translators might not have access to remote regions, slowing translation work."In Vision 20/25, we want to be into every language that needs a Bible translation by that year. There's a couple thousand of those remaining at least. So instead of a 2025 theoretical goal, we would have something like 2150, and that just seems unacceptable to us."
But replacing the 10-plane fleet is a big project with a $13-million (USD) price tag. JAARS is looking to replace aircraft (at $1.3 (USD) apiece) in Papua New Guinea, Brazil, Philippines, United States, Cameroon and Africa.