USA (MNN/MAF) — Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) Thursday took delivery of its first KODIAK 100, the first of the next-generation bush planes to be produced under a visionary arrangement between the ministry and the manufacturer, Quest Aircraft Co. of Sandpoint, Idaho.
MAF is a faith-based, non-profit ministry that serves missions and isolated people around the world with aviation, communications, and learning technologies.
The new KODIAK 100 will be dedicated in a public ceremony at MAF headquarters May 2. The plane will go on a multi-city tour this summer, prior to being ferried to Papua, Indonesia, the aircraft's destination of service.
"Aviation, in the minds of many, is the heart and soul of reaching the unreached peoples of the world," said John Boyd, president and chief executive officer of MAF-USA. "Missionary aircraft can take people into areas where there are no roads. They can deliver food, medicines and other supplies when roads are impassible.
"This KODIAK — the ‘first fruit' of our collaborative commitment — is an amazing dream come true. Surely God's hand is in this endeavor. His work will be done, because we have been able to work together to make this day possible."
The development of the KODIAK 100 grew from the need for a new kind of aircraft to better serve missionary agencies, such as MAF, that minister in remote areas, as well as humanitarian groups and backcountry commercial flight operators.
One of the many benefits of the KODIAK 100 addresses the shortage and high cost of aviation gasoline, or "avgas," in many areas where MAF operates. Unlike the Cessna 206 (C206), which makes up the bulk of the MAF fleet, the KODIAK runs on jet fuel, which is in great supply and considerably cheaper than avgas.
Eleven years ago, MAF and Quest formulated a unique, innovative arrangement to raise funds and provide seed money to make the development of the KODIAK 100 possible.
Profits from the commercial sales of the KODIAK 100 will subsidize a portion of the cost of each 11th airplane produced, which will be delivered to participating not-for-profit Christian and humanitarian aviation organizations. MAF is receiving the first plane under this arrangement.
"Quest Aircraft was founded to provide a rugged, backcountry aircraft for remote operations for mission aviation organizations around the world on an ‘at cost" basis,'" said Paul Schaller, president and chief executive officer of Quest Aircraft Co. "The delivery of serial number SN0011 to MAF is the first of many of these aircraft dedicated to helping mankind and spreading the Gospel."
Other mission aviation groups that joined MAF in committing funds to the Quest startup include Air Serv International, New Tribes Mission, Wycliffe Bible Translators JAARS, Mercy Air South Africa, Zululand Mission Air Transport, Misio'n Padamo, Project AmaZon, Seventh-day Adventist Church, Adventist World Aviation, Flying Mission, Moody Bible Institute, Samaritan Aviation, Arctic Barnabas Ministries, Christian Light Foundation and Asas de Socorro.
Because the KODIAK 100 can carry nearly twice the cargo of the C206, the amount of medicine, food or disaster relief supplies MAF delivers will dramatically increase, while reducing operating costs. Increased efficiency and lower costs will be a definite benefit to MAF. Of the more than 1,000 Christian and humanitarian organizations served by the agency, many are increasing their demand for MAF flights.
Over the next few years, MAF will replace 20 of its Cessna 206s with planes that operate on jet fuel — either KODIAK 100s or Cessna Caravans.
Founded in the United States in 1945, MAF (www.maf.org) missionary teams of aviation, communications, technology and education specialists overcome barriers in remote areas, transform lives, and build God's Kingdom by enabling the work of more than 1,000 organizations in isolated areas around the world.
With its fleet of 134 bush aircraft, MAF serves in 54 countries, with an average of 281 flights daily across Africa, Asia, Eurasia and Latin America. MAF pilots transport missionaries, medical personnel, medicines and relief supplies, as well as conduct thousands of emergency medical evacuations.
MAF also provides telecommunications services, such as satellite Internet access, high-frequency radios, electronic mail and other wireless systems.