Indonesia (MNN) — The newest piece of missionary aviation technology is on its way to Indonesia to serve a pioneer in missionary aviation.
Mission Aviation Fellowship is ferrying its newest member of the fleet, Quest Aircraft's Kodiak airplane, to their base in Kalimantan.
MAF's Manager of Aviation Services Rocky Mason says, "It's actually going to take 10 to 12 days, depending on weather, to make it all the way to Indonesia." The MAF Kodiak is expected to land at the MAF base in Indonesia on Friday.
The Kodiak is a unique aircraft for several reasons. It's a large, single engine aircraft. Mason says, "It's much bigger than our [Cessna] 206, which is our mainstay–what we've been flying for years. But it's capable of landing and taking off in very, very, short distances. So it's able to take more of a load into the same size airstrips we've been using for years."
It also solves aviation gasoline problem. Mason says av-gas is very expensive and in short supply in Indonesia, particularly. "[It's] an airplane that burns jet fuel, which you can buy at any international airport because commercial airliners are going in and out of there. So it's always available, and it's always cheaper than aviation gasoline. It's a huge benefit for us," he says.
Not only can MAF continue what they are currently doing, but they can do it better. "We're going to be able to take larger groups of people to where they need to go in just one trip. The Kodiak is about 40 to 50 miles per hour faster than our 206. So that's time saved, being able to go faster."
This airplane will do more than save money. Mason says MAF provides aviation service for missionaries, humanitarian workers, and others who may not have access to an aircraft. He says this new olane will help the church in dramatic ways. "They do a lot of flying trainers out to the local pastors, to the people, to give them the type of training that they need to be able to shepherd their flock, to shepherd a small church or whatever, or to go out and evangelize."
Bigger and faster also has its down side. "It carries more," says Mason, "but it also burns more fuel. So, one of the things that we're going to have to work on is raising support to enable the local pastor who jumps on an airplane to be able to afford one of these seats."
In fuel alone, it costs about $250 a hour to operate a Kodiak. You can help an MAF airplane bring desperately-needed aid and assistance to needy people in remote places. For only $1 a day, you can join MAF's Adopt-A-Plane program and help open the doors to the Gospel in places you'll never go.
Your support is needed. Last year, the MAF fleet of 53 aircraft executed 37,821 flights, logged more than 2.9 million miles, transported 120,350 passengers, and delivered 11.3 million pounds of cargo–all on 1,700 rough, unimproved dirt and grass airstrips or waterways.