Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has dedicated a new airplane that will serve isolated people in the African country of Angola. The airplane, a Cessna 208EX Grand Caravan, is currently being prepared for service, before it will be flown across the Atlantic sometime in early in 2022.
“This new airplane will be replacing the oldest currently operating Caravan in MAF’s global fleet,” says Lowell Deering, MAF Canada’s VP of Operations. “It’s nicknamed ‘Wings of Hope (WOH)’ because of its registration. WOH is the 18th Caravan built of more than 2600 manufactured to-date and has served in Africa since 1989 including Angola for over 30 years.”
MAF Canada President & CEO Brad Bell says, “WOH provided faithful service in Angola for over 30 years and is leaving a legacy of Hope. Imagine the legacy that this new aircraft is going to have. Its work will continue to make an impact for generations to come.”
Purchased new, the Cessna Grand Caravan retails for roughly $3.6 million with all the equipment MAF needs to operate in remote areas. “This particular airplane really was a God-send,” says Bell. “It was built for another operator who was unable to take possession of it, so we were able to negotiate roughly $800,000 off the purchase price, which is unheard of for a plane with only 12 hours of flight time.”
“The Cessna Caravan has been central to the work we’ve been able to do for 30 years in Angola,” says Bell. “There are no roads in or out of many of the communities we work in, and the ones that do exist are often unusable during the rainy season. We’re able to provide our ministry partners in Angola with a safe and timely alternative to days of overland travel, and sometimes, the only access that exists at all.”
The new aircraft can carry up to 12 passengers, or a useful load of 1400 kgs. The plane will be used for medical evacuations, delivering doctors, healthcare workers, and national pastors, as well as carrying vaccines and medical equipment to remote clinics when time is critical. In particular, MAF is instrumental in elevating the status of women in community, by providing flights for hundreds of fistula patients each year. MAF is also key to the success of HALO Trust, an organization dedicated to eliminating the estimated 10 million landmines left behind by Angola’s 27-year-old civil war.