OSHKOSH — Some four years after Mission Aviation Fellowship’s (MAF’s) first KODIAK airplane landed in Indonesia, the aviation organization is dedicating its seventh KODIAK for service in this island nation today at AirVenture.
“Indonesia is an extremely mountainous area, and so many people and villages are left isolated by the terrain,” said John Boyd, MAF president and CEO. “This new KODIAK will allow MAF to ‘move mountains’ so to speak … to bring the Gospel and the hope of a better life to these remote areas.”
MAF’s KODIAK is on display in exhibit space 256, near Hangar B at AirVenture. A public dedication ceremony will be held there on Wednesday, July 31, at 10 a.m.
Mission Aviation Fellowship has a fleet of 136 light aircraft, which it uses to serves churches, medical teams, missionaries, relief agencies and others working to make life better in the most remote corners of the world.
This is one of two KODIAKs that MAF hopes to add to its fleet in the next year. These airplanes are part of a long-term strategic initiative to upgrade the aging MAF fleet. The two floatplanes currently serving in Palangkaraya, for example — Cessna 185s — are 51 and 44 years old.
Like many MAF airplanes, they burn aviation gasoline (avgas), which has become expensive and difficult to obtain — the ministry sometimes pays $15 per gallon or more for fuel, officials said. The KODIAK burns jet fuel, which is much less costly and more readily available than avgas. And the new KODIAKs are desperately needed.
“I recently learned of a double medical evacuation flight that MAF performed in Kalimantan, Indonesia,” said Boyd. “A truck went over the edge of a mountain road and rolled about 75 feet to the bottom of the ravine. Two badly injured men and their family members boarded the Kalimantan program’s KODIAK — the patients on blankets, strapped to the floor. A little over an hour later they were receiving life-saving treatment in the city of Tarakan.”
Boyd adds, “This would have been impossible with the Cessna 206, which isn’t able to carry that much weight or that many people for such a distance. But the KODIAK can handle it.”
MAF must now raise some $3.5 million to pay for both KODIAKs and their journeys to Indonesia. As a non-profit organization, all MAF projects are funded through gifts from committed supporters.