Welcoming the PC-12

September 2014 was an exciting month for the MAF team in west Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). They welcomed the long-awaited PC-12 aircraft, the only one in the entire MAF fleet. This aircraft will meet the long-distance demands of serving a country as vast as the DRC.

MAF PC-12 arrives in west Democratic Republic of the Congo MAF pilots, mechanics and hangar staff gather next to the airplane upon its arrival. Photo by Nick Frey.

MAF pilots, mechanics and hangar staff gather next to the PC-12 upon its arrival in Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo by Nick Frey.

The aircraft went right to work, with its first flight for a team from Drugs for Neglected Diseases International (DNDI) going to Vanga (189 NM from Kinshasa). The PC-12 also did a flight to the Boende district (414 NM) to take a medical team and supplies to fight an Ebola outbreak there.

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MAF Pilots Rod Hochstetler (right) and Ben Durkee (left) ferried the plane from Switzerland to the DRC. Photo by Jocelyn Frey.

Next, it covered just over 600 miles to take World Vision and Reach Global teams to Gemena, in the upper northwestern corner of DRC. The flight takes a mere 2 ¼ hours each way in the PC-12, compared to what used to be an all-day trip in the Cessna Caravan, sometimes requiring an overnight stay by the pilot. Now the PC-12 can get there and back in one day.

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WDRC Program Manager Nick Frey gives an inspiring message about the future of MAF. Maurice (back left) is the program’s administrator who organized and emceed the dedication ceremony; Avuta (back right) is IT manager and led worship during the event. Photo by Jocelyn Frey.

“We are slowly getting the word out that we have a long-range aircraft,” said Nick Frey, WDRC program manager. “No doubt many others will want to use it as they learn of its speed and capability.”

Another flight is booked this week for Evangelical Covenant Mission to travel to Gemena. Space has been reserved for two patients to travel back to Kinshasa for treatment; one on a stretcher, and another with a broken leg. This flight support will spare them a nearly impossible trek by any other means than aircraft.

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MAF staff and their families surround the PC-12 to pray, dedicating the aircraft to the Lord’s service in west DRC. Photo by Jocelyn Frey.

MAF is grateful for this new ministry tool and how it is expanding the service the WDRC team can provide. It means Congolese churches, Christian missions, medical teams and other humanitarian groups working in the country will be better served, and more Congolese people can get the help they need.

Supporters like you made this aircraft a reality for MAF! You are changing lives and having an impact in the DRC. Thank you!

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