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.
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.
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.
“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.
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!