AFRICA BOUND! MAF Dedicates Tornado-Damaged Plane For Service in the Congo

Rebuilt Cessna Grand Caravan will support mission and humanitarian work

Nampa, Idaho – Two years after it was badly damaged when a tornado touched down at an airshow, a Cessna Grand Caravan aircraft is beginning a new career as a missionary plane in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). 

In a ceremony today at its Nampa headquarters, Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) dedicated the plane for service in Africa. A crowd of MAF supporters, staff, and local guests offered prayers of dedication and thanksgiving.

“The way this aircraft ended up at MAF is just amazing,” said John Boyd, MAF president and CEO. “It went from being a posh private plane with zebra-stripe interior, to a tornado casualty, to a missionary plane that will help improve life for people living in remote jungle villages.”

With its fleet of 57 light aircraft, MAF provides transportation for churches, medical teams, missionaries, relief agencies and others working in the most isolated corners of the world.

In March 2011 a tornado hit the SUN ’n FUN International Fly-in and Expo in Florida, damaging a number of aircraft including this Cessna Grand Caravan owned by a Florida family. The plane was flipped over and sustained extensive damage.

“When we first heard about the Caravan, we were interested,” said David Rask, MAF’s director of aviation resources. “We had been looking for a Caravan for our program in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and when we learned Preferred Airparts had purchased the tornado plane, we contacted them.” 

MAF purchased the plane from Preferred  Airparts in 2012. Preferred repaired the Grand Caravan with the specialized equipment that MAF needs to operate on remote, rugged airstrips in equatorial weather. And this new-again plane is greatly needed.

“There is a team waiting in the East of Congo – ready to use this tool to its full potential,” said Rick Dickson, MAF Director of Regional Operations. “It will carry life-saving medicines such as malaria treatments, or full medical response teams fighting the next Ebola outbreak. It will fly many groups who seek to bring much-needed care to villages ravaged by roaming militia or the LRA. It will carry both Congolese and expat Christ-followers who seek to build and strengthen the local church.”

The Grand Caravan right after the 2011 tornado. Photo courtesy of EAA/Brady Lane.
The Grand Caravan right after the 2011 tornado. Photo courtesy of EAA/Brady Lane.
MAF's Dave Rask and the new-again airplane. The aircraft departs for Africa in April. Photo by Colby Dees.
The Honorable Gregg L. Prickett, Chairman of the MAF Board of Directors, leads a prayer of dedication and thanksgiving for the new aircraft. Photo by Colby Dees.
- Rick Dickson of MAF, Nampa Mayor Tom Dale, and Missionary Kid Reagan Bryant check out the cockpit of the Caravan. Reagan, age five, is the daughter of Luke and Joy Bryant who will be serving with MAF in Indonesia.
Rick Dickson of MAF, Nampa Mayor Tom Dale, and Missionary Kid Reagan Bryant check out the cockpit of the Caravan. Reagan, age five, is the daughter of Luke and Joy Bryant who will be serving with MAF in Indonesia.

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