- What does it cost to fly an airplane? Many people have no idea. Many times people think that the cost is only the cost of putting fuel in the tanks. That is only a fraction of the total cost of running the plane. Other things that need to be considered:
- high cost of insurance
- wages for our Zambian mechanics
- aircraft parts
- overhead expenses.
- Fortunately the Flight Service does not have to pay the pilots, which helps keep the operating costs down.
- Missionaries who fly contribute toward the cost of the flight. This is quite a bit less than what they would pay for the same flight with a commercial operator. Their contribution goes only toward operating costs.
- Funds given do NOT cover capital expenses, such as tools, buildings or new engines. Engines must be overhauled/replaced every 1600 hours (approx. 3.5 yrs). We rely on the Lord’s provision to partly meet these mandatory expenditures. To give you an idea of what a replacement engine cost, you could buy 2 brand new cars with the same amount.
- Within the next 2.5 years we will most likely need to replace/overhaul the engines one of our planes. But the process needs to begin now, as purchasing, overhaul work and shipping can take over a year. We have one engine core in Ohio at MMS (Missionary Maintenance Services), and are waiting for funds to begin the overhaul process. A core also has to be purchased for the 2nd engine. Please make this a matter of “earnest prayer”.
- Can you imagine flying into an international airport (like Lusaka) and finding that you are unable to communicate on the radio? Or trying to fly out of Lusaka and the tower keeps saying, “Check your radio”. You have this feeling of helplessness, having tried everything, and they still have a hard time hearing you. We speak from personal experience. Communications is a vital necessity.
- Can you imagine flying in an area with poor visibility, and the instrument we use (artificial horizon) stops working properly? Yikes!
- But we praise the Lord for His provision of sending out 2 aircraft mechanics from MMS in September 2012. They came to install a new instrument panel with some new radios and instruments. Even though funds were lacking, the Flight Service had to “bite the bullet”, so to speak, in order to keep flying. We are so thankful for the work done. However, this project is not yet complete, until it is fully paid for. There are still 2 more radios/GPS (a Garmin 430) to be purchased and installed. These radios/instruments are not cheap, so we look to the Lord for His provision. Please pray with us.
- In working with Kalene Mission Hospital, the need for a medical emergency flight frequently comes up. The majority of the Zambian people living in rural Zambia are poor and unable to afford medical care, let alone a flight to a referral hospital.
- When requested by the Kalene Medical Officer, the Flight Service transports all patients free of charge on any existing flight. For an emergency that requires the whole flight to be chartered, the Flight Service pays for 50% of the flight, and the hospital pays 50%. This can be quite a burden on the hospital as well as on the Flight Service. This is the reason for the Emergency/Compassionate fund. Even when funds are low, the Flight Service endeavours to provide for this need.
- On occasion, missionaries are faced with an undue burden of needing to fly home for the funeral of a loved one or some special situation. For these reasons, we have set up this fund for emergencies and a compassionate response. Out of pocket expenses for these flights have cost over $6,000 per year. Please prayerfully consider those in need.