A new mission airplane has been inaugurated in Papua New Guinea with a traditional dance from the Asaro Mudmen and a prayer of dedication by a local Seventh-day Adventist leader.
The single-engine turbine aircraft, a Pacific Aerospace Corporation PAC-750 XSTOL, joins a fleet of two other PAC-750 planes operated by Adventist Aviation Services (AAS) on mission, medical, passenger, and cargo flights throughout the South Pacific country.
“AAS is always looking for experienced pilots and aircraft engineers with a willingness to serve God in His mission field across Papua New Guinea,” chief pilot Larn Harvey said.
Adventist Aviation Services took delivery of the new aircraft in Hamilton, New Zealand, last summer. The plane returned Adventist Aviation Services to its roots by adopting the same call sign — P2-SDA — as an initial aircraft operated by the organization from 1964 to 1973.
P2-SDA was ferried to its new base in Goroka, Papua New Guinea, by Adventist Aviation Services chief executive Jeff Downs and a new employee, Jeandre Roux. They made the four-day trip from New Zealand via Norfolk Island, Lord Howe Island, Coolangatta, Cairns and Mount Hagen.
On arrival, the plane was dedicated into service by Eastern Highlands Simbu Mission president Benny Soga and was welcomed with a dance of the Asaro Mudmen, a rural tribe near Goroka who wear masks and cover their bodies in mud as part of local folklore.
The new PAC-750 is ideally suited to the short, unprepared airstrips of Papua New Guinea and specifically those in the highlands where Goroka is located. Its arrival will allow Adventist Aviation Services to continue operating a young fleet of aircraft while also helping to continue services in the future as other aircraft are maintained, the organization said.
If interested in assisting Adventist Aviation Service, contact chief pilot Larn Harvey by e-mail at [email protected].