New Regulations Could Ground Missionary Aircrafts

A new regulation from the Federal Aviation Administration could ground eight aircrafts belonging to Mission Aviation Fellowship, sources reported Monday.

According to the FAA, all U.S.-registered, turbine-powered aircrafts with six or more passenger seats are required to be equipped with certified TAWS (Terrain Awareness and Warning System) technology by the end of March 2005.

TAWS, which provides the pilot with graphical and audible alerts of potential terrain and obstacle conflicts along the flight path, represents “a significant advance in flight safety and its widespread adoption could dramatically reduce the number of terrain-related accidents."

However, at fifteen thousand dollars an upgrade, equipping each aircraft with the new navigation equipment could affect outreach in Papua, Indonesia, Africa, and Central Asia. "If the funds don't come in by deadline, we just can't install the TAWS equipment and we'll have to ground the airplane,” MAF's Dennis Fulton told Mission Network News (MNN). “So, the airplanes will be grounded unless we're able to do the installation in our U-S registered aircraft."

According to MNN, MAF estimates the total cost for equipment, modifications, installation and avionics upgrades for the eight planes at $230,000 (USD). Fulton says they're praying for funds, and for the evangelical work at stake. "There's a lot of missions and church organizations that are really going to suffer on this one, let alone the medical emergencies that are taken are of, but MAF's whole purpose is multiplying the effectiveness of the church and if these airplanes are grounded, we're not going to be able to support the mission."

After nearly six decades of partnership with dedicated supporters, MAF has provided aviation and technology services to nearly 600 Christian and humanitarian organizations worldwide, helping vast numbers of people in remote areas of the world to gain access to essential spiritual and physical assistance.

Its fleet of more than 70 aircrafts takes off from 41 bases worldwide to transport missionaries, relief supplies and more.