|By Carmelo Turdo
The Aero Experience visited with Adventist World Aviation Vice President of Operations, Jud Wickwire, yesterday at the Wings of Hope World Headquarters facility. He was in St. Louis for the day to meet with Wings of Hope leadership staff and check on the aircraft. As work continued on the engine and interior of the aircraft, it was readily apparent that a Canadian registration code had been applied to the fuselage in large letters - a good sign that the end of the restoration project is in sight!
When completed, the Skywagon will join the fleet of Adventist World Aviation Canada operating from Sioux Lookout in northwest Ontario, Canada. Sioux Lookout is home to an Adventist community, a local airport, medical services and rustic tourist attractions. It is also home to some groups within the First Nations, the indigenous peoples of Canada. Air transport is the most efficient way to reach these smaller communities, and Wickwire plans to employ the aircraft initially to fly in needed technicians and education specialists more cost-effectively than can be attained through commercial or charter flights. He told The Aero Experience that there is an immediate need for health improvement and youth engagement services that can be better provided with the air transportation capabilities of the Skywagon.
The Aero Experience will continue to report on the progress of the aircraft restoration project and the acceptance of the aircraft into service with Adventist World Aviation next year.
Earlier this year, Jud Wickwire visited Wings of Hope to accept a Cessna 182, the second aircraft to be stationed in Guyana to provide medical airlift services when the other aircraft needs maintenance or when additional calls for assistance are received. "Emergencies can't wait, so that (aircraft) will bring reliability to the people in Guyana who depend on the emergency flights," Wickwire said in January. "The common thread is to support the needs of the people where they are," he continued. "We're a faith ministry of course, we do want to share the love of Jesus with the people we are introduced to. But most importantly, the first part of that is helping people survive with their emergencies, with their medical conditions, with their health, education. All of those aspects. We provide that to anyone, regardless of who they are, where they are, to help improve their life conditions." The aircraft can be seen below at Wings of Hope with fellow pilot Richard Visscher before takeoff. The original story can be found on The Aero Experience here and an update to this story can be found in this edition of Adventist World Aviation Airways Magazine.