Wednesday, January 29, 2020

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019: General Aviation - Cessna 182, 185 and 206 Workhorses

The Aero Experience year-round coverage of EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2019, sponsored by Elite Aviation, continues with a look at the workhorses of general aviation - the Cessna 182, 185 and 206 line of single-engine piston aircraft. We take this diversion from our airshow coverage to present this pictorial view of the aircraft types we are currently covering for our new sponsor, Wings of Hope. These aircraft combine the performance and efficiency needed for family transportation, cross-country flying and humanitarian service work from land and water bases. Here we have a selection of various configurations of these aircraft as seen throughout the week.

Wings of Hope has provided Cessna 182, 185 and 206 aircraft for use in humanitarian missions in the U.S. and around the world:

Monday, January 27, 2020

Sponsor Announcement: Wings of Hope Partners With The Aero Experience

By Carmelo Turdo
The Aero Experience enters the new year with a new sponsor announcement: Wings of Hope, the St. Louis-based aviation non-profit organization that provides humanitarian service in the U.S. and in nine other countries around the world, will partner with The Aero Experience as we enter our second decade of promoting Midwest Aviation in 2020. We have been privileged to post numerous stories featuring Wings of Hope over the last few years, and we look forward to sharing the mission and accomplishments of this global humanitarian service organization frequently in our story rotation.

Nobel Peace Prize-nominated Wings of Hope has the vision of "Changing and saving lives through the power of aviation." Wings of Hope has a rich history of using aircraft to provide humanitarian aid to communities in remote places where it is most needed. In 1959, various Catholic ministries started providing humanitarian air services in the Turkana region of Kenya. Not unlike Charles Lindbergh's preparations for the first solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean, Bishop Joseph Houlihan of Eldoret, Kenya approached St. Louis businessmen Bill Edwards, Joe Fabick, Paul Rodgers and George Haddaway about his need for a new aircraft. They then provided the seed money for the first Cessna U206 used by the newly-minted United Missionary Air Training and Transport. As news of this first successful aircraft service spread, more aircraft were needed. Wings of Hope incorporated in 1967, and has since provided humanitarian and development services around the world through an inter-faith approach to serving the needs of all mankind. Today, Wings of Hope continues to emphasize aviation as the means to achieve their mission and partners with local organizations in the countries served. A complete list of areas served can be found on the Global Programs web page. 

The Wings of Hope facility in St. Louis is impressive - clean, well organized, professional - and contains a mix of aircraft meant for different purposes. Several wear the familiar blue stripes and red cross indicative of the corporate aircraft used for the Medical Relief and Air Transport Program. Other aircraft are being prepared for overseas service. Still others are donated aircraft that will be raffled off or sold to raise funds for future operations. Along with a small leadership staff, Wings of Hope has full-time, part-time and 17 volunteer A&P mechanics and volunteer pilots who assist in supporting these corporate missions. Wings of Hope has a four-star (96.46/100) rating on Charity Navigator, who also reports that 88.5% of expenses are credited to programs and services delivered.

In the U.S., Wings of Hope continues to provide the Medical Relief and Air Transport (MAT) Program from its base in St. Louis. The program was established in 2003 to provide access to life-saving health care within the Midwest to those who are unable to obtain or sustain transportation to specialty care facilities. This is accomplished using corporately-owned aircraft crewed by volunteer pilots and medical staff. In 2018, 162 patients were served on 266 flights using Wings of Hope aircraft flown by 18 volunteer pilots or through the provision of commercial aircraft flights when practical. The MAT program is the largest single program measured by total resources committed.  

As mentioned above, The Aero Experience has featured Wings of Hope regularly in our story rotation over the last several years. Below, we include a brief description and corresponding links to our full coverage of these stories:

Missionary Pilot Teams With Midwest Aviation Community for New Project

The Aero Experience celebrated our 2016 Year in Aviation Service series with a story about a man whose aviation service spans several continents and directly involves Midwest Aviation in an ambitious new project. The man is Jacek "Jack" Rejman, and the aircraft, a twin engine PA-31-310 Piper Navajo, now serves as an advanced life support flying ambulance for Arusha Medevac in northern Tanzania.

Wings of Hope Contributes Missionary Airplane for STEM Project 

A Cessna 182, the workhorse of missionary aviation, was delivered by Wings of Hope to Lancaster Regional Airport for use in a STEM challenge program with the Lancaster, TX Independent School District. The Lancaster Build & Soar Program, as it is known, provides opportunities for 50 students from Lancaster High School to participate in the aircraft refurbishment project and apply the STEM knowledge they received through their academic courses. The aircraft will then return to Wings of Hope in St. Louis to be painted and inspected before it will receive a sendoff for service as a medevac plane with Adventist World Aviation. (See below).

A Cessna 182, the workhorse of relief organizations around the world, left the Wings of Hope hangar at Spirit of St. Louis Airport to begin the first leg of a trip to its new base in Mabaruma, Guyana. There it will be used mostly for medical evacuation flights, transporting critically ill or injured patients from remote villages to medical facilities in the capital city of Georgetown. The launch of the mission to Guyana, with this aircraft, is yet another great Midwest Aviation success story.          


Wings of Hope Hosts Plane Wash to Benefit International Humanitarian Aviation Programs 

Wings of Hope hosted a plane wash fundraiser at their Spirit of St. Louis Airport facility to benefit international humanitarian aviation programs. Members of the Wings of Hope Young Ambassadors and Alpha Eta Rho, the international professional college aviation fraternity with students from Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology, spent much of the day washing a variety of aircraft. This year’s plane wash received special promotion from GoJet Airlines and raised $3,955 according to Wings of Hope. 


Wings of Hope Prepares Aircraft for Missionary Service In Canada 

Wings of Hope is preparing a special aircraft for missionary work in Canada. It stands out among the others in the Wings of Hope hangar for being taller than the rest - this Cessna 185 Skywagon is on floats. Some areas of Canada may be better accessed from a seaplane base, though the aircraft can also be fitted with conventional landing gear (wheels or skis) for flights into airstrips closer to the local communities. The flexibility and ruggedness of the aircraft will make it a great asset to its future operator, Adventist World Aviation.  


Wings of Hope hosted the kickoff event for the new Soar Into STEM program at their Spirit of St. Louis Airport facility. Over one hundred guests gathered in the Wings of Hope hangar to enjoy food and fellowship before the formal program. Keynote speaker for the event was Keith O'Brien, author of Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation History. The focus on early women aviators comes amid the current need for more women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) fields, especially in aviation, and the celebration of International Women's Day.  

Twenty students from the participating Kirkwood, Jennings and Ferguson-Florissant School Districts and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri participated in the first of four Saturday sessions of the Soar Into STEM Program conducted at Wings of Hope this weekend. 

The second week of Soar Into STEM was held at Wings of Hope, and The Aero Experience was on site to observe the morning session (the first week's activities and background of the program are covered in our previous story). 

This week, the students met in the hangar across from Elite Aviation where flight simulator training services are provided. Guest speakers were Phil Koch, a private pilot who volunteers to fly medical missions for Wings of Hope; Natalie Kelley, a pilot and founder of flyGirl; and Wendy Erikson of Women and Drones.


Students from the participating Kirkwood, Jennings and Ferguson-Florissant School Districts and the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri participated in the flight training portion of the Soar Into STEM Program today at Elite Aviation. The flights were delayed due to unseasonably wet weather during the spring and early summer, but the students seemed to enjoy their long-awaited opportunity to fly in Elite's Cessna 172 trainers and pilot the state-of-the-art Redbird MCX full-motion simulator.

Wings of Hope Partners With Samaritan Aviation to Serve In Papua, New Guinea

Samaritan Aviation CEO and Co-Founder, Mark Palm, visited Wings of Hope during the St. Louis stop on his "Hope In Action" national tour. He is using his leave time from the mission field to raise awareness of Samaritan Aviation, recruit more pilots and support personnel, and raise funds for additional aircraft to reach the many people still in need of basic medical services in Papua New Guinea. 


The Aero Experience will post a developing story soon featuring the Cessna 182 shown above in the Soar Into STEM entries. Cliff Schisler, Wings of Hope Field Director in Paraguay, and Wings of Hope pilot Steve Williams began the flight to bring the aircraft to its new home last Saturday. 

The Aero Experience again thanks Wings of Hope for becoming our newest sponsor, and we look forward to posting many more uplifting stories of their aviation service programs in the years ahead.