There are 19 more tribes in the Gulf Province that we are not working in. Yet. They are reachable. Many of these tribes are in areas unaccessible by boat or truck. Some of them have no airstrips. The only way to get into them is by helicopter. Two of our next three tribes to work in (the Akoye and Tewata) will require a helicopter to reach them. There are no airstrips among the Akoye or Tewata. The mere remoteness of these two tribes dictates the need of a helicopter.
There are a number of reasons that we are praying for a Robinson R66.
Ongoing and future problems relating to Avgas.
There is currently only one provider of Avgas in Australia, where we get our aviation fuel. That supply of Avgas is getting harder to obtain, and the price of Avgas has touched $17 per gallon at times. Availability and cost of the fuel causes us to look to other solutions. Avgas has to be purchased in a major port, and shipped into our area, at great cost. The Robinson R66 runs on Jet-A, a common fuel that is available at many airstrips across Papua New Guinea.
Certification within Papua New Guinea
There are other Robinson helicopters already flying in Papua New Guinea. Bringing an aircraft into the country is a major ordeal. Many people would ask something like, “Can’t you just build a helicopter in the garage, and use that?” To which we want to respond: “Would you fly your family (over the jungle) in something you built (in the garage)?” But, the polite and honest answer is that “Experimental aircraft are very difficult and nearly impossible to register in Papua New Guinea.” We have tried in the past.
2,000 Hour Time-between-Overhaul (TBO)
The Robinson helicopter company has a great track record for establishing a very easy rebuild and overhaul timing. On aircraft, many components must be overhauled at regular time limits. An engine may be due at one point; a propellor at another point; a vacuum pump at another point, and so forth. However, the Robinson company manufactures their helicopters to do everything at one time: 2,000 hours. That makes it very easy to remember, plan and be ready financially for that overhaul.
Success of the Robinson R22 and R44
Robinson has a superb safety history. Their R22 (a 2-seater) and the R44 (a 4-seater) both run on Avgas, and both have been used around the world with great success.
Comparable ability against the Bell Jet Ranger
Many people are familiar with the Jet Ranger. Chances are, your local Highway Patrol, LifeFlight, or TV News Station uses a Jet Ranger. These Jet Rangers are getting older and are more costly to run. With a purchase price that is much lower than the Jet Ranger, we find the R66 more suited for our needs on the mission field. And, the R66 meets the abilities of the Jet Ranger in almost every category.
Note: (December 21, 2014) Exciting development—we have been contacted by a young couple that is interested in being missionaries in Papua New Guinea with TTMK. The young man is already an experienced helicopter pilot, and his wife is a nurse. What a combination for this ministry!
Needed for purchase: $833,520
Shipping to PNG: $11,520
Total for project: $845,040