Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) communications manager Tim Houghton said an operational MAF Cessna 206 had been brought to New Zealand for the first time to be used to train and prepare pilots for some of the challenging conditions they might face over› seas while flying for the organisa› tion.
The plane will be at Southern Wings at Invercargill Airport this Sunday and people will also have the chance to talk with MAF staff about the aircraft and their aid work.
‘‘All MAF’s 206s have been modified to suit the environments in which they fly, including over› sized main wheels and heavy›duty nose gear to withstand the forces exerted on the aircraft from rough airstrips.
‘‘A huge cargo pod underneath the plane allows more freight to be carried and during medical emer› gency flights, a large door allows patients on a stretcher to be loaded and transported to hospital.’’
Specially designed and built seats can be easily removed for a quick transition from carrying pas› sengers, to medical or freight.
Although the modifications meant the 206 was now the slowest aircraft in its fleet, its durability and ability to land on rugged jungle or mountain airstrips made it ideally suited to MAF’s work, Mr Houghton said.
‘‘For example, one of our Cessna 206s has served MAF for 30 years in Cambodia and the remote far north of Australia.’’
Í Mission Aviation Fellowship Cessna 206, Sunday, March 13, 1pm›4pm, Southern Wings, 76 Airport Rd, Invercargill Airport.