In 2013 NTM Aviation realized they could not maintain their aging fleet of six fixed-wing aircraft in Papua New Guinea (PNG) any longer. They had hoped to replace them with three Quest Kodiaks at $2,000,000 each but saw no way to financially accomplish this. When they were forced to shut down medical evacuation service from PNG to Australia they realized that their only option was to move ahead by faith and ask God to do the impossible.
Step one was to train pilots for the new aircraft they were trusting God to provide. NTM Aviation began training Jon Leedahl, a very experienced pilot, in the fall of 2013. When they only had 10% of the money for one Kodiak they sent him to PNG to begin his on-field training. It was April 2014, a month after Jon and his family arrived in PNG, that a sponsor stepped forward and offered NTM Aviation the first PNG Kodiak if they could pick it up within a month. In response to the prayers of God’s people, a second Kodiak was donated in July. In October of that same year, Jon was hit by a truck on his way home from the hangar in PNG. Another mission aviation organization was able to medivac him to Australia in their Kodiak, where he miraculously survived the accident but lost his left leg, seemingly ending his flying career. Everyone was asking, “Why Lord?” With two Kodiaks on their way to PNG, NTM Aviation did not have a check and training pilot to head up the flight training for the other pilots waiting in line. Again, God answered their prayers when a former PNG Chief pilot stepped forward to make trips overseas to train those waiting pilots.
Today two new Kodiaks are already serving with NTM Aviation in PNG. Jon Leedahl, recovered from his injuries and with a high-tech prosthetic leg, is back in PNG flying. Our former Cessna 206 pilots plus all our new pilots on the field are being trained to fly the Kodiaks, and a third and final Kodiak departed for PNG April 30, 2016, to complete the fleet conversion. A promise fulfilled!
This story started in 2006 when NTM Aviation was in the early stages of our venture with Quest, and a grade three class committed itself to provide one Kodiak for them. That plane has been flying in Asia-Pacific since 2012. But the exciting thing is that the sponsors who provided the funds for the next three Kodiaks first heard about this project through this grade three class. It is all a testimony to God’s gracious provision which started with a group of nine-year-old children. It is all a demonstration of how God honours obedience demonstrated by a leap of faith, whether by a children or by a large organization like NTM Aviation. God still does the impossible. Are you willing to count on that? The children did. NTM Aviation did. How about you?