In the early 1990s pilot and aircraft mechanic Bill Norton came to Kibidula with a vision of starting a low cost medical aviation program. In 1993 he, with the help of Jason Fournier, commenced building a Zenair STOL CH 701 from a kit. The airplane was completed in March of 1994 and together with the staff of the Kibidula Medical Clinic began an active village medical program until the clinic was eventually closed due to lack of medical staff. In more recent years the airplane has been used to support Lay Missionaries in remote villages. The airplane is still in very good condition but is not in active service due to the fact that we don’t have a pilot or department head leader able to continue the program full time.
Although the CH 701 has proved to be very cost effective and useful, it also proved to be too small for long distance travel and often not able to carry enough people or baggage to make it practical. Since then we have built a larger Zenair STOL CH 801 which can carry up to 4 people, or more baggage and also fly at somewhat faster speeds. This project is 99% completed. The final finishing touches and people to drive this program are needed.
Because Tanzania is a large country and much of it has poor infrastructure, Aviation is not only time saving but in many cases a very economical form of transportation into areas that are very difficult to reach by road. The goal of Aviation at Kibidula is to increase our efficiency in supporting the gospel work in the most remote areas of this country and also to provide time saving transport from Kibidula to some of the larger cities such as Dar es Salaam or Arusha.
Kibidula is looking for a person to head out this project. Needs include a pilot/aircraft mechanic to finish the CH 801 and continue serving Kibidula’s travel needs and support of Lay Missionaries in distant places.