Date: April 26, 1965
Location: Belleville, IL
By: Leo Soroka
Newspaper: The Belleville News-Democrat
ST. LOUIS (UPI) – Wild hyenas won’t want to nip at the mercy plane being flown to missionaries in Africa. The spanking new six-passanger plane has metal skin.
“The wild animals bite into the doped fabric of the small plane now in use,” said Dr. Thomas Dwyer, S.M., flight instructor at the University of Dayton, Ohio. “The animals like the lacquer used in the fabric.”
Brother Dwyer came here Sunday to accept for the Marianist Brothers, the Cessna Super Skywagon which will blaze trails in Kenya, East Africa. The plane will be flown to Africa this week by veteran pilot Max Conrad, and delivered to Brother Michael Stimac, S.M., a missionary pilot.
“We hope to send other such planes to different sections of the world,” said businessman Joe Fabick, who helped to raise funds to buy the first plane which cost $50,000.
George Haddaway, publisher of Flight magazine, at Dallas, Tex., one of the leading supporters of the flying Peace Corps program, was to have presented the plane to Brother Dwyer, but bad flying weather grounded his plane at Springfield, Mo.
The new plane is the first under the United Missionary Air Training and Transport (UMATT) program to be put into use “on a non-denomination basis” to help people in other lands.
Paul Rogers, an Ozark Air Lines vice president, spoke for Haddaway at presentation ceremonies at the Lambert-St. Louis Airport. Rogers said, “This is a real historic significance … this may play a part in our future relationships with people in Africa.”
The new plane will be placed on regularly scheduled flights in Africa, moving doctors, nurses and medical supplies “within a matter of hours instead of days.” said Brother Dwyer.
Before the plane is flown to Africa, Protestant, Catholic and Jewish clergymen are to “bless” the plane at airport ceremonies.
“This plane is to be used for ecumenical work, all denominations will be helped,” said Fabick, head of the St. Louis UMATT chapter.