Date: June 18, 1965
Location: Wichita, KS
Newspaper: The Catholic Advance
Rome – Pope paul VI granted an audience to Max Conrad, noted “flying grandfather,” and his Marianist Brother co-pilot prior to their leaving on the last leg of a 9,000-mile flight from the U.S. to deliver a new plane to the African missions.
The single-engine Cessna 206 belongs to the newly organized United Missionary Air Training and Transport (U.M.A.T.T.)
During their short stay in Rome, the Pope granted an audience to Conrad and Brother Michael Stimac, S.M., and blessed the new organization on behalf of the Kenya and east Africa missions.
The organization is largely the realization of a dream which began when Brother Stimac launched a new air acclimatization program while teaching at an African mission school several years ago. With the support of the University of Dayton (Ohio), Marianists and several businessmen it grew into the interfaith U.M.A.T.T. program, which already has two planes in service at Dayton university’s mission institute program, three small planes scheduled for service in Africa by September and a fourth – a twin-engine plane – for service in South America next year.
U.M.A.T.T. will send planes to needy missions on request, particularly those in large, sparesely-populated areas. His services, including a year’s maintenance, have the backing of 250 industrial concerns, including a large segment of the U.S. aircraft industry, Brother Stimac said.
Seven pilots from religious orders, and a Protestant man and wife team have been trained so far.
Conrad, who holds four world records for private airplane flights after 45,000 flying hours in 37 years, was asked to donate his services for the start of the U.M.A.T.T. program to encourage missioners in Africa, Brother Stimac said.
The two left Rome after Conrad made a solo flight across the Atlantic. Conrad will fly the aircraft over mission routes in kenya and other parts of east Africa to initiate U.M.A.T.T. services.