Landing 70 years ago today...

Published: 18 Oct 2017

Landing 70 years ago today...

'Britain’s first missionary Aircraft, the ‘Mildmay Pathfinder’ has just finished its first assignment' - the headline reads! 

The assignment wasn’t a journey into remote and inaccessible area of Africa, but a nationwide UK tour raising prayer, funds and awareness of MAF and mission communities worldwide!

'It was a good tour and I was grateful to God for it. I felt that we were really ready to go!' Stuart King

MAF’s very first UK aircraft, a Miles Gemini named the ‘Mildmay Pathfinder’, landed at its final destination, Cambridge, on the 18th of October 1947.

‘After a 3,600 mile tour of the British Isles, addressing some 18,000 people in 30 different centres in just six weeks, the MAF team have just returned’ one contemporary observer reports.

The tired, but otherwise happy crew were delighted to report back the success of the 6-week long tour.   

‘The team feel confident that the plane’s first target has been reached and that when it flies to central Africa in November, thousands of new friends will be remembering the crew and this pioneer venture before the Thrown of Grace.’

'In purchasing the aeroplane, the Movement for World Evangelisation has taken a bold step, and the tour was undertaken to arouse active interest and support.’

Speaking 70 years to the day that the Miles Gemini touched down in its final tour location, Stuart  King, one of MAF’s founders, reflects that the tour was excellent preparation for flying in Africa.

‘At the end of the tour of the UK, I felt very satisfied that we had been able to test out the Gemini aircraft, and find out the best way to operate it', Stuart said.  

‘Thousands of new friends will be remembering the crew and this pioneer venture before the Thrown of Grace’

As both a pilot and aircraft engineer Stuart explained how ‘we were able to find out what spares and maintenance equipment we would have to carry with us as we visited unreached areas in remote parts of Africa - where there would have been no mechanical or any other aviation help.' 

'So it was a good tour and I was grateful to God for it. I felt that we were really ready to go when it was all over.  And we were. Soon we were off!’

To be continued….

The UK tour was just the start of an exciting journey for MAF - which today, operates a fleet of 135 aircraft in 26 countries worldwide, bringing help, hope and healing to remote and isolated communities. 

Will you join us on a journey in January 2018 as we follow in the foot steps of Stuart King and Jack Hemmings?

Why don't you bring your friends along too? Introduce us on Facebook by sharing this post on your own page for a chance to win tickets for a family of four to visit Shuttleworth Collection before the end of 2017.

To mark the successful completion of the UK Gemini tour, MAF UK are giving supporters the chance visit the Shuttleworth Collection of vintage aircraft at Old Warden in Bedfordshire.

The Collection contains some of last airworthy aircraft of their type remaining anywhere in the world, including the De Haviland Rapide - the first aircraft to be operated by MAF in South Sudan.

Find out more on our MAF UK Facebook page