In 1969, Ernie Tanner, a preacher and artist, traveled from his home country of Switzerland to the Congo in Africa. He was to be there for three months to help his cousin, a missionary, speak the gospel to many tribes in the jungle that had never heard God’s message for them. As he was hacking his way through, and watching men get sick and tired, he looked up at the tree-ceiling and said to God, “There’s gotta be a way to get over this canopy.”
At the same time, the Vietnam war was at it’s peak, and helicopters were on the scene in a big way. Ernie prayed to the Lord again, “Father, surely if they can have all those helicopters for war, we can have one for your kingdom!”
Within two short years, Ernie was a (barely) trained pilot, had mortgaged his house to buy a helicopter, and set out to fly the piston-driven machine from Switzerland to Africa. Across Europe, the Mediterranean Sea, and 2/3 of the 2nd largest continent. He was the first to fly a helicopter across the Sahara Desert, a miracle as amazing as the Israelites’ crossing of the Middle Eastern desert.
44 years later, Helimission has multiple international bases to reach the ‘unreachable’ and operates 13 helicopters, all completely debt free. Helimission only asks the mission agencies we support to pay for fuel unless it’s an emergency or disaster relief situation, for which there is no charge. All operating expenses are supported by designated donations, and the pilots’/mechanics’ support donations do not go towards those expenses.
Helimission’s aim is to bring social, medical and spiritual help to people in remote and inaccessible areas. Helimission is non-denominational and helps those in need without consideration of their religious affiliation.
We operate in the following countries: Madagascar, Ethiopia and Indonesia.
Helimission has two main purposes:
Long termoperations in remote areas
|We currently operate 4 helicopter bases: on the Indonesian islands Papua and Sulawesi, as well as in Ethiopia and Madagascar.From our bases, we support local missionary organizations in the bush by flying in provisions for them – rather like a kind of taxi. In addition, we transport building material and medical supplies to supply and maintain bush hospitals.Further, we fly in medical personnel to treat local inhabitants in remote areas. Many of our flights are to rescue emergency patients and accident victims.|
| SOS operations in disaster areas