Training to be a missionary pilot

A heart is set on the goal of helping bring the gospel to tribal people.

Brian Helmuth is enrolled in a training program for missionary pilots. Several months back, NTM Aviation’s training centre in McNeal, Arizona, welcomed him into their nine-month training program.

“I am learning how we operate, do maintenance and fly with specific mission aviation procedures,” Brian explains. “I’m maintaining aircraft here, and preparing one to be sent overseas.”

God has been working on Brian’s heart about missionary aviation for a while now. I asked him about the kinds of influences that God used in his life. Brian responded that a friend suggested to him at the beginning of his college years that he should consider being a missionary pilot.

“I thought it was a great idea,” Brian says, “and I’ve been pursuing it ever since. … I have heard testimonies and have seen the impact that aviation has on missions. Several missionary pilots have encouraged me along the way and have shared stories of how aviation has impacted tribal ministry … how it speeds up the work of presenting the gospel.”

I asked Brian if he ever gets discouraged in the journey of preparation. He told me maintenance on a Cessna 206 can seem downright painful at times. “It seems like everything on an airplane takes way too long to fix,” he admits.

He remembers a day when he had spent many hours over a bin of cleaning solvent scrubbing wheel parts for that airplane. “Why am I here?” he asked himself.

But then God reminded him why.