SERVANT AIR MINISTRIES, INC.
Servant Air Ministries, Inc. during 2008 had a very good year providing flight training and air transportation. With the fuel prices doubling and additional insurance premiums, Servant Air Ministries, Inc. was still able to fly a total of 213.3 hours utilizing our three aircraft. Overall we were down in number of hours based on fuel prices and resources. This being the ministries fifteenth year of the organization’s existence, Servant Air continues to provide quality missionary flight services to the Southeast part of the United States and the Bahamas. The ministry continues to meet its mission statement of providing a chapel on the field at Merritt Island Airport, and providing individualized missionary flight training and ground school experiences. Air transportation for various ministries and churches throughout the state of Florida is a final area of our services.
A slate of officers was presented to the Board in our June 2008 meeting, and the following officers agreed to serve: Dr. Robert E. Lehton was again elected as President, Mr. Dick Todd was elected as Vice President, Mr. Ryan Roberts as Board Secretary, and Mr. Skip Williams as Treasurer. The motion to elect the four officers was carried with an affirmative vote. A motion was entertained to continue with the same General Board Membership and that was likewise unanimously approved. Mr. Fred Pino will continue his responsibilities recruiting and dues collection, and Mr. Kyle Dixon and Mr. Tom Liston for coordination of air show evangelism. Mr. Steve Miller will be responsible for dispatching of flights and Mr. Dick Todd will be responsible for supervision of the maintenance of the aircraft.
The financial position of Servant Air Ministries, Inc. remains very stable, with a positive cash flow and the ministry experienced no large expenditures in the area of maintenance or facilities. Much of the general flight training is now being referred to Voyager Aviation. Our Cessna 172 is used for missionary flying and flight training, whereas, the Aztec and Saratoga are utilized mainly for longer mission flights to the Bahamas, Central America and throughout the eastern part of the United States.
This year our Cessna 172 was flown 94.3 hours. Our Saratoga PA 32-301T was utilized only 46.6 hours. Our Aztec PA-23 was flown for approximately 72.4 hours. Flight instruction was more limited this year and was conducted mainly by Mr. Dick Todd, Patty Carter, and Bob Lehton. The ministry is moving more towards missionary flight services and less flight training, which has been the trend over the last three years.
Mr. Dick Todd who is Servant Air Ministries’ AI and A&P mechanic has kept all three airplanes in excellent shape, along with the help of Mr. Steve Miller. Both also provided needed missionary piloting during this past year. Mr. Todd continues to be a blessing to the organization by supervising maintenance of all three aircraft, which includes annual inspections and routine progressive maintenance throughout the year.
In some respects Mission flights this year were more that in previous years by the addition of over 100 flights performed for the Young Eagles which is part of the Experimental Aircraft Association. Servant Air Ministry pilots and aircraft took over 100 young Eagles for individual flights with up to 3 children per airplane over the last year. Servant Air did not make its annual flight to Walker’s Cay for Faith Temple in Orlando because of Tropical Storm Fay. This year Dr. Lehton continued with Southeast Angel Flight in order to make more mercy Angel Flights.
KLD Youth Foundation has become more of a vital part of Servant Air Ministries with our partnership providing air transportation to Governor’s Harbor on Eleuthera Island. KLD provided 16 missionary flights mainly using the Saratoga and Aztec and one flight in an Aerostar. This produced 16 trips to Governor’s Harbor and the group has been able to help finish the construction of a Christian surfer’s missions camp and has painted over 10 houses as part of their dream to have the town totally painted “by Jesus”.
In February and March 2008, Servant Air Ministries, Inc. again sponsored our fourth annual trip to Israel. Approximately 28 people attended this trip which is co-sponsored by Torah Study Class and Servant Air Ministries, Inc. Financial support through Servant Air Ministries, Inc. is growing in supporting the Feast for Tabernacles and International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem, along with the Christian caucus in the Knesset. Mr. Ryan Roberts continues to manage our web site, and it continues to run smoothly. Ryan Roberts at the end of last year incorporated “PayPal” on the web site to receive donations by credit card for our new projects.
In October, Dr. Lehton was elected Vice President of Pilots for Christ at the Convention held at the Resort in Hot Springs, Arkansas and Mr. Dick Todd was elected as Secretary. Dick Todd presented the Chapter report for the year 2007 at this convention.
The most exciting event this year has been a dream come true that the Board has visualized for over ten years, and that is the construction of an 80 x 80 hanger on the property at Merritt Island Airport. This hanger will give us a visible presentation of Christ’s ministry on the field, and likewise a place to store aircraft and have our Chapel meetings. On December 31, 2007, Servant Air signed a 20 year lease for .42 acres to build the 80 x 80 hanger with the TICO Airport Authority. During the last three months of 2007, Servant Air received $27,000 in donations towards the construction of the hanger. The lease was signed with two five year extensions allowed at the end of the term. After the hanger is constructed, this lease provides cost effective measures in order to continue to care for our aircraft and provide a visible presence on the field. The airport beacon is located next to the new hanger, which will be a light of Christ on the field. In 2008 the progress slowed down on the hanger project, but in November the 2 CAP trailers were relocated and the pre-site plan was completely approved by the County. Ground breaking is hopefully moving ahead for the summer of 2009.
In conclusion, even with the escalating price of fuel, Servant Air Ministries, Inc. continued to fly. Again, it has been my privilege to serve as President of Servant Air Ministries, Inc. for the past 15 years, and I again thank the Board of Directors and volunteers for their efforts and service in Jesus’ name. This coming year, 2009 looks good for finishing our hanger with our dream of having a hanger on the field at Merritt Island soon becoming a reality. We will also continue to make Young Eagle flights approximately four times a year, as well as numerous trips to the Bahamas and the Southeast United States providing mercy flights. We will continue our efforts to provide evangelism at air shows and work with all ministries throughout the Southeast part of the United States to provide charity and missionary flight activities.
We sincerely thank all the members, the Board, pilots and supporters of Servant Air Ministries, Inc. for a fruitful year in 2008 and expect the Lord to produce great fruit in this coming season.
Robert E. Lehton, CFII, MEI, President