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Mission flight training centre in Three Hills hosts 50th-anniversary open house on Saturday

A fundraising airplane ‘joy ride’ is being auctioned
Remote flying is being taught at a Mission Aviation Fellowship of Canada flight training facility in Three Hills. The organization is hosting a fundraising open house on Saturday to celebrate its 50th anniversary. (Contributed photo)

Mission pilots who fly-in medicine and medevac patients in landmine-ridden Angola receive their flight training here in central Alberta.

Pilots who were trained in Three Hills by Mission Aviation Fellowship of Canada work with charities, such as The HALO Trust, which dismantles landmines and was associated with the late Princess Diana.

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Mission Aviation Fellowship of Canada will invite the public to its flight training centre in Three Hills for a one-day fundraiser in celebration of the group’s 50th anniversary.

Central Albertans can tour of the facility, listen to talks about the organization’s history, and bid on a chance to win an airplane “joy ride.”

The goal is raising money towards the $5 million cost of expanding the flight training centre.

Lowell Deering, the vice-president of operations and recruiting for Mission Aviation Fellowship of Canada, said the registered non-denominational charity wants to add another hangar and classroom space to respond to rising demand for flight training and double the number of flight students that can be taught at one time.

Mission Aviation Fellowship of Canada now trains up to 30 students in a cohort, but would like to meet rising demand by training up to 60, said Deering.

About 80 per cent of flight school’s graduates go on to work in the commercial industry, with many taking jobs in the Canadian North, since remote flying is the school’s specialty, he added. About 20 per cent will go to to work as mission pilots, mostly in remote regions of Africa, where helps is needed to fly in medicine or other forms of aid, or to take very sick patients to hospital.

The Canadian arm of the international Mission Aviation Fellowship was started in 1973 as an arm of the global organization.

Deering said, about 28 years ago, a partnership was formed with Prairie College (formerly Prairie Bible Institute) in Three Hills to open a flight school. In 2016, Mission Aviation Fellowship assumed management of the flight school.

While Prairie College continues to educate pilots towards getting their Associate of Arts degree in Mission Aviation, the flight school training will get them the required Transport Canada pilot’s licence for instrument flying, as well as experience in about three different types of planes.

With rising fuel costs, the cost of this residential education is about $110,000 and takes about 2 1/2 years to finish, said Deering. While these costs seem high, they are actually comparatively reasonable for the industry, he added.

“Pilots can leave here and take the right-hand seat in planes” to continue their education on the job, he added.

For more information in the fundraiser’s bidding process, please visit For more information about the charity, please visit

Lana Michelin

About the Author: Lana Michelin

Lana Michelin has been a reporter for the Red Deer Advocate since moving to the city in 1991.
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