The Aviation Effectiveness Research (AER)
The purpose of the research was to obtain an adequate understanding of the effectiveness of aviation at advancing people’s work in the mission environment. To obtain that understanding, the researcher conducted in-depth, personal interviews with 324 air service users between April 2015 and January 2018. The effectiveness of missionary aviation was evaluated in the road transportation context (Cameroon and Niger), the river context (Brasil and Peru), the trail and no-mode contexts (Papua, Indonesia), and the ocean context (Papua New Guinea). In addition, the effectiveness of the Ethnos360 Aviation program in the Philippines was also evaluated (providing data on multiple contexts).
The practical reason aircraft are commonly used in missions is to advance people’s kingdom work by negating the detriments of surface travel. Starting from this premise, metrics were used to answer two root questions: “What is the person’s transportation efficiency when traveling by surface?” (twelve components) and “To what extent does aviation advance people’s work?” (eighteen components). The survey questions contrasted air travel with surface travel, and covered all seven functions of missionary aviation. In addition, questions were asked exploring whether aviation helps organizations reach their goals and whether it impacts the kingdom of God.
The numerical and non-numerical data were processed and analyzed, resulting in a comprehensive range of materials. Of note are:
- Graphs showing the extent of aviation’s effectiveness at advancing work
- Tables showing the specific ways air and surface transport advance work
- Axioms and principles regarding the effective use of air and surface transport
- Answers to the exploratory questions
- A section on surface transport; its nature and when to use it
The AER was designed to enable:
- Knowledgeable decisions about when, where, and for whom, to use or not use aviation worldwide
- Wise alignment organizational resources to accomplish kingdom goals
- Informing or educating people regarding aviation decisions
The AER originated at JAARS in mid-2014, and was commissioned by Chuck Daly, then Vice-President of Transportation Services at JAARS. It was completed under his successor, Craig Russell. The AER was conducted by Scott Zibell, Ph.D., the independent field research consultant serving the mission aviation community. Primary funding was provided by JAARS, with substantial funding from MMS Aviation and Ethnos360 Aviation. Additional funding was provided by SMAT, Mission Safety International (MSI), Parkwater Aviation, and private individuals. Field support was provided by: SIL Aviation in Cameroon, SIM and SIMAIR in Niger, Asas de Socorro and SIL Aviation in Brasil, SAMAIR in Peru, Yajasi in Papua, Indonesia, Ethnos360 Aviation in the Philippines and Papua New Guinea, and SIL Aviation in Papua New Guinea.
The Aviation Effectiveness Research (AER) evaluated the effectiveness of missionary aviation at advancing people’s work in the five basic transportation contexts found around the world. Between April 2015 and January 2018, in-depth interviews were conducted with 324 air service users in Cameroon, Niger, Brasil, Peru, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Papua New Guinea. The survey questions contrasted air travel with surface travel, and covered all seven functions of missionary aviation. In addition, open-ended questions explored whether aviation helps organizations reach their goals and whether it impacts the kingdom of God. The result was a high-resolution picture of how, and to what extent, missionary aviation advanced people’s work. The project was commissioned by JAARS and conducted by Scott Zibell, Ph.D. The AER was a JAARS initiative intended to benefit the greater mission aviation community. It was designed to: 1) enable leaders to make knowledgeable decisions about when, where, and for whom, to use or not use aviation worldwide, 2) wisely align organizational resources to accomplish kingdom goals, and 3) inform, or educate, people regarding aviation decisions.