Let’s take a look at one of the most expensive days so far in 2021 for church, ministry and Christian university aircraft trips. We tracked eight aircraft on March 19, 2021. It is possible that more than $100,000 could have been saved by flying commercial rather than using privately-owned aircraft.
List of aircraft owners:
A. Mt Gilead Full Gospel International Ministries
B. Mighty Horn Ministries
C. Liberty University
D. Liberty University
E. Faith Life Church.
F. Assemblies of God Financial Services Group
G. Philadelphia Church of God
H. Harvest International Ministries
Daniel Robertson Jr. pastors Mt Gilead Full Gospel International Ministries in Richmond, Virginia. The church owns a Cessna 650 jet which is also known as a Citation III.
On March 19th, the jet made a 20 minute flight from Richmond to Manassas, Virginia. According to Aircraft Cost Calculator, the Cessna 650 has an estimated hourly operating cost of approximately $2,970. Estimated cost of trip: $1,000.
Well known trumpet-player Phil Driscoll is head of Mighty Horn Ministries. Driscoll previously attempted to apply the church housing allowance to two homes, leading to a court battle which he lost. Driscoll’s ministry owns a twin engine turboprop Cessna 421B.
On March 19th, the airplane flew from Kissimmee, Florida to Greensboro, Georgia and then to Lebanon, Ohio. The first flight took approximately 1 hour 48 minutes and the second flight 1 hour 44 minutes.
Plane PHD reports the hourly operating costs for a Cessna 421B to be $419.90 so the two flights cost an estimated $1470.
Besides owning a fleet of small single-engine aircraft for its aeronautics program, Liberty University also owns a higher end twin-turboprop and jet through a shell company named C&C Aviation LLC. The two more expensive aircraft both landed in Indianapolis on March 19th.
Liberty’s Cessna 680 jet, also known as a Citation Sovereign, flew from Anchorage, Alaska to Fargo, North Dakota and then to Indianapolis. First flight took about 4 hours 42 minutes and second flight 1 hour 33 minutes.
According to PriJet, the hourly operating costs of a Cessna 680 are $3,500. Estimated travel costs are $21,000. How does Liberty justify such an expensive flight? A search of Expedia reveals the cost for commercial round trip tickets for flights from Lynchburg to Anchorage and back starting at $555.
Last year, Liberty University’s Cessna 680 flew to Anchorage weeks before Jerry Falwell Jr. resigned his position as university president. Jerry Prevo, current president of Liberty University is from Anchorage, which explains the flights to Alaska.
Liberty’s Beechcraft Super King Air began a return flight from Indianapolis on the previous day, landing in Weyers Cave, Virginia and after a brief stop, flew to Lynchburg, Virginia. Almost 11 hours later, the aircraft left for Indianapolis again.
The Beechcraft spent roughly three hours in the air. According to Aircraft Cost Calculator, the Super King Air has an hourly operating cost of almost $1,705. Estimated travel costs are $5,115.
Keith Moore is pastor of Faith Life Church which has campuses in Sarasota, Florida and Branson, Missouri. Moore frequently preaches at Kenneth Copeland’s Southwest Believers Convention. The church owns two jets: a Raytheon 390 and Dassault Falcon 900 EX.
On March 19th, the church’s Dassault Falcon flew from Sarasota, Florida to Branson, Missouri.
According to Aircraft Cost Calculator, the Dassault Falcon 900 EX has an hourly operating cost of almost $4,092. Estimated travel costs for two hour flight: $8,184.
The Assemblies of God is the only denomination in America that we have identified as having ownership of a jet. If other denominations own jets, they are likely hidden in shell corporations or trusts.
On March 19th, the Assemblies of God Financial Services Group’s Bombardier Challenger made a round trip flight from Springfield, Missouri to Galveston, Texas and then back to Springfield.
According to Aircraft Cost Calculator, the Bombardier Challenger has an estimated hourly operating cost of almost $5,217. The two flights took almost 2.5 hours. Estimated travel costs are $13,043.
Gerald Flurry is founder of Philadelphia Church of God, in Edmond, Oklahoma. The church, which rejects belief in the Trinity, has theology based on the original teachings of Herbert W. Armstrong’s Worldwide Church of God.
Philadelphia Church of God owns a Gulfstream GIV-X which is also known as a Gulfstream G-450. On March 19th, the jet made a round trip flight from Oklahoma City to Birmingham, England with a stop in Bangor, Maine on the return trip.
The round trip international flight took 18.5 hours of flying time. According to Aircraft Cost Calculator, the Gulfstream G-450 has an hourly operating cost of approximately $4,363. Estimated travel costs are $80,716.
Thousands of dollars could have been saved by taking a commercial flight instead. For comparison sake, a Google search found tickets ranging from $4,876 to $6,080 for a round trip flight scheduled for next week from Oklahoma City to Birmingham, England.
Tracy Harris is the head of Harvest International Ministries and pastor of The Family Word Church in Texarkana, Arkansas. Harvest International Ministries owns two aircraft: a Beech Baron and a Cessna 650.
On March 19th, the ministry Beech Baron twin-engine turboprop flew from Burleson, Texas to Texarkana, Arkansas. The flight took almost one hour. According to Aircraft Cost Calculator, the Beech Baron has an estimated hourly operating cost of $619.
Total estimated operating costs for the eight aircraft flying on March 19th is $131,147. There are unknown variables which could lower the total travel costs. The best example would be pilot salaries. Some pastors are licensed pilots and fly their own aircraft.
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