Killer Tribes, Mavericks, and The Incredible Flying Car: The Story of Steve Saint

It’s a joy to see people of faith on the frontlines of innovation.

In the November issue of Popular Mechanics, Steve Saint is highlighted among “The Year’s Best Inventions” for building the first flying car! Sound like fiction? It’s not. Nearly ten years ago, Steve started I-TEC, an engineering ministry in Florida. He envisioned a vehicle that would allow the very same tribe that killed his father to get around the roadless world of rainforest and rivers they live in.

You may be familiar with this historic story. In 1956, Steve Saint’s father Nate, along with four other missionaries, Jim Elliot (husband of Elizabeth Elliott), Roger Youderian, Ed McCully, and Peter Fleming, made a historic journey to meet the Aucas or naked savages in the jungles of Ecuador. With an outrageous homicide rate the tribe was famous for the habitual killing of anyone and everyone–especially their own people. After dropping gifts and supplies, the five young men felt they had established a strong rapport. Bathed in prayer, they flew into a remote site to meet the tribe.

Steve Saint was only five years old when he heard the news that his father and the other missionaries had been killed by the tribesmen. Five days later, a ground crew recovered the bodies, which had been pierced by spears. With gripping accounts in Reader’s Digest and Life, the news quickly spread through the press.

In an unforgettable story of love and perseverance, Nate Saint’s sister, Rachel Saint, and Elisabeth Elliot, widow of Jim Elliot, moved into the rainforest to live with the tribe.

Eventually many of the tribesmen in the contact group converted to Christianity, including those who had killed the missionaries. Instead of hating or fearing the Aucas (who now call themselves the Waodani), Steve Saint grew up loving the tribe and forming a lifelong relationship with them. He is still passionately committed to serving hard-to-reach tribes.

And he’s still making the headlines.

Powered by a 128-hp engine, as noted by Popular Mechanics, the 1100-pound “Maverick” can travel 80 miles per hour on pavement and move over dirt tracks. When trees, rocks, or the end of the road get in the way, the driver/pilot hoists a parachute up a mast and shifts the vehicle into flight mode. The power moves from the wheels to the propeller on top. These flying cars will soon be carrying medicine and supplies to remote areas throughout the Amazon. The flying cars are expected to be for sale within a year.

To check out the YouTube video, click HERE.

*Photo courtesy of here

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