Mission Aviation Fellowship – An Organisation with a Big Heart
“Mission Aviation Fellowship” (MAF) is a charitable organisation which operates in some of the world's most isolated areas. The organisation embarked on an exceptional mission in September 2017 when it provided transport in a PC-12 for Siamese twins who needed urgent medical aid. Pilatus Aircraft Ltd
MAF operates aircraft in over twenty countries for development cooperation, disaster relief, medical transport and rescue missions. A non-profit organisation, it was set up after the World War II thanks to the efforts of veteran war pilots from the USA, England and Australia. They dreamed of putting their flying skills to use in doing something for peace on earth. They founded MAF in 1945. Today, over 200 pilots fly in some of the remotest areas of the world to bring help and hope to the people settled there.
A versatile aircraft
MAF has owned a PC-12 since 1999. Based in Kenya for 15 years, it made frequent flights from there to the conflict area in South Sudan. At that time, MAF was the first organisation to operate a PC-12 in Kenya. The aircraft was overhauled in 2014 and has since been based in the Congo, where it flies around 30 hours a month.
The PC-12 is ideal for the Congo: its size, its wide range and its versatility make it suitable for virtually all types of missions. For the MAF, working in the Congo, having an aircraft which is capable of carrying a useful load of 2,200 pounds (1,000 kilogrammes) and is additionally certified for single pilot operations is a big advantage. A maximum ceiling of 28,000 feet (8,500 metres) also allows it to fly above the weather on many occasions.
The PC-12 is perfect for MAF supervisory trips. These trips are organised to fly teams of specialists, employees of non-profit organisations and other personnel to various locations for the purpose of assessing the local situation. The PC-12 also makes one flight a month on behalf of Caritas when MAF personnel fly out the salaries of teachers working in isolated villages where there are neither banks nor financial systems of kind.
The PC-12 in use for a special transport
In 2017, the PC-12 attracted worldwide attention when it made a special flight involving Siamese twins born in a very remote part of the Congo. The parents made a gruelling 15-hour trip through the jungle by motorbike in order to get the two girls to the missionary hospital in Vanga. MAF has flown into Vanga for the past 60 years and the doctors based there asked for the family to be taken to Kinshasa where the medical care is better. The twins were successfully separated in Kinshasa. The PC-12 was used to fly the parents and their twins back to Vanga. Pilot Nick Frey landed safely in Vanga, where some 200 people were waiting to greet him and the healthy family!
For the Siamese twins, there would have been no other means of getting the help they needed so urgently. All expenses were paid by MAF, so there were no costs for the family. Pilot Nick Frey remembers the flight very well: “It was an exceptional situation for us. We couldn’t simply look on without doing something. Out of love for our fellow human beings and compassion for the isolated inhabitants of the Congo we felt obligated to help, which included flying the family back again.”