About MAF Staff

story by Dr Günter Kittel 
(surgeon from Mission EineWelt working at the Etep Rural Hospital, PNG)

Outreach Clinic in Nankina

Our MAF flight is breath-taking – north along the coast, then across small villages on steep mountain slopes, past giant tumbling waterfalls, to Nankina airstrip at the top of a mountain crest.

I am told that never before has a doctor visited Nankina.

Hundreds of patients are waiting, as the aid post has long been abandoned. New people keep arriving from surrounding villages. A pastor hands us a letter with the names of 123 other patients in a village one-day’s march away, but after a few days we don’t have a single tablet left. We will have to return another time.

My wife Bindu was supposed to fly home with MAF for a workshop in Madang.

In the morning we hear the sound of a plane circling over Nankina but, after several landing attempts, the pilot has to turn back. 

Flying is still an enormous challenge in PNG. My wife now has to walk back to the coast with us.

Day 1

It takes 15 people to carry our luggage and equipment. We leave Nankina and head down a steep, slippery pathway. It’s hot and humid, and then the rain sets in. We wade through mud up to our knees and soon feel sore in every part of our body.

Our track follows a steep canyon, with raging river waters below. Grabbing for roots, our knees shake with the exhaustion of the constant struggle. Bridges are often only tree trunks.

Eventually, a steep path leads us into a small village of about eight diminutive houses. We ask for shelter for the night.

Day 2

We’re up early in the morning, as we have only covered one-third of our journey. We are told the path ahead is in poor condition. I cannot imagine conditions worse than the previous day!

The prediction by the guides was not exaggerated – the track is terrible! The continuing rain converts it into a slippery mire, not possible to walk on without walking poles.

Eventually the way becomes less steep. The scenery changes and we come to cocoa plantations. Now there is light at the end of the tunnel! The path broadens and is not wet any more. 

Suddenly, we arrive in the small modern town of Saidor, where we stay for the night.

Day 3

The next day, after a truck drive to the coastal village of Mur, we board a boat for the 3-hour voyage to Wasu marina. Luckily the sea is calm; often it is not the case and many boats have been lost. Upon arrival an ambulance transports us for the final part of our journey to Etep.

With the journey behind us, we reflect upon our new insights into the life of PNG.

Despite all the wear and tear, it was all worthwhile.

Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/without-maf-141119

DSC06198_600we run a marathon – you pray a marathon!

Raising prayer support for MAF, the Conwell family, along with the kids from the school in Kompiam, are running 26 times up and down an 800-metre MAF airstrip throughout November.

That’s right, a full marathon!

The Conwell family lives at Kompiam Hospital in Enga Province, Papua New Guinea. They are involved with administration in the hospital and teaching at the hospital school.
Recently, they spent a week at Mangao, one of the hospital’s 10 remote aid posts and health centres that serve as the only health facilities for a large portion of Enga Province, meeting the health needs of between 50,000 – 60,000 people.
MAF conducts several flights each week from remote aid posts to the hospital. Patients include the critically ill, pregnant mothers, sick children, tribal and domestic injuries, TB, HIV, Malaria, and the list goes on.

Compared to the gruelling 3-4 day walk from Mangao to the hospital at Kompiam, MAF is the only option for these patients.

 It is only in conjunction with MAF that the Kompiam Hospital, and so many others just like it around the world, are able to function effectively and bring essential services and hope to people living in these very remote locations.

So the Conwell family have dedicated the month of November to an MAF Prayer Marathon.

 “What we are asking of you is only a small daily commitment during the month of November. It’s simple – we run a marathon – you pray a marathon.
“Please sponsor us through prayer for MAF on a daily basis as you follow our marathon progress.” – The Conwells

Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/png-maf-marathon-141111

34956_Pig-attack-at-Blackwara(640)A broken leg, a suspected broken back… and help is several days walk away.


Nikos had been pig hunting many times before, but this time the pig turned on him and broke his leg!

Captain Irwin Hodder and first officer Richie Axon were en route to Tabubil when they received the call to divert to the remote airstrip at Blackwara in the mountains of PNG.

There is no medical centre or aid post at Blackwara, so the only way to get medical help for Nikos would have been for his tribesman to carry him on a stretcher for several days.

Thankfully MAF was called!

Once on the ground the pilots and staff who were on the plane quickly hooked up six seats to the side of the fuselage to make room for his bush-material stretcher.

With Nikos onboard, the Twin Otter continued on its way to Tabubil where there is a well-equipped hospital to provide Nikos with the treatment he needed.

Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/wild-pig-attack-141028

The passengers are ready at the airstrip, the plane is fuelled up and ready to go…but it is grounded.

Why? There is not enough pilots!

However, in Arnhem Land help has arrived! We are currently keeping 4 relief pilots busy in the air. These experienced pilots have joined our team on a short term basis (3-12 months). They have each worked with MAF in the past and due to our current pilot shortages, they are making themselves available once again.

Once cleared with the cheif pilot they are off and flying in our busy daily program. Dripping with sweat and navigating the difficult weather, a normal day might mean 12 take-offs and landings on small dirt airstrips. Not to forget the passengers who often have no shoes and too many bags!

Why do they do it?

James Skinner says “The need really hit home for me when, late one afternoon, I flew a doctor out to the small homeland Wandawuy. An elderly lady had become extremely ill and the dirt strip is too small for ‘Careflight’ to land on. Once the patient was stabilised we were able to fly her straight into Gove hospital. Knowing our 20 minute flight could save a life, when compared with a 4 hour bumpy road trip, has a big impact. It was great to be here and able to help.”

Scott Garwood left MAF 10 years ago but has returned because of the desperate need. He says “Although I was no longer working for MAF I still strongly believed in what they are doing. I saw a window in my life where I could help meet these needs.”

Julianne Diprose (wife of relief pilot, Kylan) explains how she felt about returning. “We’ve lived in Arnhem Land before so we knew what to expect. Sometimes short term staff can be an encouragement as they see things with new enthusiasm. Stepping outside our normal busy routine, there have definitely been some unexpected blessings for us. Now at the end of our stay, I have to say it has been an adventure with some precious lasting memories.”

Barry Small also heard about the current need for pilots and decided to return. He says “I’m finding myself being challenged and learning so much. I’m now working along side people who are the same age as my kids, but there is a tremendous sense of support among staff and from the leadership. It’s great to be playing my part in kingdom building here in Arnhem Land.”

At times it’s discouraging when the needs are so great, but we are so thankful for the relief these pilots are bringing to Arnhem Land!

Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/when-planes-dont-fly-141007

20140827_084953Thanks to the incredible generosity of our supporters, the new MAF Flight Training Centre is well on its way to being built!

MAF has been training pilots in Australia for more than 50 years.

The Flight Training Centre at Mareeba will give pilots a chance to hone their skills on short difficult strips, navigate mountainous jungle and cope with conditions typical of flying on the mission field.

Other initiatives include: standardisation of MAF International’s pilots for field service, MAF instructor pilot training, and technical evaluation of applicants for MAF’s unique mission.

After a 16-month course, pilots will graduate with around 200 hours of aeronautical experience based on the unique nature of MAF missions.



The building will house flight instructors, students, two lecture rooms, a motion flight-simulator, lounge and bathroom facilities, study and briefing rooms and an operations room to support aircraft movements and flight scheduling.

We still have a way to go to fully fund it – if you’d like to find out more go to:


Thanks again to our generous donors for making this possible!







Article source: http://www.maf.org.au/news/n/flight-training-centre-update-141001