Latest news

29 Mar 2023
MAF pilot Ryan Koher finally reunites with his family
Following nearly five months of separation, MAF pilot Ryan Koher was finally reunited with his family on Wednesday 29 March in the Ambassador Aviation hangar in Nampula, Mozambique. Under the terms of his provisional release, Ryan is still expected to report regularly to Mozambican authorities until the investigation concludes ...
27 Mar 2023
New podcast Ep. 3 – Josh marvels at MAF’s medevac service
We hear from Maud Kells who wouldn’t be here without a MAF medevac, Pilot Ping Domtta who’s clocked up over 150 of them and Dr Zwijnenburg who shares her most memorable medevac from PNG…
MAF enables CURE to visit remotest Kenya (credit: Acadius Akungwi /CURE)
15 Mar 2023
MAF enables surgery in remote Kenya amid disability inequality drive
Kenya’s ‘National Council for Persons with Disabilities’ has launched its first ever ‘Disability Mainstreaming Status Report’ which highlights where services and opportunities fall short for disabled people. MAF and CURE International are closing the inequality gap by making life-transforming surgery accessible to isolated disabled children ...
Dollar hopes to raise £12K+ for MAF (credit: Dollar Onwusiribe)
14 Mar 2023
Fundraiser attempts 120 landings to mark 120 years since 1st flight
Dollar Onwusiribe – a social services manager and qualified pilot - has now completed 10 out of 120 landings in the first phase of his UK-wide fundraising challenge for MAF. Having taken off from Northants on 20 February, Dollar hopes to make his final landing on 17 December – the same date 120 years ago when the Wright brothers flew the world’s first ever motorised plane ...
10 Mar 2023
Magnificent Maud: Determination like no one else
Meet Maud Maud Kells OBE has one of the most inspirational stories out there! Since 1968 - until her recent retirement in 2022 - Maud had been serving the people of the Democratic Republic of Congo primarily as a nurse with WEC International. She was a frequent flyer with MAF (at least 70 times) ever since the charity started flying there in the 1980s. Maud was featured in 2015's New Year's Honours list, receiving an OBE for her services to the people of the DRC. Not long after learning she had been awarded an OBE, Maud nearly lost her life one fateful night. What happened? On 4 January 2015 at the age of 75, Maud was disturbed late at night by someone pretending to be the husband of one of her patients. An elaborate hoax lured Maud away from her home in Mulita, where she was living, and upon returning to the house from the clinic, she was confronted by armed bandits. 'I was just coming into my compound when suddenly, two bandits wearing masks and camouflage clothing, ran from around the back of the house, pointing what I thought was a replica gun at me. I went to grab it and immediately of course he pulled the trigger. I was shot through the chest.' 'Maud Kells OBE speaking at the 'Belfast Telegraph Woman of the Year Award, 2015' Maud was eventually helped - although stabilised, she was going to need more medical attention. MAF was called to perform a medevac - pilot Jon Cadd flew to Mulita from the MAF base in Nyankunde with a team of local doctors! From there, Jon and the team flew Maud back to the MAF base where she was transported on to Nyankunde Mission Hospital where she was safe and recovered well. Jon Cadd, along with his wife Cher, kindly hosted Maud in their home for five days before she made the trip back to her home in Cookstown, Northern Ireland, where she convalesced for almost a year. Following her recovery, Maud finally received her OBE from Prince William at Buckingham Palace in London. No stopping her! Maud was horrendously attacked but survived. MAF helped and Maud lived to tell the tale, but it doesn't end there! Despite everything and returning to the comfort of western living, Maud was determined to go back to Mulita. She wasn’t going to let that attack stop her from continuing the vital work she’d been doing for the last fifty years! With the same gumption she’d always had, an OBE and an 'Inspirational Woman of the Year Award' under her belt, Maud was greeted by the entire community of Mulita when she returned to the DRC on 4 December 2015. There was singing and dancing – a celebratory ceremony! Maud had returned to a community full of joy. Not only did she return in full-health, Maud also returned in a MAF plane packed full of medical supplies, baby clothes and gifts for the community. It’s amazing for MAF to be part of such an inspirational story. Maud continues to support the community of Mulita remotely from her home in Northern Ireland. 'So much of the healing process was really MAF caring for me, loving me and just being so kind and so hospitable. I probably wouldn’t have survived if it hadn’t been for MAF!'  Maud Kells OBE interviewed by Amanda Ferguson, Belfast Telegraph The work continues Although Maud is officially retired, MAF flew her and a batch of medical supplies to Mulita Hospital in March 2022. Maud started building Mulita Hospital in the1980s followed by Mulita Primary School. Both buildings were completed in 2013. Today, the school has around 700 pupils. Now at the age of 84, Maud is investigating how best to expand the buildings to accommodate the ongoing work. The ministry already comprises of the hospital, primary school, nursery, staff accommodation and offices. Whatever the future holds for Maud, she knows that God is always by her side: 'The Lord allowed me to have that experience to share with the world what a mighty God we have who brought me through. 'He promised me Genesis Chapter 28 verse 15: "Behold, I am with you and will keep you wherever you go and will bring you back to this land; for I will not leave you until I have done what I have spoken to you.”'    Join Maud on MAF UK’s ‘Flying for Life’ podcast with Josh Carter. This latest episode explores medevacs and access to healthcare in Timor-Leste, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Papua New Guinea. Maud is joined by Dr Diana Zwijnenburg and MAF pilot Ping Domtta. The Flying for Life podcast is a free resource and part of MAF’s ‘He Saw It Was Good’ Bible Study Series, which explores how Christians can support sustainable development. News coverage BBC The Guardian Daily Mail Independent Belfast Telegraph Irish Times Maud's book 'An Open Door - a true story of courage in Congo' was published in 2019
*Jane was medevacked by MAF to Kompiam District Hospital after her husband attacked her with a machete (credit: Mandy Glass)
08 Mar 2023
International Women’s Day: ‘Change Your Ways!’
In January, during the ‘PNG-Australia Annual Leaders’ Dialogue’ in Port Moresby, PNG Prime Minister James Marape called combatting gender-based violence (GBV) a ‘priority’. Besides frequently medevacking severely abused rural women and girls to hospital, MAF also helps prevent GBV by enabling the ‘PNG Tribal Foundation’ and ‘Bread for the World’ to deliver their 'Change Your Ways' campaign ...
06 Mar 2023
MAF to suspend operations in Haiti from 1 April
  Due to consistently high levels of gang violence in Haiti's capital Port-au-Prince, MAF has no choice but to suspend its operations in the country from 1 April to 1 January 2024. Current operations are neither safe nor sustainable. We get the latest from MAF Haiti’s Crisis Management Team ...
Ping Domtta mid-flight (credit: Annelie Edsmyr)
22 Feb 2023
2,000 flight hours and over 150 medevacs – meet MAF’s Ping Domtta
Since 2016, MAF pilot Lungpinglak Domtta - aka ‘Ping’ – has been serving remote communities all over the world. Today, he clocked up 2,000 flight hours in Timor-Leste where MAF operates the only air ambulance service in the country. Medevacs are all in a day’s work for Ping, but for the people of Timor-Leste – one of Asia’s least developed countries - it’s a matter of life and death ...
20 Feb 2023
Step-Ping in Faith
Lungpinglak Domtta - aka Ping - is the youngest of four siblings from Nagaland in north India. Ping shares his incredible journey of faith, despite failure ...
19 Feb 2023
Faith beyond failure: Pilot Ping’s MAF journey
Ping grew up in the heavily populated, mountainous region of Nagaland, northeast India. Ping misses his homeland and culture, but knows that he is where God wants him to be. Ping didn’t know anyone from an aviation background but when he was 10 years old he had a dream of becoming a pilot. As he grew older he dreamt of joining the Indian Air Force. In 2007, when he was in year 12, a Career Councillor at school introduced him to the idea of work in civil aviation. 'It was through my failure that God’s plan was realised. God had a plan and He opened up the way for me!' Ping Domtta, MAF Pilot In 12th grade, he failed his final maths exams, which was a shock for Ping since he had excelled at maths since 10th grade. Unfortunately, passing maths is vital to getting into aviation in India, so Ping’s dream of becoming a pilot seemed out of reach. Ping decided to return to college, re-sit his exams and pursue other career options. He often questioned God, asking why he had failed his maths exams after doing so well two years before. Ping couldn’t understand it. After a further year of study, Ping passed his exams and was selected for a civil engineering course. Learning to fly One day on the way home, Ping dropped into his brother’s shop and did something he’d never done before. He asked his brother for a newspaper. He took it home and saw that the government were sponsoring people to obtain commercial pilot’s licences. He was confused as to what to do as his path now seemed set on civil engineering, but he decided to apply. He went to the interviews, sat the exams and was selected. Ping received a government scholarship covering 75% of the fees to obtain a Commercial Pilot’s Licence. During this CPL training, he realised that if he had passed maths in the first year he would have been studying engineering somewhere in India; something that he really didn’t want to do. 'It was through my failure that God’s plan was realised,' Ping asserts. 'God had a plan and He opened up the way for me!' After becoming a commercial pilot, Ping was employed by a charter company, but needed to find around AUD 16,000 (£8-9,000) to complete their ground school. Again, the Government stepped in and granted him a full scholarship. Dedicating his career to God Ping has gained valuable experience with this charter company in Dornier 228s, as a co-pilot flying medical evacuations. Later on, he was promoted to look after the company’s operations. Whenever they flew to the north-eastern part of India they had to fly over Bangladesh, so they needed permission to overfly Bangladeshi flight space. Ping dealt with a Muslim man named Imtiaz Ahmed Mithun in Dhaka, and over time developed a friendship with him. One evening, they were talking and Imtiaz asked Ping whether he was a Christian. Ping replied that he was. Imtiaz had seen MAF operations at Dhaka airport and told Ping about this Christian flying mission in Bangladesh. He encouraged Ping to look into this organisation. When Ping looked up MAF on the internet, he noted that he didn’t have quite enough experience and that there was no MAF office in India, but he decided to write his testimony and send it to the MAF office in Cairns anyway. Ping was convinced that he could use his flying career to serve God: 'At one point, I couldn’t see any way that I would ever fly. I had failed, yet God had used that failure for something better for me. Only God could have made this happen. So I resolved to dedicate my aviation career to God in return.' Working with MAF Ping met with International Development Director Bill Harding in Bangalore, came to Cairns for an interview and the rest, as they say, is history. Ping applied to MAF and was accepted. He completed his Australian commercial pilot’s licence conversion in August 2015 and the MAF standardisation in March 2016. God has turned Ping from a little boy in Nagaland with dream to become a pilot into a MAF pilot in Timor-Leste. God used a Muslim man in Bangladesh to make the connection and used the government and its generous scholarships, as well as a local commercial company, to pave his way. And He used Ping’s failure and his willingness to believe that God had a better plan for him, to fulfil a God-given dream.
Coast of Atauro Island including airstrip (credit: Ping Domtta)
06 Feb 2023
Tide is turning for Timor-Leste tourism
As part of its preparations to join the World Trade Organisation (WTO) this year, Timor-Leste has just participated in the ‘Assoc. of Southeast Asian Nations’ (ASEAN) meeting in Jakarta for the very first time. Eventual full membership of both ASEAN and the WTO will strengthen the country’s fledgling tourist industry, which MAF has been supporting since April 2022 ...
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