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Our History

L-R: MAF UK founders Stuart King, Murray Kendon, Jack Hemmings AFC & Tom Banham

Out of the ashes of World War II came a new movement, which sought to use aviation as a force for good instead of destruction. Inspired by their Christian faith, MAF’s founders decided to use their flying and engineering skills to deliver help, hope and healing to the world’s most isolated people. 80 years later, their legacy lives on…


WASP pilot Betty Green undertakes MAF’s first-ever flight
(credit: MAF UK)

1945 RAF pilot Murray Kendon writes an article about his vision in ‘The Mildmay Outlook’ seen by fellow RAF comrades engineer Stuart King and pilot Jack Hemmings AFC.

Meanwhile in America, WASP pilot Betty Greene launches Christian Airmen’s Missionary Fellowship (MAF US).

MAF UK launches in London.

1946 MAF US buys its first aircraft – a Waco Cabin biplane.

Betty undertakes MAF’s first ever flight with mission surveys in Mexico, Ecuador and Peru. She’s the first female pilot to fly across the Andes in South America.

1947 MAF UK acquires its first aircraft – a Miles Gemini – ahead of UK tour to garner support.

MAF Australia and MAF Mexico (Alas de Socorro de Mexico) launch.

1948 Stuart and Jack undertake first ever mission survey across Africa in Miles Gemini.

MAF Ecuador (Alas de Socorro del Ecuador) launches.

1949 MAF buys a De Havilland Rapide aircraft for Sudan.

MAF Asia Pacific launches.


MAF US pilot Nate Saint is martyred by Ecuador’s Waodani tribe
(credit: MAF US)

1950 MAF Sudan launches.

1951 MAF Papua New Guinea and Christian Radio Missionary Fellowship (MAF Technologies PNG) launch.

1954 MAF Papua in Indonesia launches.

1956 MAF Brazil (Asas de Socorro) launches.

MAF pilot Nate Saint is martyred in Ecuador.

1957 Single-engine Cessna 180 aircraft arrives in Sudan.

1959 MAF Kenya launches.


MAF flies Billy Graham (L) to Moshi, Tanzania to address 35,000 people (credit: MAF UK)

1960 MAF Ethiopia launches.

MAF flies evangelist Billy Graham from Kenya to Tanzania.

1961 MAF Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) launches.

1962 MAF Philippines launches.

1963 MAF Tanzania and MAF Suriname launch.

1964 MAF is forced out of Sudan due to civil war.

MAF conducts evacuations during Congo’s civil war.

1966 MAF Chad launches.

1969 MAF Kalimantan in Indonesia launches.


Yingiya Guyula – world’s 1st Yolngu aircraft engineer/pilot trained by MAF Arnhem Land (credit: Y.Guyula)

Yingiya always had a passion for fixing things (credit: Yingiya Guyula)

1971 MAF South Africa and MAF Colombia launch.

1972 MAF Nicaragua launches.

1973 MAF Canada and MAF Arnhem Land in Australia launch.

1976 MAF Finland launches.

MAF responds to earthquake in Papua.

1977 Marxist government restrictions force MAF out of Ethiopia.

MAF Guatemala (AGAPE) launches.

1978 MAF Netherlands launches.

1979 Civil war forces MAF out of Chad but operations resume in Sudan.


MAF flies BBC’s Mohammed Amin (L) & Michael Buerk (R) for Ethiopian famine news report (credit: Keith Ketchum)

1980 MAF Lesotho launches.

1981 MAF operations resume in Chad.

MAF responds to Ethiopian famine.

1982 MAF Sweden launches.

1983 MAF Sudan forced to close again due to government restrictions.

1984 MAF flies BBC’s Michael Buerk & Mohammed Amin to report on Ethiopia’s famine. The report goes viral, changes the face of fundraising and leads to ‘Live Aid’.

MAF Mali launches.

1985 MAF responds to Chad famine.

1986 MAF Norway and MAF Haiti launch.

1987 MAF Uganda launches.

1988 MAF Madagascar launches.

1989 MAF Denmark and MAF Angola launch.


MAF Bangladesh launches with an aircraft that lands on water (credit: LuAnne Cadd)

1990 MAF staff are evacuated from Kinshasa when Rwanda’s civil war spills into the DRC – eight of MAF’s aircraft are damaged.

1991 MAF Namibia launches.

MAF flies Sir Bob Geldof in Ethiopia marking the 10th anniversary of Ethiopia’s famine.

1992 MAF France and MAF Germany launch.

MAF conducts relief operations during civil war in both Somalia and Sudan.

1994 MAF conducts relief operations after Rwandan genocide.

1995 MAF responds to Ebola outbreak in the DRC.

1996 MAF evacuates MAF staff when civil war breaks out in the DRC.

MAF Italy launches.

MAF responds to earthquake in Biak, Indonesia.

1997 MAF Bangladesh launches.

MAF co-founder Betty Greene dies aged 76.

1998 MAF Ethiopia closes when government refuses to renew permissions.

1999 MAF helps launch Abyssinian Flight Services – an Ethiopian owned operation.

MAF Mozambique launches.


Blue Sky Aviation launches in Mongolia with the ‘Millennium Messenger’ (credit: Dallas Derksen)

2000 MAF responds to cyclones Eline and Gloria in Mozambique.

2001 MAF Mongolia (Blue Sky Aviation) launches.

2002 MAF begins using VSAT tech (a very small satellite) in remote areas & disaster zones.

MAF’s Nyankunde base in the DRC is attacked during the Second Congo War – MAF evacuates staff.

2003 MAF conducts relief operation during Sudan’s War in Darfur.

2004 MAF responds to the Boxing Day Tsunami in Aceh, Indonesia.

2007 MAF Timor-Leste launches.

MAF responds to Cyclone Sidr (Bangladesh), Cyclone Indiala (Madagascar), Cyclone Guba (PNG) & another Ebola outbreak in the DRC

MAF evacuates hundreds of people during Kenya’s post-election violence.

2008 MAF evacuates staff from Chad during civil war.

2009 MAF deploys its first Kodiak 100 aircraft to Indonesia.


MAF responds to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti where it causes damages of US$ 2.8 billion (credit: Linda Brooks)

2010 MAF responds to earthquake in Haiti and subsequent cholera outbreak.

MAF launches Mission Aviation Training Centre (MATC) – its European flight school in the Netherlands.

2011 MAF responds to East African drought.

2013 MAF responds to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines.

MAF surveys Myanmar.

2014 MAF responds to another Ebola outbreak in the DRC.

MAF co-founder Murray Kendon dies aged 97.

2015 MAF Liberia launches.

MAF responds to two earthquakes in Nepal.

The MAF Training Centre in Mareeba launches – MAF’s flight school in Australia.

2016 MAF responds to Hurricane Matthew in Haiti.

2017 MAF responds to Huricanes Irma and Maria in the Caribbean.

MAF co-founder Jack Hemmings AFC is honoured as ‘Master Air Pilot’ by the Honourable Company of Air Pilots.

2018 MAF responds to the worst ever Ebola outbreak in the DRC.

MAF responds to an earthquake in Hela Province, Papua New Guinea.

2019 MAF co-founder Stuart King receives the Award of Honour from the Honourable Company of Air Pilots.

MAF flies Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby to the DRC in the wake of Ebola.


Remembering Stuart King – receiving the Award of Honour from the Hon. Co. of Air Pilots (credit: Jenny Davies)

Remembering Stuart King as he receives the Award of Honour from the Hon. Co. of Air Pilots (credit: Jenny Davies)

2020 The Coronavirus pandemic reduces MAF’s flight operations.

MAF co-founder Stuart King dies aged 98.

MAF responds to Hurricane Eta and Iota in Honduras, Nicaragua and Guatemala.

Blue Sky Aviation closes in Mongolia due to transport infrastructure development.

2021 In response to the pandemic, MAF delivers Covid-19 vaccine, test kits and medevacs the infected.

MAF medevacks Hollywood actress and #MeToo activist Ashley Judd out of the DRC jungle.

MAF responds to earthquake in Haiti followed by Tropical Storm Grace.

MAF evacuates refugees fleeing terrorist attacks in Palma, Mozambique.

2022 MAF West Africa engineering hub launches in Monrovia, Liberia.

MAF UK launch its trainee pilot and trainee engineering schemes.

MAF Bangladesh closes due to transport infrastructure development but MAF Guinea launches.

MAF flies Princess Anne in Uganda marking 60 years of independence.

MAF responds to drought in Madagascar and floods in Suriname.

2023 MAF Haiti suspends operations due to gang violence in capital, Port-au-Prince.

MAF responds to Kenya’s worst drought in 40 years.

MAF conducts relief operations in response to Sudan conflict.

2024 MAF responds to flash floods in Kenya.

MAF navigates Papua New Guinea’s national fuel crisis.

102-year-old MAF co-founder, Jack Hemmings AFC, marks 80th anniversary of D-Day in Normandy.

MAF co-founder & war veteran Jack Hemmings AFC commemorates D-Day at Normandy’s war cemeteries (credit: Jo Lamb)

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