When MAF looked at options for possible replacements for our 35- and 40-year-old Twin Otters, there was no other aircraft that could serve the remote communities in PNG as effectively as this type.
With new ones costing in excess of £4 million, the option of taking our old aircraft and making them like new made a lot of sense.
That's why we're thankful to a UK supporter for generously funded the refurbishment of one of our Twin Otters!
The refurbishment was beyond our capacity in PNG or our maintenance facility in Mareeba, so we chose to use an outside contractor with lots of experience in refurbishing Twin Otters.
Hevilift is a large company operating a fleet of Twin Otters and helicopters in PNG and South East Asia and have an overhaul facility in Cairns, Australia.
Hevilift agreed to take on the task of refurbishing our Otters and funding for the first Otter was provided in the UK by a very generous donor.
P2-MFT was ferried down to Cairns on 15 April this year for Hevilift to start the job. This included stripping and repainting, fitting a new interior, replacing most electrical components, all the hydraulic components and fuel system components as well as all new control cables and flight rods.
We are thankful to the team at Hevilift and especially John Fenske, previously with MAF and now a Hevilift employee, who did an excellent job of co-ordinating this job.
The aircraft was completed pretty much on time and at the estimated cost, which is a great result for our first major refurbishment.
Larry Nicholson, from MAF PNG, and Pascal Somandin, from MAF Mareeba, assisted by carrying out some major engine work while the aircraft was there.
Volkher Jacobsen and Richie Axon ferried it back to PNG on 21 August.
The refurbished aircraft looks like new and we trust will provide excellent, reliable service to our customers for years to come.
'This has been a massive project,' said our PNG Country Director Godfrey Sim. 'Thanks to Larry for all the scoping and follow up involved.
'The whole team involved in MAF Cairns and Mareeba plus the Hevilift team have done a great job and we are also very grateful to the UK donor who had the vision and resource to fund it. Essentially this rejuvenates the whole plane, reducing dramatically the increasing maintenance costs as it aged.'