Three in the morning is not the best time to be having conversations, but I am often collared by very slightly antagonistic people when the bars are quiet. They are in their cups usually. Me too were the truth be known. Some seem to have a strong desire to tell me of all the things theological and practical that Christ didn't mention, thinking that just because I manage a Tavern of His, I know all about deep theological matters and should know and agree with what they know. I don't and I don't. I am a Knight.
They harangue me with such matters as Popes and Bishops and Catechisms. And in particular, Catholics. Oh, and Mary. Apparantly I am supposed to worship Mary and I am not supposed to. And being a Catholic I am not just doomed but damned.
There are many things Christ didn't mention when He was down here, I tell them as I wipe tables, pour drinks and fill the nut bowl for the nuts. How to organise a Church, for instance; it was down to us to figure that. Or brushing teeth; not a word on oral hygene. Not a peep about flying planes either. He never said a word about them. Nor just what the Holy Spirit was going to tell us over the years which we could add to the Father's revelations. We would find out if we listened. Later. He did hint that there would be smartarses, and worse.
But there would also be Good folk who would go where few others go and tell what He did tell and do. And so, it came to pass that Cherrypie, a favourite customer, showed m'self and a few others the work being done by the MAF.
The Missionary Air Force- well, actually The Mission Aviation Fellowship. What a quiet, hard-working and hairy-flying mob they are too.
I like planes and have had a hand in the bizzo of bombs and bullets as you well know, but there are better ways for aircraft to deliver difficult news to people who are more inclined to pay attention. So let me tell you and let them tell you.
Our vision is to see 'isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in Christ's name.'
Imagine if your community had no roads and little access to the outside world.How would you or your family reach a doctor if you're sick or injured? How can you receive an education or job opportunities?This is the reality for millions of people.Jungles, mountains, swamps, insecurity and a dilapidated infrastructure are all barriers to receiving physical and spiritual care and a hope for the future.We are Mission Aviation Fellowship - or MAF - a Christian mission organisation that uses planes to overcome these barriers. Our pilots and personnel deliver relief workers, doctors, pastors, school books, food, medicines - everything that can only be safely and speedily delivered by air. Our supporters give and pray to make this all possible.With an MAF plane taking off or landing every four minutes, the need is huge.
We enable thousands of aid, relief and mission projects in really remote places. Because that's where some of the greatest human needs are.
In today's 'connected world', the irony is that never have so many people been so isolated.Flying onto desert and jungle airstrips, lakes and rivers, tracks and roads, MAF’s light aircraft and their mission pilots go the extra miles to provide a lifeline.Working in partnership with hundreds of other Christian and relief organisations MAF
enables practical help,
physical healing, and spiritual hope to be delivered to many of the most remote and inaccessible communities on the planet.
For 70 years, MAF has been flying for life.Millions of people cannot access basic medical care, clean water, schools or receive the Good News of God’s love, simply because it’s too dangerous or time-consuming to reach them.We provide flights for 1,500 aid, development and mission organisations to enable them to transform lives. It’s a great partnershipWhen it comes to reaching the most isolated people, MAF needs the best tools for the job.The ability to land on water and land makes it perfect to bring hope to Bangladesh, a country that sits on the mouth of the Ganges, where one third of the total area is water, and seasonal flooding cuts off many communities from receiving much needed help.
A single turbo-prop (turbine PT6A-114) engine aircraft which is reliable and easy to maintain, the amphibious Caravan can land at over 200 sites, enabling our partners to reach more people with more help than ever before. This includes supplying the floating hospitals run by Friendship and Impact with supplies and doctors.
A large cargo door makes freight easier to load and the spacious air-conditioned cabin makes the journey more comfortable for passengers.There are often requests for medevac flights in Bangladesh. The large cargo gives more space for loading stretcher patients, and once inside there is greater room for the patient and the medical team.
Gebrau airstrip - the facts
• 6,400 feet above sea level• 540 metres in length• Average slope gradient 12.5 degrees (although is steeper in places)• Opens the door to healthcare, education and economic support.The Twin Otter is well known as a dependable aircraft in rough flying conditions, making it ideal for MAF’s operations in Papua New Guinea (PNG).
Rough and rugged terrain, deep valleys, rainforests and high mountain ranges make travel by road in PNG virtually impossible. With no real alternative means of travel, people are reliant on flying to enable them to reach other places, along with their goods and supplies.
'Carrying up to 1,800kg of freight or 20 passengers, the Twin Otter can fly in and out of airstrips less than 400 metres long and with slopes of over 12%. It is a true bush aircraft, in a class of its own and providing access to communities that are otherwise unreachable.
The large capacity and large cargo doors make the Twin Otter great for a high volume of supplies and passengers. Even bulky items such as building materials, engines and livestock can be transported. Sacks of coffee, a valuable source of income for many communities, are transported to market to be sold, generating an income for many families.
Powered by two turbine (PT6A-34) engines which use readily available Jet-A1 fuel, the high wing Twin Otter is equipped with dual Garmin IFR GPS navigation systems for safe and reliable flying.Noted for its rugged construction, the Twin Otter is highly manoeuvrable and versatile and can be flown slowly and in tight circles. The enhanced reliability and performance of twin engines makes it ideal for the terrain in which it operates. Excellent STOL (short take-off and landing) capability enables it to land comfortably on short bush airstrips scraped out of the sides of mountains or hidden away in deep valleys.
I have to say this: it is mostly Protestants who berate me and call me a sanctimonous old shit whenever I excuse m'self to go down to the Crypt for a quiet prayer, but the MAF and their partners are mostly Protestants too.
God Bless them, I pray.
They do well.
CherryPie was back to remind me of just how this mob started. One of MAF’s founders Stuart King tells how the organisation took to the skies 70 years ago on its very first 'flight of faith’
A rainy day in Croydon
Traumatic at times, MAF’s story is an adventure of faith. Above all, it’s God’s story.
After World War II, in air forces throughout the world, the hearts of men and women were stirred by one question above all others – ‘Can aircraft that were used so effectively for death and destruction now bring God’s peace and love to isolated people in unreached areas?’
New Zealander Murray Kendon – who’d been an RAF pilot in Coastal Command – was one such airman inspired by this idea.
Jack Hemmings, Ken Ellis, Tom Banham and I were among the first to join Murray and his new organisation, Missionary Aviation Fellowship. We all shared the feeling that God had called us to survey missionary needs in Africa by air.
It took two long years to raise funds for the twin-engined, four-seater Miles Gemini aircraft that became known as ‘The Mildmay Pathfinder’ in honour of our sponsor, the Mildmay Movement. Finally, on the afternoon of Tuesday 13 January 1948 at Croydon Airport – after an electrical fault had been corrected– Jack (pilot) and I (engineer) were given permission to take off.
We promptly flew the Pathfinder into a squall of icy rain with a 70mph crosswind for good measure. There had been a brief debate about waiting for better weather, but we’d done crazier things in the war and couldn’t wait any longer to start this new adventure!
Flying low across the Channel, a strong side wind made it necessary to correct our course by 20o all the way to France. Two hours later, we touched down safely in Paris – the first leg of our African adventure completed. Praise the Lord
Throughout this 70th anniversary year, we will continue the amazing story of MAF’s beginnings. However, just before the Pathfinder left England that day, a supporter thrust a small movie camera into Stuart’s hands and urged him to film the journey. The resulting documentary is called Flights of Faith and is now available for a donation on DVD.
To mark 70 years since the Gemini left Croydon on it's first MAF flight to Africa we are giving away a free 2nd copy of 'Flights of Faith' with every DVD purchase in our shop 13th -14th January 2018.