The aircraft’s first operational flight took place on 7 July 2021 and was piloted by Mike Brown, who flew from MAF’s base in Sentani to Emdomen in the central mountainous region of Yahukimo. The one-hour flight delivered food supplies and literature to the remote village, a journey that would involve several days of travel by roads and hiking.
From Emdomen, Mike flew to Triston to collect a patient with urgent medical needs, returning her safely to Sentani where she received treatment.
Pilot Mike Brown said: “This is the first Kodiak we’ve had in Papua with weather radar, which is a great addition to the plane. I was able to fly out and avoid some good-sized weather build up on the way. It was a great first day of flying.”
The Kodiak was purchased by MAF in 2018 but has experienced months of delays due to Covid-19 travel restrictions. The aircraft – now registered PK-MVK – was granted a Certificate of Airworthiness by the Indonesian Aviation Authority on 12 May 2021, exactly one year after the death of MAF bush pilot Joyce Lin.
Delivering Covid-19 tests and vaccines
Joyce Lin, a former US Air Force pilot who joined MAF’s Papua operation in 2019, took off from Sentani in a similar Kodiak 100 to deliver supplies to the remote village of Mamit on 12 May 2020. Two minutes after take-off, Lin lost her life in a fatal crash.
When MAF’s new Kodiak PK-MVK was approved for service on the anniversary of Lin’s accident, the MAF team held an event at the Sentani hangar to celebrate the new aircraft and remember their colleague.
Brad Hoaglun, MAF Director of Corporate of Communication, said: “Typically a certificate of airworthiness can take up to six months following the inspection of a new aircraft. So, our team was delighted when approval came in just four weeks – and on the special anniversary of Joyce Lin’s accident.
“This aircraft will be used for MAF’s life-saving work, which includes medical evacuations, transporting medical staff and equipment and flying teachers and mission staff in and out of remote areas. The Kodiaks also make deliveries of larger items including food, solar panels, or even Covid-19 vaccines. These planes are often the only connection with the outside world, and they are a workhorse on the mission field.”