MAF History

1943

Three World War II pilots begin meeting for prayer, Bible study and discussion of missionary aviation.
1944
One of those pilots is moved to establish an organization as soon as possible so that missionary aviation can begin when the war ends.
The Missionary Aviation Fellowship was formed in the United Kingdom in 1944, led by Murray Kendon, a New Zealand pilot serving with the RAF
1945
Pilots in Australia, the UK and the United States formed Missionary Aviation Fellowship.
Later to become Mission Aviation Fellowship, the Christian Airmen’s Missionary Fellowship (CAMF) is launched in the US.
MAF office opens in London, UK
1946
The first MAF aircraft is purchased: a 1933, Betty Greene with MAF’s Waco biplane four-place cabin, red Waco biplane with a new 220-horsepower Continental engine.
1946
Betty Greene flies MAF’s new plane on its inaugural flight. She pilots two Wycliffe workers to a remote jungle location in Mexico.
1947
Inspired by the American and English fellowships, a group of Australian
airmen studying at the Melbourne Bible Institute (MBI) caught the vision of
using their post war aviation skills for the Lord and in June 1947 Australian
Missionary Aviation Fellowship was formed
1948
MAF UK uses a Miles Gemini aircraft for survey of Africa
1950

For countless missionaries, the shortwave radios installed and serviced by MAF are the only way to communicate with the outside world.
1951
Sudan: first MAF UK regular flight operations commence using a De Havilland Rapide.
April 1951 pilot Harry Hartwig, together with wife Margaret and daughter Beth and engineer/pilot Bob Hutchins together with wife Betty and son Bruce, commenced operations in Papua New Guinea with one aircraft, a single engine “Auster Autocar”.
1954
A Piper Pacer equipped to land on water or land launches MAF’s program in New Guinea. MAF also begins work in Indonesia.
1956
Nate Saint and four missionary companions land on “Palm Beach” near Ecuador’s Curaray River to reach the Auca Indians, a tribe infamous for their violence.
1956
Nate Saint and his companions make the first personal contact with the Auca Indians. They believe the Indians are friendly. Nate Saint is martyred by Auca Indians on “Palm Beach.” Killed along with Nate are Jim Elliot, Roger Youderian, Pete Fleming, and Ed McCully. Seven-of-nine of the killers … and many others from the tribe eventually come to Christ. Tens of thousands of people around the world hear the story and volunteer to take their place.
1959
Paul Pontier flies the first Indonesian national missionaries. They witness for three days and 1,000 tribespeople commit their lives to Christ. MAF UK starts Kenya program
1960
Etheopia flight program is started by MAF UK
1961
MAF introduces the Missavia transistorized radio, providing a light, low-power way to communicate over long distances.
1964

MAF conducts rescue operations in Zaire during a sequel to the Congo rebellion. Many missionaries are
killed or displaced.
Sudan: expulsion of missions and closure of MAF programme there after 14 years
1965
Queen Juliana of the Netherlands personally dedicates the MAF-US C-185 “Flying Dutchman,” partially
funded by the Dutch government because of MAF’s pioneering work in Dutch colonies.
1966
Chad: MAF UK programme starts
1970
Using a plane with retractable skis, Don and Phyllis Beiter launch a program in Afghanistan, later forced
to close.
1972
To serve the growing number of
Canadians working with MAF projects
worldwide, Mission Aviation
Fellowship of Canada was formed in 1972.
1973
MAF operations commenced in remote Arnhem Land, Northern Australia in 1973 at Elcho Island
following on from the pioneering work undertaken by the Rev. Harold Shepherdson. In conjunction with
MAF’s own operations serving outstation Aboriginal communities, MAF has undertaken management of
aircraft owned by Aboriginal community councils
1977
Tanzania: MAF UK programme starts
Ethiopia: Marxist government restrictions force closure of MAF’s operations. Programme ends after 17
years
Sudan: a respite in the civil war. MAF programme restarts.
1978
MAF Netherlands formed
1981
MAF initiates relief flights in Ethiopia in support of famine intervention
efforts.

1982-2002
MAF managed Aboriginal Air Services in Alice Springs, Central Australia, building up a fleet of eight aircraft, before the Aboriginal councils took in self-management
1985-6
The work of MAF in providing support to relief and development organizations proved invaluable during the disastrous earthquakes, hurricanes, and famines of the 1980s. During this time, MAF began using larger aircraft like the Twin Otter and the Beech 99.
1989
Mission Aviation Fellowship of Canada began using a Cessna Caravan in a new work in the drought stricken and war-torn African country of Angola.
1991
The Helicopter Association International awards “Pilot of the Year” to Dave Marfleet and Mike Meeuwse for their humanitarian efforts in Indonesia following a devastating earthquake.
1992
Bob Gordon initiates a communications and logistics support ministry in Russia soon after the communist government crumbles.
1993
MAF completes installation of Global Positioning Systems (GPS) receivers on all aircraft. Using satellites, the GPS allows pinpoint location to within 50 feet anywhere in the world.
1994
MAF Australia began work in Cambodia under the umbrella of Christian Care for Cambodia, with MAF staff teaching English as a second language to Civil Aviation staff
1994
MAF staffer, Rob Taylor, installs the first satellite communications link in Goma, Zaire (now Congo DRC), enabling mission and relief groups to communicate directly to the U.S. as well as with one another in the field.


1994 The lost MAF-US plane piloted by Nate Saint is recovered. Nate, and four other missionaries were martyred by Waodani (Auca) Indians on “Palm Beach” in Ecuador. The remains of the plane are displayed in a diorama at MAF headquarters in the U.S.
1995
MAF begins a floatplane operation in Central Kalimantan to focus on church and mission outreach.
1998
The Mali Programs launches a well digging project. Hand dug by MAF staff, the project provides opportunities to share the Gospel. In its first 18 months, the well digging project would plant more than 20 churches.
1998
In the wake of Hurricane Mitch, MAF conducts relief flights in the Mosquitia region of Honduras.
1998
Due to the El Nino weather pattern which brought severe drought conditions to Indonesia, MAF sends a fleet of planes and one helicopter for relief flying.
2000
MAF flies hundreds of flights to support flood relief efforts in Mozambique after hundreds of thousands of people are left homeless.
2001
MAF launches Operation ACCESS! under the direction of Ghislaine Benny. Completed in 2006, this landmark project would survey 364 isolated areas in 64 countries.
The purpose of Operation ACCESS! is to identify and survey areas of the world where transportation, communications, and technology barriers prevent or impede people’s access to the Gospel and to sustained resources that advace God’s Kingdom. The research focuses on countries with pockets of people who are either forgotten or unreached. Such groups have little or no access to Gospel ministry, resources for spiritual nurture, or basic services to improve their quality of life.
2003
MAF Learning Technologies publishes the Bibliologia. Complete on one CD, this pastor’s reference library in Russion contains 19 Bible translations and 125 Christian books. The Bibliologia was downloaded more that 50,000 times from the Internet during its first year with more than 6,000 copies distributed initially.
2003
MAF Australia’s engineering facility was shifted to Mareeba, Queensland and the head office to Cairns, Queensland. This move had a number of benefits including positioning the support departments considerably closer to the operational branches. The FTC was transferred to the Mission Aviation Centre (MAC) in Coldstream, Victoria, an initiative jointly run by MAF, the Bible College of Victoria and Wycliffe Bible Translators. This MAC facility is primarily focused on training engineers and pilots for potential service in mission flying.

2005
While the various MAF groups are autonomous they all share the same vision and have always cooperated with each other, sharing information and resources. In May 2005 the Chairmen and CEOs of the major MAF groups met together to consider worldwide integration. A set of organisational statements was agreed on and MAF International began to take shape.
MAF Canada seeks and appoints Mark Outerbridge as CEO.

2005
Following a series of earthquakes and a devastating tsunami, MAF is the first onsite in Meulaboh, Northern Sumatra, Indonesia. In the first seven weeks, MAF distributed relief supplies to some 60,000 victims by conducting 1,114 relay flights and transporting 387,743 lbs. of food. MAF Europe, MAF US and MAF Australia joined forces to provide air transport in the Aceh province of Indonesia transporting food, medical aid and materials for rebuilding destroyed homes. When aid agencies left Indonesia a few months later, MAF was invited to stay. MAF US and MAF Australia jointly continue operations in the region with MAF Australia operating one GA8 aircraft.
MAF US celebrates its 60th anniversary.

2006
Idaho ground breaking

MAF releases the results of Operation Access! A landmark research project that surveyed 364 isolated areas in 64 countries.
Operation Access

2007
MAF International agreement was signed by MAF UK (Europe), MAF Australia, MAF Canada, and MAF USA

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