Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) has deployed a new Kodiak airplane and four crew members to join its fleet of three aircraft already serving the relief effort following the massive earthquake in Haiti Jan. 12.
The deployment marks the first-ever use of this specially designed airplane in disaster relief work, according to MAF officials.
“The Kodiak is the next-generation bush plane and is made for such a time as this,” said John Boyd, president of MAF. “It can land on short, unpaved airstrips to get essential humanitarian help to its destination quickly and safely in the absence of viable roads. The Kodiak will greatly expand our ability to quickly take aid where it is most needed.”
Disaster response has been an MAF area of expertise for more than 60 years. In past disasters, including the Indonesian Tsunami of 2004, Hurricane Felix and Cyclone Sidr in 2007, and the Haitian hurricanes of 2008, MAF provided communications systems, delivered relief supplies, transported medical teams and assisted humanitarian organizations in reaching people and areas that had been otherwise cut off from assistance.
MAF, which has been serving in Haiti for 23 years, has set up a Port-au-Prince communications center connected to a GATR VSAT satellite system, supplying high-bandwidth communications to workers from at least 16 international aid groups. The ministry is also helping coordinate the arrival and distribution of relief through its hangar at the airport. This service is valuable to relief organization as MAF staff know the country, the culture and the language.
“With the help of MAF, CCH’s trauma team and medical supplies are in Jacmel helping heal the injured, hurt and hopeless,” said Karen Carr, director of Community Coalition for Haiti. “MAF has been a constant source of hope for all of the relief organizations trying to get supplies and medical personnel into Haiti. For the Haitians who are suffering and those bringing help, hearing the MAF flights overhead gives us more reason to believe that things will recover here and that more help is on the way.”
The cargo aboard the Kodiak included two boxes of aid collected by 9-year-old Moise Salois of Nampa, Idaho. Young Moise, adopted from an orphanage in Haiti four years ago, still has two brothers and a grandmother living in Haiti. Among items Moise sent to Haiti on the MAF flight were medical supplies, infant formula, food and clothing.
Additionally, MAF is partnering with Hands of Hope and World Concern to provide relief supplies to Haiti. Among items collected for distribution in Haiti are food such as Power Bars, peanut butter and cooking oil; medical supplies including surgical gloves and orthopedic braces and splints; and other supplies such as blankets, solar-powered flashlights, large tarps, nylon rope and bungee cords.
This aircraft is the fourth MAF Kodiak. Three others are already serving overseas in remote areas.
The Kodiak is manufactured by Quest Aircraft Co. of Sandpoint, Idaho, which was founded to provide rugged, backcountry aircraft for remote operations for mission aviation organizations around the world.
Over the next few years, MAF will place 18 Kodiaks into service, replacing many of its Cessna 206s.
For more information: MAF.org.