Kylan Diprose of v2track visits MAF PNG Program

We were honoured to have Kylan Diprose visit the MAF PNG Program on Monday 6 January 2020, he and his brother Bevan Diprose founded v2track, the aircraft tracking system we use here in the MAF PNG Program as well as in other MAF Programs around the world.  Kylan and a cousin came through Mt. Hagen on their way to the village of Sibilanga for the Golden Jubilee, which is the 60th Anniversary of the first missionaries arriving there. Their grandparents, ­Neal and Margaret Windsor, were some of the first missionaries in that area of PNG, raising their children there as well.

Several years ago Kylan flew, periodically, for MAF in Arnhem Land, and there recognized the need for a way to track the airplanes. Being a computer programmer himself, he along with his brother developed the v2track system, which has now gone on to be used commercially as well as with Mission Aviators in over 30 countries worldwide.

For the MAF PNG Program, the environment we fly in can be very harsh with monsoonal wet seasons, dense jungles, high mountain ranges, and rapidly changing weather patterns.  Given the fact that HF radio communications are not always reliable, having a system that utilizes both satellite and cellular formats providing aircraft positional awareness and communication with the pilots is crucial.  Especially since weather and other factors can change at a moment’s notice and the need to communicate that to the pilot and back to the bases is imperative.

The v2track system allows that communication between the pilots and bases and allows our Operations team to always know where our aircraft are located, which assists us in coordinating the many medical evacuations we do each month.

We are thankful for the vision and efforts of Kylan and his brother Bevan and appreciate his visit.

It was late in the afternoon on Tuesday, 11 December when Dr. Erin Meier from Kudjip Nazarene Hospital called my phone, “Todd, what are our options for a medical evacuation to Port Moresby? We have a very critical patient!”

The rugged mountains and rain forest of the highlands of Papua New Guinea do not lend themselves to safe single engine night operations.

Dr. Erin would go on to describe a young man around 25 years of age who had suffered what appeared to be a significant heart attack while playing rugby. As Dr. Erin described the case my mind was weighing the facts. It was already late in the afternoon. The rugged rain forest jungle over which we fly does not allow for safe operations at night, and given the 45 minute drive from Kudjip station to our airstrip, a late afternoon departure for the two hour flight to the capital city was already out of the question. Dr. Matt Woodley (ER Doctor at Kudjip) and his team had already resuscitated the patient four times. Would he be able to survive the high altitude non-pressurized flight that is required to clear the high mountains of the highlands on the way to the coast? We agreed that at this point, the best plan was to see if the patient could remain stabilized through the night at Kudjip and then plan for an early departure on Thursday morning.

The red line denotes the route to be flown by P2-SDP from Mount Hagen to Port Moresby.

 

Shortly after 0600 on Thursday morning, Dr. Erin called. The young man had stabilized through the night and although still critical, they felt he could survive the flight. They would be on their way shortly. A quick call to our Flight Operations Manager, Captain Brad Venter put the plan in action. P2-SDP was readied and the base team awaited the arrival of the patient from Kudjip.

Kudjip Ambulance at MAF Mount Hagen Base

 

 

Dr. Matt Woodley from Kudjip Nazarene Hospital arrives with the patient.

At 0850, the ambulance from Kudjip arrived at the MAF Mount Hagen Base with the patient, family members and Doctor Matt Woodley along with Anesthesia Specialist Officer (APO), David Wan. The team quickly went to work to prep the patient for the flight. Simultaneously, our team at MAF headquarters continued to do their part – praying for the patient, family, doctors, and pilot team as they prepared to launch.

 

Team transporting patient to the aircraft.

Arriving at the aircraft with the patient.

At 09:49, pilots Brad Venter (South Africa) and Andy Symmonds (UK) lifted off with their valuable cargo on the wings of P2-SDP and much prayer from both the Kudjip Nazarene and MAF teams. Touching down 1 hour and 59 minutes later in the capital city of Port Moresby, the patient was transferred to the waiting ambulance and rushed to Pacific International Hospital.

Pilot Brad Venter and Dr. Matt prep patient in the plane.

 

Dr. Matt preps patient.

Dr. Matt and Dr. David work with patient.

 

Final preparations.

 

 

Pilot Andy Symmonds makes sure that family members are properly secured.

Church and Community Partnerships Manager, Godfrey Sim, helps to make sure all is in order.

 

On Friday morning our Mount Hagen team met for morning devotions as we do every morning. When it came time to list our praises and prayer requests, Nancy from our operations team said that she had received news from the family. Our patient had successfully undergone surgery, was in the Intensive Care Unit, and it was expected that he would make a good recovery.

“Seeing isolated people physically and spiritually transformed in Christ’s Name.” This is why we do what we do in one of the most remote countries in the world. Accomplishing this Vision requires a team. Doctors, nurses, pilots, ground operations, flight operations, finance, IT, engineers, and on an on. It also requires you!!!

Thank you so very much for praying for and partnering with us as a family, and our greater MAF and Nazarene Team!

Together we can do so much more!

Thank you to Mandy Glass for the photo journalism!

by Todd Aebischer

Two German medical students spent their semester break volunteering at the Kompiam Hospital. They’ve had the privilege of flying with MAF to two remote villages for a clinic patrol with some team members from the hospital. This is their written account of their experience of rural clinics and flying MAF.

Medical Patrols to remote Villages in the Jungle

As medical students, we have to do internships during the semester breaks anyway, so we (Leni and Clara) thought to ourselves: Why not combine it with a little adventure?! Our idea: a one-month internship in the highlands of PNG!
The Kompiam District Hospital, which can use any amount of support, welcomed us with open arms. The Australian doctor, David Mills, has been there for 20 years and has established a lot during this time: a hospital in the middle of the jungle, offering inpatient care for about 50 patients and an additional two hours of consultations for outpatients with minor ailments on two afternoons per week. Despite their suffering and pain, the sick often walk for hours from the surrounding villages to Kompiam, to the “tall white doctor”, with the hope of alleviating their symptoms.

But what are patients doing in more remote and distant regions in PNG?
Thanks to MAF, even some of the tiny and remote villages in the PNG highlands have access to medical care.
Through cooperation with MAF, medical staff from the Kompiam Hospital, as well as medicines and equipment, regularly reach these jungle regions.
During our stay, we experienced two of these “patrols” of two days each. The Indian MAF pilot Satish picked us and our equipment up at Kompiam airstrip next to the hospital and, after a 20-minute flight (with stunning views over PNG’s jungle) lands safely in the village of Yenkisa.

The sound of the MAF Cessna Caravan’s engine announces that it is time for the people of the surrounding area to head for the runway and report their complaints to us. What we see most often there are malaria, pregnant women for monitoring, inflamed wounds, contraceptive questions, joint pain from hard physical labor, tuberculosis.
Seriously ill people can fly back to the hospital for further treatment with the MAF aircraft as an ambulance.
After two days of a huge variety of diagnoses, we get picked up by the German MAF pilot Mathias Glass and his Dutch copilot Piet and get safely flown back to Kompiam.
With us in the aircraft flies a highly pregnant woman, who will give birth to healthy twins the next day at the Kompiam District Hospital.

With many new impressions and some interesting experiences richer, we return to Kompiam and later to Germany to finish the last semesters of our medical studies.

Thank you, MAF, for this experience! Your engagement and services in PNG are valuable as gold.
Magdalena (Leni) Bonleitner

In this story, Volkher Jacobsen, one of our training pilots who regularly comes from Mareeba, shares how the need of our MAF aircraft is so obvious out in remote communities, even more so when some airstrips don’t get regular service. Considering that MAF is serving more than 200 airstrips across mainland PNG with currently a total of 9 aircraft someone can understand that some places, especially those where travelling or shipping cargo is hard to afford for individuals or communities, only get to see a MAF aircraft very rarely or in emergencies only.
Landing on such a randomly served airstrip our pilot was confronted with a wall of people desperate for help. The attached story will give you more details…
Reflecting on his encounter the pilot said that this gave him some glimpses into what it must have been for Jesus coming to a new place where people knew that they could be helped by Him for their physical and spiritual needs.
As Jesus was confronted with a wall of the inform, broken, sick and unwell so are often our pilots.

Here’s Volkher’s story:

Early September, Flight Instructor Volkher Jacobsen from our Mareeba based Flight Training Centre was back in Papua New Guinea to continue training for our two low hour pathway pilots Joël Rominger and Joseph Tua in Western Province flying P2-MAL, back then the newest of our Cessna Caravans, C208.

On 12 September, Volkher’s second last training day before returning back to Australia, he was flying with Joël from Lake Murray to Kiunga/Rumginae, reporting to Flight service “POB 12,” meaning 12 person on board.
12 passengers? How can that be on an aircraft which only has … seats?
Volkher recalls:

We had changed the programme to allow for this initially unplanned Kiunga – Lake Murray – Kiunga – Rumginae flight at the end of the day, a reaction to a medevac call for a woman with a retained placenta. We planned a dedicated flight and landed at Lake Murray empty. We expected to have only one patient to transport.

After shutting the engine down in the parking bay, and hopping out the cockpit to meet the MAF agent and the customers we just saw a “wall” of the sick, unwell and infirm plus their guardians slowly hobbling, shuffling, limping towards the aircraft. A few needed to be assisted walking as they were so week. In the distance, a large community, forty plus people or so, carrying a made shift (bamboo) stretcher, on it, the lady with the retained placenta.
She was very weak and mentally like in a fog, barely able to perceive what was happening to her. The only thing she seemed to be able to focus on was her tiny little baby in the baby-bilum. Her ‘was-mama’ (guardian) was a mother who had a newborn baby herself in a bilum. She only seemed to understand ‘tok ples’, so everything was translated to her; our passengers 1-4.

There was another woman with pregnancy complications and her guardian; our passengers 5+6.

Then, there was a middle aged man wrapped in a ‘lablab’, barely able to walk himself and assisted by his ‘was papa’. The man seemed to struggle with a catheter or artificial drain; our passengers 7+8

Then there was another ‘lapun’, who was on a drip which was held by his guardian; our passengers 9+10.

Glad we had the extra single seat on board!

The flight back to Kiunga saw us fly between 500 and 1000’ above ground level and we had to dodge and divert around thin but ling lines of the rain showers. At Kiunga, we refuelled and carried on to Rumginae with passengers 1-8.
On the ground at Rumginae, we were met by a dozen Rumginae hospital staff having three stretchers with them. The next set of professionals took over