Missionary Aviation Fellowship

MAF one of our mission partners

Becki Dillingham MAF Aviator

Becki and Mat Dilligham married in 2008 and moved to Cheltenham to enable Becki to continue with her commercial pilot training. Meanwhile, Matt started teacher training at Gloucester University. A job flying out of Plymouth airport as the ‘eye in the sky’ pilot for a local radio station saw Becki and Matt move back to the south-west, where Matt taught science at Holsworthy Community College.

Becki’s Latest Assignment

As well as being one of the pilots in the MAF Chad program, this year I have taken on the role of Flight Operations Manager, a role essential in providing the smooth running of flights and upholding customer relations. My team are responsible for booking flights and liasing with customers to ensure the purpose of the flight fits within MAF’s criteria. Much of my time is spent working out the logistics of flights to minimise costs and flying hours while also working together with engineers to plan aircraft maintenance so as to reduce disruption to flights as much as possible. We fly 6 days a week (Sunday if its an emergency) and the aircraft often departs soon after sunrise or lands late in the day. Therefore scheduling the hours of ground staff is necessary to ensure there is always someone to assist the pilot in the preparations for the flight, flight-follow on the radio and push the aircraft back into the hangar at the end of the day. There is a lot to organise and I always have my phone on as you never know when a call about a medical evacuation might come in that needs organising for the following morning!

Flight Operations

Currently I am working on an exciting set of flights that will see our small aircraft fly around the south of Chad with two doctors, offering one day clinics in 6 different villages.

This project allows the team to reach villages that are only 1 hours flight away but are almost impossible to reach by road. None of the airstrips have fuel available and the aircraft needs maintenance during the same period so working out a schedule that fits within the funded hours (there is a budgeted number of hours for each project we do), ensures the aircraft won’t run out of fuel and is back in the hanger when needed is a big puzzle. A provisional schedule has been worked out with the medical team and the local clinics but I’m sure there will be some last-minute hurdles to overcome and changes to be made before the Medical Tournee begins!

MAF Flying in Chad

MAF have been operating in Chad since 1966 and have built strong relationships with many organisations that are also working here. There are people from countries all over the world, who have come to live in remote regions of this country where they have only the most basic amenities available. They are serving the local people through sharing the Gospel, Bible translation, providing medical services in hospitals and in their own homes. MAF is able to support these families by transporting them to where they need to go and frequently, provide transport for their families or friends who come to visit them. Usually any extra weight allowance not taken up by people/luggage is used to send food supplies to these communities.