Two new pilots will complete flight training on plane before heading to Papua New Guinea
In September, Mark Palm, CEO of Samaritan Aviation, delivered a brand-new float plane to the Wings of Hope hangar. The plane, which will be the third float plane in Samaritan Aviation’s fleet, will remain at Wings of Hope for the next few months while two new pilots complete their flight training in it before heading down to Papua New Guinea to fly medical missions for Samaritan Aviation.
“This float plane is a lifesaver for the communities it will serve in Papua New Guinea,” said Wings of Hope President and CEO Bret Heinrich. “It will reduce what could be a 14-hour boat ride to medical care to a 30-to-40-minute flight.”
Wings of Hope’s long partnership with Samaritan Aviation dates to 2001.
“We bought our first plane from Wings of Hope and used it to fly doctors to Mexico to provide medical care for the migrant workers down in Baja,” said Palm.
From 2006-2008, Wings of Hope helped prepare a Cessna 206 that Samaritan Aviation would use to fly medical missions in Papua New Guinea — where the organization continues to operate today.
“Having partners like Wings of Hope allows us to save lives and to reach remote communities,” said Palm.
Most recently, Wings of Hope provided Samaritan Aviation funding to train trauma nurses — local to Papua New Guinea — and outfit them with medical equipment that includes stethoscopes, oximeters and blood pressure cuffs.
“That allows the nurses to do their job better so when they call us into an emergency, they have the information we need to triage the patient,” said Palm. “To have a partner like Wings of Hope that’s willing to help us with the training is a big deal.”
While Palm is grateful for Wings of Hope’s support of his work in Papua New Guinea, he appreciates the collective work of the organization’s many partners around the world.
“For me to come to Wings of Hope and see the global impact that the organization is having — it’s really cool to be part of that.”