Pilot Ron Watts has set an Australian record for the number of aircraft landings in one day, taking off and landing 102 times from Illawarra Regional Airport on May 7, to mark the 60th anniversary of the Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF).
Watts, MAF”s national bequest manager, flew his Beechcraft 19A in a marathon five sessions of 20 circuits from 7am, before finishing at Bankstown Airport at 5pm that afternoon. “If someone hears about it [the record] they might think they can beat it. Then the challenge will be for me to beat that,” Watts said.
The record achievement was intended to mark the 60th anniversary of MAF’s first ever flight on May 7 1951 to Madang, Papua New Guinea, and aimed to raise at least $10,000 for the organisation in sponsorship donations. “We are in the business of reaching isolated people with a range of aviation services, to help them receive the things they need or to provide transport in times of emergency which would be impossible by any other means,” Watts noted.
“In Papua New Guinea last year we carried out 495 emergency medical evacuations (medivacs) many of which undoubtedly saved lives. Mothers experiencing childbirth difficulties or victims of snake-bite are common among the medical emergencies that we attend.”
A Christian based organisation, MAF currently operates nearly 130 aircraft in 30 countries providing humanitarian aid and medical assistance isolated communities.