David and Alison Dorricot with the people of Dodomona
photo by David & Alison Dorricott

A business couple from the Isle of Man experienced the impactful work of MAF’s service to rural PNG communities during their two-day visit to the programme.

Story by Mandy Glass

Alison and David Dorricott only had 48 hours for their visit to see the work of MAF in PNG as they travelled through the Asia Pacific region on their holiday. Papua New Guinea wasn’t a holiday destination for them. They came to see first-hand where their generous gift to MAF – a brand new Cessna Caravan with the registration P2-AFD – is going to make a difference.

Our ten-minute hop to the next stop would take two full days of walking for a fit person overland. There are no roads.
David Dorricott, Managing Director of AFD, The Postcode People

To honour their generosity, MAF PNG provided the opportunity to join a regular service run for communities out of Tari, one of the small MAF bases. From there, they flew to Dodomona and Mougulu, and in a second shuttle to Wanakipa before returning to Mt Hagen, all flights moving passengers, delivering school supplies or store goods.

MAF Pilot Mathias Glass showing and explaining the flight route on a map

Mrs Dorricott recounts the remarkable experience, highlighting the humbling encounters at Dodomona observing the community’s determination, resilience, and collective effort to extend their runway.

“Completely different from anything we'd experienced before. It was just incredible. It was quite a steep approach. In fact, Mathias [the pilot] had to circle around just to check it [the airstrip] out before he landed. But when we looked, there were just lots of little black specks at the end of the runway. It looked like, you know, loads of ants crawling all over the place,” Mrs Dorricott said.

aerial shot of Dodomona run way extension
photo by David & Alison Dorricott

“As we got closer, we saw that there weren't ants. There were people, literally hundreds of them. They were trying to extend the runway. But they're doing it all by hand. They had spades. Bare feet, 34-degree heat. It was just humbling.

“They said, ‘we just decided we would do it ourselves.’ And you think, wow, 800 people approximately just swarming all over the place. Men, women, and children, all completely engaged. It was quite amazing.”

Running a successful and innovative business themselves, Mr Dorricott expressed a deep admiration for the professionalism he saw at MAF and emphasised the importance of all workers, from the pilots and engineers to those keeping the facilities clean. He also underlined the critical role of safety in aviation, commending MAF's meticulous safety checks, maintenance procedures, and exemplary safety record.

“The safety record of MAF over many years is exemplary. It's astonishing to us to see those very low numbers of accidents, but it's a consequence of the excellence of the whole organisation and the team behind, affirming these procedures” Mr Dorricott said.

MAF aircraft delivering personal and supplies to Mougulu

From Dodomona, they continued to Mougulu, still with freight on board from Tari, but now collecting passengers, including Mika Yabua and his family, the Deputy Principal for the Nomad Mougulu Secondary School.

“Our ten-minute hop to the next stop would take two full days of walking for a fit person overland. There are no roads. Another MAF Cessna arrived before us, delivering books and stationery for the school, we bring rice and tuna for them. It's deeply humbling that those people so value the aircraft. In 10 minutes, you're moving key personnel to the right place so they can do their job properly,” said Mr Dorricott.

As the Dorricotts’ successful software company AFD (“The Postcode People” celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, they decided to share their success by donating £3m to over 80 charitable organisations, with MAF receiving the biggest allocation. 

As the people of Dodomona are combining their efforts according to each one’s skills and strength, MAF will use this new aircraft P2-AFD to continue to bring help, hope and healing to those in need, similar to what the couple experienced in just one day’s flying.

Fact Sheet of P2-AFD
David Alison Dorricott holding flags from the Isle of Man prior to boarding  P2-MEW
photo by David & Alison Dorricott