(Written by Katherine Williams – Communications Officer, Mareeba.
Photographs taken by Matt Gallard & Katherine Williams.)
Andrew Hadfield, one of Mareeba’s Aircraft Maintenance Engineers began working for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) at the beginning of 2014 as an adult Apprentice. He had grown up watching his Dad also work on planes for MAF as an Engineer and felt that God wanted him to follow the same path.
Andrew’s Dad, Robert Hadfield had served God through MAF for over 20 years, initially training as a pilot with MAF, as he already had been trained as an engineer through Qantas. His first placement was at Elcho Island, Arnhem Land, in an engineering and pilot role for a few years. Bangladesh was the second placement where Robert’s family, along with another family set up the programme. Then the family came back to Gove in Arnhem Land, where Robert took on the Chief Pilot role for six years. And then Wewak, Papua New Guinea became home where Robert was again splitting his time between engineering and flying.
After Andrew completing his apprenticeship training, he took a Leave of Absence from MAF and worked in various organisations in Cairns for two years. During this time, he gained some valuable industry experience and the appropriate Maintenance Licenses. He is now back and happy to be working for MAF in Mareeba again.
Just as Andrew had stepped back into MAF, he was given the task of implementing the final stages of Part 145 to ensure the smooth running of Arnhem Land’s ‘Regular Public Transport’ (RPT) by air, which has two regular routes around Arnhem Land’s remote areas. Arnhem Land’s terrain brings remoteness to the homelands and communities, as the roads are so poor and are mostly off road tracks. More often than not, it’s just a drive through the bush and very often in the wet season the roads become impassable leaving the homelands cut off from everyday needs. Therefore, this service is imperative to the people of Arnhem Land. For MAF to be able to run this service in Arnhem Land, Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) require that MAF meet Part 145 standards in their maintenance of the aircraft they use to run this service. So Andrew was also a logical choice to finish this project as he had spent the last two years in Cairns working for 145 registered companies and could bring the best of what he had seen to MAF.
The certificate achieved for Part 145 includes three locations. Andrew was given a list by CASA of what needed to be implemented, changed and improved in MAF Mareeba, Arnhem Land and Timor-Leste. Andrew began the process in Mareeba with a massive clean up/sort out of parts. He had to segregate all aircraft and non-aircraft parts, ensuring designated ‘clean’ or ‘dirty’ areas of work, as well as ensuring everything was labelled, even the rubbish bins. This ensured that they were ready to meet the CASA requirements and standards to be able to maintain this service. He then went to Arnhem Land and Timor-Leste and went through the same process. There was a huge amount of work involved in getting the hangars ready, and they now will be audited regularly to ensure that they consistently meet the standard. The first audit is expected in approximately 5 months’ time. Andrew found working on Part 145 challenging but very rewarding.
Andrew’s recent visit to Arnhem Land in particular, brought back happy childhood memories of his time spent as a MAF kid. He said that “he was most happy on a beach in Gove, when there was no one else around”. He just loves the quiet of Arnhem Land and is not a city lover at all.
Andrew had another reason why he was happy to be visiting Arnhem Land as his 18year old son Wesley had just started to work as a ‘Hangar Assistant’ in the Arnhem Land base. Also Andrew’s Dad Robert was working at the hangar whilst he was there. So Andrew was assisted by his Dad Robert, who has worked for MAF for 20 plus years and son Wesley in the work of achieving Part 145. Achieving this certificate on 3rd April 2019 was significant to MAF as all maintenance can now be done in house and particularly memorable for the three generations of Hadfield’s.