Frequently Asked Questions

Samaritan Aviation

How did Samaritan Aviation begin?

In 1994, at the age of 19, Mark Palm and Gary Bustin traveled to Papua New Guinea. After traveling through the country for several weeks and seeing the spiritual and medical needs, they felt called to establish an aviation medical service. As the plan unfolded to serve remote villages along the Sepik River, it became obvious that having a floatplane would be the best means of carrying out the mission of the organization.

Mark and his family arrived in Papua New Guinea in 2010. Shortly after, the first floatplane arrived and flight operations began in March of that year.

What services do we offer?

  • Emergency Evacuation “Life Flights”

    • Our Floatplanes turn a 5-7 day trip by canoe into an hour-long flight to the hospital.

  • Medicine Delivery

    • Quick delivery of medicine and vaccines can save the lives of those bitten by snakes or prevent outbreaks of cholera or whooping cough.

  • Nurse Training

    • Equipping rural health workers to better serve their communities.

  • Hospital Ministry

    • Our team helps treat and care for patients flown into Boram Hospital by addressing their physical and spiritual needs.

  • Disaster Relief

    • We partner with government officials and other organizations to provide aid to remote areas.

  • Community Health Programs

    • We conduct vaccination clinics and medical training in remote villages.

Who do we help?

We offer access and hope to over 200,000 people that live along a 700-mile river called the Sepik. These villages we serve are so remote that access to the nearest hospital can take up to seven days by dugout canoe. Common emergencies we see include pregnancy complications, snake bites, malaria, and tribal conflicts.

How is Samaritan Aviation funded?

We are a 501 (c) 3 organization supported partly through grants provided by the Papua New Guinea government and by private donations. Your tax-deductible gifts allow us to expand our ministry and extend help to more people in need.

From the very beginning, Samaritan Aviation has forged strong relationships with the national and provincial governments, such as the East Sepik Provincial Health Authority, and the PNG Ministry of Health. Through these connections, they have at times funded our flight operations up to half of our budget.

Since 2013 Samaritan Aviation has been accredited the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA) badge of merit and also holds the highest standard given with Guidestar which is platinum.

How can I help?

Through financial support:

  1. Fuel for Life – we offer our aviation flights free of charge!

  2. Monthly support – one of our greatest needs and helps keep our floatplanes operating.

    • $252 is the average cost of aviation fuel for one life-saving flight!

    • Or, $20 a month for a year will sponsor one life-saving flight!

  3. Where Most Needed – help us with ongoing projects and needs as they arise!

Join our team

What other organizations are you connected with?

We partner with several other organizations such as The Planning Center, Oxfam Australia, Digicel Foundation, Save the Children, International Aid, Coal Creek Consulting, Islands Petroleum, Kendall Farms, Western Skyways, Aerocet, South Seas Tuna Corporation, Ambit Consulting, Heart to Heart International, Baylor Scott & White, and S&J Tube.

Papua New Guinea

Where is Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea is located roughly 100 miles north of Australia.

How big is Papua New Guinea?

Papua New Guinea is located on the right half of the 2nd largest island in the world and is measured at 462,840 km2 (178,700 mi2).

What is the population and language of Papua New Guinea?

The population of Papua New Guinea is over 7 million people and is one of the most culturally diverse countries in the world with over 860 languages (an estimated one-fifth of all the languages in the world).

What is the main religion of Papua New Guinea?

A large percentage of the population lives in customary tribal communities overlaid with traditional animistic religious beliefs.