Mark Palm is the CEO of Samaritan Aviation (SA) which he founded with a friend in 2000. In 2010, Mark and his family launched full-time aviation operations for SA in Papua New Guinea.
Mark grew up as a pastor’s son. From a young age Mark had two passions—helping hurting people and flying airplanes. These were especially deepened during his high school years when he worked with his parents who ran Elm Street Mission, a homeless mission in Santa Cruz, California, and also when he was able to serve with his church in Mexico building houses for those in need.
Mark attended and graduated from Miramar College with a degree in Aviation Technology. He holds a commercial pilots certificate with IFR and Seaplane ratings and an FAA A&P mechanics license. He also attended Hobe Sound Bible College and served as a youth and worship pastor for more then 8 years while helping to start Samaritan Aviation.
Mark has extensive mission experience along the Sepik River in PNG. He is often called upon as a consultant for the PNG government, other faith-based nonprofits, and humanitarian agencies as they seek to respond to the ongoing needs of the local poor and isolated population. Mark also has served on the PNG Air Transport sub-committee since 2018.
Mark introduced Samaritan Aviation seaplane flight operations in the East Sepik Province in 2010 and has routinely flown into areas along the rivers that have never had airplane operations. He has been the lead pilot on more then 1500 life-saving flights in the remote jungles of Papua New Guinea.
Because of Mark and SA’s ministry among the isolated jungle people of PNG, his story has been told through media outlets such as People Magazine, Surfer Magazine, American Family Association Journal, AOPA, Seaplane magazine , Relevant Magazine as well as a number of television interviews from CNN to Headline News. He has also been featured on radio and TV broadcasts in the USA, Australia, Papua New Guinea, Europe, and France. The story of SA has made dozens of newspaper articles including the front page of the Denver Post.
Mark and his wife, Kirsten, along with their three children Sierra, Drake, and Nolan, currently live in California. Kirsten has a Masters degree in Cross Cultural Education and has been Mark's partner since the beginning.