3 minutes to read

Pilot Story #3



Every week a new story!

Landing in short runways and flying through challenging weather is all about this week’s post!We have the honor to interview Peter Neal! A pilot flying in Indonesia’s demanding terrain! Pilot, Mechanic and a person who loves to help people through his acts!

A small intro from his page!

…Pete serves churches and communities in remote villages of Borneo. A typical day might find him transporting pastors for a conference or mission or delivering supplies such as gas, rice or animals or flying sick people to better medical care. Among the many opportunities that he has to bless and encourage the people he meets, he feels a particular leading to pray with his sick passengers and their families…

So Peter, tell us about how it all started, your dream as a child and how you made it up to here?

Hello to all pilots and aviation enthusiasts!

I am 32 years old and my story begins like this: I started flying outside Chicago, IL USA.  I took my first intro flight lesson when I was 12, but didn’t start getting serious till 2005.  I attended the School of Mission Aviation Technology in Grand Rapids, MI completing my pilot ratings through Certified Flight Instructor and maintenance licenses Airframe/Power plant.

What type of airplane do you fly and for which company?

11376513_950125125031114_607002173_nI currently fly for Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) in Kalimantan Indonesia.  Our organization uses the airplane to overcome geographic barriers and serve isolated people.

The villages we serve are on the Malaysian/Indonesian border.  To hike from these villages to the nearest hospital would take 2 and a half months… its 120nm… but with the C206s and Kodiaks we fly, it only takes an hour.  As you can imagine, our flight services is important for these communities.



Have you experienced any type of emergency that you want to share?

As a new flight instructor I once made an off airport precautionary landing in a potato field while on a cross country flight with a student.  We were caught in a snow storm at dusk in a non-IFR equipped aircraft.  Instead of dodging snow showers at night in the ill equipped airplane, I elected for the precautionary landing while we still had sunlight.  ATC was a huge help.  The next day an FAA administrator called me and said that after considering my situation they applauded my decision but advised me to not do it again 🙂

Other challenging experiences include the medical evacuations we provide for the Kalimantan villages.  Many times we get an evac call on our HF radio in the middle of a flight day.  We scrap the schedule and divert to pick up the medical patient.  What makes these flight so challenging is the pressure to complete the flight versus the weather and the conditions of the jungle runway.

On numerous occasions I’ve been circling directly above a village that called for a medical flight but the weather isn’t good enough to make the approach through the valley. Ive had to cancel medical flights on many occasions due to a number of factors.  This is a difficult decision as you might imagine.  Its take discipline to be conservative.
Do you hold any other license?

My licenses, Private, Instrument, Commercial, Multi-engine, Certified Flight Instructor (including instrument), Advanced Ground Instructor, Airframe mechanic, Power plant mechanic.

Your plans for the future?

Continue flying for Mission Aviation Fellowship as long as I’m able.

People that you want to thank or inspired you?

My parents who believed in me and my wife who puts up with me 🙂

Your message to upcoming pilots?

Stick with it!  Its a long road to achieve your dreams and you have to do a lot of things that are boring or not exciting to get there, but its worth it!

















Passion for flying and motivation is the main reason this page exists! Follow us every Monday for a new story!

You can find Peter on Instagram   @Peter_Pilot_MAF

Find here Peter’s official website for MAF 

Keep up the good work Peter and have always safe landings!