founding years

Lasting Impact

“All that I am, all that I’ve achieved, all that I’ve become is because of Rob Hadfield,” shared Rumi, the Chief Engineer of the Bangladesh Flying Academy, with tears brimming in his eyes in anticipation of seeing Rob Hadfield, his former teacher, after 30 years.

Rob and Norm with their students from the BFA

Rob and Norm with their students from the BFA

In the 1980’s, MAF Australia members Rob Hadfield and Norm Latham were sent to Bangladesh to help develop an aviation program.

Norm and Rob, pilot and engineer, began a joint venture with the Bangladesh Flying Academy (BFA) using a fleet of former Pakistani VIP aircraft, three Grumman G44A Super Widgeon. They maintained a busy schedule flying charter flights during the day, teaching night classes at the BFA and investing in the lives of people around them.

The foundation Rob and Norm built through relationships formed in the 1980’s is still having a profound impact on the MAF Bangladesh program decades later.

Norm, Chad and Rob with the current aircraft

Norm, Chad and Rob with the current aircraft

Chad Tilley, the current MAF Bangladesh Program Manager and Chief Pilot, testifies to the value of building relationships:
”It’s incredible that after all these years, people like Norm and Rob are still held in high esteem. This reverberates in the aviation community that we aren’t just blowing in, blowing up and blowing out, but we live and stay with people through the good and bad. The relationships built in the founding years enable us to do what we are doing today.”

After 30 years, Rob and Norm returned to Bangladesh in May 2014 to attend the 65th year Bangladesh Flying Academy celebration. Norm said, “It’s been an honor and a privilege to be part of getting the program going. When starting out it was tough. To see where it is now, I can see it was all worthwhile.”

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