Floatplane landing at Historic Seaplane site in Calshot

A rare water landing of an Amphibious Cessna Caravan 208 will take place on 20 March at Calshot – the first floatplane activity for many years at Southampton’s historic RAF seaplane site.

The aircraft will land –  weather permitting – during high-tide at 12-noon and depart with the second high-tide at 3pm. The landing and take-off will be visible from Calshot Activities Centre – where an event will be hosted by Mission Aviation Fellowship between 10am and 4pm.

Ahead of World Water Day on 22 March, and the centenary celebration of the RAF on 1 April, the public are invited to come and be part of this rare aviation moment and watch an impressive floatplane landing on British waters.

The aircraft, owned and operated by international aviation charity MAF, is visiting the UK for a very short time before commencing it’s lifesaving operational work in Bangladesh – one of the world’s most vulnerable developing countries. This visit will provide the public with a unique opportunity to witness a floatplane land on water and learn more about MAF’s lifesaving work.

Bangladesh is the eighth-most populated nation and is subject to some of the worst flooding found anywhere in the world. MAF currently operates the only humanitarian floatplane operation in Bangladesh, which serves the country’s vast and fragile population.

Thanks to MAF aircraft, humanitarian agencies including the UNDP, DFID and World Food Programme, can get to the right place at the right time, enabling them to reach areas of greatest need and respond quickly to natural disasters. MAF has been serving the people of Bangladesh for over 20 years, including being involved in an extensive disaster response effort to Cyclone Sidr, which hit the country in May 2007. This new MAF floatplane will enable more lifesaving flights to help those in desperate need long into the future.

MAF, the world’s largest humanitarian airline, was established by a handful of RAF personnel in the aftermath of WWII. Born from a desire to use aircraft for the good of those in great need, today MAF flies to over 1,500 remote locations across 26 developing countries, delivering vital aid to locations only accessible by air. This is more destinations than any airline in the world.

MAF’s floatplane pilot Chad Tilley – who is coming to the UK from Bangladesh for this special event – is proud to be part of MAF’s humanitarian work in South Asia. He said: “When we announced that MAF was getting a new aircraft in Bangladesh, a room full of our partners gave a standing ovation! We all know how important the aircraft is as a tool to reach the most isolated areas of Bangladesh. Normally we see planes on land, but this will give people in the UK an opportunity to see what seaplane flying all about.”

RAF Veteran Stuart King – one of MAF’s founders – is delighted to welcome MAF’s latest floatplane to Southampton for this unique event. He said: “MAF has been a huge and vital part of my life, and I am grateful to God for how my skills – together with many inspiring men and women – have been used for good around the world. I have had the tremendous privilege of seeing all this happen, and I am amazed that all these years later, I am still considerably involved! This new MAF floatplane will enable more lifesaving flights to help those in desperate need in Bangladesh long into the future, and my prayer is that their lives would be transformed.”

For more information about the Amphibious Cessna Caravan’s ‘flying visit’ this Spring, visit www.maf-uk.org/flyingvisit.