Sad to report the passing of a great PNG past aviator, Ron Robertson, aged 79, in Melbourne two weeks ago. Ron was a terrific Instructor, a great mentor, friend and Pilot . We remember the good times and Rons' sardonic sense of humour. RIP old friend Best regards to Judy and the boys from all at TVSA
Trawling the Internet and came up with this part of PPRuNe. Most interesting and brought back a flood of memories. First went to the Territory of Papua New Guinea with the Australian Army in 1963 based at Moem Point barracks, native material camp, for 12 months building the road that starts at Kreer village and we completed our section up to Passam village and down past the Nagan River. 17 Construction Squadron Royal Australian Engineers. I returned in 1970 after discharge from the army armed with a fresh, brand spanking new CPL. Stayed there until 1977 flying all over the country with a few operators. Would not have missed it for the world. Returned in 1993 from other aviating ventures from distant parts. Stayed until the end of 1997. The one thing I learned from the beginning is that it is a safe place to fly if you start with the right attitude and spend the first couple of years listening and learning from others who have been there a long time and learn your own limits. Much safer and much more interesting than flying in Australia, which can be boring like driving a bus on fixed routes.
I intended, all the time I was there during the 70's, to tape record some interviews with some of the lapun pilots and other members of the industry who were still there and who had magnificent stories to tell. I can only imagine what gems there still are that should be down on paper for posterity. There must be millions of stories that come out of PNG worth reading and listening to for their humour and dramatic properties, and even those which aren't true are worth the wait.
It is good to see Bryan McCook has committed to record. How many more have been done that we don't know about? The Sinclair trilogy is the best history book we have on aviation in PNG. Jim may not have made money from it, but as he enjoyed doing it he has logged it for us and we thank him.
One thing I did not know until a few years ago, after seeing Shaggy Ridge hundreds of times, that it was/is named after a family member whose nickname was "Shaggy". Marvelous what you find on the Internet. There are a number of items i can add to and will do so over time.
Welcome on board Basker. This thread is indeed a good place to relive the good old days of PNG aviation and catch up with some old wantoks. Who were you flying with during your stints in the land of the unexpected?
That boat that went down was that in/near Vitiaz Straits? That were a rough piece of water and funnily enough got a bit rough in that area for balus-i as well. I fact I think a lighty got tore up there way back when. I don't know boats but looking at the ferry n the photo I would think it had some age to it?
Re that lighie that came apart in the Vitiaz Strait. It happened in the mid sixties. I was in Hagen at the time when a police inspector based in Hagen was transferred to New Britain (Rabaul/Kimbe?). His name was John Collet, I think, and he owned a Piper Colt. Enroute to New Britain, with his wife, the aircraft was lost over the Vitiaz Strait. No one knows what happened, although in cases like this there were lots of theories at the time. The only wreckage found was the aircraft's nosewheel floating in the sea.
Where is Max Parker ? I have been in contact after many years with Bernie Flanagan(thanks chaps for the contact) and it is Bernies desire to get in touch with Max. All other avenues have been exhausted. Bernies phone no is (07)4620-7654 email firstname.lastname@example.org postal address 33 Ida ST Dirinbandi 4486 QLD
Orm Grace - another PNG lapun comes out of the woodwork!
Max Parker last heard of retired in Cairns but I see he is not listed in the Cairns phone book.
Dropped in on Tommy Leahy at his Dalby home yesterday and Jim Sinclair was visiting. They are both now 83. Tom has written four books on his life in PNG that make fascinating and very amusing reading. Anyone wishing to obtain copies send me a PM for Tom's address and contact details.