Aaaah P.N.G.... God i miss that place! Just got out of the Sim up here in Hong Kong, and was downing a few quite beers in the Dakota bar, when the subject turned to PNG. It's amazing how when you come across someone who flew in PNG, who you have never met before in your entire life, in a bar on a completely different part of the earth, you inevitably talk about Niugini for hours. Any other conversation that had been going has now been hijacked, as you reminisce about the best flying of your life.
Don't get me wrong..... I love my current job, but will NEVER forget the country that taught me how to fly an aeroplane.
Hope to go back next year for some wreck diving out of Madang!
Don't know when you left PNG but beware - it probably is now not the place you once lived and worked in.
Gone is the peaceful country and people; gone are the "characters" of aviation that gave much of their flying careers to PNG; gone are the operators, Gibbes, Mandated, Ansett, TAA, Qantas, Patair, STOL, TAL, M@cair, Aerial Tours - and gone is DCA with whom many of us had memorable fights.
It may be better to remember PNG as it was long taim before, than return only to be very disappointed!
But I will agree with you - diving off Madang has not changed!
Reminds me of a story from thirty odd years ago..........
Many will remember Jack Thick who owned a timber mill in north Goroka - and, with "Poppa" Raasch recovered the JU52 from Wau after Peter Manser tried to demolish the Qantas office - and the legendary Gillies brothers - Les and Merve.
Les went to Jack's timber mill to buy timber. After eying off Jack's sawn timber, Les suggested to Jack he "...take the timber down to TAL at the airport"
"Why is that, Les?"
"Make bloody good props!"
Then there was Les and Merve's side kick, Sparrow..... who went head first into the sewage pit at the Goroka butcher's shop! Someone suggested his odor was an improvement!
C'mon Animalclub, Hanoi, Sharpie ......... you must have some unbelievably tall stories to add........
We had a meeting of mentors at the local Granite Belt high school and met, for the first time in umpteen years, Marcia Bastow. Hale and hearty and only too willing to talk about PNG and the goings on at Smugglers.
How many of you are writing of your experiences? Good and bad. A good idea for a book? Proceeds to charity in PNG? Or am I talking pie in the sky? I'm willing to be on a team and I'm sure we can get Torres, Jan Balan and Hanoi (if that's still GH's handle) to help.
The one and only time I ever was able to get to Smugglers was on a (non pay) Friday night, somewhere around 10pm back in early March 1992. The bloody joint was empty. I was the only customer and the bar staff were bored stiff!!
If only the walls could speak! Night Watch; Check your PMs.
You only live twice. Once when
you're born. Once when
you've looked death in the face.
Had more than a few beers with Pierce Brosnan at Smugglers when he was filming Castaway....they used a Twotter for a wind machine and had a ship 'set' in the old Patair hangar...now Airlink I think.
Rooted my ex misses in the Smugglers pool more than once
Remember Ricky Johnson's go pinis party that ended up with him falling into a lava crevice off the verandah...lucky he was really, REALLY pi$$ed...he might have felt it...bet he still has scars..both physical and mental
In fact we 'borrowed' a Bandit so we, the Lae contingent could attend said function. Bones was PIC and Marty Yarde and I amused ourselves making paper planes in the back and flying them into the cockpit enroute...after a while that got boring and I noticed a plastic cover in the roof liner...not yet being endorsed I enquired of Marty what it's purpose was..."It's the smoke detector cover for when we fly frieght"....... Shoulda seen Bones sit bolt upright when the smoke alarm went off in the cockpit...
PNG was and always will be the best years of my life...nothing else can come close for comradery, adventure....and sheer, unadulterated group stupidity
He had more red lines (scars) on his bald head than a road map. He had this persistant habit of falling off the verandah, every verandah at the TAA mess, every time he got pi**ed and landing on his head... but he was always there at 4 in the morning for work.
He was carrying some aircraft catering across the Lae tarmac one early morning and got very close to the TAA C185 prop... everyone who saw the incident swore that it was only because he was drunk that he avoided walking into it.