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Readers help in identifying certain PNG airstrip

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Readers help in identifying certain PNG airstrip

Old 17th Aug 2019, 12:53
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Readers help in identifying certain PNG airstrip

Had this request from a friend ex RAAF. Request opinion on identification of the strip in PNG.

Quote: "I have a description of an airfield that I'd like you to identify. I've heard about this place for years and I wonder if it actually exists or that its one that has been embellished over those years!

The airfield is in the New Guinea highlands; it can only be approached from one way; it is effectively between two mountains; to approach it requires flying through an S-curve; the airfield is on a steep slope; landing requires reaching the end and then turning at a right angle to prevent slipping back down the slope;

take off is by starting, turning to face back down the slope, sitting on the brakes to achieve maximum rpm and then rolling down the slope; the end of the airfield is a ravine plus a mountain on the opposite side; at the bottom of the ravine is the wreck of a PNGAF crashed Caribou. Is this for real or has this description been heavily embellished? I was told there are several highland strips like this. Can you identify it, please?" Unquote.
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 13:43
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Tapini maybe ? Caribou crash as a result of hypoxia and misjudged approach I believe, circa early 1970’s.
Coming from Lae via Woitape/Fane would need an S turn to follow the goat track ILS before turning left on finals - it crashed just before the threshold.
also there was another one that landed at Olsobip by mistake - crew decided to take offf without performance charts and did not get airborne, also mid ‘70s I think.
i believe it was choppered out in bits ???
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 15:43
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Kudjeru Gap, near Wau?
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 16:20
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Try posting it in Which Aerodrome? thread - there's a couple of Ppruners in there with what seems like an encyclopaedic knowledge of airfields worldwide.
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 19:22
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Could be the old Porgera strip, now closed with a market built on it. Now replaced with Kairik airfield nearby. RAAF crashed a Caribou there mid sixties. Definitely steep one way, finals were commenced at 7500’ on area qnh. Wreckage still there late 60s early 70s. Engines removed by others! Surface rough as guts. Barrick still operating an underground mine there today.
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Old 17th Aug 2019, 22:20
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There is No airstrips or crashed Caribous in the Kudjeru Gap.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 00:19
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I was going to say Omkalai from the description until I read this:

"....at the bottom of the ravine is the wreck of a PNGAF crashed Caribou..."

The PNGDF never owned or operated DHC4 Caribou. There is no PNG Air Force, only the combined PNGDF.

I think the only Caribou wreck the RAAF left in PNG was A4-233 which crashed in the Kudjeru Gap in August 1972, killing 21 school cadets, a liaison officer and the crew of 3.

The rest of the Caribous pranged by the RAAF were recovered.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 00:27
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Originally Posted by tail wheel View Post
I was going to say Omkalai from the description until I read this:

"....at the bottom of the ravine is the wreck of a PNGAF crashed Caribou..."

The PNGDF never owned or operated DHC4 Caribou. There is no PNG Air Force, only the combined PNGDF.

I think the only Caribou wreck the RAAF left in PNG was A4-233 which crashed in the Kudjeru Gap in August 1972, killing 21 school cadets, a liaison officer and the crew of 3.

The rest of the Caribous pranged by the RAAF were recovered.
Wasn’t the Caribou wreck left at Tapini for a long time?
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 00:42
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Wasn’t the Caribou wreck left at Tapini for a long time?
Maybe, not sure. The RAAF bent a few DHC4s in PNG, plus the civil DHC4 near Kiunga. I remember the wreck recovery from Eliptamin, Tufi and a few other places. They may have left one at Tapini but I know the RAAF are very "shy" of having their mishaps on public display.


Corrected "Tefalmin" for Eliptamin as noted by Chimbu below.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 01:34
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I recall that the RAAF pranged a Caribou at Eliptamin, after mistaking it for Telefomin, but also recall that they stripped down the airframe and slung it out beneath a Chinook (several sorties).

As for the description of the strip and approach, well that could apply to 100 different places. Tail wheel is correct in that the PNGDF never operated Caribous, and also the only airframe left there would be the one in the Kudjeru.

There was a civilian Caribou that crashed in the 90's (P2-VTC) near Tabubil, but that was after the failure of one engine and then melt down of the other engine. The terrain and approach description does not fit Tabubil.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 02:38
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My money is on Tapini as it fits to where the RAAF parked a Caribou.

The Caribou carcass was still there around ‘08-9 when I last went to Taipini.

RAAF have parked a few aircraft in PNG mainly Otters and Caribou’s. Once witnessed a Herc parked for a week unable to depart Tabubil due weather (other operators came and went during this time).

PNGDF consists of 1 x PAC750 these days.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 02:43
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I suspect it would be Tapini. That aircraft was never recovered. After it was stripped pretty much the floor and lower fuselage remained for many years. The locals found uses for the aluminium. Pretty much ended up as BBQ plates I think. All other CC08s were recovered except the one in the Kudgeru gap. All of these accidents pre dated my time in PNG which started in the early 80s. The approach into Tapini was via the goat track ILS as one of the earlier posters mentioned. You kept level with the track on the RHS of the aircraft. You then turn 90 degrees and lined up with the strip. Lots of dead ground in the approach and easy to go in short which is what happened. The story I heard (and although this is a rumour network it maybe total BS) was that bloggs was flying and the QFI was a chain smoker and in those days with an SPH4 helmet, would have had the ciggy in his mouth at an angle with the microphone fairly close. Said QFI had the cigarette fall out on short finals onto his leg and with the distraction of him trying to beat it out, bloggs went in short. Of course who would like to explain all this to the BOI? I think the QFI was Jack Ristrom who would go on to suffer a number of tragedies in PNG.

The accident at Porgera was a go-around on a one way strip past the safe goaround point due to workers on the strip. The aircraft crashed past the strip whilst trying to turn left and out climb the hill. The RAAF left the aircraft there for long enough for Ansett to salvage the engines. When they came back they thought the locals had stolen them. The aircraft was recovered by a 12SQN Chinook. I'm lead to believe that the tax payer eventually got the engines back when they showed up a HDH Bankstown some years later and the RAAF resident engineer recognised the serial numbers.

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Old 18th Aug 2019, 02:53
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Ples balus bilong Tapini

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mOOf5GxBmx4

Is this of any assistance?

Wantok.
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 03:15
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 18:16
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Folks,
As a good mate of mine found out, reducing a Caribou to (larger) components in PNG greatly aided his early release from the RAAF, hence his early airline seniority and command, by the time many of his mates wound up in the same airline..
Tootle pip!!
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Old 18th Aug 2019, 21:29
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Great video thanks , wish we had had cameras like that in those days.
my personal favourite was Fane just next door. Flew Bn2A Partenavia and Nomad into all those places.
I had the great fortune to spend 10 days based at Fane in ‘74 with the Swiss priests - they carried everything in from Woitapi on donkeys and built that fabulous chalet. I brought a B206 up from Cairns and used it to sling drills getting core samples around the hills searching for copper.

Boy did they live well - fabulous food grown by 2 Nuns and their acolytes — intercom from the house “bring up ze food”. 10 minutes later a procession would wind its way up the hill carrying fresh bread, platters of cold meat, veggies and cold pitchers of apricot wine.
at night time ditto with a roaring log fire. The only two things they couldn’t make were cheese and Ice cream.
The next year on FW with DD I brought them some of those treats each week and they would swap a large box of veggies - a real treat in POM particularly the lettuce and tomatoes. Delicious
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