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One down in PNG today - C402C, VH-TSI

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One down in PNG today - C402C, VH-TSI

Old 1st Aug 2020, 00:54
  #61 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2014
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Crazy story. Good work to the coppers, looks like this was under surveillance from the start. It also explains the early photos showing AFP at the crash site.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 01:59
  #62 (permalink)  
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Media is reporting this morning that $80m worth of coke has also turned up in FNQ, and is apparently related to the load seized in PNG. Two flights back to back or two aircraft ? The former would be more in keeping with the half arsed nature of this cunning plan.

Late news from PNG: " Port Mosby Police have announced that all three plastic wrapped boxes of drugs seized yesterday will be destroyed by burning on Monday afternoon."

Last edited by The Wawa Zone; 1st Aug 2020 at 03:01.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 02:32
  #63 (permalink)  
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I would also imagine that he will face some pretty serious charges in PNG with regards to the alleged cargo on board,
Is a pilot responsible for what is in the cargo onboard an aircraft?
"But Sir, I was hired only to ferry the aeroplane"

How may time have you been asked to ferry an aircraft that you did not know from A to B.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 05:27
  #64 (permalink)  
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ex ABC: More than 500kg of cocaine seized as international investigation targets....

01/08/2020- ex ABC news: https://www.abc.net.au/news/2020-08-...bound/12515158

S28- BE
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 06:57
  #65 (permalink)  
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I was trying to work out how they can unload such volume at the Mareeba parking area without anyone seeing a thing. Itís not exactly the most private hidden area. I assume they picked Sunday as MAF is closed so the eastern side of the airport is fairly dead aside the NQAC which is hiding around the corner.

Bizarre Behaviour on the flight line would stand out like dog balls to the two local CFIs at Mareeba, who know the region and itís traffic inside out, and who is who. When itís been sitting in the mud for a good portion of time itís going to get many eyeballs when itís up moving around again.

Last edited by PoppaJo; 1st Aug 2020 at 07:11.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 07:43
  #66 (permalink)  
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ABC reporting over 500kg of cocaine.

According to various google searches, conservatively, 1gram has a street value of $500 in Australia, one of the highest prices in the world.

On these figures, the cargo had a value of a quarter of a billion dollars!

Given the pressures of the current lockdown, this amount of recreational drug would have caused misery and havoc.

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Old 1st Aug 2020, 09:46
  #67 (permalink)  
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I'd hate to image how much of this junk actually gets thru! They got caught, this time!
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 10:02
  #68 (permalink)  
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Do they grow Cocoa plants in PNG?

Assuming it came from there and not imported from South America
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 19:48
  #69 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2019
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Papa Lealea

Originally Posted by TBL Warrior View Post
There ya go

Iíd put a slab itís the old Lealea strip
Thanks, Amazing pic. I found it on google about 30 miles from PM.
The current google map shows about 2600 feet too short for a fully loaded 402 on a rough field
with scrub at one end. The news pic does not show any increase in field length from the google pic
on the crash end. It appears this pilot was dumber than dumb when it came to reading take off charts
which might end up being a defence, that he deliberately crashed it in order to get caught.
Either way, it appears Australia knew all about this operation long before it happened.

I'm guessing the AFP called him on his mobile and told him to turn himself in.
Speaking of dumb, Mareeba has many eyes watching for anything unusual
and odds are the AFP phone lines were ringing like crazy each time VH-TSI did anything.

Then you have the primary and secondary radar facilities, that TSI would have triggered 3 in Australia
and at least 2 in PNG and thats just the obvious tracking info from ground based primary radar.

It appears that the pilot had his transponder on which makes you wonder about the claim
he kept it at 3000 feet to avoid radar. At 3000 feet, this pilot would have been visible for
most of his flight in Aus and PNG.

The Australian reported "David John Cutmore, 52, a former flying instructor in Townsville and Melbourne"
AFP Link
"operations Withers?"
"to collect MORE THAN 500 KG" of Cocaine." "worth more than AUD $80 million.
"Criminal Syndicate from Victoria"
"over two years of investigation"

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Old 1st Aug 2020, 22:48
  #70 (permalink)  
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Sounds like the AFP were onto this mob from the beginning. The pilot will be very lucky if he is simply deported. I imagine he has some explaining to do back here.

I’ve heard the occasional rumour of this sort of behaviour at least as early as 1970. Guns going north and drugs coming South.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 23:11
  #71 (permalink)  
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So, it looks like an export operation from PNG. I guess with Covid19 the drug runners usual logistics operations are hamstrung.

What’s the flight time between the strip and Mareeba? Two and half hours at 3000’. Give or take. Can a 402C carry round trip fuel? If not, I was just pondering the difficulty of buying and trucking a couple of 44s from POM.

Could it have been a botched landing rather than a T/O gone awry? Presuming the “keptin” wasn’t all that sharp, carrying all that extra speed on approach may not have helped Mum after all.

Interesting days. Looks like our drug runners are now taking a leaf out of the S.American cartels book of logistics tactics.
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 23:26
  #72 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Kagamuga View Post

A few pilots whom know the aircraft have suggested it was unairworthy and had no M/R. A 43 year old C402 has little residual value so burn it on completion!
Any hint on why not airworthy?

Taking a aircraft from an active airfield "stolen" or not, that is known to not be airworthy or have an expired MR will not go unnoticed.

Landing back at the same airfield with a large volume of freight would be foolish. What is nearby for a one time landing in a 402 a bit out of sight?
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Old 1st Aug 2020, 23:36
  #73 (permalink)  
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Lucielle - read all the official stuff - 15 of 20 litre plastic cans found at aircraft

Bend a Lot - its called a remote beach area, with wheels either up or down, and how would a casual person know if the M/R had expired?
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 00:20
  #74 (permalink)  
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Thanks Kagamuga, I've not been near Mareeba for a long time.
While he was a former CFI, he probably only had conventional knowledge of SSR and not
the other primary or secondary radar that is not generally known about.

Without going into too much detail, any flight from within say 100 miles of Cairns or TI, would be seen down to a low level.
With a transponder left on, its possible that any aircraft on a similar flight on any other day,
would have been seen all the way.

To suggest that he would not have been seen is to display a level of knowledge as we can assume
this former CFI possessed.

Again, without going into "too much detail", the public information shows that this particular flight was in fact tracked
all the way from prior to starting engines, cruise at 3,000 ft, to landing, its failed take off etc.

Despite this, you can expect more dumber than dumb criminals to try to copycat this idea
and I'll predict a similar result such as having to ditch or make a forced landing due to fuel
starvation etc. No doubt, they will refuse to believe this post and they will be kicking themselves
when they too end up in a PNG cell awaiting extradition to Australia.

Originally Posted by Kagamuga View Post
SCPL 1988,

Let me bring to your attention.
At 3,000 feet the aircraft would hardly have been on radar at all; Based upon 40 years of PNG Ops I can assure you I know radar range. SSR appears to have been turned off just a few miles north of Mareeba
The pilot a former Chief Flying Instructor has the necessary knowledge on SSR operation.
I believe a lot of the new modern radar is masked to not show or trigger non Mode C, Mode S, ADSB replies
Up until departure TSI had done nothing unusual at Mareeba.
Mareeba has changed a lot is in the last two years. Huge increase activity, MAF has about 10 aircraft parked there, mostly P2 registered. Four engineering shops in the 'terminal area. Extensions to runway ends to accomodate resident Jet aircraft, warbirds, and general safety. The western end now has a huge building programme under way. Very large helicopter shops, other hangars. Google is far from up to date.
Take off charts? give me a break!
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 01:00
  #75 (permalink)  
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Originally Posted by Kagamuga View Post
Lucielle - read all the official stuff - 15 of 20 litre plastic cans found at aircraft

Bend a Lot - its called a remote beach area, with wheels either up or down, and how would a casual person know if the M/R had expired?
The maintenance place/s and local pilots are all pretty nosy by nature types.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 01:18
  #76 (permalink)  
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Once you get into this sort of scale you can expect serious attention from customs and the AFP. It's worth putting up major surveillance and using informers when you're talking about hundreds of kilos. This guy must be praying to get sent back to Australia, being someone's bitch in a PNG prison for the next ten years wouldn't be pleasant. An engineer from the company which did our maintenance up there did a short spell inside after being caught with a small quantity (personal use) of the local wacky weed, every time his mates went to visit him he was in tears. There are plenty of films and books about westerners who spent time in Thai prisons and the appalling conditions, I would choose a Thai prison over a PNG one every time.

Back in Australia he would probably be facing conspiracy charges and matters relating to his departure. On "Border Security" most of the smugglers caught with around 300 gms of heroin seem to cop a 6-7 year stretch. Even if he gets 10+ an Aussie prison is like a 5* hotel compared to a third world prison.
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 04:01
  #77 (permalink)  
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Does anyone have a comment on the fire around the port engine? Could it have been on the take off roll and the reason for the abort? Or was it an impact fire? Asking for a friend
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 04:02
  #78 (permalink)  
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There are live weather cameras at Mareeba....
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 04:43
  #79 (permalink)  
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Seems the AFP had their own cameras at Mareeba.

It seems the L/H main gear has relocated itself. The wet wing 402 probably developed a leak at that point, fuel would also flow toward the wing tip (gravity).
Take the fuel cap off the L/H tank on a pretty full aircraft would make a nice water (fuel) fountain, also trying to destroy evidence would be better to open the fuel drains on the other wing & light that too.

Engine fire on take off did cross my mind. Does not seem as much damage to the aircraft that is trying to commit aviation after a 900+m run up at the trees.
A partial power loss (turbo or "popped" induction rubber, mag even) might be reason to abort.

But then how long to unload 500kg with the aircraft on fire?
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Old 2nd Aug 2020, 06:14
  #80 (permalink)  
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Here is a Wikipedia clue.....

Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN) is so sensitive it is able to track planes as small as a Cessna 172 taking off and landing in East Timor 2600 km away.[citation needed] Current research is anticipated to increase its sensitivity by a factor of ten beyond this level
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