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Steepest, shortest, highest, most bent, overgrown airstrip youíve ever seen.

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Steepest, shortest, highest, most bent, overgrown airstrip youíve ever seen.

Old 1st Jan 2021, 11:15
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Steepest, shortest, highest, most bent, overgrown airstrip youíve ever seen.

Some years back I had the good fortune of visiting Kabwum in the PNG highlands along with Satwag and a few other strips on the mail run.

I was in the hunt for some twin engine flying but decided against taking the job in large part because I didnít have the Kahoonieís to do it and also partly because there was bullet holes in the van that picked me up and a constant fear of a machete coming through your room in the wee hours of the morning.

I was nevertheless stunned with the type of flying that was on offer up that way which made Ozzie GA look pretty tame. So I recently got to thinking just how bad were some of those strips, particularly the ones that for example have now been culled from the MAF network due to safety concerns.

Is there, for example, any 15% 300 metre one way dirt strips at 10,000 feet into a gorge on a 15 % side slope or have these all gone the way of the dodo? Iíd be keen to hear from those that came via that path rather than my tame excuse for GA.
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 22:11
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Tapini wasn't at 10,000' but it had a goat-track ILS.
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 23:14
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The steep strips are pretty easy. The short, relatively level strips with no go-around are the ones you have to watch.
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Old 1st Jan 2021, 23:39
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With the reduction of GA in PNG, a lot of the rural communities who donít have coastal or road access have been cut off from the outside world. Certainly gone backwards, particularly since the demise of the larger third level operators in the early 2000s.

I believe helicopters are now doing some of the work that was once done by fixed wing aircraft, which is probably a lot more expensive, however they are a lot more practical particularly not requiring airstrips and also having the ability to long line freight to and from confined areas.

Are North Coast still operating?
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 01:22
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Originally Posted by chimbu warrior View Post
The steep strips are pretty easy. The short, relatively level strips with no go-around are the ones you have to watch.
Hi Chimbu, I was hoping youíd have something to add, that makes sense about the slope. What was your freakiest strip?

It was NCA that I was offered a position with as I had some time in the NT previously. I would have been a replacement for a guy who was killed having not been checked into some strip the minimum three times prior to his fatal flight. I donít know which strip it was that caused the issue.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 01:32
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Not that I've done heaps of time in PNG, but Ononge and Satwag spring to mind as being quite sporty in the Caribou.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 01:43
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Originally Posted by Arm out the window View Post
Not that I've done heaps of time in PNG, but Ononge and Satwag spring to mind as being quite sporty in the Caribou.

The noises coming from the undercarriage of this Twitter after touchdown seems to suggest that Ononge is right up there.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 03:56
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Originally Posted by chimbu warrior View Post
The steep strips are pretty easy. The short, relatively level strips with no go-around are the ones you have to watch.
Word. Seldom truer words spoken.

Even though the other side of the border, the conditions and strips are Very similar. Your words are the very mantra upon which my go/no-go decisions are based.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 05:40
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Agree with chimbu warrior: Strips such as Bodinumu; elev 3'600 length 485m had you committed to land once at 4,000 on final and there was no go around! Likewise Dorobisoro; elev 1700',448m committed from 2,300 on final and Efogi; elev 3,800, 487m commitment alt 4,000'. None of these permitted a go around!!

Iaura was a beauty! Elevation only 1,000' with a length of 531m. However, when you joined the circuit the entire downwind and base leg was flown in adjacent valleys and the runway was totally out of sight! You turned final at 1500' and were then committed to land but most of the final approach was flown down a winding valley with the Runway only coming into view on short final!

There was one other strip such as Iaura, down Oram way I think, which was somewhat hairier as you were committed as soon as you turned base. Cannot now remember its name or exact location.

For steep strips in the Goilala, you couldn't beat Sopu. elev 6,200', length 532m with a slope of 12%. Or Fane, elev 4,300' length 451m and a slope of 12%.
Down the Gulf way there was Kaintiba, elev 2,000' length 450m but a slope of 13.3%. It was the first Gulf strip that Luk V endorsed me into. The reasoning was '..this is the steepest and one of the most difficult. If you can handle this one you can handle any of them!' Kanabea, 4,000' and 540m but only a slope of 2.8% had a bend in the strip about half way down.

Back in the Goilala there was Kamulai at 5,300' 481m with a slope of 11%, a slight bend about 1/3 of the way down the T/O direction, and had been carved out of the side of a mountain by the local Catholic Priest Father Abel. That one scared the bejaysus out of most Pilots at one time or the other!

All the above were listed in the Douglas Airways one-way strip book, my copy of which thankfully I still have. Got piccies of some as well. Search for an old thread 'PNG Goat Tracks' and I think you'll find some of them.

Last edited by Pinky the pilot; 2nd Jan 2021 at 11:26. Reason: Spelling mistake!
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 07:37
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Originally Posted by Pinky the pilot View Post
Agree with chimbu warrior: Strips such as Bodinumu; elev 3'600 length 485m had you committed to land once at 4,000 on final and there was no go around! Likewise Dorobisoro; elev 1700',448m committed from 2,300 on final and Efogi; elev 3,800, 487m commitment alt 4,000'. None of these permitted a go around!!

Iaura was a beauty! Elevation only 1,000' with a length of 531m. However, when you joined the circuit the entire downwind and base leg was flown in adjacent valleys and the runway was totally out of sight! You turned final at 1500' and where then committed to land but most of the final approach was flown down a winding valley with the Runway only coming into view on short final!

There was one other strip such as Iaura, down Oram way I think, which was somewhat hairier as you were committed as soon as you turned base. Cannot now remember its name or exact location.

For steep strips in the Goilala, you couldn't beat Sopu. elev 6,200', length 532m with a slope of 12%. Or Fane, elev 4,300' length 451m and a slope of 12%.
Down the Gulf way there was Kaintiba, elev 2,000' length 450m but a slope of 13.3%. It was the first Gulf strip that LV endorsed me into. The reasoning was '..this is the steepest and one of the most difficult. If you can handle this one you can handle any of them!' Kanabea, 4,000' and 540m but only a slope of 2.8% had a bend in the strip about half way down.

Back in the Goilala there was Kamulai at 5,300' 481m with a slope of 11%, a slight bend about 1/3 of the way down the T/O direction, and had been carved out of the side of a mountain by the local Catholic Priest Father Abel. That one scared the bejaysus out of most Pilots at one time or the other!

All the above were listed in the Douglas Airways one-way strip book, my copy of which thnkfullty I still have. Got piccies of some as well. Search for an old thread 'PNG Goat Tracks' and I think you'll find some of them.
Thatís awesome, exactly what I was thinking about. I sometimes wonder if I should have stuck it out up there even if only for a few months just to have a turn, my career worked out pretty well in the end albeit I got to where I wanted to go possibly a little slower than I might have otherwise.

Iíve been flying to some of these strips lately in a newly released simulator in virtual reality where everything you look at is there in 3D, I canít speak to its authenticity as many of these strips Iíve never been to irl, but it looks outstanding and I can go there without any risk.

Very keen to check out Iaura and Kamulai. Iíll look up the goat track thread too, I saw another thread from around 2000 however all the pictures are now authorised.

Iím assuming there was no flight data monitoring in the Bongo van 😂
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 07:54
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Just counted. Iíve done 170+ strips during my time PNG.

Komako was one of my favourites. 373m 7% and a 70 degree dog leg.

Steep strips never used to worry me. Any thing with elevation over 5000í and less than 5% got the heart going tho.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 08:37
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Selbang was the shortest Iíd been into, about 380m with a fair slope on it if I recall correctly. Think MAF lost an Otter trying to get in there back in the 90s, it would be documented somewhere.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 09:21
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Looks like Charlie flying that twotter.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 09:29
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Thought you had died Lapun. Happy New Year.

Iíll give you a call sometime over the next week or so.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 10:25
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Looks like Charlie flying that twotter.
I thought so too, but the shot at the end makes me think it is Luke.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 10:46
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There wasnít a fence around the parking area at ONG in 2001. Captain looks familiar, ex APNG who went onto PX.
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 11:32
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Man Bilong Balus long PNG
 
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Komako was one of my favourites. 373m 7% and a 70 degree dog leg.
upacreek; I note that I was endorsed into Komako on the 18th October '91. Cannot really remember the place now so maybe didn't go into it all that often.

Last edited by Pinky the pilot; 2nd Jan 2021 at 14:20. Reason: Typo
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 14:03
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Great stories guys.

Pardon me for being a coward, but Iíll stick to boring GA for the time being thanks!
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Old 2nd Jan 2021, 23:05
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Nalca, approx 150nm SSW of Sentani
Earthquake relief flights 1976 - all the gardens slid away from the mountain spine and twice a day for 6 months we were bringing in 1300kg of cans of fish, rice and utensils for cooking to Nalca and another dozen strips .
Nomad N22B
6700 amsl
350m long
10m wide
1st 100m 10% slope
2nd 100m 18%
3rd 100m 15%
last 50m 24% - 3 point turn at the top
Authorized to use it by DCA and Indonesian Dept of Transport - and the insurance company (thanks Mike).
Oh and locals were cannibals - bad weathers stopped flights for a week and the population decreased :/
Our engineer, the great Mike Egan (RIP) who was rather chubby, came for a ride one day. When he got out all the kids went crazy - they'd not seen a chap of his stature before. When he asked what they were saying I told him they reckoned he'd be good to eat !
I'd never seen him move so fast before - in one second he jumped back in and closed the door !
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Old 3rd Jan 2021, 01:04
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Originally Posted by Flingwing47 View Post
Nalca, approx 150nm SSW of Sentani
Earthquake relief flights 1976 - all the gardens slid away from the mountain spine and twice a day for 6 months we were bringing in 1300kg of cans of fish, rice and utensils for cooking to Nalca and another dozen strips .
Nomad N22B
6700 amsl
350m long
10m wide
1st 100m 10% slope
2nd 100m 18%
3rd 100m 15%
last 50m 24% - 3 point turn at the top
Authorized to use it by DCA and Indonesian Dept of Transport - and the insurance company (thanks Mike).
Oh and locals were cannibals - bad weathers stopped flights for a week and the population decreased :/
Our engineer, the great Mike Egan (RIP) who was rather chubby, came for a ride one day. When he got out all the kids went crazy - they'd not seen a chap of his stature before. When he asked what they were saying I told him they reckoned he'd be good to eat !
I'd never seen him move so fast before - in one second he jumped back in and closed the door !
https://studentpilotnews.com/2017/08...ing-indonesia/

looks like they may have improved it a bit since your time, still looks steep enough. In the video you only get a sense of how steep it is once youíre seeing the angle of the houses.
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