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14 February 2014


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Old air flight stories! A goldmine. Hard to beat the old turbo props like the Dash 8.

I remember my first flight on an airplane. We were returning from Wellington to Sydney. I was 8 years old. It was a TEAL Lockheed Electra and there were only two other passengers on board apart from our family. We got the best of attention - toys, puzzles, games, food, lollies, being rolled out to me and my sister.

But our arrival into Kingsford Smith was on the night of 30 November 1961. I remember we flew through terrific thunderstorms and major turbulence, and they put us in a holding pattern over Sydney for close to an hour before we could land. Being a kid I was excited and thought the pilot was doing this just to entertain us.

It was only later we found out that this was because an Ansett Vickers Viscount had been brought down in Botany Bay just before we were due to land with the loss of 15 people.

Thanks to Airlines of PNG! The New Guinea Island Region now has an alternate choice to travelling back home.

The recent introduction of the regular services sector by Airlines PNG from Port Moresby to Rabaul-Buka-Kavieng-Lihir-Hoskins has given the islanders a great relief. Good job!

Back in the 1970s, I was teaching in Alotau and also an Anglican priest. I remember departing Dogura airstrip one day in a small twin engine 8 seater - Beechcraft probably - I cant remember.

Because I had also been a pilot, I was invited to sit in the left hand seat and watch the action. After dragging our tail back into the long grass, we took off and immediately began to execute an upward spiral to avoid the 5000' mountain a little way ahead.

During this climb out, an audible warning came on which the pilot simply ignored. Wondering if he was deaf or something I nervously enquired what the noise was, 'Oh, its the stall warning siren Bernard, we're not climbing hard enough unless that's going......'

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