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18 March 2016


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Chris - there are some great clips on Youtube of scary landings at remote sites in PNG by light aircraft. This one is in West Papua, but there are many similar in PNG. Judged 'The world's scariest airstrip'.

Another aspect of aviation is the number of local pilots. Many of these have become successful overseas. I recall one PNG missionary to Ghana who told of his joy and surprise at meeting PNG pilots with Emirate Airlines flying in Africa. I recall meeting one Jika tribesman at a funeral near Hagen who after the funeral would return to his job of piloting Jumbo cargo planes in China. (Captain Makop). In a way the success of PNG pilots has been good for the confidence of the young. PNG can do it.

Yes Papua New Guinea certainly led the world in aviation as in 1931 Guinea Airways alone carried 3947 tons of freight & 2607 passengers.And on top of that were the tons carried by five or six small airlines.
This is an astonishing figure when put in perspective of comparison that the combined airline services of the UK,France and the USA were recorded as only carrying 2670 tons of freight in the same period.
Seven dredges were flown in up to 1939,bit by bit & combined with trucks & machinery a total 73,480 tons were flown in up to the Japanese invasion.

Believe it or not my 2nd flight on a single engine Cessena plane was with Capt Nat Koleala of Wapenamanda. We took off from Kandep to Porgera and onto Mt Hagen.

He surprised the two of us when he spoke to us in the Enga Language which left us in awe. I didn't know how he looked like before that.

My first plane ride was in a single engine Cessna aircraft. It was quite an experience, to say the least. As our roads are as dilapidated as they are, the role of planes still remain a reliable alternative for the rural folks.

I remember seeing a one engine plane for the first time when I was 8 years old. We had to stop classes (Grade 3) at Burui Primary School near Pagwi, Wosera Gawi District, East Sepik Province.

We waited for the plane to land and then take off. The smell, the image stayed on for days. We talked about the plane for weeks, all written stories and pictures were about this plane.

I was about the same age at primary school in Nowra NSW in 1953 when the first jets we had ever seen (Sea Venoms bound for HMAS Albatross) roared overhead. The entire class immediately rushed outside to behold the spectacle. Each of the boys received one cut of the cane for his trouble - KJ

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