Parked up at Bugalaga, Papua

Parked up at Bugalaga, Papua

Sunday, 12 October 2014

Suitcase living

Due to our continuing pilot shortage on the Pilatus fleet, I've had to pack up my bags and hit the road to cover some of our other bases and leave the comforts of Nabire behind for a couple of months. It's a situation I'm sure many pilots the world over are used to but it sure doesn't get any easier; especially when you have to factor in carrying all your flying gear and anything you might need for any upcoming holidays. Still, at least I get to keep flying in the mountains of Papua. Or not...

My life in a suitcase

Monday, 29 September 2014

Back to normality

After the last few weeks of travelling about on holiday, it's nice to get back to the day job of flying the Porter in the mountains and jungles of Papua. It's been great to see the reaction to the TV series whilst back in the UK even if I still can't quite get used to the odd person recognising me whilst out and about. It was also nice to catch up with various friends and family on my travels which for me is what holidays in the UK are all about.

Meeting some fans at Colerne Airfield were I flew Bulldogs back in 1995/6

Saturday, 30 August 2014

A couple of days in Wamena

As we had very little flying going on in Nabire and our Wamena aircraft went tech due to a faulty artificial horizon, I flew our Nabire Porter across to Wamena for a few days to help cover whilst the engineers waited for the replacement part. Having never flown from there before in the Porter, I would be guided by George, our resident Wamena pilot on some of the routes and airstrips.

Stunning mountain ranges to the SW of Wamena

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Why sealed runways are not always the safest

Other pilots here in Papua often ask me what's the worst/scariest runway I land on and I always tell them it's the Caravan and Twin Otter friendly airstrip at Ilaga. This is almost always met with a surprised look considering it's about three times the length we need in a Porter, sealed and even features ATC these days! So, let me explain my dislike of tarmac runways further...

Crumbling tarmac at Ilaga airstrip

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Worst Place to be a Pilot - TV Show

"You guys really should be in a TV show or something. Maybe like 'Ice Pilots' or 'Flying Wild Alaska' or something?" - comments I've been told many times over by various people who know what I do for a living. Well, it finally happened! Channel 4 in the UK commissioned a four part series all about the lives of the pilots out here in Indonesia. It was filmed over nearly three months from February and features yours truly in the last two episodes of the series.


Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Tomosiga, the unfinished airstrip

I get a lot of satisfaction out of my job every day I go flying but just occasionally, something extra pops up to make a flight just the little bit more satisfying. Usually that'll be going to some new airstrip which is even shorter and steeper than those I'd been to in the past but last week it was simply taking some fruit seeds and wheelbarrow wheels to a tiny little community in the village of Tomosiga.

Tomosiga airstrip, Papua

Saturday, 26 July 2014

More Kotekas than usual

Maybe it's all the sunshine we've been having here in Papua these past couple of weeks or probably just coincidence but whatever the reason, there seems to be a lot more traditionally dressed folk about the mountain villages currently. That said, it's still very much worn by the minority. With the continual onslaught of progress of the world, it seems the traditional Koteka, or penis gourd, is slowly disappearing in favour of more western style clothing.

Locals of Pagamba geared up for something