This series of blog posts is part of the A to Z 2019 Blogging Challenge in which I will write snapshot memories of my early married life in the then Territory of Papua New Guinea.
My second flight ever is Brisbane to Moresby
Leaving family and friends, and me, in tears
Days later the little Piaggio took us to my new home
An airstrip, a bush materials “terminal” aka hut.
A few months later
The sound of aircraft in the clouds
Searching for the missing Piper Aztec
Nine people dead, my husband there at take-off – the last to see them.
Landing in Losuia with 5 minutes fuel
That confounded 100 metre hill
Lurking among the clouds.
Limited roads, mountainous terrain
Flying is like catching an urban bus
But with an element of Russian roulette.
TAA, Patair, Talair, MAF, Air Nuigini
Piaggio, Fokkers, Twin Otters, Cessnas
Single engine, twin engines
“There are no old, bold pilots”…
Submitting the statistics of the Talair fleet
Sometimes includes one less plane.
Mountain airstrips falling away
Clouds wreathe the mountains
Green skies, torrential rains
Tourists travel in stunned amazement.
Three near misses on one work trip
My husband decides he’ll leave that job.
My aircraft one-upsmanship on him
A charter on a Bristol Freighter, Goroka to Moresby
Counterbalanced by youthful flights on Catalinas and his audit flights.
Circuits and bumps in the Grumman Tiger
Watching the new 747 take off
A lumbering sight on the tarmac
A pelican when taking off
The pilot makes it look easy.
Landing at Jackson’s
The plane hurtles past the terminal
Locals on board “hit the brakes”
We turn on the dirt, just off the runway
Lucky, since the next thing is a road.
Going finish – our final flight
Leaving PNG “forever”
Tears averted through the camera lens.
So many aerial views. So many memories.
Fly a plane – ranim balus
Balus – a plane
Pailat – pilot
An old Territory (of PNG) yarn:
Pailat tok long kirap “mi pusim ol baten, na ensin I kirap, mi legoim brek, na balus i ran i go, i ran i go, na pren bilong mi ia I singaut “Sitmi” mi pulim dispela diwai na balus I go antap”.
Rough translation: Pilot says, at take off, “I push the buttons, the engine starts, I release the brake then the plane runs up the runway, the co-pilot says “XXX” and I pull the stick and we take off”.
For those with an interest in flying in Papua New Guinea, this You Tube video talks about the social impact of the introduction of aircraft. https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja0iMVgiAT4