Flying the Kokoda Gap in PNG

Aviation related only
Post Reply
Message
Author
User avatar
Alisoncc
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 2775
Joined: Sat Aug 22, 2015 7:20 am
Location: Arrakis
Gender:
Age: 74

Flying the Kokoda Gap in PNG

#1 Post by Alisoncc » Thu Aug 16, 2018 1:30 am

In the "Aviation Incidents" board made mention of flying in PNG, with a reference to the Kokoda Gap. The Gap was a valley betwen two bloody great mountains that was flown to get from Papua to New Guinea. Found an interesting YouTube video of flying the Gap in a Twotter. The really good bit starts at about 2:30 mins in when they are having to zig-zag along the Gap itself. Follow the wrong valley and it's a dead end with nowhere to turn around and you can't climb to get out.

Imagine doing that in a fully laden BN2A (piston powered), no pressurisation and at a significantly lower altitude than the Twotter. The valleys are narrower at lower altitudes. You had to pick your line and stick to it, hoping there was no one coming the other way.



Alison
Rev Mother Bene Gesserit.

Sent from my PDP11/05 running RSX-11D via an ASR33 (TTY)

User avatar
boing
Capt
Capt
Posts: 716
Joined: Thu Aug 27, 2015 6:32 am
Location: the winding ancient stair
Gender:
Age: 71

Re: Flying the Kokoda Gap in PNG

#2 Post by boing » Thu Aug 16, 2018 6:34 pm

You bush pilots do all sorts of strange things that most of us could not even imagine. Going into a cloudy valley in an aircraft that you can't pretty much stand on its tail to escape sends chills down my spine.

My story along the same lines.

I was being picked up at a gravel strip in the bush on the North Island of NZ. Beautiful day, clear skies and sunshine but my charter flight pick-up was late.

Eventually the Cessna (206 ?) appeared and Chris, the lady pilot, gave me the news. Taupo was under a low cloud deck, no IFR arrivals, we could wait for the weather clearance or "run the gap". The expression "Run the gap" is going to make any pilot think. Since the clearance could take a long time we agreed on the "gap" with myself fully expecting that something interesting was about to happen.

We got airborne in great weather but the problem was soon obvious. The airfield a Taupo is about 150 feet up-slope from the surface of Lake Taupo, the lake was covered in low cloud which extended over the airfield. The plan was to find the beginning of the "gap' in the clear weather, fly down the gap, which was a sort of steep sided stream valley leading to the lake where it was expected that we would have some sort of cloud base, then fly to the airfield VFR. My feasibility meter was hovering around 3 out of 10 at this point but Chris was a very capable pilot who I had flown with before.

The gap was rather narrower than I anticipated but Chris did a great job and soon we were low over the lake under a not very high cloud base. Chris easily found the airport location which led me to consider the oddity of the situation.
It was first time (and last time) that I had joined the circuit pattern from below the touchdown height, climbed to reach the threshold and then perform a reverse Oopsy to land. Usually I descend to the touchdown then bounce, on this occasion we climbed to the threshold, did an intentional balloon over the numbers to a perfect touchdown!

Bush pilots have all the fun. ;)))

.
the dreamers of the day are dangerous men, for they may act on their dreams with open eyes, to make them possible.

User avatar
Slasher
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 6727
Joined: Wed Nov 18, 2015 4:41 am
Location: In between 'em!
Gender:

Re: Flying the Kokoda Gap in PNG

#3 Post by Slasher » Fri Aug 24, 2018 10:54 am

It's a big disappointment that Pinky isn't around. He'd have some pretty good stories to tell.

I only got as far as Morehead via Daru on the Fly River coastal plain. Thought the locals there were gonna cut me bloody head off! That was the first and last encounter I ever had with PNG.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24m-V2f9-sY

John Hill
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 2327
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:40 pm
Location:

Re: Flying the Kokoda Gap in PNG

#4 Post by John Hill » Sat Oct 06, 2018 11:37 pm

The foreign air force C130 announced on the Taupo aerodrome frequency that he was joining the circuit at 1500' but many pairs of eyes were unable to see him until someone noticed he was flying over the lake at about 150', presumably still on the Wanganui QNH.
Been in data comm since we formed the bits individually with a Morse key.

Boac
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 3685
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 5:12 pm
Location: Here

Re: Flying the Kokoda Gap in PNG

#5 Post by Boac » Sun Oct 07, 2018 7:27 am

I'm absolutely sure it was an honest mistake, John :))

User avatar
ian16th
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 4024
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:35 am
Location: KZN South Coast with the bananas
Gender:
Age: 81

Re: Flying the Kokoda Gap in PNG

#6 Post by ian16th » Sun Oct 07, 2018 10:06 am

Taupo, the home of farmed, tasteless fresh water prawns.

Our biggest disappointment of NZ.

We lunched there on the day we drove from Napier to Rotorua. Two lovely towns.
I set out to try all of the Seven Deadly Sins.
I'm still on Sloth.
I think should have started with one of the others.

John Hill
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 2327
Joined: Sun Aug 23, 2015 7:40 pm
Location:

Re: Flying the Kokoda Gap in PNG

#7 Post by John Hill » Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:13 pm

Malaysian prawns raised in water warmed by waste heat from the Wairakei geothermal power station.
Been in data comm since we formed the bits individually with a Morse key.

User avatar
ian16th
Chief Pilot
Chief Pilot
Posts: 4024
Joined: Fri Aug 28, 2015 9:35 am
Location: KZN South Coast with the bananas
Gender:
Age: 81

Re: Flying the Kokoda Gap in PNG

#8 Post by ian16th » Mon Oct 08, 2018 9:04 am

John Hill wrote:
Sun Oct 07, 2018 11:13 pm
Malaysian prawns raised in water warmed by waste heat from the Wairakei geothermal power station.
They were well advertised as grown in geothermal heated water, I don't remember the Malaysian heritage mentioned.
I set out to try all of the Seven Deadly Sins.
I'm still on Sloth.
I think should have started with one of the others.

Post Reply