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Tailspin45

Recon on the Kokoda Track

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Now that we made it to Papua New Guinea the plan is to explore the numerous little strips along the Kokoda Track out of Port Moresby and those in Goilala district out of Tapini. I'm assuming you can't shoehorn a Gooney Bird into many of them so I'll be using a rented Cessna 180.

 

But first I had to find the Kokoda Track, and what better way to do it than with our trusty DC-3 Airways bird. Especially since someone else is paying for the gas and oil.

 

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To be honest, we did a lot of wandering around before we found anything. The charts we had were no help, these little strips weren't on them. And anyway, the landmarks all looked the same to us. Be we did finally see a couple of short bush strips we assumed were along the track, and eventually realized it was barely a narrow dirt road.

 

JWNruaT.jpg

 

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We struggled to follow it partly because we didn't know where we were going and partly because the clouds were hanging in the valley

 

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We eventually decided to simply fly into Kokoda today and then go south along the track tomorrow.

 

Finding Kokoda hiding below an undercast layer was easier said than done. But we finally saw the airport below us...the hardest place to see. (One of my favorite Flight Instructor tricks was to yank the power and declare an engine failure directly over an airport. If the student discovers it great, and if things go wrong we have a safe place to land.)

 

sQtIrBx.jpg

 


Dumped the gear and using 23" to keep the jugs warm we button-hooked around, took the plunge, and managed to get lined up, slowed down, and checklist complete on about a mile final.

 

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But our job wasn't over, we still had to find a place to park the big bird without blowing camper's pup tents over or clothes off the line.

 

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In end we got her snuggled in, and tomorrow we'll do some more hunting.

 

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But tonight we're happy campers. Got our money's worth several times over so far. Port Moresby Airport is exquisite, and Kokoda with the smoke and tents and wash on the line was a complete surprise.

The difficulty finding strips (only three so far), the weather, and the terrain all made the flight anything but just another day in the cockpit.

 

Someone said adventure is adversity by choice. (I'd add that's true only in retrospect.) Regardless, today's flight was an adventure!

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I know at one time , one of our forum members posted a cheat sheet on how to fly to all of the airports in the PNG scenery . Maybe it will show up again . I am really enjoying your tour mate , keep the great shots coming .:):)

 

Cheers

 

John

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1 hour ago, Tailspin45 said:

No cheat sheet for me! Finding them (or not) is half the fun.

 

Assuming I can find the two we did see again, of course.

If you are interested a Mud Map can be found in the user guide in FTX Central  AYEO-Emo Mission, just in case!  :)

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1 hour ago, VH-KDK said:

You have got some wonderful flying ahead and we shall look forward to seeing the record of your adventures.:)

+1

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Great first flight over the track here, Tom. I´d think that little salt was added by me..

12 hours ago, Tailspin45 said:

Someone said adventure is adversity by choice. (I'd add that's true only in retrospect.) Regardless, today's flight was an adventure!

... but don´t worry: With a smaller bird (rented) you will master it. Though you might have to pay fuel (and, even more important) oil by yourself.

 

11 hours ago, BradB said:

I know at one time , one of our forum members posted a cheat sheet on how to fly to all of the airports in the PNG scenery . Maybe it will show up again . I am really enjoying your tour mate , keep the great shots coming .:):)

I have this map here, 14 MB size... but I try to add some initial help:

Goilala_bushpack.kml

ORBX_PNG_airport_package_map_V1.0.kmz

 

Ah, here you can grab the high-res map:

http://c-aviation.net/review/png-1-papua-new-guinea-orbx-sceneries/ 

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A-ha!  As in sailing, local knowledge is invaluable. Thanks for the hi-res map. It's exactly what I needed.

 

But now when I'm lost I'll have no excuse!

Edited by Tailspin45
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4 hours ago, Tailspin45 said:

But now when I'm lost I'll have no excuse!

You´ll surely get lost, I am sure. Even you...! Too many airfields around there, with difficult approaches because of the hills. Manage your speed, mate!

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Me? Get lost? Naw.

 

Well, there was this one time....

 

We had a formation of dogfighters out shooting Travel Channel video. I was flying "top cover" in our SNJ with a cameraman in the back.

 

KCRQ is on the coast and marine-layer fog is always a threat, and that day it snuck in while we were out east toward Ramona for the shoot, so we boogied for home.

 

Top Dog One One, flight of three, called the tower six east for the break. Tower cleared them in to the Initial but told them to keep their speed up because they'd have an IFR Citation nipping at their heels.

 

By the time I could get a word in edgeways it was obvious we were going to be sequenced behind the Citation even though we were much faster than the VG-21s, despite the encroaching fog. And so we were, after a turn to the north out of the approach path and a big 360 for spacing.

 

Rolling out, I reported the 360 complete and was cleared to land.  Picking my way VFR through the rapidly deteriorating conditions the tower causally asked my intentions.

 

"Ah, Warbird 17 was cleared to land, wasn't I?",  I replied.

 

"Affirmative. Recommend you turn right 90 degrees for final, runway 24."

 

And everybody—my dogfighters, the Citation crew, the TV star, and lord knows who else—heard all the other people in the tower laughing in the background.

 

Yup, ol' Tailspin got lost a couple miles from the airport.

 

Flying keeps you humble, it does.

Edited by Tailspin45
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