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Not so fast, Abernathy

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Closing yesterday's report I said we'd be searching on the morrow for more mountain strips along the Kodoka Track.


Not so fast Abernathy*. The weather had other ideas.


First time I stuck my head out of the tent we had what I would have called indefinite ceiling, visibility less than 1/4 mile. Actually, it was closer to zero-zero.





By 0700 it wasn't much better





But by 0900 it was clearing up, although there were thunderstorms in the area. We didn't need a weather forecast to know that; we could see and hear them.





By 1000 we were preflighting.





And at 1030 we were rolling (and bouncing) down the runway.





Airborne I decided quickly that this could be a very short flight. Mountain obscuration was the forecast, and I wasn't at all sure we could get over them.







What worried me most, though, was that Kokoda would close in behind us and we'd be in trouble.





And it did, but only after we'd found a route south at 12,500'.


We weren't sure where the guy going the other way was headed, but whoever it was, they undoubtedly knew a lot more about the area than we did. (Which isn't saying much.)





So a 45 nm flight took us almost two hours thanks to the long slow climb over the Owen Stanley Range. But we made it back to Port Moresby without further ado.





Next trip, perhaps this afternoon if the weather cooperates, will be in a borrowed Cessna 185, one that used to belong to Talair. They went out of business back in about 1993, but one of their Skywagons, P2-SEM, was picked up by an acquaintance and she offered to let me fly it if I'd put gas and oil in it. (She flies a Gulfstream these days, and doesn't have time to give it the love it deserves.)



* Almost forgot. Who's Abernathy and why should he wait?


There was a sea captain named Stern. He received a wireless message that the mother of one of his sailors, a youngster named Abernathy, had passed on.


Being a proper sea captain, and of course a gentleman, he couldn't merely saunter up to Abernathy and whisper the distressing news into Abernathy's ear as he swabbed the decks. Nor could he call Abernathy into his private quarters and tell him the sad news; such things just weren't done. After all, what if Abernathy was to break down before him, sobbing, violating all rules of decorum?


Captain Stern racked his brain for hours, until in the middle of the night the solution came to him. The following morning, he assembled the whole crew topside. He stood above them on the poop deck and called out with his blustery tone: 

"All of you men whose mothers are alive, please step forward."  

As a majority of the men began to follow his command, the captain's voice rung out:

"Not so fast, Abernathy!"

Edited by Tailspin45
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Quite a tale you have spun mate , but these shots make up for that . Atmospheric beauties all of them !! .





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Looks like the typical additional challenge for PNG flying, Tom. Not just the mountains and the absence of navaids, it is also the altitude (reducing climbing power) and the humidity (reducing the visability of the numerous obstacles). Flying early morning could have been an option (before temperature & humidity rise), but obviously it did not help you much.


Your plan of hiring the famous Talair P2-SEM sounds good, this bird should be very experinced with the bush strips!


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1 hour ago, Ken Hall said:

Your becoming a legend in these parts, very entertaining, can’t wait for the next chapter 


It's all your fault Ken (and Tim, and Holger, and John, and ...).


I really enjoyed PNW when it came out because I flew as an NFO in A-6s and EA-6bs out of NAS Whidbey Island (KNUW) for 3 years back in the early '70s—not to mention that it's a very pretty part of the world anyway. NorCal and SoCal have been great too—I can virtually pick out my house north of San Diego near KCRQ, but nothing has stoked my imagination like this AYPY Papua New Guinea package, which I somehow overlooked.


When we sold our flightseeing business in 2006 I pretty much stopped flying, except for a stint in 2009 when I commuted several times a week in a friend's Bonanza from Palomar Airport (KCRQ) to Warner Springs (CL35) where I towed gliders in an ugly but perfect for the job Callair. Other than that, all my jollies have come from FSX, although I did go back up to Warner Springs in 2016 for a solo flight to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my first solo.


I grew up (some would contend otherwise) flying in DC-3 around Central America, so Jan Visser got my attention several years ago with the spectacular Virtual VC he was working on for Manfred Jahn's C-47V3. But I was heartbroken by the tacky computer-generated voice they were using for the audio checklist. So I volunteered to record the sound clips in my best studly pilot voice and then talked my wife and the fellow that was our mechanic for 15 years (a decorated Army helo test pilot) into recording the saucy stewardess' and pilot's voice. Ever since I've flown the wings off that Gooney Bird, and love hearing Kate coo in my ear, "Here's your coffee, boys. I sure did have fun last night." Not really sure what she meant by that adlib, but after 25 years together I have some ideas.


When I read Sir Gordon Taylor's The Sky Beyond I was astounded by his adventures and achievements exploring the Pacific in a PBY. Thought it would be fun to recreate his route in the C-47 since today most of the places he went now have airports—finding suitable spots was the reason for his exploration, after all. And I really wanted to learn to use a bubble sextant and drift meter, or at least a simulation of them.


But then ORBX went and ruined my plans after I landed in Oakland and released Global openLC South America. Instead of heading to the South Pacific via Hawaii and Guam I knew I had to fly south to Valparaiso before heading west. Taylor pioneered a route from Australia to Valparaiso, in fact, and flying to South America would take me over places I lived as a kid in Mexico, Guatemala, and Costa Rica, so the decision was easy.


As I headed west from Valparaiso I woke up to the existence of NSTU Pago Pago and the beautiful surrounding terrain and that led me to your Port Moresby and Tapini and here I am.


So, as I said, it's all your fault. And thank you for that!


Edited by Tailspin45
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Great shots, weather as per usual, probably rained by 3pm... Always great to hear that we perhaps helped to reinvigorate passion in simming!


When you get up to the Goilalas, Tapini and Woitape bushstrips will accommodate the DC3 just fine


Cheers, Tim

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12 minutes ago, Tim Harris said:

Always great to hear that we perhaps helped to reinvigorate passion in simming!



Never lost it the passion. You guys took it to new heights!

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What an awesome career you’ve had, hence the realistic narrations.

So glad your enjoying our packages, as Tim said we wanted you guys to have more than just a strip, more an experience.

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