Cessna Grand Caravan

The Grand Caravan 208B by Cessna is a large C172 with great cargo capabilities. The reliable PT6 turboprob engine does allow short field takeoffs and great cruise speeds. An ideal bushplane if you need to carry more!

New Guinea Bushtrip

Leg 5

We started out of Nipsan Airport with great weather around us and departed to the West. Climbing up to 13000 ft to avoid terrain we had beautiful views surrounding us.

Our first stop, Wamena, was visible clearly, but there was no paved runway as indicated in Chergos navigational data. Circling to get lower we coud make out the runway lights, but no runway. After landing we could see ground personel and eqipement even, but only one single taxiway, no other pavement at all.

After takeoff we continued westbound and found Tiom, located beautifully on a hill top surrounded by mountains. The short and slopped asphalt runway was falling away from us on landings and I needed 3 tries to finally get the Caravan down in time. But definitly one of the most beautiful locations on this trip so far. Mario had to leave after this one, but Chergo, Joerg and me had some more time, so we continued.

Immediatley after the start I recongized my artifical horizon was gone and the vacuum pump showed zero pressure. This prevented me from using any auotpilot or navigational aids, not great in these surroundings. So we made a quick dive for the nearest strip, Kwijawagi, to get the vaccum pump repaired.

We took off for our final stretch and followed the river and valley below us up Illaga Aiport. Again a very short and slopped runway with a towering hangar right next to it. After we had gotten down our Caravans finally, we turned off the enignes and took in the view.

New Guinea Bushtrip

Leg 6

We (Chergo and Jörg in as well) took off from Illaga Airport. Even the start is a challenge at these altitudes with the airport lying at 7.500 ft. We just made it into the air before turning West again.

Our first stop, Beoga, a beautiful little airport with a quite difficult approach. We had to dive hard to get our Caravans back into the valley from 12.000ft to 6.000ft. A problem we should encounter numerous times on this flight. But the plane is made for this kind of operations.

After taking off again we turned South towards Puncak Jaya. Standing at 4884m (over 16.000ft) this is the highest peak in Oceania and the highest one on an island worldwide. Right next to it is the Grasberg Mine, the biggest gold mine and the most efficient copper mine in the world – simultaneously. Its crater is 2km wide and over 300m deep.

We continued west again over the ridges of Fairytale Valley until we reached Paniani Lake. We cricled out over the lake to confront a 20kt crosswind on the landing into Enarotali Airport.

The final stretch awaited – down to the South to reach the shores of New Guinea. Clouds settled in on the way and the low sun in the sky made it diffcult to see ahead. As we reached the shore we turned West one more time towards Potowayburu. The airport is hidden away in the forest and hard to make out alltough near the coast. I breezed in the last touchdown and we could admire the sunset after we had gathered at the small apron.