Flight to Papua New Guinea

by Ian Ferguson

This article appeared in the March 2003 issue of Falco Builders Letter.

Picking up Rudy at Coleambally

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Juliet, being fond of travel/adventure decided to take a job for two months as a medical officer with an Australian aid organization in Kiunga on the Fly River in the Western Province of Papua New Guinea.


Rather than do the trip twice we decided that she would travel commercially on the way North, but that I would collect her for her return journey in the Falco. This gave me plenty of time to arrange flight clearance, maps and other travel documents appropriate for the northern part of the trip.

A river in Queensland

The clearance proved to be no trouble once I lodged the application. It arrived in four hours by fax. Topographical maps of the Western Province were another matter. Specialist map stores in Adelaide and Melbourne were unable to help. No doubt I might have been able to obtain an ONC chart from somewhere had I tried long enough. I finally found a TRC (Tactical Reconnaissance Chart) that covered the area. These charts are 1/500,000 military charts, and had been withdrawn from public sale for security reasons! The one I found was an old one. The map showed our track across PNG to be over forest and swamps with an occasional clearing marked in the forest. No roads, because there are no roads between the coast and Kiunga, all traffic goes by boat up the Fly River.

Ian with dinosaur in Cunnamula

A few days before I was due to leave, a friend from Coleambally in central New South Wales rang and asked if he could come! How are you going to get back? He said he would find a way.

Approaching Cooktown

Approaching Horn Island


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