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Floundering Around Part 17: "New Guinea Highlands"



Floundering Around Part 17: "New Guinea Highlands"

By Ron Blehm
29 October 2007



The New Guinea Highlands

In this series I have encouraged you to submit some of your own, particularly fun challenges. The idea came from hosting our own "Flight of the Month" feature at: www.toomuchfs.com which is where Peter Stark of Western Australia posted this feature for our February, 2006 Flight of the month or FOTM as we call it. I hope you find this flight both fun and challenging - I loved it!


Peter wrote:


After my last FOTM in Nepal, I promised that my next FOTM wouldn't involve landing on ridiculously short mountain airstrips - I lied!






We are going to travel to an amazing part of the world rarely visited by flightsimmers or indeed by too many real world people! It is a land with over 300 languages and tribes of indigenous people who up until just a few years ago had never had contact with Europeans. It is also a land where cannibalism is still known to sometimes occur, so be sure not to offend the locals!


Welcome to the Highlands of New Guinea! You can expect some intense flying experiences - but all perfectly manageable and fun if you're careful, with legs taking less than an hour.


New Guinea is the eastern half of the world's second largest island with narrow coastal plains and towering inland mountain ranges. It is located on the edge of the Pacific Ocean just to the north of Australia.







The capital of New Guinea is Port Moresby/Jacksons (AYPY) located on the south coast. It is an international airport and I have flown aircraft up to B747-200 size into here without any problems. If you choose to arrive via a 'heavy', your nearest alternate that can accommodate you is Cairns, Australia (YBCS) which is 450 nm to the south.


Alternatively you can arrive from neighboring islands and countries to any of the numerous small coastal airports that ring New Guinea and find your way to Port Moresby.


If you have time and want to explore the 'top end' of Australia as well, take a light aircraft from Cairns via the Torres Strait Islands. The file TRSSTRT9.ZIP adds numerous airstrips and scenery to this picturesque chain that separates Australia from New Guinea.







New Guinea is a tropical country and as the hot, humid air rises up the central highlands, you can typically expect the weather to deteriorate into severe tropical thunderstorms each afternoon. Most Highlands flying is done in the early morning, after any mists have dissipated. If you use Real Weather or similar, you may find the conditions highly variable as the weather data will be probably be from Port Moresby and so may not reflect what is actually happening in the mountains. So, for this FOTM I recommend you use the Hot and Humid weather theme (HOTHUMID.ZIP) by Christian Stock). Then, no matter what time of day or night in your time zone, you will be presented with typical conditions for the area.


You should expect large amounts of cloud most days with them often coming into contact with the ground - beware!







MS didn't do a great of New Guinea. The mesh is ordinary and the mountain airports non existant. Fortunately, thanks to lot of effort by Adrian Shortall et al, we can all enjoy the Highlands experience in both FS2002 and FS2004.


1. Mesh
There are a couple of options available to add some higher resolution mesh. FSX users have a nice choice, with the four part mesh that also covers Australia and New Zealand (AUNZ*.ZIP). You can however still do this FOTM without any mesh if you so desire.


2. Airports





For adding the 'missing' airports, you really can't go past the PNG Airports series by Adrian Shortall. It adds 20 airports around the country including some with breathtaking approaches! 🙂 This package includes a map, AFCAD files to allow you to plan your routes, as well as descriptions of the approaches, Ian Thatcher's landclass scenery, approach charts, etc. (To come to think of it, about the only thing this package doesn't come with is a set of steak knives!) Even the remote Highland airstrips have been given NDB's to help out a little. You will need:


1. PNGAPTS3.ZIP (airports 5.3MB)
2. PNGTEXT3.ZIP (textures 5.5MB)
3. PNGACFT3.ZIP (static aircraft 2.9MB)


You WILL need to install at LEAST the first two to do this FOTM, or you will be restricted to boring 'milk run' commuter flights on the coast.






These files make for a much more realistic experience. Note that it is recommended that you move your 'Autogen' slider all the way to the right if possible to take full advantage of their work. If your PC can't manage that, change the setting once on the ground.



You have arrived in Port Moresby as part of a rotating roster for Flight Club International Airways. While in New Guinea, you will be requested to act as pilot in command in a range of aircraft types and scenarios that are sure to test your skills but provide you with an insight into the lives that PNG pilot's have.






When you report for duty on your first day, you are scheduled to take a commuter flight from Port Moresby (AYPY) to Safia (SFA), on to Gurney (AYGN) for the night. I would recommend a Dash 8 or similar (but not any bigger!). NOTE THAT MSFS ATC IS A BIT ERRATIC IN SOME OF THE TERRAIN AND ATC WILL NOT GUARANTEE TERRAIN AVOIDANCE!! You can use the approach plates included with Adrian Shortall's package to aid you.


As you will be here overnight, crank up the scenery density to extreme and take a tour of the memorial vintage bi-plane display.


When you report for duty, you are advised that your aircraft has been impounded by the touchy military because when you visited Safia yesterday you inadvertently taxied through the restricted military part of the airport. You DID see the signs didn't you!?






So while we sort it all out, you have been allocated to take an Air Niugini Fokker F70 from Gurney to Goroka (AYGA) and on to Kandep (KDP). I recommend FOKKER70.ZIP by Ray Tamara which contains an Air Niugini livery for the Project Fokker F70. And oh, before I forget, I would make sure you read the airport approach instructions if I were you.


You then make a late afternoon departure and return to Port Moresby for the night. Be careful on your departure if in cloud or in darkness - you are surrounded by mountain ranges!


When you arrive for work at 0700 local, you are introduced to a Canadian missionary that now resides in Peru. 'Brad' (a fictitious name) is studying the effect of European religions on indigenous populations and you are asked to fly him to two remote highland airstrips.






You will be flying a light aircraft (helicopters are for wimps on this leg!) from Port Moresby (AYPY) to Woitape (WTP). After spending a few hours there, you will be travelling on to Tapini (TAP) for the night.


If you think that sounds simple enough, I suggest you read the PNG Airports Word document in Adrian Shortall's package! (Then again, if you're a real professional - DON'T read notes for the airports!)


Fortunately, the locals have forest remedies for nervous pilots (a common complaint in PNG!) and you awaken fresh and rested for the next day's flying activities. You are summoned to ferry some mining executives in your choice of light aircraft or small turboprop to Bulolo (BUO), Easy! At Bulolo, you alight the passengers and load some miners who are due for recreation leave and fly to Kairuku (KKU) for the night.







By now you have survived(?) longer than the average PNG pilot and have no doubt started to enjoy the Highlands. You are given some leave and access to a plane of your choice to explore some of the other wonderful airstrips throughout PNG, whether it be in the Highlands, coastal plains or through the islands. Plan your own route to arrive back in Port Moresby by the end of the month where you will be given a new assignment.



Peter Stark


The "Floundering Around" series is presented by:


Ron Blehm

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