Monday, March 29, 2010

My last posting in PNG, Pindiu, Finschhafen Sub-District 1969, cont.

Part 2 
(continued from yesterday)

4. From the air – the little green airstrip
Below: The Pindiu School is the furtherest building as
you look at the ranges towards the coastal area, where the sub-district headquarters of Finschhafen was located. When the rainy season was on, the whole valley was clouded in, so sometimes for weeks, there were no planes able to fly in with fresh supplies. You lived on tin foods (ugh!) and my fresh eggs from my wonderful Rhode Island Reds! Your vegetables were obtainable from the native’s local market which was held on Saturdays.

5. Below: Mountains at the end. Plane no stoppie – you no livie!
You would be amazed how “Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines” could slam on the brakes once the plane hit the ground.
You virtually “buck jumped” to a standstill!

The Administration office at Finschafen. ( Below)

The two guns are ex- WW2.

Where I arrived at Finschafen in 1964. The Buki Wharf.

In this coral / reef protected lagoon area we would water-ski.
I used to swim across to that island in the background. Or be paddled across in my big native canoe! Dolphins of course were in the lagoon and you felt safe whilst they were there. No sharks! However sea snakes abounded and a bite from one of those was fatal.
I lived in dread of them.
At the bottom of the lagoon – much bigger than shown here – I think there were 3 or 4 islands off the mainland linked by reefs – the sea bed was riddled with “belly drums” from WW2 planes. The water was always as clear as crystal. The drums ( fuel tanks) were dropped from the bombers before landing at the Finschafen airfield by the Americans!
Finschafen was a major airfield used by the Allies after the Japanese were removed for the assault on bases further north.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

My last posting in PNG, Pindiu, Finschhafen Sub-District 1969




Paul arrived at Pindiu the day I left – December 1969.

1.The Cessna 172 that delivered Paul to Pindiu in 1969 and took me back to Lae and out of PNG for the Canadian disaster . Also photos of  Pindiu in 1969 courtesy of Mike Slough and finally Pindiu in 2007 courtesy of Furune Bean (nee Wama).  Finally, Finschhafen SDO early 1970’s courtesy Steven Cottingham and Buki Wharf 2008 courtesy of Robert Ilu.

This photo below of the plane was at Lae Airport. Not Pindiu – Pindiu had no trolleys! Also at Pindiu – chocks would be on the wheels to stop the plane from moving.

At Wau – well before I got there in 1968 – a DC3 – landed and taxied to the top of the strip and chocks were not put in place and the plane decided to try to take off by itself !
Ended up a mess in the plantation at the bottom of the strip!!!

2.Pindiu Airstrip – plane taking off – note the ups and downs of the strip and the clouds coming down from the Mountains.             ( Below)

3. Above:  At the end of this strip – the valley appeared – so if you went down – it was really down.
The road you can see is the road up to the Mission Station – note the landslides!
I lived just right under the planes right wing  – as the plane comes towards you.
Obviously another plane took this photo – flying in PNG was really by the seats of your pants!
School was looking at the photo off from the level and clear ground on the left of the photo.

To be continued tomorrow

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Australia's New Airforce Planes

Today I saw the arrival of Australia's new planes for the Airforce doing a fly past - 8 or more of them I counted, all following an F-111, which they are replacing. Pretty impressive display.

Super Hornets-Long flight to Australia

The historic first flight of Air Force's Super Hornets into their home base, RAAF Amberley, will occur this Friday, 26 March 2010.
Minister for Defence Senator John Faulkner will formally welcome the new aircraft to Australia during a ceremony at Amberley, along with RAAF members, Industry representatives and community leaders.
The F/A-18F Super Hornets are the Air Force's first new air combat aircraft in 25 years.
Five Super Hornets have departed Naval Air Station Lemoore in California after extensive preparations, including acceptance flights and ground tests. While air to air refuelling is occurring, the long journey to Australia involves several stops, including Hawaii and New Zealand.
Air Force is planning to mark the Super Hornet arrival with an escort of F-111s, as the new aircraft fly over Brisbane and Gold Coast on approach to Amberley. The F-111s which have been stalwarts of Australia's air combat fleet will be retired at the end of 2010.
"The Super Hornets represent a major step forward in air combat capability for Australia. Air Force is acquiring 24 multi-role Super Hornets which will provide a bridging capability during the transition to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter," Senator Faulkner said.
"The Super Hornets are an important acquisition," Minister for Defence Personnel, Materiel and Science, Greg Combet said.
"Air Force, Defence Materiel Organisation, United States Navy, The Boeing Company and their industry partners, General Electric, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon share the credit for this project's success."
Australia's Super Hornets will arrive at RAAF Amberley progressively during 2010 and 2011.

Photos and information from the RAAF website.