Long Bawang

Length: 1200m (estimated) – Extension work still in progress (Feb ’12)
Runway: 04/22
Elevation: 3000ft
Slope: Up-slope both ends

Ok, this one’s less of an airstrip and more of a proper runway being of tarmac construction. However, it’s not exactly your straight forward run-of-the-mill runway. It’s located in the far north west of the Kryan Mountains and surrounded by some pretty high terrain. It’s also within a few miles of the Malaysian border; so don’t go too far west!

Cessna Caravan on the apron at Long Bawang

The runway itself is plenty long enough and is currently being extended. Last measurement I have for it is 1000m but it’s been extended since that was taken and they’re adding even more to it now. However, it seems someone’s not used a ruler to do the extension and there’s a bit of a bend as well as a hump in the centre of the runway. Not too much of a concern, but worth noting none-the-less.

Radio station and antennas at Long Bawang

Long Bawang also has the luxury of a radio operator. The trouble is it’s 50/50 as to whether they’re actually there, not to mention due to the location of the airfield and the surrounding high terrain; you can normally only pick it up if your either flying very high or very close.

Terminal building at Long Bawang

Long Bawang’s a nice enough place and has lovely pineapples which I try and get a box of now and then when they’re in season. I tend to fly more people from here and into the jungle than to here from the jungle. I suspect our Caravan fleet hauls more passengers to here from the main towns out of the jungle.


Crosswind approach to runway 04 at Long Bawang

Either direction is fine but check the winds. It can get pretty gusty in the bowl and is often a crosswind. I tend to prefer 04 as I’m normally coming in from Long Layu but if the wind’s are strong I’ll join a downwind and go for 22. Landing before the hump is advisable.


Standard take-off either direction; watch for the crosswind. Again I tend to go back the way I came so use 22 and turn out to the left toward the valley for Long Layu or Pa’Upan.
Everything written in this article are opinions of the author and should not be taken as sole reference for attempting a flight into or out of the aforementioned airstrip

Matt Dearden

Matt Dearden

English born professional pilot, writer, blogger and columnist. Currently flying the Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter in Papua, Indonesia.

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2 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    I made the first landing at Long Bawan in a Shrike Commander on January 24, 1972, sinking in to the frame. The landing had been delayed for a couple of weeks until the wing of the crashed C-130 had been sawed-off.

    Would give anything to re-visit those wonderful people at Long Bawan.

    Dave Hoisington

    • Matt Dearden Matt Dearden says:

      I’m guessing the airstrip was somewhat less than what it is these days. I believe they want to start taking ATRs into one day but then they’ve been saying that for years!

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