Slope: slight up-slope landing 18
Despite it’s small size and proximity to Long Apung airstrip (just 7nm away), Long Nawang is a pretty popular destination for people to want to go to from Malinau. It’s one of the longest trips we do at 1.2 hours away but worth it for the fantastic scenery and the enjoyable approach into this strip.
|Terminal building at Long Nawang|
The strip surface is mainly clay/dirt with a few patches of grass. It drains well and is pretty flat without too many bumps. The parking area can get a little boggy after rain though. Weather wise, you can only get reports via HF radio from Long Apung but as it’s so close, the weather’s usually the same. Early morning fog is pretty typical here, as are winds in the afternoon. Landing with a tailwind is not unusual.
|Looking north up the strip from the mid-point|
There’s various ways to approach Long Nawang but you can only land in one direction, 18, due to the small cliff at the end of the runway and slight up-slope. There’s a reasonable amount of high terrain close by including directly on the approach path. This prevents a straight in approach; unless you fancy dropping in on a rather steep approach. I tend to fly around and below the ridge on the approach course which puts you on a tight, right base for 18. You can also drop into the small valley to the east of the strip and follow the river which also puts you on the same tight, right base.
|Final approach for 18 at Long Nawang|
There’s usually a few dogs about and due to that small cliff and rising terrain behind, you don’t want to reject much beyond about half a mile from the strip. The first river crossing is your key/rejection point; after that you have to land. The go-around from there is a climbing right turn along the river which you follow as you climb out back to the south.
I prefer a maximum performance take-off here unless I’m almost empty. Once airborne, monitor how well you’re climbing. If you’re light, you can usually fly straight out and over the ridge and head direct for Malinau. If you’re heavy, you’ll need to hook an early left turn along the river and follow it until you have enough height to turn right on track out of the valley towards Malinau. Engine failure options limited; river’s probably the best bet.
|Lined up for departure, 36, at Long Nawang|
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