There’s not much to say with regards to flying in/out of Malinau; so I’m not going to say much about it! Malinau’s located on the edge of a river in flat ground. The only challenge can be the early morning fog which can take a while to lift depending on how much rain fell the night before. There’s no instrument approach here, so you need to be visual with the airfield in order to land. This can often mean flying around just above the cloud tops, looking for a safe hole to descend through in order to get under the clouds for a landing.
|Approach runway 04, Malinau|
I believe Malinau is the second largest town in Northern Kalimantan (after Tarakan) and hence features a rather large airstrip. It seems they’ve got big plans for the place judging by the new terminal building they’ve been constructing for the last two years too (still not open though). It also features a control tower which actually has someone in it when the airstrip’s open and offers a sort of ATC service.
|Malinau control tower and new terminal behind the current one|
Malinau is my home base and my company usually keeps one Pilatus Porter and one Cessna Grand Caravan based here (although sometimes a second Porter is based here if demand warrants it). We have a large hanger here, big enough to house two aircraft which is a rare thing to have in Indonesia.
|Two of our Porters ready for action in the hanger at Malinau|
We also have our own AVTUR fuel supply which is delivered in 55 gallon drums. In order to get the fuel into the aircraft we have a rather nifty fuel bowser. This is constructed from an old Cessna Caravan ferry tank and uses an electric fuel pump and filter, powered off a couple of car batteries. Fuel is sucked out of the drums into the ferry tank and then pumped into the aircraft from there.
|55 Gallon drums of AVTUR|
|Re-fueling the Porter on the apron from the bowser|
All of the flights I do here in Kalimantan, start and end in Malinau except for the ones into the Kryan Mountain (Long Layu, Pa’Upan, Long Bawang and Binuang). Those ones tend to be short hops between them all, eventually linking back to Malinau. The nearest diversion option for Malinau is Tarakan which is a 30 minute flight away in the Porter and offers full IFR landing facilities should the weather be bad upon return to Malinau.
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.