Indonesian Presidential Elections 2014

Now, I’m not going to get all political here and wade in on who I think should win but will instead  fill you in on some of the logistics involved with this mammoth election of the world’s third largest democracy, encompassing some 190 million registered voters.

Delivering election boxes to Unito, Papua

I’ve only been back flying from Nabire into the mountains of Papua for three days but the weather’s certainly not made things easy for me. It’s technically supposed to be the dry season at the moment but it seems Papua has disregarded that idea. Instead we seem to be having weather more like the great British summer. This means lots of low lying clouds, grey skies, multiple layers of cloud and rather soggy ground. It’s not exactly the best way to get back into mountain flying following two months off!

VFR conditions. Just.

It’s certainly kept me on my toes flying wise. Although one can never blame the weather for an accident (even though some authorities seem to like that idea), you can’t escape the fact most accidents involving CFITs (controlled flight into terrain) tend to be in bad weather. Staying visual is very important when descending into valleys to make an approach. As they say around here: “What’s inside the clouds? Mountains.”

Grim weather in Enarotali, Papua

Naturally this weather has caused a few issues with getting election boxes out to certain areas. It took three attempts to get out to the remote village of Duma from the larger highland town of Enarotali where the election boxes were located. The first attempt I didn’t even depart Enarotali as I could see the area was enveloped in a massive rain storm that showed no signs of drying out. We waited a couple of hours but if anything the weather just got worse, so I headed back to Nabire and planned to try again the following day.

On attempt two yesterday morning, I couldn’t even get into Enarotali due to the fog and low lying cloud. Finally later on in the day Enarotali opened up and I managed to get out to Duma safely. Getting in was fine but due to over two weeks of constant rain (so the villagers told me), the ground was very wet and we got stuck turning around at the top of the airstrip.

A loaded Porter on landing can weigh up to 2400kgs. We were only at 2 tonnes on this flight but even then, it just wouldn’t turn around on the sloping, wet ground. Thankfully there were lots of helpful locals about who pitched in to help me push the aircraft out of the mud and back into the middle of the airstrip for departure.

Stuck in the mud at Duma

Curiously, compared to the parliamentary elections a few months back, I’ve not noticed as much interest amongst the Papuan people. I guess it’s because in the parliamentary elections they were voting for local people who can represent them directly whereas a president is just some bloke in Jakarta. Anyway, I’m not really into politics but I do hope the Indonesian people choose a suitable leader to take them into the future.

Election box at Unito, Papua
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. Nice post Matt, thanks.

  2. Great you share all your adventures with us!
    Thanks and please continue, Hans.

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