Back in Timika, bridges and rivers

After nearly four weeks away from flying following my re-currency training and a holiday to Iceland, I’m back in the saddle flying from our Timika base. Thankfully the weather’s taken a turn for the better as we enter the wet season with clear, blue skies most mornings allowing me to enjoy the ever beautiful scenery of Papua.

Clearing the ridges near Pucak Jaya

We now have two Porters based out of Timika for the run up to Christmas, so it’s pretty busy with four to five flights each day for both aircraft. Occasionally both aircraft end up at the same airstrips at the same time which allows me to get photos I wouldn’t normally be able to such as the one below of a colleague landing at Jila airstrip.

PC-6 coming into land at Jila, Papua

Aside from the flying I’m still continuing to explore the local villages a little more when I have the time and try to get a better feel and understanding of how the people out here live. Jila has this amazing (and rather treacherous) looking bridge which crosses a fast flowing river to link the airstrip to the village. It’s only a 5 minute walk from the airstrip and well worth the scramble down to for the views of the river. Having flown the odd length of steel cable into different villages it’s nice to see how the locals put it to use. Previous to such things, the bridges would have been constructed from local vines and have been even more dangerous to cross.

Local bridge linking Jila village to the airstrip

Rivers are also used for various other tasks. Aside from drinking water, the locals also bathe in them and wash clothes. They’re also quite nice to dip your toes in on a turnaround and cool off; whilst not glacial, the water does come from within the mountains and thus is refreshingly cold. Clothes though are a relatively modern item for most of the locals. Not more than sixty or so years ago, they would have been more traditionally dressed with kotekas and grass skirts.

Local woman in Kilmit doing the weekly laundry

For more live updates from flying here in Papua, don’t forget to checkout my Facebook page, Twitter and Instagram accounts for photos and reports as things happen.

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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6 Responses

  1. Anonymous says:

    If you’d like to help the bridge to be even safer, bring some bulldog clips 🙂
    On a serious note, the ‘safe standard’ is to have 2-3 for each steel wire looping.
    Down here in a vessel if a rigger clip it like that maybe somebody will give them a schooling haha..

  2. Thanks for another nice share Matt

  3. Anonymous says:

    Found you on YouTube (Worst Place To Be A Pilot). In your picture at the top of this page, the control stick looks short. Does this cause any problems with controlling the aircraft?

    • Matt Dearden Matt Dearden says:

      The control stick on the Porter stretches from the floor to about knee height when sitting. It’s certainly not short and is just the right length in my opinion as you can control the aircraft with a flick of your wrist whilst resting your arm on your leg.

  4. Callum clausen says:

    Hi Matt

    I’m 14 and live in England. I dream of becoming a bush pilot and your blog has inspired me. What’s re-currency training?
    Many thank for the awesome blog

    • Matt Dearden Matt Dearden says:

      Re-currency training is something we do once a year at our training centre in Java to renew our Indonesian licences. It takes a few days and covers al the things we’re required to know to fly here in Indonesia.

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