Welcome to Shangri-La!

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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10 Responses

  1. cellnot says:

    Hi Matt,

    thanks for the amazing blogs and respect to your decision to
    leave your 9-5 job.
    I didn’t have the guts to do something similar.
    Sometimes I regret my choice against the further pilot training
    … especially after reading your blogs ;-).

    How long did it take to land on these airstrips?
    I did the PPL on an 480m plateau airstrip in southern Germany and I still
    find it challeging.

    Always happy Landings!


  2. David Stewart says:

    You’re doing the job I’ve dreamed of. But I never had the money nor opportunity to do. At the age of 52 I’m way too old to start!. Far be it for me to live my life through the dreams of others, but for me, dreams are all I have. So please, keep the video’s coming! Post them to YouTube… use some GoPro type cameras and get heaps of 1080p footage… Love to see some complete flights from various angles… But mainly your cockpit routines and how you navigate/aviate too would be fascinating.
    I saw a TV show here in Perth (I think on SBS) the other night about some pilots flying Caravans – one bloke took his Dad (and ex airline pilot up), that would be a thrill.

    Anyway, stay safe and you must remember that old saying about Old-bold-pilots!



    • Matt Dearden says:

      Hi David,

      I shoot plenty of video out here, don’t you worry. I just never seem to have the time to edit them into something people might want to watch! You’re not the first person to ask about seeing a flight from start to end, so I’ll try and work on something (although I think I’ll cut down some of the cruises as there’s not much happening usually unless the weather’s being awkward).

      I know the TV series you mean: http://www.bushflyingdiaries.com/2014/08/worst-place-to-be-a-pilot-tv-show.html I’ll be on the next couple of episodes on SBS ,so hope you keep watching it!


      PS I’m not so young any more and certainly not as bold as TV makes it look!

  3. Annemiek says:

    Hi Matt!
    On PPRuNe I found the link to Worst Place, and from there I stumbled onto your blog. Awesome! I love real-life adventure stories. I have indeed read Lost in Shangri-La. Crazy story, that one!
    Having lived in Alaska for a time I am more familiar with bush flying there and what the 20th century has brought to the Native villages. Lots of alcoholism and diseases like TB. This makes me wonder: is the Indonesian government in any way restricting access to the villages you frequent? Is the indigenous population being protected? Do they want to be protected? Or do they want 21st century gadgets? I imagine there’s people with grand visions of how to best exploit this unique situation. Hope they don’t get the chance. Maybe a topic for a future blog post? If I missed it in a previous one–my apologies.
    I put Papua on the weather page of my phone and it appears a lot more rainy and thundery than Worst Place or your pictures would indicate.
    Safe flying!

    • Matt Dearden says:

      Hi Annemiek,

      There are some restrictions on what can be taken to certain areas of Papua, namely alcohol, but it’s mostly fairly unrestricted. Indonesia’s rule of Papua and it’s people is not something I can really discuss on this blog but there are plenty of sources online if you want to read most about it.

      From what I can see, the indigenous people do seem to be embracing many modern conveniences like electricity, modern food items, modern building materials/methods and mobile phones. Quite a few villages now have a cellphone tower which has only happened over the last three years or so.

      The weather out here is very changeable and it rains a lot! Photos with washed out, rainy skies don’t look so nice on a blog so I don’t post that many although there are some from time to time. It certainly makes the flying even more challenging at times.


  4. bulan says:

    Salam kenal Matt.
    Senang sekali membaca kisah-kisah pengalamanmu terbang di Papua. Sungguh berterima kasih akan semangatmu menerbangkan saudara-saudara saya sebangsa, rakyat Papua.
    Selamat selalu untukmu.

  5. Yulirozak says:

    Legit. As usual.
    More stories, please.

    *surely have to read the book you recommended*