Another little strip tucked away in the valleys of the Kryan Mountains (I really need to learn to spell that!), Binuang is fairly straight forward strip to fly into, although is again surrounded by high terrain which you need to keep in mind (and visual with).
|Local villagers watching the aircraft being unloaded at Binuang|
Occasionally there are also a couple of little surprises. The first is the surface. It’s your typical grass/clay surface but gets pretty water logged after rain which leaves it very soft and quite slippery. The other is the winds. A strong westerly wind can create some pretty tricky crosswinds along with wind-shear; which going into a just over 500 metres of grass can focus the mind a little.
|My weekly box of Durian fruit from Binuang|
If you like your Durian fruit, Binuang’s got it in abundance. In-fact, I get a box worth given to me by the villagers once a week which is a lovely gesture if only I liked it! Luckily my crew back in Malinau all enjoy it, so it never goes to waste.
Always a good idea to over-fly this strip as there’s enough room and it give you a chance to suss the winds out. Either direction is fine for landing although if you go for 17 you won’t have to back-track the strip after landing to get to the parking bay. Top tip: don’t try and turn around in the middle of the strip. The ground gets incredibly boggy here and you’ll get stuck which will require you getting half the village out to help push your aircraft back into the centre of the strip (don’t ask how I know!).
|Final approach for 17 at Binuang|
Go-around options are available coming in from either direction right up until touch-down. Only other things to watch out for are dogs. There’s always plenty about, although at least they tend to get out the way when there hear an aircraft approaching.
Depending on the winds I tend to depart which-ever direction suits my next destination. There’s plenty of room in the valley to climb out without being too concerned with the terrain. It’s pretty bumpy, so you’ll want to tighten up that power level friction a bit to stop it slipping back as you roll.
|Looking towards the north along the strip abeam the parking bay at Binuang|
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.