|Approach in to Jila, Papua|
Orientation: 12/30 (landing 30, take-off 12)
Slope: 8% upslope
Surface: broken/soft asphalt
|Terminal building and radio hut at Jila airstrip, Papua|
There’s not too many things to be wary of in Jila other than the usual mountain flying stuff like stronger winds and cloud build-ups later in the day but like all Papua airstrips you don’t want to get too casual about things. The approach path is long and clear offering a straight in, stable approach from a couple of miles out. Provided you touch down near the beginning of the airstrip, the length is ample for a Porter and you’ll probably have to add power to get to the top where it levels off to a smallish apron of sorts.
The surface of the airstrip, although fairly soft and broken tarmac, is actually quite level so there should be no problems keeping things straight on the landing and take-off rolls. Expect a tailwind of up to 10kts later in the day if the sun’s been shining, less if it’s a cloudy day. The wind is rarely a problem thankfully which allows flight operations late into the day.
Weather wise, Jila is usually closed early in the morning due to fog and low clouds but usually opens up from around 8am onwards until quite late. Be wary of cloud build-ups later in the day forming rain showers which can eventually close the whole bowl. I very nearly had to overnight in Jila after landing in what started as a small rain shower but soon developed into a rather big storm whilst I was on the ground and which lasted for a couple of hours.
|Looking down the airstrip from the top at Jila, Papua|
The main things to look for on departure are people on the runway and that you have a clear path out. If the clouds are low, you really want to be able to see the ridges pictured above before leaving the ground. If they’re masked in clouds, be very sure you can see further out into the valley to safely climb out of the bowl. There’s lots of terrain around and you don’t want to be flying into clouds until you’re well clear of the peaks further to the south.
|Villagers taking cargo and logs from the airstrip to the village in Jila, Papua|
|Wood and cable bridge linking the village to the airstrip in Jila, Papua|
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.