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Leg 42 - Weipa (YBWP), Northern Australia to Port Moresby (AYPY), Papua New Guinea


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Welcome to sunny Weipa, epicentre of bauxite mining in Northern Australia.
 
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I'm here, looking after Seair's contract with Rio Tinto. Not the most exciting job on offer - I thankfully missed out on the MH370 scramble, last I heard was that Sam had a 'plane load of reporters to be delivered to Perth. Today, I'm taking an RTZ exec up to Skardon and then to Horn Island to pick up a Queensland Tourist Board official bound for Murray Island. And, before returning to Seair's base in Cairns, there's a package to deliver to our PNG agent at Port Moresby. Here's the plan (Thanks, Tim):
 
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Well, the RTZ exec is happily eating his peanut-butter sandwiches in back, pre flight checks are complete, so off we go:
 
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The last 2 weeks of continuous rain has changed the landscape completely - what was an arid zone, scarred with the detritus of open cast mining, has been transformed into a green and pleasant countryside:  Autumn is here.
 
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To port, you can just see Wallaby Island in the distance, where I relax with a cool-box of frosties and watch the sun go down:
 
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As the Ducie River slips below, my passenger wakes up and starts to get ready to debark - RTZ's Skardon mine is just 20 miles away and we start the descent:
 
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YSKR is pretty basic - just a dirt runway in the middle of nowhere. The mine was opened up fairly recently and the railhead is still to be built. I tell the exec to belt up as the landing will be rough - hopefully he'll retain his comestibles...
 
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Just time to stretch my legs before the next hop to YHID - no canteen here, so I enjoy a nice cup of English Breakfast from my thermos. No rest for the wicked and we're on our way:
 
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Climbing away from Skardon, I select the AP and grab my iPad. I'm halfway through a course on Climate Chaos, care of the FutureLearn website. Andy, my boss, is somewhat of a sceptic on this topic - he reckons it's more to do with sunspots and CME's than anything man has done. Maybe he's right - looking down, the coast doesn't appear any different to 20 years ago and you'd be forgiven for being in denial:
 
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Another hour, and we can see Prince of Wales and Horn Island, just beyond. Time to put the 'books' away, turn off the AP and descend to YHID:
 
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We get clearance to land from the very friendly ATC and look forward to a lunchtime chat...
 
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... Which is interrupted by the arrival of the QantasLink delivering my next customer:
 
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His name is Bob and wears shorts - the de rigeur cladding for Tourist Board types. He is also fastidious and complains loudly about the crumbs on the seats left by my previous passenger. Maybe he'll ask for the lamp shades to be changed... Whatever, he's strapped down and looking at a map as we take off:
 
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"That's Cape York over there!", he shouts - well, it's not bl**dy Cape Wrath, is it, I think.

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He chats about his job, which, inter alia, covers tourism in the islands in the northern part of the Coral Sea. Although he's based in Brisbane, he spends much of his time up here. "I want to see Warraber from the air - we've not developed that spot, yet", he says. I go for a low pass:
 
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Bob is anxious to land and do a walk-about, so I oblige:
 
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YWBR is short, so the approach is quite exciting:
 
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No surprise when he returns to the aircraft after a quarter of an hour, looking hot and bothered. "No chance", he comments as grabs a coke from the fridge. "The runway spoils the place - no room for a resort - b*gg*r it." So, off we go again:
 
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Murray Island is another half hour - bigger than Warraber and a real tourist magnet:

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The neighbouring island is quite spectacular: 

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As is the approach:

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Bob is happier now that he's in a real resort and wanders off after thanking me for stopping at Warraber. I find time for snack at the cafe: 

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And then it's off again for the last part of the flight to Port Moresby:

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Leaving Murray Island:

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Turning onto the 256 degree outbound radal of the PY VOR, for AYPY: 

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Another 20 minutes and the weather's turning cloudy:

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Turning for the PRE NDB to intercept AYPY's 14L ILS:

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PNG is down there, somewhere. 

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Capturing the ILS:

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The runway's ahead, honest!

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See, I told you...

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(Very) Short Final:

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And that's that! Parked up to refuel before reporting back to Cairns. 

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Wonder where they'll want me next? Back to Weipa, of course!
 
Thanks for joining me. See you next time...
 
Cheers - Dai. :cool:

 

P.S. Thanks to OrbX for Murray Island - big improvement on the default!

 

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Great PIREP Dai, you really covered some nice looking places along the way. :thum:

 

The beaches of the neighbouring islands off Murray sure look inviting. Thanks for the entertaining flight and ending section four in style. :)

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Dai, it's always a pleasure reading your PIREPS..

 

The images are superb, and you really excel with your storytelling!

 

Looking forward to seeing more from you in the coming sections.

 

Speaking of those, information on the next sector will be published tomorrow. I'm out travelling for work today and haven't got access to the files needed to publish it until I'm back at the office tomorrow morning..

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WOW! Thanks for your comments - I'm glad you liked the trip. I found that Seair, based in Brisbane, actually use the C208, so spent a couple of happy hours repainting the default aircraft. After that, the story just seemed to fall into place. The Murray Island scenery is free from OrbX, but you do need their Australia HolgerMesh and object library, I think (most of you will have these, I guess). Only problem - no room for Sharon in the story - maybe next time...

 

Cheers - Dai. :cool:

 

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