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Leg 43 - Jackson International (AYPY) - Madang Airport (AYMD)


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What a place. Twinned with Jinan in China, Palm Desert in the US and Townsville in Oz, this place with a population of 307,000 and an average temperture of 31 degrees Celsius in March, it's quite different with from Portlaoise. There, it rains and rains and rains, and the temperature is rarely in double figures. It also has no airport, but does have a railway, unlike this place. Port Moresby was where I had to be, to meet a Welshman with the infamous baton.

 

Sitting in the local hotel, reading about signalling systems and Traffic Management Systems, the phone buzzes and disturbs the humid peace.Dai has arrived in one piece in a Caravan. Strange thing to arrive at an airport in, as I gathered my flight suit to get down to the airport and a meeting with my friend.

 

At the airport, Dai stood around, every inch the farmer I imagined. After a few brief words, and the vital exchange of the baton, he left talking about a Goat Simulator. Why he needs that when he has real ones, I don't honestly know!

 

The baton was quietly stowed into the bulky flight bag. Inside was the vital baton, a navigation log, a helmet with oxygen and comms equipment and my vital camera. All required for this rather noisy flight.

 

Dominating the airport was this beauty

 

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Meeting up with Sergei and the rest of the crew, it became clear that language would be a problem. Only the navigator spoke decent English, the rest with varying degrees of the language. Needless to say, a translated copy of the pilot's notes were thrusted into my hand. Translated prehaps is a strong word. More like Rus-english. The grammer didn't make sense at all. All I took out of it was the vital speeds: V1, VR, V2, Gear up/down, landing and stalling speeds.

 

Climbing up the ladder, it was plain to see that escape would be difficult in an emergancy. It must be one of the most unusual escape mechanisms around. No ejector seats are installed, but a conveyer belt running down the middle. Crew would take it in turns to be sped down the belt and hopefully missing the nosegear leg. As pilot flying, I would be last to go out.

 

The low whine of electricity was steadily replaced by the whine of the turboprops

 

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Taxi out was pretty OK. That big nose gear was a great help, with a wide turning angle

 

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Turning around at the end of the runway

 

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To get to this point, some reverse thrust was required, with the last wheel on the edge on the tarmac. I'll need a lot of that runway!

 

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The turboprops, the most powerful built, roar out a ear-splitting song and lift the aircraft into the sky

 

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The gear progressively comes up

 

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And nice and tidy.

 

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'This less cold than normal for Bear' comments my co-pilot, Alexandr

 

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'Go left 10 degrees to regain track', Sergi comments. Good job I brought this autopilot as well

 

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Nice and smooth

 

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A scheduled turn to head direct for AYMD

 

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'Nice scenery' I commented to the crew. All I received was a grunt of approval from Alexandr. Prehaps this wasn't the best of ideas

 

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However soon we are descending into Madang

 

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'95MS cleared for approach to 07. Radar has you, confirm aircraft type'

'Aircraft is type Tu-95MS Bear. Runway 07 approach'

'OK. Stop messing around. Confirm aircraft type'

'No, seriously, Tu-95 Bear. Have a look'

 

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'Chuck, is that you?'

 

Charming!

 

Coming around to the airport

 

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Airport ahead - cleared to land

 

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Tower watches us nervously

 

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Touchdown but this will be a touch-and-go. Was waaaaay to far down the runway to stop. Ah well, will just make noise instead!

 

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'95MS on go around'

 

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Coming in for a more stable approach and now knowing what to do

 

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Scraping over the fence for an early touch down

 

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Everything was thrown out to help us stop

 

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And stop we did! I turned to Alexandr and noticed he was white with fear. Never before had he been in a Bear on such a short runway

 

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A three-point turn was needed to keep fuel burn down (well, we must think of the money every now and again!)

 

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Tower watches us in awe and wonders how it'll get out!

 

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And finally all stopped and out we get for some air

 

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Over to you Remmington!

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Interesting choice for an aircraft Chuck, made for a great PIREP. :cool:  That Bear looks as menacing as it's namesake, bomber or futuristic tree trimmer would be my guess. :D

 

Great pic's and commentary Kieran, well done.

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:clapping:

 

Way to go Chuck! 

 

An impressive feat to get that monster in to Madang, but as you say getting it out again could be interesting.. I guess you'll just have to wait for a VERY windy day with the wind from the east ;)

 

 

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:clapping:

 

Way to go Chuck! 

 

An impressive feat to get that monster in to Madang, but as you say getting it out again could be interesting.. I guess you'll just have to wait for a VERY windy day with the wind from the east ;)

 

I have a sneaking suspicion that Alexandr and the rest of the crew would volunteer to stay back to lighten the load. :P

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