An Australian volunteer who was doing whatever volunteers do in PNG.
I was there for 2 years until Dec 2005 .. I hope I made the most of it.

Wednesday, October 13, 2004

Column 8 Classics

After my adventures with mum at trying to get to Maimafu (see the story), what my big sister Sue has just sent me in a package is very appropriate. She has clipped some clippings from the Sydney Morning Herald's Column 8 about some bush pilot stories in PNG. I'll share them together here all in the one place.

Column 8 - September 17th
Wing and a prayer. V. David Thurlow, of Birchgrove, tells of an experienced and presumably mischievous New Guinea bush pilot who handed the instruction manual to his passenger and asked her to read to him the relevant paragraphs on: "Instructions for take-off."

Column 8 - September 20th
Myth or legend, Bob Phillips had to share this tale, inquiring if the bush pilot prankster in Papua New Guinea (Column 8, Friday), who needed take-off instructions, was the same man who walked backwards out of the cockpit with a ball of string, asking an unsuspecting passenger if she minded holding the string taut while he went to the toilet at the back of the plane. He never mentioned he had a co-pilot.

Column 8 - September 21th
From the fertile field of flying in Papua New Guinea, John Egerton, of Wollongong, recalls the noisy bi-plane of the 1950s, the Dragon Rapide, whose wings flapped unnervingly in flight. High above the Sepik jungle, a twitchy passenger shouted at the pilot to ask what would happen if the engine stopped. Without a word, he switched it off, allowing the deathly silence to sweep over his passenger before restarting the motor. Lesson learned, John asked? Never interrupt a bush pilot when he is at work.

Column 8 - September 28th
Flights to life's edge abound. Mary Anne Kennan, of Burwood, recalls the Papua New Guinea pilot who calmly landed his light aircraft on a field "the size of tennis court" on a mountain ridge with deep valleys around to pick up the coffee harvest. Turning off the engine, he leapt out, cursing and shouting at some young desperadoes near the runway, later explaining grimly: "They put stones in the windsock. We nearly didn't make it."