A trip to the village of Asua, in the Star Mountains of Papua New Guinea

A hand-built landing strip on a mountain and not for the faint of heart

There are very mountainous countries or territories where having a landing strip is a great help, and being able to land on it is quite a challenge.

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One such country is Papua New Guinea. Located in the north of Australia, it has extensive jungle landscapes and an important mountain range that runs through the center of the country, known as the Star Mountains, whose highest mountain, Puncak Mandala, reaches a peak of 4,760 meters above sea level. the sea level. In that mountain range, near the border with Indonesia, is the village of Asua.

Located on top of a mountain, the inhabitants of Asua built a landing strip by hand to break their isolation. It is a difficult construction and it can take between 5 and 10 years of work in a place like this, as there is no machinery. The runway is 310 meters long and has a gradient of 21%, so it is only suitable for small planes and pilots with nerves of steel. One of those pilots is the author of the Youtube channel APilotsHome, who published an interesting video a few days ago showing his flights to Asua:

Below we can see some screenshots of the video. This pilot has a Pilatus PC-6/B2-H4 Turbo Porter single-engine turboprop aircraft, with registration PC-RCY. This very powerful, Swiss-made type of aircraft is very popular with aviators who have to land and take off on short, poorly prepared runways.

The landscape of the Star Mountains is spectacular, but can you imagine how much it must cost to build a landing strip there, and also by hand?

In this image we see the track on the left. It is closed, covered with a soft layer of grass.

The inhabitants of Asua make good use of all the available space in the Pilatus. What I don't know is how those eggs will reach their destination...

Here we see the pilot lying in a makeshift hammock under the starboard wing, waiting for the fog to clear so he can take off.

The runway, seen from its upper end. Taking off from there must be quite an adventure.

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