Sunday, March 31, 2013


Unsurprisingly, the last few days have been filled with Easter thoughts. Here are some of the ways Easter has been celebrated at Ukarumpa:

This is a picture of the cross at the center's Good Friday service. The bag is called a bilum and people here use them to carry everything from books to babies!

On Easter Saturday there was a classical concert in the evening - there are a huge number of very talented people here! We enjoyed listening to opera, piano, flute, saxophone and cello pieces.

This is the Easter Sunday cross, decorated by the community at a sunrise service and then carried into the meeting house for the main Easter service celebrations.
 Happy Easter to you all!

Saturday, March 23, 2013

It's Tough in a Tuffa Tank

Clean water around here is provided by channelling rainwater off the roof into a storage tank, that's how we get our water. The plastic tanks used are called 'Tuffa Tanks'.

On the near, right side pipes take the water from our roof into the tanks.

Unfortunately they're just a little bit too bulky for putting inside your average light aeroplane. However, they fly quite nicely beneath the helicopter; once put together, that is. And the easiest way to put them together is to have someone on the inside who can position the nuts on bolts, etc.

Who would be silly enough to be inside a water tank when the lid's put on?
And it was just at the point when we had the lid on the first tank that it went eerily quiet outside and I began to wonder if this was a particularly amusing stitch-up!

Hello, is there anyone out there?
It turns out that everyone just went to discuss what to do next. That turned out to be: put together the second Tuffa Tank.

You'd think I would've learnt by now...

Then we rigged the tanks with chains and ropes to make them transportable by air. And thankfully substituted a bag of concrete for me (no comments, please, as to the relative usefulnesses of the two).

I am now, gratefully, in the helicopter rather than the tank!
And all that remained was to fly the tanks to their destination.

Which sounds so simple, but with 50kt winds at height and clouds well above 10,000' it took a couple of attempts to get them there. But we did; in the end.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Flora and Fauna

We are definitely NOT gardeners, but there are some beautiful trees and flowers here that we really appreciate. Everything seems BIGGER - the other day we walked past a poinsettia bush - yes that's right - and it was HUGE! Sadly the camera was at home, but we did have it on a few other occasions...

The Monkey Puzzle trees here are enormous too!

The Tok Pisin word for flower is plaua.

People at Ukarumpa grow avocadoes, pineapples, cherry guavas, passion fruit and all sorts of exotic things in their gardens. The Fourplex is managed by the branch so we don't have to worry about the gardens surrounding us, but the yard men work extremely hard to keep it all looking beautiful.

And now to some fauna...

Duncan spotted this amazing insect on the side of an aircraft. Its camouflage may have worked better on a tree!
Also spotted at aviation this is a very big moth that amazingly didnt mind the presence of Duncan's pen!

Thankfully we have no pictures of snakes...perhaps I should not have just typed that...

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Flying a Desk

Without a Papua New Guinean pilot's licence, Duncan isn't allowed to handle the controls. So, thusfar, a lot of effort has been put into revising for the pesky Air Law exam.

And with that out of the way, there's just the aviation department's manuals to skip through.

But it has been great just to be around flying. Here's a brief glimpse of the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) set up at Aiyura airstrip, Papua New Guinea.

The airstrip is about 2km from the main SIL centre, so a shuttle bus is run to get the staff and passengers out there. It may not be far, but it sure is bumpy!
P2 is the start of all aircraft registrations in PNG, hence P2-BUS!
The runway itself is unpaved, and one-way (which means you have to land going one direction and then turn around and go back out the way you came in) but it is one of the better strips the fixed wing pilots can expect to see!

The runway at Aiyura. Land from, and take-off to, the left.
Taking off this direction is not recommended. Unless you're a helicopter, that is!
Inside, there are the sorts of things you'd expect to find at any air operation: maps, books, computers, and mechanics fixing aircraft the pilots have broken.

The pilots' planning room. Looking good - everyone's out flying!
 Cargo is put into the crates - one for each flight / destination; or the freezer.
Scheduled maintenance on a Kodiak.

Outside, the weather can be a major factor; even just trying to get home. Though since we have been here, there has been plenty of sunshine as well as the rain.

 Typical afternoon thunderstorm.
The main attraction is, of course, the helicopter hanger. Newly built thanks to Wycliffe Associates who raised the money and did the work.

The chief helicopter pilot's aircraft.


My aircraft.
Not really my aircaft, but hopefully by the time I'm ready to go it alone, it will be too. Preferrably before Trudie gives birth.