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I was browsing through my very old pics today and spotted this one of the memorial to Fr Joe Walachy, who left this world way back in 1965.  On my 1st tour of PNG, (as an agricultural officer = 'didiman' ), I had met Fr Joe when he was flying into several Ramu Valley strips in the Madang district of PNG.  I was based on Kar Kar Is for 4 months relieving the officer there, then was posted to open up the service out of Aiome. The Catholic Mission, based in Madang, serviced many strips in the Ramu, including Aiome,  Atemble, Josephstaal,  and Annaberg.

 

In early 1964, armed with a fresh PPL, I visited Fr Joe at the SVD hangar on the then rough, coronous Madang airport.  I generously offered to 'help out' with the flying load so that Fr Joe could have some time off.  This was a very good offer, because I had a TT of 120 hrs, and 4 hrs on a Cessna 180, and none on anything heavy - so flying the Mission C206 was going to be a pushover!   Fr Joe looked me straight in the eye and said: 

 

 I'm going to save your life, and anyone else who might be with you, by refusing your offer. My reasoning is that you just don't have the experience needed to get safely from A  to  B  in PNG, and even should you manage to get there, the airstrips are far, far, far beyond your skills to handle at this time in your career. Fly around the coast for a while and you'll learn. And good luck in your career.

 

After gaining my CPL in 1965, I cracked 2 part-time jobs flying coastal out of Port Moresby, and learned the craft in a much safer location than the Highlands.  I went on to become a C&T pilot, and gained the coveted ANO 28.1 Allover Exemption for charter flying in PNG. 

 

But Fr Joes' luck ran out in mid 1965, when he crashed a C206 N/NW of Goroka.  The search for him is detailed in Jim Sinclairs PNG trilogy, Balus 2, p91-92. The wreckage was 7500 amsl and on the side of the sheer rockface on one side of the Asaloka Gap.  

 

Fr Joe was no novice CPL.  He had a TT of near 20,000 hrs,  of which 19,000 hrs had been flown in PNG.  And believe me, the 'mission' airstrips were far below the aerodrome standards enforced by DCA, (now CASA), for commercial ops.

 

With winter coming up, let this remind you that going into IMC is fraught with risk, and even the most competent and experienced can, and do, make mistakes.

Fr Joe Walachy.jpg

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With cold mornings occurring you must be careful of airframe icing too. Remember each 1,000 ft is 2 degrees C  lower temp as you climb. Ice is not just weight. It reshapes your aerofoils  so the stall speed you had is meaningless... Nev

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28 minutes ago, facthunter said:

With cold mornings occurring you must be careful of airframe icing too. Remember each 1,000 ft is 2 degrees C  lower temp as you climb. Ice is not just weight. It reshapes your aerofoils  so the stall speed you had is meaningless... Nev

Another aspect of cold morning air I noticed yesterday: it’s denser and your plane climbs like a homesick angel, perhaps giving you a heightened level of confidence. Later in the day it might be considerably warmer and thinner, with less lift at the same speed.

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Very much so and it's easy (in summer) at a higher than normal altitude drome to  not take enough account of DENSITY ALTITUDE and find how little you can lift, the hard way. Nev

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I visited my mate (who had taught me to fly) when (I think) he was the only flying instructor in PNG in December 1983. The only flight I did without my mate was from Mount Hagen (above 5,000 feet above sea level) to Madang. To do this below 10,000 feet, one had to fly through a pass.

 

I remember the ADF pointing in the wrong direction at a thunderstorm on my way to Malang. The VOR was unaffected.

 

The forecast was the same every day, and pretty useless and CAVOK turned into a layer of cloud while we were on the ground in Madang. I found a way through it and had to climb to 11,500 feet to fly over the pass. This was without effective radio contact for much of the flight as the HF was ineffective due to peak sunspot activity. I could hear the controller, but they couldn't hear me.

 

Once in the valley containing Mount Hagen, VHF communications resumed and the cloud disappeared. The absence of radio communications was normal and (unlike me) the controllers were unconcerned.

 

It's worth noting that Mt Wilhelm was not far off my track and it's 14,793 feet! They told me the main cloud type in the highlands was called cumulo-granite!

 

We landed on some exciting one-way strips...my mate went on to fly for the airline known locally as Death-air!

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I think the environment has something to do with the abundant consumption of ethanol by many participants.. Nev

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Posted (edited)

Took off yesterday YCWR with Q&H  = 1032 and OAT = +3C, NCD, DP 0C  wow aircraft performance improves.... I mean I know it does from the paperwork but wow. 

Had to take the aircraft over to the wash bay to deice the wings and sit it in the sun for a while.  since it had been out last night on the grass.

 

 

 

Edited by RFguy
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When I built my aircraft I didn't install a cabin heater so when it's cold I stay home.

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In the early 90's a couple of times I tried flying in a drifter at temps just above zero on the ground. About 30 minutes is all I could take. There's plenty of wind and the cold is all pervading after a short while. Farri  doesn't have to put up with that. Nev

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With a water cooled Rotax in it, you could pipe the engine coolant through a (worn) wetsuit and stay warm that way.

 

 

 

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Posted (edited)

Well one thing is for sure

The cabin heater in the J230 is excellent. ram air over a heat exchanger on a exhaust pipe.  No CO measurable, either.

 

Rob (instructor)  yesterday exclaimed " you know I only fly with you because you have the best cabin heater of any airplane"  .  Now 8 hours on the J230 this last 7 days (40 landings) . that thing has heaps of tail authority. 

Edited by RFguy
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