SYNOPSIS: Almost everything goes by air. In Papua and New Guinea, drums of kerosene, or?
Natives roll drums away tilt to ls
Sewing machine leaded aboard
packets of bread loaded
drums rolled into plane
Fire tender stands by
Rubber bales unloaded
15 1/2 ft
Natives woman helped from Piaggio
General shot airstrip 23 Piaggio propeller starts
24 1/2 ft
Piaggio away taxiing 29 pilots hand moves throttle
ls take off 32 tarmac flying under
33 1/2 ft
hand on wheel pulling back
34 1/2 ft
cu Cec Sly 37 1/2 is aerial piaggio over rivers
Plane under 45 cu Piaggio alongside
47 1/2 ft
instruments 48 p wing tip and mountain beyond
53 1/2 ft
Ce Cec Sly 55 m clouds in valleys 58 m Wing and air intake
58 1/2 ft
plane against mountain coming in for landing
61 p ft
From cockpit plane banking Tapini through window
64 p ft
From airstrip aircraft banking approaches
Through window see strip touches down humps at 75 1/2
Plane away uphill along strip
81 p ft
Tapini district office and sign
82 1/2 ft
Natives on bank watch pan away to plane 84
Cec Sly helping native got packages from baggage
Equipment for survey unloaded from plane
91 1/2 ft
Man with oxy bottle
83 1/2 ft
Native woman and children sit and watch
94 1/2 ft
Cec Sly making weight calculations
96 1/2 ft
ls plane mountains background
98 1/2 ft
sly into cockpit
102 1/2 ft
103 1/2 ft
Plane towards downhill
105 1/2 ft
From cabin ground rushing past
exterior plane towards airborne past camera 112 plus
113 1/2 ft
tracking cut over cliff edge tilt up
120 1/2 ft
Looking back under wing Tapini bag
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: SYNOPSIS: Almost everything goes by air. In Papua and New Guinea, drums of kerosene, or a sewing machine for a patrol officer's wife; or cartons of bread for some place where they have no bakery... all are carried by aeroplane.
In a territory where there are no railways and few roads, the sky becomes the highway... the aircraft is the goods train, and the taxi.
Jackson's strip, a wartime bomber base which is now Port Moresby's airport, is one of Australia's busiest aerodromes. Aircraft are on the move from dawn till dark. This is a Piaggio, originally designed as a flying boat, and now a valuable workhorse in the hands of the territory's pilots...
The pilots heads north-west, out over the coastal swamps of the Gulf of Papua. The Piaggio is one of many light aircraft adapted for service on the limited runways which dot the mountains and valleys of Papua and New Guinea.
Mountains now.. below, the Owen Stanleys, and somewhere down there, the Kokoda trail.
Cec Sly has also flown Meteor jet fighters and international airliners.
Dwarfed against 8-thousand feet of mountain, the Piaggio approaches Tapini.. it's tricky... a steep bank to the left between two mountains, and a drop towards a cliff edge.
To add to the complications, the trip runs uphill....
You've got to land once you start the approach. Towering mountains all around make it dangerous - maybe impossible - to climb away again.
An outpost - Tapini has a patrol office, trading store and a handful of houses. The aeroplane is the line of communication. Cec Sly is pilot, first officer, steward, cargo officer, everything...
There's no control tower. There are no navigational aids. And because of the limitations of the airstrips, take off weight has to be calculated to the last pound. In these mountains, you're not allowed one mistake.
The take off is downhill. The runway ends at a 12 hundred foot cliff edge. You don't waste time getting airborne.
This is how they fly the skyway highway in Papua and New Guinea. The pilots like flying here because they feel they're doing a job that really matters for the little outposts like Tapini.