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ionfresko

In the Highlands – C208 in Papua X-Plane 11

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Finally a scary video without an NGX (those are getting boring!)

Good athmospere,and capture the immersion well.


Reminds me of QF32 book I am reading:

 

The de Havilland Canada DHC-4 Caribou is a Canadian ‘tactical’ transport plane that first saw service in the Australian military in 1964, in Vietnam. Its 4-tonne payload permitted these aircraft to carry two large Army Land Rovers or an equivalent weight of artillery pieces, but, during my time, the Caribou was mostly used in tactical roles such as carrying supplies to remote villages in New Guinea and supporting Australia’s Special Forces.

The Australian armed forces loved the Caribous; they were strong and enjoyed a dignified career. When I undertook my Caribou conversion course in 1980, there were plans back then to retire the aircraft and find a replacement, but a capable replacement was never found and the aircraft served for another 30 years. Of the initial 29 Caribous that entered RAAF service during the Vietnam War, eleven were still in service when they were decommissioned in 2010.

The Caribou was powered by two 1450-horsepower Pratt & Whitney radial piston engines. These were classic engines that proved to be powerful, reliable and simple to maintain. But like all supercharged engines, they needed to be treated with great respect. So the Caribou conversion course included lots of theory about engine design and operation – radial engines contain many heavy rotating parts that could be damaged by under-boosting just as much as over-boosting. The engine start was just as critical. Three long-stemmed switches needed to be ‘tickled’ in the correct timing sequence to start the cranking, fuel pump and ignition – get it wrong and everyone within 200 metres would hear the explosion and see the flames. I have very fond memories of the P&W engines, and I think I am wiser for the experience because the principles we learned then can be applied to any engine, even jet engines.

The Caribou had remarkably impressive performance. The high wing allowed for operation on narrow and makeshift runways while the high tail section meant an easy-access cargo door could be lowered at the rear of the aircraft, whether on the ground or airborne. This 15,400-kilogram aircraft could take off and land on 300 metres of unprepared strip (a standard Boeing 737 or Airbus A320 requires a minimum take-off and landing distance of 1700 and 1400 metres respectively). Some of the places I operated into during my years with 38 Squadron tested this famous STOL capacity to its limits. We were trained to operate into these runways at night using only six runway lights: two at each threshold and two along the left side of the runway. In reality there were few runways we operated into that were 300 metres short, but we were trained for the worst case so we never felt stressed when operating into limiting airfields.

Unlike most aircraft, the propellers on the Caribou’s engines could be put into reverse. This feature is used to reverse the aircraft on the tarmac, but its main benefit is to reduce stopping distances. It also reduced airflow and lift on the main wing. You might engage the propellers into reverse during landing if you find yourself ‘floating’ down the runway and unable to put it down on the ground quickly – but you have to be mindful of the effects: you would drop like a brick if the wheels were higher than two feet above the ground.

For such a basic plane, the Caribou had very complex flight controls. But once you were airborne it had an effective operational ceiling of just 10,000 feet because the cabin wasn’t pressurised. The super-charged engines could have powered us higher, but on those occasions where we did ‘push the envelope’ and climbed up to 20,000 feet, the cold limited our enthusiasm – our fingers and feet froze, and everyone needed oxygen masks.

The Caribou was a fabulous machine to develop ‘hands-on’ flying skills. It had no radar, so we couldn’t see embedded thunderstorms in front of us, and it had no autopilot to fly us through turbulence. We ‘rigged for rough running’ – disconnecting the HF aerial from the receiver and tying everything down for the ensuing roller coaster ride – whenever we thought we might be about to enter the ‘twilight zone’ in a thunderstorm. We also had primitive navigation equipment. When outside the range of our radio navigational aids, we navigated over water by flying at 100 feet and used the Beaufort scale to calculate wind speed. Over the desert, we calculated our drift angle by pressing a soft pencil to the window to track an object abeam us on the horizon. It doesn’t get any simpler than that!

New Guinea was the theatre in which the Caribou and its pilots’ skills were proved. Many of our landings were onto short, soft runways carved out of the jungle and the hillside. We could land and take off from any runway, but if we suffered an engine failure the remaining engine provided insufficient performance to climb out of the valleys and over the 14,000 foot-high mountains. The safety height to clear all obstacles was up to

15,000 feet, well above our single-engine performance ceiling. So for most of our flying in New Guinea, we had to stay under the cloud – and therein lay the challenge. Anyone who’s lived in Papua New Guinea will tell you that to fly under cloud in the interior of that mountainous country means flying through narrowing valleys and finding saddles that you can either leap over or you have to evade. We had to know our aircraft’s evasive 180-degree turn potential – get this wrong and you’d be dead.

Our navigation in New Guinea was completely visual, the co-pilot thumbing his way along a topographical strip map as we traversed valleys, always below the cloud base. To enter cloud would be to enter a no-man’s land of zero visibility, and those who did would have sweated, knowing that sighting a tree in the fog would be an ominous warning that you had seconds to live before slamming into the side of a mountain.

One of the most challenging and rewarding runways we operated into was Tapini. Located in the Owen Stanley Ranges in New Guinea at 3100 feet above sea level, Tapini was a native village with no access roads and no telephone or electricity. It’s just an isolated village with an undulating boggy grass runway cut out of the jungle into the side of a sticky red clay mountain.

We operated Caribous in Tapini using performance standards and procedures that would never be permitted by civil regulators. The mixture of high altitude, low performance, short runways and high temperatures meant we had to operate with extreme rules if we were to operate at all. At 2000 feet (660 metres), Tapini’s runway was long enough, but the Caribou’s engine performance in the tropics at 8000 feet, particularly on one engine, was appalling.

We created our own flight plans, maps and instructions to get to Tapini. These were surprisingly simple, just showing Tapini as a cross on a hillside. To land at Tapini we navigated under the cloud – along the valleys, over the saddles to the ‘entry point’ where we met, then followed, a descending goat track along an escarpment off our right wing. At the point where the goat track diverged, we’d bank hard left, fly around a ridge, and only then would we expect to see Tapini a short distance ahead. Descending with the goat track put us at the right height; turning at the goat track marker put us on the runway centreline. No radios, no electronic guidance, no air traffic control clearances. The challenge didn’t end when we touched down – the runway dipped down initially then climbed at a 15 per cent gradient up to the far end of the runway. So after touchdown we had to put on a lot of power to drive up the steep slope to the end of the runway, quickly do a 90-degree turn to stop sideways, then shut down. Magic!

The take-off at Tapini was more dramatic – a 600-metre dash downhill initially, then uphill for the last part of the runway, then over a cliff, at which point we became airborne as the ground disappeared below. A quick turn down-valley and we’re looking down thousands of feet to the valley floor. That’s if everything went perfectly.

The Caribou’s performance at take-off was a remarkable learning curve, something that I still appreciate today. For us, the biggest challenge was the ‘dead zone’ – a portion of the runway from where (if an engine fails on take-off) there’s not enough runway remaining to continue to accelerate on one engine and take off, and not enough to brake and stop before the end of the runway. How did we handle it? The captain’s take-off brief included: ‘If we have an engine failure between tree number 1 [pointing to it] and tree number 2 [pointing to it], then we can’t stop on the remaining runway and we can’t continue a take-off on one engine. So in this case I’ll steer the aircraft into that ditch or drive it between those two trees to rip the wings off and stop us.’ The dangers of flying Caribous in New Guinea were very real and in the time they operated there, there were two crashes, one fatal.

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Fantastic video? Where do those little airfields come from, they can't be stock?

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Finally a scary video without an NGX (those are getting boring!)

 

:lol: :lol:

 

Fantastic video? Where do those little airfields come from, they can't be stock?

 

See here.

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Thanks guys!

 

Johan_Dees: good reading, also reminds me of the feeling being up there virtually. I actually think there is a good Tapini-strip amongst those made by ruifo.

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