Flight Journal: South Pacific island trips

In reviewing the Aerosoft Twin Otter DHC-6 I made several interesting journey’s around the world. Despite some issues with the airplane, it is a fun aircraft to take into and out of some very interesting locations and with its capabilities in both real world and virtual world operations, it very much looks and feels the part. Here are a couple of those journeys!

Buka to Nissan

If you’re like me and spent a lot of time reading about World War II and the war in the Pacific, you’ll have come across names like Bougainville, New Ireland, New Britain, and Rabaul. With the DHC-6 in hand and a beautiful Solomon Airlines livery to match, I decided that my first short flight in the region should take place right in the middle of all of this.

That put me at a little airport called Buka AYBK. A small apron and a single concrete runway, this seemed like a good place set out from. And indeed it was as I backtracked on runway 22 for a takeoff to the north east. Once I was airborne I flew over Buka Town and the local beach strip before heading north to my destination.

I chose it because of the austere runway and facilities with more than enough room to put the DHC-6 down. It was also not too far away thus making for a great little short flight. Thick clouds on the horizon helped remind that this is a tropical locale with plenty of convective storms to keep things interesting if you fly far enough. Fortunately, the weather was all clear to Nissan.

I wasn’t able to learn too much about Nissan Island in the modern day but it does have some interesting history. A Japanese garrison was here during WWII before US and New Zealand troops captured the island. Two airstrips and a PT boat base were constructed here before the frontlines moved on. Notably, future US President Richard Nixon was a supply officer at the base.

In the modern day, one dirt runway for Nissan Island Airport AYIA is all that you can land at in MSFS and it proved to be plenty fun.

Most of the journey is documented in the screenshots above but my soundtest video also documents parts of it here.

Nissan to Rabaul

I decided this journey needed a follow-up so I tackled another flight in the south Pacific. This time it was from Nissan (AYIA), the last airport that I flew out of, and then over to Rabaul and theTokua Airport Kokopo Rabaul airport (AYTK).

This ended up being quite the fun flight. After takeoff and admiring the local scenery, I headed west towards my destination. The first part was done at just 5,000 feet as there was no nearby terrain to climb around. Low cloud obscured some of my distant vision and so New Ireland and the Hans Meyer Range of mountains which blocked my way.

An urgent need to climb above the mountains didn’t seem to be working and with the speed falling off I decided to detour north around the peak while I slowly climbed up to 11,000 feet.

With the mountains receding behind me I decreased my altitude and headed across the water to Rabaul. I took a moment to reflect about all of the stories that I read about this infamous area of the world where a key Japanese base during WWII projecting power out hundreds and thousands of kilometres and where numerous air battles were fought in the skies over this bay and its volcanic mountains. Things, of course, have been much more peaceful in the preceding 75-80 years.

I settled in on a nice landing on runway 10 and taxied in for a finish. A fun flight, a bit of a challenge and a great place to stretch the DHC-6’s legs.

2 Comments Add yours

  1. Horstunger says:

    Seems like a pleasant flight. The Twin Otter flew 30-odd year for Widerøe connecting small Norwegian towns with short runways. With gales coming in from the Atlantic most of the year the plane became known as ‘the Trusty Stormbird’. A pilot recalled that at one point the crosswind was so strong he took off across the runway instead of along it. Also, the mechanics knew it had been a rough landing if there were tire skid marks on the wing spar.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShamrockOneFive says:

      Incredible stories. Thanks for sharing!

      “Trusty Stormbird” eh? That sounds like a future Flight Journal for me. It fits right in with the concept I had for this blog back in the day!

      Like

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