It’s the shortest flight in the world and in quite possibly the worst place in the world to fly! We are talking about the one nautical mile (1.85km), 73 second flight between Kegata and Apowo airstrips in Papua, Indonesia which are separated by a deep and treacherous valley. The magic carpet is a Pilatus PC-6 Turbo Porter and the pilot Matt Dearden.
Filmed with GoPro HD and Canon S110 cameras, Matt captures some spectacular footage as he flies between mountain tops onto grass and sloping runways.
And so impressed by the exploits and challenges of pilots such as Matt, the UK’s Channel 4 has commissioned a four part TV series called Worst Place to be Pilot which was shown in the UK in August.
Matt explains on his blog spot that he is often asked how did he go from sitting in a normal 9-5 IT job in England to flying around the jungles of Indonesia in the ultimate bush aircraft.
“It all started when I was 15 years old and got the chance to ride in an RAF Bulldog with the cadets. It was amazing getting to fly in this tiny 2 seat aircraft and doing loops, barrel rolls etc. However, at the time, I never imagined a career in aviation as I was pursuing one in IT but the idea of learning to fly never went away.”
“Fast forward to 2006 when I was finally in a financial position to pursue that aviation dream. It took three years and every penny I earned to complete but I finally finished my modular JAA CPL/IR/ME in 2009 with aspirations of flying big jets.”
But that wasn’t the way it turned out.
“It wasn’t exactly a good time to try and get a flying job in Europe so I extended the search. Six months later I found out from a friend about a company based out in Indonesia flying Cessna C208B Grand Caravans. I applied, got an interview and eventually the job; a week after my 30th birthday! So, I moved from soggy old Somerset to hot – and at times soggy – Indonesia.”
Matt says it didn’t take long to realise that bush flying was “bloody good fun and why on earth would I want to fly a big shiny jet.”
“A couple of tours in Papua were all I needed to realise this was the sort of flying I wanted to do.”
Now Matt is based in a town called Nabire in the north of the Indonesian province of West Papua. “It’s just me, a PC-6 and a whole heap of airstrips dotted amongst the mountains.”