Woleai Atoll is the farthest island we fly to in Yap State, Micronesia. It is 370 nautical miles (NM) away and used to take the Queen Air 2.5 hours to fly there. Since we got the new King Airs, we can now do it in only 1.5 hours, and have even done it twice in one day.
Unfortunately, the runway has a dip in it and floods whenever there are heavy rains. Currently, the runway has been flooded for over 3 weeks and we have not been able to fly in. Then Y.S.P.S.C. (the utility company) called us and said they had an urgent request to send some mechanics out there to repair the generator. Since there is 1000 ft of runway before the flooded section, and we have the one aircraft that is capable of landing there, we decided to make a marathon of a day and take the painfully slow, loud, and vibrating Britten-Norman Islander.
In this aircraft, it would take us 3 hours and 20 minutes. Brock Welge, our pilot in Palau who brought the Islander up to Yap last month, was pilot in command (PIC) this day and I accompanied him because he had never flown to Woleai before.
The weather was not that great and so it was also a good training day for navigating the weather as well as landing on a short runway.
Brock did very well and landed the plane in about 800 ft and stopped short of the puddle/lake.
Unfortunately, the runway is so narrow that we still had to taxi through the water to be able to turn around at the other end. As you can see, the water was SUPER deep as the tires were completely submerged as we taxied through.
We were able to drop off the mechanics, Walter and Sammy, and also picked up one patient who needed to come back to the hospital in Yap.
For the takeoff, the BN-2A Islander, had no problem getting airborne before the water, and we cruised back home through improving weather for another 3 hours.
Pacific Mission Aviation
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