Touchdown Zone: Kiwirok

Airstrip: Kiwirok

Region: Papua, Indonesia

Surface: Asphalt

Elevation: 4,900 feet

Length: 596 meters/1,955 feet

Width: 18 meters/59 feet

Slope: 11% increasing to 14%

Language group served: A UFM family worked with the Ngalum people from the mid-70s to about 2014. The New Testament was completed about the year 2000. Both a Ngalum man, who is currently translating the Old Testament, and an Indonesian missionary with a discipleship ministry at Kiwirok use YAJASI services.

Interesting Fact: Pilot Mark Hoving has firsthand knowledge of this runway.

“There are about six other runways within five miles of this runway, most of them steeply sloped and challenging. We have placed restrictions on ourselves not to land in the rain at the most challenging runways, as precipitation on the windshield negatively affects our depth perception.

The weather in the Kiwirok valley can change rapidly, especially with clouds forming and dissipating. If it is a morning with low clouds, I almost always do a second circle to get a feel for how rapidly the conditions are changing that morning.

When the missionaries still worked at Kiwi (three miles from Kiwirok) they would always meet the pilot with hot chocolate and a snack. Toward the end of their time in Kiwi, they were using up supplies and one day I was served delicious brownies made with powdered eggs produced before I was born!”

Time Saved: Jayapura, the nearest port, is about 130 miles away. A road from Jayapura comes to about 45 miles from Kiwirok. No one hikes that distance through that jungle, especially with a load, as it would take at least ten days and cover a distance significantly longer than 45 miles. Oksibil, the local government city, is about 20 miles away and would require hiking over a 9,000ʹ pass. All supplies for this city come in by airplane.


Why are three mission aviation aircraft sitting together on the end of the runway of Kiwirok airstrip? Take a look at the overcast sky and clouds for a clue.
David Graves had planned to drop off a load at Kiwi in the PC-6 but couldn’t land there because of the rain so he proceeded to Kiwirok and landed there. Mark Hoving, piloting the PC-12, had to circle overhead at Kiwirok for almost half an hour because of rain, but then was able to land. Kars Kroneman had arrived at nearby Okpahik just after the rain stopped, but in order to free up room in his airplane for the next leg of his flight, he stopped by Kiwirok and transferred three of his passengers to Mark’s plane. The answer to the original question: All three aircraft are here at Kiwirok because their pilots are committed to observing safety precautions in rainy conditions. Photo credit: Mark Hoving


Kiwirok taken from Okpahik, a runway across the valley Photo credit: Jonathan Schultz


Overhead shot of Kiwirok Photo credit: Jonathan Schultz


YAJASI pilot Andrew Tieman at Kiwirok with a local gentleman Photo credit: Mark Hoving


Kiwirok sits in the midst of rugged mountains. Photo credit: Mark Hoving


Pilemon is in the brown-striped tie. He is working on the Old Testament translation. Photo credit: Mark Hoving


A PC-6 sits at the top of Kiwirok waiting for clouds to clear at Okpahik. Photo credit: Jonathan Schultz


Kiwirok is a one-way strip with a dogleg. Photo credit: Mark Hoving