Touchdown Zone: Langda
Surface: Hard soil and rock
Elevation: 6,100 feet
Length: 445 meters/1,460 feet
Width: 24 meters/79 feet
Slope: 3% overall
People Group Served: Una
After the Una New Testament was completed and dedicated in 2007, four local Langda translators and two consultants began working on the Una Old Testament. In August 2022. the Una people celebrated having the whole Bible in the language that speaks best to their hearts.
Time Saved: Over two weeks. Travel from Langda to Wamena (where Una young people attend high school) requires at least a 17-day walk compared with a 45-minute flight. The trip to Bomela—the nearest village with an airstrip, just four miles from Langda—is an eight-hour hike over a 9,000-foot mountain or a five-minute flight. Travel to Langda from the YAJASI base in Sentani is a one hour and ten minute flight or several months of walking.
Interesting Facts: Langda is surrounded by 15,000-foot peaks, where an occasional early morning dusting of snow appears. One of YAJASI’s newer pilots, who grew up in Langda, recalls that typically about noon, clouds rolled right into his living room through open windows. Due to such weather challenges, a successful landing at Langda often requires multiple attempts.
Once when YAJASI pilot Tim Ruth flew two tourists into Langda. They planned to hike out of Langda to the lowlands (a distance of 12 nautical miles). They hiked as far as the river at the bottom of the gorge, only to realize they had to hike up the other side … and then do it about three more times. Plus they remembered warnings that the last part of the hike down into the lowlands was the most dangerous part. They were so scared after the first descent they opted to just hike back up to Langda and call Tim for a pickup. On the way back up, a sudden rainstorm turned the trail into an almost vertical stream. By the time they got back to the runway, their hike down to the river and back up to the runway had taken them all day. Tim says, “To be fair, I did try to warn them! Sometimes you just have to experience it yourself.”