Touchdown Zone: Mulun


Region: Papua, Indonesia

Surface: Gravel

Elevation: 7,030 feet

Length: 486 meters/1,594 feet

Width: 12 meters/39 feet

Slope: 16% average with a side slope of 4% at touchdown decreasing to 2% at top

Language group served: Lik

Interesting Facts: Mulun is the highest runway YAJASI actively serves at 7,200 feet. Fog is often an issue even after other runways in the area clear up.

The people of Mulun put a lot of work into building their runway, which YAJASI opened in January of this year. Not a single machine was involved. The main tools were shovels, prybars (jabbed into the ground to loosen larger rocks), and rice sacks. The rice sacks are put between two poles to make something that looks like a stretcher, which is used to carry dirt and rock from one area to another. This “stretcher” is much more reliable than a wheelbarrow since there are fewer parts that can break.

The complete Bible in the Lik language is currently at the printers, and YAJASI expects to fly copies into Mulun later this year.

Time Saved: The nearest supply town for Mulun is Sentani. It’s possible for a fit individual to travel to Mulun from YAJASI’s home base in Sentani without using an airplane. But … the trip would involve a day on bumpy roads, a day on a boat, followed by a five-to-seven day hike (note that fit is an important qualifier). Bringing that additional 100 lbs. of rice on a five-day hike doesn’t sound like that much fun. Or you could just fly and bring 1,200 lbs. with you in the plane. That trip would take about an hour.

Getting to Pamek, the runway closest to Mulun, takes about an hour of up-hill hiking (remember you are at 7,000 feet elevation). The flight would take about four minutes. Essentially, as soon as you are airborne from Mulun you are in a downwind position for landing Pamek. Flying from Pamek to Mulun requires a climb and three more turns before the pilot is on downwind for landing Mulun—an eight-minute flight.

View the runway chart here.

The runway at Mulun. Photo by Kars Kroneman


The YAJASI PC-6 sits high above the valley at 7,200 feet in the parking bay at Mulun. Photo by Brad McFarlane


Dancers and the gift of a string bag greeted Pilot Mark Hoving when he recently opened the runway at Mulun. Photo by Brad McFarlane


Pilot Mark Hoving explains details of how to fine tune-tune the runway. Photo by Brad McFarlane


The village of Mulun. Photo by Kars Kroneman


The view north across the valley. Photo by Kars Kroneman