Pilot Josh Eicholtz says: “Yawan is still my favorite airstrip in PNG. A challenging approach into a canyon with a spectacular waterfall view to enjoy after you land and turn around at the top!”
Time saved: With no roads, the people at Yawan are incredibly isolated. Overland travel by foot is a slow, time-consuming option, but a flight to Yawan from home base in Aiyura takes only 23 minutes.
Most flights to Yawan transport passengers and supplies to the village. Flights out of Yawan transport locally grown vegetables and coffee beans, or sometimes medical patients, to either Aiyura or Nadzab to connect with overland transportation. Yawan is only 27 nautical miles from Nadzab, the airport which serves the large port city of Lae. Going overland requires days of hiking over a large 12,000-foot mountain range, but a Kodiak flight out of Yawan to Nadzab can swing 10 miles further west through a lower gap and get there in 14 minutes. After arriving at Nadzab, it’s a 45-minute drive to Lae on a very bumpy, poorly maintained road with inconsistent transportation options.
One more option out of Yawan involves several days of hiking north some 15–20 miles to the coast, and then facing a difficult search to find a dinghy and travel many hours at sea before finally reaching Madang. Not at all an easy solution.