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34 years of flying & plenty of stories

Boga - pilots top
Paul Boga and fellow army pilots pose in front of a PNGDF Nomad

| My Land, My Country

LAE - Marching into the PNGDF Air Transport Squadron in Lae as a young military pilot was beginning of an exciting flying career and lasting camaraderie with other airmen.

With no experience but full of energy, we were assigned to B Flight with Nomad aircraft.

A Flight consisted of DC-3 and Israeli built Aravas.

It was a bit like the seniors separated from the juniors.

Our job on the Nomads included border operations, VIP flights, courier runs and sometimes search and rescue.

At times two co-pilots would take a Nomad for a training flight and had to remain within 20 nautical miles (about 37 kilometers) of Lae Airport.

We would fly to Finschhafen, Wau, Bulolo, Pindiu, Teptep and other locations to build our confidence.

The squadron also had Australian Defence Force personnel.

The ‘Mushroom Club’ was the name given to the bar at the hangar.

It would come to life every Friday and soldiers and officers would leave their rank at the entrance and enter the club in their name.

Boga - pilots graduation
Paul Boga (2nd from left) and fellow officer cadets after graduating from the School of Army Aviation in Oakey, Queensland. Behind them is a Nomad aircraft

It was a tradition that bonded the unit and made it unique to the rest of the force.

The Air Transport Squadron and its fleet of fixed wing DC-3s, Aravas and Nomads, often had a shortage of pilots. Some, including myself, flew two different types.

I commanded a Nomad aircraft and would hop out and jump into a DC-3 as co-pilot for another task on the same day.

I clicked over 34 years of flying this year and there are plenty of stories to be told.

Paul Boga is a former Papua New Guinea Defence Force pilot


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Robert L Parer

Hi Paul,
An ex-student of Aitape High School Manau Scoli who was from Kairiru Island off Wewak was a PNG Defence Force Pilot and was flying a Nomad Aircraft inland from Vanimo and it crashed and he was killed.I am not sure of the details of the year etc.He left his mark at Aitape High School as he painted a beautiful mural on the wall of the Chapel.Headmaster at the time was Norman Vaughton from Nottingham UK.He contacted me lately to see if the mural was still there and I told him unfortunately some renovations were done and someone painted over it.

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