By TANYA LAHIES and DOREEN POLOH WAIM
A US Air Force aircraft made an unscheduled landing at Nadzab Airport, Lae, at 11am yesterday, forcing the Civil Aviation Authority to temporarily close the airport for more than an hour.
The plane, a C-17A Globemaster 111, landed in the middle of the runway and unloaded tonnes of unspecified cargoes.
Nadzab airport operations manager Mark Sahin said the visit from the military plane delayed the day’s normal scheduled commercial flights.
He said the aircraft was too big for the airport and had to be stationed at the airport’s Bravo taxiway while semi-trailers went over to unload its cargoes.
Air Niugini staff said planes usually travelled into the arena and unloaded their cargoes.
An officer with Air Freight Management said the cargoes may have been equipment that would be used to dig up war remains.
The cargoes where apparently intended to be shipped to Gagidu in Finschhafen and Wasu in the Tewai-Siassi district, according to Mr Sahin.
He said after the aircraft unloaded its cargoes, it took 300m of runway space to lift off at around 1.30pm even though its landing and taking off distance should be 2,359m.
Unfortunately, the reverse thrust of the aircraft also blew out seven of Nadzab’s runway lights.
The plane returned to Port Moresby and was expected to return to Lae at 3:45pm with the second batch of cargoes but did not arrive apparently because of a faulty engine.