Wau Airport (Papua New Guinea)

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Wau Airport
Serves Wau, Papua New Guinea
Location Papua New Guinea
Elevation  AMSL 3,475 ft / 1,059 m
Coordinates 07°20′43″S146°43′08″E / 7.34528°S 146.71889°E / -7.34528; 146.71889 Coordinates: 07°20′43″S146°43′08″E / 7.34528°S 146.71889°E / -7.34528; 146.71889
Papua New Guinea location map.svg
Airplane silhouette.svg
Location in Papua New Guinea
Direction Length Surface
ft m
2,675 815

Wau Airport is an airport serving Wau in Papua New Guinea.

Wau, Papua New Guinea Place in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea

Wau is a town in Papua New Guinea, in the province of Morobe. It has a population of approx 5,000 and is situated at an altitude of around 1100 metres. Wau was the site of a gold rush during the 1920s and 30s when prospective gold diggers arrived at the coast at Salamaua and struggled inland along the Black Cat Track.

A grass runway was constructed in 1927 by Cecil Levien with the assistance of native labourers. The first landing at Wau was made on 19 April 1927 by Ernest Mustar in a De Havilland DH.37 owned by Guinea Gold Airways from Lae Airfield. [2] The airfield was extended during the Second World War to 1500 x 100 x 4000 yards as described in 1942. Wau airfield was a rough Kunai grass airstrip 3,100 feet (940 m) in length with a 12% slope heading directly for Mount Kaindi. Aircraft could approach from the northeast only, landing uphill and taking off downhill. [3] The mountain at the end of the runway prevented second attempts at landing and precluded extension of the strip. [4] Pilots had to manoeuvre Dakotas under clouds and through dangerous passes, "dodging a peak here and cloud there", landing at high speeds. [5] This required good visibility, but the weather over Owen Stanley Range was characterised by frequent storms, down drafts, and mists which rose from the jungle floor. [6]

de Havilland DH.37

The de Havilland DH.37 was a British three-seat sporting biplane of the 1920s designed and built by de Havilland for Alan Samuel Butler.

Lae Airfield closed airport in Lae, Papua New Guinea

Lae Airfield is a former World War II airfield and later, civilian airport located at Lae, Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea. The airport was closed in the 1980s, in favour of Lae Nadzab Airport, which was able to accommodate larger jet aircraft. The airport was known as Lae Drome or Lae Aerodrome

Owen Stanley Range mountain range

Owen Stanley Range is the south-eastern part of the central mountain-chain in Papua New Guinea.

The Imperial Japanese Army sent 3,000 troops from Salamaua and Mubo along the Black Cat Track to seize Wau Airfield from the Australians. The Japanese force was known as the Okabe Detachment and was commanded by Major General Toru Okabe. The Japanese offensive was stopped by the Australian Army force known as Kanga Force in the battle of Wau.

Imperial Japanese Army Official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan, from 1868 to 1945

The Imperial Japanese Army was the official ground-based armed force of the Empire of Japan from 1868 to 1945. It was controlled by the Imperial Japanese Army General Staff Office and the Ministry of the Army, both of which were nominally subordinate to the Emperor of Japan as supreme commander of the army and the navy. Later an Inspectorate General of Aviation became the third agency with oversight of the army. During wartime or national emergencies, the nominal command functions of the emperor would be centralized in an Imperial General Headquarters (IGHQ), an ad-hoc body consisting of the chief and vice chief of the Army General Staff, the Minister of the Army, the chief and vice chief of the Naval General Staff, the Inspector General of Aviation, and the Inspector General of Military Training.

Salamaua Place in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea

Salamaua was a small town situated on the northeastern coastline of Papua New Guinea, part of Morobe province. The settlement was built on a minor isthmus between the coast with mountains on the inland side and a headland. The closest city is Lae, which can be reached only via boat across the gulf.

Mubo is a village located inland from Salamaua, in Morobe Province, Papua New Guinea at -7.21667,147.00001. Mubo was occupied by the Imperial Japanese on 14 May 1943 during the Second World War. Australian Army forces liberated the village in July 1943.

A Royal Australian Air Force C-47 Dakota (#A65-92) crashed at the airfield on 22 October 1960 and was written off.

Royal Australian Air Force Air warfare branch of Australias armed forces

The Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), formed March 1921, is the aerial warfare branch of the Australian Defence Force (ADF). It operates the majority of the ADF's fixed wing aircraft, although both the Australian Army and Royal Australian Navy also operate aircraft in various roles. It directly continues the traditions of the Australian Flying Corps (AFC), formed on 22 October 1912. The RAAF provides support across a spectrum of operations such as air superiority, precision strikes, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, air mobility, space surveillance, and humanitarian support.


  1. 1 2 "Wau Airport - World Airport Codes". World Airport Codes. Retrieved 24 September 2015.
  2. Bradley 2008 , p. 1
  3. Wau Air Field Data Sheet, 1 October 1943, NAA (ACT): A9716/1 1453.
  4. Kelly 2006 , p. 24
  5. Watson 1946 , p. 71
  6. Watson 1948 , pp. 416–417

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