Area Radio Navigation Chart & Kieta Approach Plates -1980


Bougainville Copper & the Westwind


  • The cockpit of a Westwind 1, similar to BCL's aircraft, P2-BCM
  • Approaching top of climb at 37,000 feet en-route to Kieta from Townsville
  • Flying along the southeast coastline of Bougainville Island, heading for Kieta airport
  • Turning in for the final approach to the 5,400' Kieta runway 14.     Shaun Davis photo
  • On short finals to Kieta runway 14.  Crocodiles live at both ends!      Shaun Davis photo
  • Refueling, servicing and loading the Westwind on the Kieta tarmac.       Shaun Davis photo



High in the tropical rain forests of Bougainville’s Crown Prince Range, Bougainville Copper Limited established one of the world’s major open cut mines to work the Panguna porphyry copper deposit.  The mine began commercial production in April 1972.  Large by any standards, the mine provided some 120,000 tons of ore a day for processing to copper concentrate – a premium product because of its additional gold and silver content.  At its peak, the Panguna mine was one the biggest single suppliers of copper and gold in the world.

My association with Bougainville Copper (BCL) began in mid 1982, hired on as one of the five company pilots for their Westwind corporate jet airplane.  This Westwind had been delivered from Israel the year before, to replace a Swearingen Merlin III turboprop that BCL had used for company transport between Australia and Bougainville Island.

The pilots were based in the Queensland city of Townsville, but aircraft maintenance was done at Kieta airport on Bougainville.  The aircraft was PNG registered (P2-BCM) and  as such was required to be flown and maintained by PNG licensed personal.  This aircraft was a delight to fly and very well equipped for the mainly over-water operations.  In addition to  two VHF nav/ DME’s, two ADF’s, Australian DME, SSB HF comms, two VHF comms, it came with a Series 3 GNS 500A VLF/Omega long range navigation system.  

We operated the aircraft on a regular timetable; the main sector being Townsville to Kieta and return. Brisbane to Kieta and return was flown with less frequency and there was also a once weekly schedule from Kieta to Port Morseby and return.  For the pilots, it was a corporate flight operation without being on constant call ... perfect! 





  • The Westwind at Kieta airport.  The mine is on the mountains in the background
  • One of the large tip-tanks on the Westwind
  • A high lake in the central range of Bougainville Island
  • The Westwind ready to leave from Kieta.  Shaun performing on the right!
  • Self and Bruce Walker with the BCL Westwind at Townsville airport
  • Shaun Davis and self at Flight Safety Westwind training center, Wilmington, Delaware

  • The High Level radio nav chart covering our area of operation.
  • The Kieta NDB/DME(Aust) approach chart
  • The Kieta airport landing chart
  • The Kieta VASGS light system visual approach chart .