Hairy Landing Strip
|Don Dougan, fellow list
member, and I flew for many years into the landing strips in Northern
Laos. They were hacked into the mountains by the Hmong and all were short.
Some strips had dog legs, humps or bowls or all of the above. One in Phong
Saly province ended in a shear drop off of several hundred feet. In early
1970 we evacuated the entire village by air, utilizing mostly Porters. I
allowed each Hmong family to take out a few chickens or a pig. The NVA
were closing in so we overloaded the planes. Gross weight limits were
some times doubled. As the Porter reached the end of the strip it would
drop a hundred feet or so before getting airborne. When the Porter dropped
the Hmong would puke and the pigs would shit. It was a long nasty day with
my mustache liberally coated with Tiger Balm.