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Southwest Pacific Survey - Project AF60-13

The Southwest Pacific Survey, from September 1962 to June 1964, used HIRAN to establish the principal islands of the Southwest Pacific area on a common geodetic datum including connecting New Guinea and the adjacent islands to the geodetic network on the mainland of Australia. While Natmap was not directly involved, this project was a significant factor in driving the geodetic surveys of Australia and Papua New Guinea to a prompt conclusion.

  • The United States Air Force, 1370th Photo-Mapping Wing uses HIRAN for project AF60-13.
  • Mr William (Bill) Snell of Florida, USA, recalls his time at Mt Scott (Station 25) on Prince of Wales Island in the Torres Strait. Bill and his team occupied Mt Scott during HIRAN operations in 1963 & 1964. His story and photos are greatly appreciated.

    In March 1964 Bill was flown from Daru to Telefomin in a Cessna 180. Daru is a small island just off the coast of PNG and almost due north of Cape York, Australia. At Telefomin, Bill assisted the flight crew of a Papuan Air Transport (PATAIR) DC3 (VH-PNA) to load and transport the equipment from the nearby HIRAN Station 37 (named SEPIK HIRAN) back to Port Morseby. Due to the short length of the Telefomin airstrip the PATAIR DC3 was equipped with JATO (Jet-Assisted Take Off) bottles. Bill recalled:.."It was quite a thrill seated in the 'jump seat' watching the trees rushing at us during the take off run. At the very last moment the pilot turned a key on the control panel and the plane lifted up like being in an elevator. Both pilots were laughing at my anxiety as the trees were getting larger and larger"!

    A number of Bill's photographs taken at Telefomin in 1964 can be viewed via this link along with maps and other related information.

  • Reconnaissance and briefing reports associated with AF60-13 (some interesting names appear in these documents) : The assistance of the US Air Force Historical Research Association (AFHRA) in supplying these documents from microfilm is greatly appreciated.
  • A 25 minute (75MB download, MP4 file) 1961 USAF film on geodesy by Hiran can be viewed via this link. The film also has some interesting glimpses of various supporting technologies.