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HELP!!! Missionary needs advice.

Discussion in 'Heavy Equipment & Pavement' started by av8r4christ, Feb 25, 2006.

  1. av8r4christ

    av8r4christ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Hi, I'm brand new here. I'm a missionary in Papua New Guinea (see www.theregionsbeyond.com), and I work with the Kamea people of the Gulf Province, PNG. We are trying to build an airstrip in the local village we are living in, and I need advice on some heavy equipment to use. We are limited to what we can lift in by chopper to under 4500 kgs (roughly 9000 lbs). There are no roads leading into our area.

    One hundred local men have cut down the trees and cleared the underbrush, but now we need to cut off the top of the mountain ridge to level for the airstrip. It is set to be 2500 feet long by 100 feet wide.

    I'm looking at Komatsu D20 vs. Bobcat/Skid Steer. Can I get some input from the experts? I am an aircraft mechanic/pilot in my pre-missions days, so I kinda know how to fix stuff. Obviously, we want to keep cost down, since it is a mission and funds are very limited. (Buying in Papua New Guinea is probably not considerable due to HIGH markups.)

    Please, anybody that has any suggestions, please let me know--either on this site or by my email address: av8r4christ@juno.com

    Thank you!
    Matt--in the USA until mid-April 2006

    UNISCAPER LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,426

    Look at a 247/257 Caterpillar with a 6-1 blade and bucket. They weigh 9,000 lbs with blade, we have used a H-31 Herculese Helo to drop ours in challenged terrain spots, and you can get cable hooks for the helo wonch to attach to the roof of the machine. It will carry fairly balanced on any crane or Helo as well.

    Also, Caterpillar has outreach programs you can check into through sales and marketing where they will get you either special pricing, or if they see a desperite need, they might just give you an off lease machine.

    After having had one and only one Komatsu I would never own another one, they are more focused on sales a growth rather than the servie aspect of the industry. Waiting 6 weeks for parts when the dealer was 10 miles away was absolutley not acceptable.

    DUSTYCEDAR LawnSite Fanatic
    from PA
    Messages: 5,132

    can u blast? just blow the top of the place to bits then have the men flatten whats left and a larger bobcat type machine would pry be ok to finish it up
  4. ksss

    ksss LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 7,162

    Now that sounds like fun. Given the weight restricitons, I would probably try and center my equipment around a larger skid steer. A 95XT/465 Case would just fit under the weight restrictions. Being one of largest machines available it would provide the kind of productivity you would need. I am awaiting an email on who your supporting dealer in the area would be. I will let you know when I get the email back. I would then look at what attachments you would need. I would guess some type of root grapple, high capacity bucket. If compaction is required you could use a vibratory roller attachment. The lifts will have to be more shallow than with a larger roller but given the senerio it would fit well. If ground conditions are an issue steel tracks for the skid steer might be a consideration. A dozer blade may help but it would depend on how much material would need to be grubbed off. A bucket may prove equally effective. I checked into the area (as much as one could from the internet) you may need a breaker. It appears some parts have vocanic activity which will mean lava rock. I would probably avoid the dozer unless the conditions dictate that you need one. One machine that could do everything would make maintaince and support easier.
  5. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 837

    What Bill (Uniscaper) said. Get a hold of Caterpillar in Cairns, they will be able to help.
  6. janb

    janb LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 254

    Maybe you could get a group of retired SeaBees :usflag: to come give you a hand. Our local tractor museum has a few of the mini 'Letourneau' scrapers teamed up with D2's that they dropped in by parachute in WWII. They are all set up with the mounts for chutes. The WWII crowd is getting pretty old, so don't wait...

    I would try to find a small trackloader w/ 4in1 combo bucket) + rear scarifer (ripper) with local service / repair / knowledgable to locals (as close as that may be...) you really want something robust, (like minimal electronics, and maximum simple) B'cuz you will likely be leaving it, and it will get used for many other things, there are likely some similar uses and machinery around. But, you guys are pretty resourceful, so maybe you can get a rubber tracked SkidSteer with 4in1 bucket. The tracks should be handy, and save downtime in case of flats, and they push pretty good. We had to do some interesting fixes to keep a wheeled skid operating on a remote island that I lived for awhile. (the welder was pretty handy) Sure was a pain when the electronics went into 'no-work' mode on the 465HP case 'Quad' (tracked articulated) tractor on a 35deg slope during wheat harvest. I'm suprised they don't have a satellite enabled self test / repair for $300,000 equip. The repairman came out (next day ~ 100 miles) with his laptop and reset it - (differential fault) took ~ 5 minutes (no greasy fingers required...) Stuff like that could set you back
  7. gammon landscaping

    gammon landscaping LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 553

    that is a big goal for a skid or small dozer i would really lookin to getting something larger and use it to make a make shift road there, i don't know if this is probabal but makeing a pad half a mile long hundred foot wide on the top of a mountian will probably wear out a few skids. how many yards of material have to be moved. i would look at getting a few dozers and make a road there then build it.
  8. Squizzy246B

    Squizzy246B LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 837

    Umm, you guys don't know much about New Guinea do you. They will be lucky to get a small skid in.
  9. av8r4christ

    av8r4christ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    I believe I'm agreeing with the "sleeping man" on some of you don't understand New Guinea. All fuel will have to be brought by barge to the nearest town. "A few dozers" is out of the question. Also, notice the "Missionary" portion and remember that us missionaries, funding the project out of our pockets--with a few churches helping us out--don't have deep pockets. I've been saving for enough to purchase just one. If we try to go for more....we might be forever.

    Scraping a path--we'd need to have an extra dozer just to keep bringing us fuel. Not to mention the rivers, waterfalls, cliffs, landslides and other things that equatorial jungles like to throw our way.

    I just flew into Kansas City last weekend and stood with jaw on the ground at how flat it was. We live in a very mountainous terrain.

    A BIG thanks to all the input on specifics. And definitely a BIG thanks for the ones that are putting some research into this project!
  10. av8r4christ

    av8r4christ LawnSite Member
    Messages: 3

    Maybe we could blast the top off the Komatsu?

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