Like all good things must come to an end, Captain Timothy Narara of Milne Bay Province, returned home early this month from a colorful flying career, flying the Airbus A-380, the world’s largest passenger airliner in the world with United Emirates in Dubai.
Captain Narara served the Emirates for 22 years, starting with the Airbus A310 series and finding himself inside the cockpit of the world’s largest passenger airline, Airbus A380 series not just as a captain, but a training captain.
As Captain Narara comes out of quarantine, he looks forward to settling in, in his island home.
He retires at age 56 after flying for a little over 30 years.
He should have stayed on one more year, but thanks to COVID-19, his plans of returning home fast-forwarded, and here he is, back in PNG where it all started.
“Two or three years ago, it got to my head and I talked to my wife about it and so we have a little cottage down in Alotau so we decided to refurbish it again and renovate it and the idea was to leave next year after our third son turned 19. However COVI-19 changed our plans a bit, Emirates downscaled its A380 operations and so some of us had to leave,” Capt Narara said.
Captain Timothy Narara or Tico as he is commonly called was the senior Captain on United Emirates Airbus A380, the world’s largest commercial jet airliner until just recently.
Captain Narara joined the PNG Defence Force in 1981, straight from Sogeri National High School.
His career in the aviation industry took flight 4 years after he joined the military.
“However, at that time DCP, which is the Defence Cooperation Program which we had PNGDF partner with Australia, they wanted to send commissioned officers down for pilot training.
“So I was one of the lucky ones that got selected and I managed to pass the physicals and the aptitude tests and so I went down for pilot’s course as an officer.
“I was the only one and so, we had to get some more cadets to join me on this course.
“So I did the PNGSF Course and completed in 1986, we came back and I was rated on the Nomad aircraft.
“It’s a surveillance, twin-engine, high wing, turboprop engine and we used it for surveillance only, around the maritime borders and also up and down the border.”
He also laid his hands on the IAI Arava, supplying army bases around the country.
He accelerated in this field, taking up Instructors Courses in Australia, and was posted back to the RAAF Flight Training School in Point Cook, as an instructor.
He was recalled to PNG at the end of 1990 during the Bougainville Crisis.
He recounts his trips to Bougainville.
“I went straight up to Bougainville. We took the Aravas there with a lot of the young fellas. And so I stayed in Bougainville, on and off for four years. From Nissan Island down to Buka and eventually down to Arawa and we eventually took the whole island back.
“And then made it to the rank of Major, so I was a Major when I resigned in 1994,” Captain Narara recounts.
He left PNGDF in 1994 and joined the country’s flag carrier Air Niugini and in 1997, paid a visit to his elder brother Captain Granger Narara who was flying with the United Emirates at that time.
Little did he know that this visit would change everything.
“My elder brother Granger was there so I went to see him. He’d already been there for about 7 years at this stage.
“So I went down to see him and seemed like a pretty good gig so I asked him; “How can I get a job like this” and he said, “I can open the door for you but then from then on, you gotta do it yourself.
“It was a pretty sort of different environment because they have a level playing field.”
On the 3rd of June 1998, he left PNG for Dubai and was assigned straight on Airbus A310 and 300.
Two years later, he got command on A330.
“And two years later I got my command on 330 which is a side stick technology, so there’s no conventional yoke. SO I flew the 330 for a while and Emirates had 340s as well which is the 4-engine variant of that. We carry about 250-300 passengers depending on the configuration of the aircraft.”
He took command of the A380 in 2009 and has been flying the A380 for 12 years.
He returned early this month and says nothing is hard, it takes knowledge and confidence to strive in this competitive world.
It’s obviously a bigger pond out there. We’re just a little puddle in the pond and you become comfortable where you are (there’s nothing wrong with being comfortable here, you have reasons like family, etc). However, there is something else if you wish to take the next step. But it some with a bit of confidence and knowledge. You got to have the confidence, you gotta be confident enough to take that step and don’t forget that you’re on a level playing field now. You’re no longer the ‘big dog’ (so to speak). There are other people out there who are highly trained than you are and you have to work hard to reach their level.
“And I still haven’t reached that level but I’ve tried my best to keep up with the big boys,” says Narara.
Tico is keen to give back to the aviation field and is open to anything that will come his way as he settles down in his beautiful town of Alotau.
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