Flap 3 – Far South

01/06/2018

01/06/2018 >30/06/2018

Flap 3: From Mombasa (Kenya) to Springs (South Africa)

For some safety reasons and comfort, I decided to ship my plane by vessel from Israel (Ashdod) to Kenya (Mombasa) and start my Flap 3 from Mombasa to South Africa.

I chose my route according to the tourist interests that seduce me, some beautiful “bush airstrips” that attract me, and the autonomy of my plane of course !

I will cross Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, a hook in Zimbabwe, Botswana and finally South Africa…

At 7 weeks of my departure, I still have some details to settle but I feel ultra motivated and ready to take off to new adventures and discoveries…

12
JUL
2018

I made it !

by Lady Bush Pilot

At 3 am I woke up… no way to sleep…

This last day of flight MUST go well in order to end this trip successfully but I have to cross Johannesburg and all the lands around, it is NOT an easy region, I do not know the uses of the South African controllers, two flights in the day involves more fatigue and I do not sleep… pffff…

At 5 am I was ready and waited for my taxi which arrived at 6:00 as scheduled.

At the airport: immigration because I leave the country, carry my luggage to the plane, it is still dark but I see the sun rising, I remove the tarp of my plane that is wet, I open the cockpit, I put the tarpaulin away, take off and store the tie-downs, the pitot cover, my suitcase on the back, the gopro in place, it’s too dark to do the external inspection, I’ll do my flight plan …

Then go back to the plane, remove the chocks and put them away and go to the landing fee office ask if the controller is well aware that I paid… There is nothing I hate more than finding myself on at the holding point and the controller says: you have to come back show that you paid …

The weather office is closed but I looked at the weather and it’s good…

I go back to the plane, it is clearer: external, final preparations and I start, it is cold, wet, carbu heater… and I go…

I take off the sun right in the eye… turn right and take my heading.

After about 15 minutes, I cross the border and here I am in South Africa, light layers of fog stand out in the distance and make the landscape even more beautiful ..

My anxieties of the night resurge, my apprehensions for the next flight come back, I make them disappear thinking of my arrival in Springs and that’s it I have tears in my eyes … pff Valerie seriously, make an effort !

Once the contact establishes with the controller he send me on the air / air frequency and there I understand how busy it is ! I do not understand what others say, all these airfield names in Africaans… I do not find them on my map … so I take the resolution to look outside and enjoy the scenery…

I arrive near Lanseria and switch my frequency with them… nice approach, nice landing and pffff here is one flight done out of 2 !!!

I secure the plane at the car park -> immigration -> customs -> eat a little bit to regain strength and hold until the end of the day -> I pay the landing fees -> the flight plan is done by phone with a girl who does not get anything and I do not understand her neither, so it takes a long time.

She finally offers me to take a direct route Lansaria to Springs crossing the ctr of Johannesburg, I am surprised of this advice but I accept.

I cross the entire terminal to join the entrance General Aviation, I walk to my plane, prepare the plane, Valerie, especially now do not forget anything, neglects nothing for this last flight to success, difficult flight through the ctr of Johannesburg …

I start and on my way to the holding point I am told that my road is not accepted and that I have to call the controller at the tower… to call ? My engine is running, I’m almost on the track ? Fortunately the controller takes me on the radio and a super nice guy and very cooperative to who I explain that this is my first day of flights in South Africa …

Thank you very much and I take off, right turn 180 degrees … then he send me on the air / air frequency… I do not like it and I have the extreme good idea to switch to Johannesburg frequency who gives me another way… that I am… and I arrive in long final in Springs ….

In the meantime I flew over downtown Johannesburg and the view was too beautiful but not able to take pictures: too much turbulence and too much to check, too stressed, not possible to take the slightest risk of doing a little bullshit when of this last flight !

I land at Springs and here I am! I did it !!

I receive an super welcome from Jacques, friend of Garvin who offered me a place in one of its hangar…

He has a collection of old planes, all taildraggers that I adore! And especially a Helio Courier on which I flap !

I put away my things and make an inventory of the things I leave on my plane.

Jacques drives me to an incredible hotel: it’s an entire village !

I ask if they do not make a price for the crew and I give my card AOPA France, they made me the price of air France crew !!!

Since my arrival here, I see whites people everywhere, am slightly out of place after my full immersion in Francistown…

There is a bar in this village for pilots !

I’m going to celebrate my arrival in South Africa, I think I deserve it! 

I return tomorrow night in Belgium and arrived Saturday morning…

See you soon for future African adventures… stay tuned !

12
JUL
2018

Francistown to Gaborone -11th July 2018

by Lady Bush Pilot

Back in the air from Francistown to Gaborone (Botswana)

10
JUL
2018

Francistown – 10th July 2018

by Lady Bush Pilot

It’s been a week since I am in Francistown (Botswana) under a leaden sky at 1200-1500 ft with a lot of wind.

Yesterday, the temperature was slightly higher which was welcome !

I received the extension of my flight permit which will allow me to leave tomorrow if all goes well !

So: tomorrow: Gaborone and the day after tomorrow: South Africa !

Still no picture.

See you tomorrow !

7
JUL
2018

Francistown – 4th July 2018

by Lady Bush Pilot

The weather is getting worse and worse, we could believe that we are in the middle of January in Brussels, low stratus, rain, icy wind and gust… nice !

This weather is spreading all over the country for the next three or four days…

All locals told me: no clouds after April, no rain during the dry season… are you serious ?!

I unfortunately do not see a possible start before next Wednesday regarding the weather forecast of today.

I have already visited the museum of the city, so I have only once possible activity: write !

My plan to write a book about my trip is real but “just do it…” ????

I already have two firm orders: Anne-Marie (you remember, Rob’s wife, Rob who reassembled my plane in Mombasa) and Douglas my new adventurous buddy who prepared my night under the wing of my plane in Mopiri.

These two commands are in English… so I will write in French and translate into English… and why not in Hebrew? My plane is Israeli and all my Israeli friends who have disassembled my plane deserve this gift…

So, no photo today… as I usually say, “Courage and perseverance always pay” !

4
JUL
2018

Francistown – 3rd & 4th July

by Lady Bush Pilot

In Africa, some people suffer from diarrhea, others from malaria, etcetera…

I have a “phalangettetite” ! 

Preparing my night under the tent under the wing of my plane I baked insect repealent but I omitted the tips of my fingers !

So I was attacked by a squadron of nocturnal insects around the nails and especially the right hand… generating bluish-reddish blisters ???? painful…

I did not know that mosquitoes were resistant to cold…

Here is a brief schematic overview ????

Well, back to the serious things, I realize right now that I could fly directly to Pilanesberg from here Francistown tomorrow but my flight plan is done and saved and my taxes paid… if I want to change that will delay me tomorrow morning by one hour and I want to avoid the strong wind that will appear around 10 am…

And then my father always told me that you have to be even more careful when approaching your destination because the attention is dissipated, the vigilance decreases and the excitement of arriving increases… so, for once I will follow the advice of my father and follow the plan initially planned… On the other hand, my flight permit is planned with exit Gaborone…

So, tomorrow: Gaborone and after tomorrow: Pilanesberg then Spring !

Always the same estimated hours of departure: 05: 00Z.

I should have a wind component back tomorrow…

I visited the tiny museum of Francistown illustrated with some photos pinned on a cardboard support like when you made speeches in primary… but the dedication of the lady to explain to me the history of Rhodesia railways connecting Cape Town in Alexandria at the time is really touching and I learned a lot.

The gold and diamond mines… very informative.

The city is built in the American style with numbered avenues in one direction and in the other direction parallel then the streets in perpendicular, KFC, and all major brands are found on the store signs…

The fuel costs $ 1.3 / liter  !!!! It’s nice to fly in Botswana ! The taxes are reasonable: about $ 24… no parking fee… and the controller of Francistown is good unlike that of Maun that I did not understand and who does not say clear for take off !

She says clear for Francistown… but that does not mean that I can take off… so I ask Am I clear for take off ?

She answers: Clear for Francistown… in an angry tone and so I said: N45458 Clear for take off runway 08 and took off… I did not like Maun at all… too big, too much traffic, bad controllers, surrounded by 50 Cessna and Caravan on apron ! Traffic more intense than EBCi 15/8 !

But I loved my take-off just when the crimson-red sun was pointing at the end of the runway but just before he blinded me…

I think you understand what I mean..

Francistown – 4th July

I can not take off this morning, overcast 1000 ft and broken 2400 ft, 35 kt at 5000 ft

I analyzed the weather and think I have an opening tomorrow early afternoon…

I still checked out and went to 6:00 at the airport where I hoped to receive a weather report but the two military pilots I met confirmed they go themselves to get the weather information on google !

So, I will make a new point tonight and tomorrow at the first hour…

We’ll see…

Francistown – 3rd July

In Africa, some people suffer from diarrhea, others from malaria, etcetera…

I have a “phalangettetite” ! 

Preparing my night under the tent under the wing of my plane I baked insect repealent but I omitted the tips of my fingers !

So I was attacked by a squadron of nocturnal insects around the nails and especially the right hand… generating bluish-reddish blisters ???? painful…

I did not know that mosquitoes were resistant to cold…

Here is a brief schematic overview ????

Well, back to the serious things, I realize right now that I could fly directly to Pilanesberg from here Francistown tomorrow but my flight plan is done and saved and my taxes paid… if I want to change that will delay me tomorrow morning by one hour and I want to avoid the strong wind that will appear around 10 am…

And then my father always told me that you have to be even more careful when approaching your destination because the attention is dissipated, the vigilance decreases and the excitement of arriving increases… so, for once I will follow the advice of my father and follow the plan initially planned… On the other hand, my flight permit is planned with exit Gaborone…

So, tomorrow: Gaborone and after tomorrow: Pilanesberg then Spring !

Always the same estimated hours of departure: 05: 00Z.

I should have a wind component back tomorrow…

I visited the tiny museum of Francistown illustrated with some photos pinned on a cardboard support like when you made speeches in primary… but the dedication of the lady to explain to me the history of Rhodesia railways connecting Cape Town in Alexandria at the time is really touching and I learned a lot.

The gold and diamond mines… very informative.

The city is built in the American style with numbered avenues in one direction and in the other direction parallel then the streets in perpendicular, KFC, and all major brands are found on the store signs…

The fuel costs $ 1.3 / liter  !!!! It’s nice to fly in Botswana ! The taxes are reasonable: about $ 24… no parking fee… and the controller of Francistown is good unlike that of Maun that I did not understand and who does not say clear for take off !

She says clear for Francistown… but that does not mean that I can take off… so I ask Am I clear for take off ?

She answers: Clear for Francistown… in an angry tone and so I said: N45458 Clear for take off runway 08 and took off… I did not like Maun at all… too big, too much traffic, bad controllers, surrounded by 50 Cessna and Caravan on apron ! Traffic more intense than EBCi 15/8 !

But I loved my take-off just when the crimson-red sun was pointing at the end of the runway but just before he blinded me…

I think you understand what I mean..

4
JUL
2018

Mopiri lodge – 30th June 2018 -> Maun – 1st July 2018

by Lady Bush Pilot

Mopiri Lodge – 30th June 2018 -> Maun – 1st July 2018

The last afternoon in Kasane, I followed Bertie’s advice and participated in the boat safari on the river and I was not disappointed with the ride: I saw a herd of elephants cross the river swimming, they swim under water and we can see their trunk out of the water surface like a periscope…

The only sad side was the band of low level tourists who unfortunately shared the boat…

Not unhappy to leave Kasane at dawn, desert airport, while I prepare my plane, the controllers look at me from the top of their tower, they must ask who is this crazy who comes to wake them…

It’s cold, I have to heat my engine and take off finally.

This flight is dazzling with beauty, the colors that change each time I turn my head… the river, the water points, the greenery, the savannah, the expanses of swamps… and flying over a small airstrip, I see giraffes on the track… I hope that will not be the case in Mopiri…

After an hour of flying, I hear other pilots on the air / air frequency but do not understand much about the airstrips they mention, I do not see them on my map.

I continue this spectacular flight, taking photos and videos… and opening the eye for other “traffics”…

The last 10 nautical miles are so beautiful to fly over that I almost forget my approach.

Suddenly, the track is insight, I fly over and make an approach and a low pass, I take the downwind and land on this bush airstrip in the heart of the Okavango Delta, in the heart of the bush…

I am warmly welcomed by Douglas, Kenny and the two guards who will be responsible for watching my plane day and night during my stay here.

I’m trying to secure the plane, are there hyenas likely to come chew on my tires ? No ? Phew ! And I’m taken to a boat, I’m totally immersed in the heart of the delta, from the plane to the boat…

The welcome all in local songs is super moving and everything already indicates that good taste is «de rigueur» in this lodge.

After a welcome drink, Zoe settles me in my splendid tent, beautiful with breathtaking views and in the heart of the bush… what could I dream of better ?

As in Lake Mwanyara, I am a single customer, it has its advantages…

As soon as I got there, I went with Kenny for a new boat safari.

And here, I am captivated by the beauty of this delta, the colors, the light…

That’s wonderful ! We sail in channels between the papirus fields from which arise from time to time, a hippopotamus, a bird, a crocodile…

After about two hours, we reach an island where we change the means of locomotion: finished the motor boat, I settle in the mokoro, the buttocks under the water level, breathtaking view at the water’s edge. .

We reach another island where we disembark for a walk in the footsteps of wild animals.

Kenny teaches me a lot of extraordinary things, we follow the tracks of elephants, hippos, leopards… but unfortunately we do not meet them on the ground, we see antelopes.

This experience is extraordinary.

I decide to stay two nights and give it back with Kenny tomorrow morning so everything is beautiful, and this complete immersion in the heart of wild life, without electricity at night, without internet access, without mail, without phone, without network… I like it because it gives me a feeling of total freedom… nobody knows where I am or can not find me, immersed in the deep nature…

The second ride with Kenny is just as exceptional and back to the camp, I prepare my departure the next morning.

In the evening, dining with Douglas, a South African adventurer with whom I sympathize, managing the place, he offers me to raise a dream: sleep under the wing of my plane into the bush !

This delays my arrival in Springs but how to hesitate ?

It may be the last time before a long time that I will find myself at this point in the heart of wildlife… I accept quickly and so decides to stay disconnected from the world one more night…

It also means a ride with Kenny who makes me visit his village in the heart of the delta !

I make great videos of hippos struggling in the water, videos of the birds that precede us in the channels between the floating fields of papyrus, crocodiles, antelopes and the views of all its splendid colors…

Douglas spoiled me and thanks to him, I was able to realize a dream that should be the one of all the Cub’s pilots: to sleep into the wild under the wing of his plane !

Douglas made us a Braai (Afrikaners barbecue) with a tasty steak of superior quality ! We eat Kenny, Douglas and I around an African campfire a few meters from my plane surrounded by the sounds of the night such as the endless chatter of hippos coming out of the water to graze…

The Douglas camp bush is designed especially for me ! With a canvas sink and a bush ladies room… I’m spoiled and can not thank him enough for this beautiful gift.

I sincerely hope that we will meet again…

Once in the tent, Kenny and Douglas, not far away, sleeping under the stars, I fall asleep at once. Unfortunately I wake up soon: I am freezing, there must be about 5 degrees… I have a good mattress under me with a blanket above, a sleeping bag and a blanket above and I shiver with my whole body. .. I slowly find the courage to get out of my bag to go and get the other sleeping bag that I have in my plane…

I fall asleep with two sleeping bags and a blanket under the wing of my plane in the wild in the heart of the Delta…

Around 5 am, the drops of dew dribble from the wing and fall on the roof of my tent to wake me up !

A bit of toilet, a cup of hot tea around the fire and we are at the dawn of a new day !

I prepare my plane, bid farewell to my two bush comrades and start… and my carbu frost…. it’s tell you the conditions !

I take off the sun in the face and head my road to Maune.

The landscapes are just as beautiful and I can now interpret what I see from above… great !

In approach of Maun, it is the time of departure of the scenic flights of the Cessna Caravan and the controller asks me twice “expedite” Pfff they do not know the PA18, they believe that I fly in PA28 !

I land, am totally surprised to see the density of this airport, the number of planes, the air traffic… a single pilot looks at my plane with astonishment and greets me, I go to refuel and park. I secure my plane, take my things and look for the briefing office, I prepare my flight plan for tomorrow morning and pay my taxes, I find a hotel… and here I am back to civilization…

Departure tomorrow morning for Francistown.

28
JUN
2018

27-28th June 2018: Kasane

by Lady Bush Pilot

Wake up at 5 am as usual and I meet the captain of South African Airlines who also flies in Cub and offers me to share his shuttle to the airport…

As soon as we are done, we are on our way to Lusaka Airport.

We do our respective external inspection… he comes to admire my plane… really nice ! Thank you André !

I take off and make a superb flight to Livingstone, a nice pilot relay my radio to Livingstone’s controller who is super precise and very calm, posed… cool… really top, I get permission to fly over Victoria Falls, I drive with the left hand and film with the right hand, no traffic contrary to what I expected… it’s just wonderful…

Beautiful flight, beautiful discovery, beautiful approach, kiss landing and I refuele and park to complete the necessary formalities before leaving Zambia with a little touch of nostalgia…

I made the habit of going to greet the pilots on the apron… here, two pilots: I go towards them, one does not greet me, the other one says me hello and we exchange two words .. Another atmosphere… we are in an ultra tourist area and I imagine that the spirit “aviator” is forgotten… pity…

The good news is that today, I heard 2 or 3 female pilots on the frequency…

The other good news is that I saw hippos from my cockpit… I would have preferred elephants but it will come !

I took off to Kasane in Botswana at 30 minutes flight and the controller of Botswana, draft, is wrong for my downwind, I explain:

So, coming from Livingstone, I have to go through a specific point in order to avoid Zimbabwe (although I have a flyover permit from Zimbabwe), and Namibia…

This was requested by Livingstone’s “flight plan office”.

But this point is just in the 08 runway axis that is in use today and on which there is a Cessna Caravan ready for takeoff…

The controller gives me a code transponder and I deduce that he follows me on his radar… but in this case why does he ask me the question every 5 minutes to know where I am? From his big new luxurious tower he must be able to see me if he has no radar…? Since I go past his nose !

As a precaution I bite a bit on Zimbabwe as I have a permit and consider the right hand downwind runway 08 to allow passage to the Caravan…

The controller tells me to do a left hand circuit… I turn right…then right hand circuit is ok…

In short, I find myself in right hand downwind very close to the track in a bumpy air and a controller not clear, confused, which does not give clearance to the Caravan…

I’m in base leg when the Caravan takes off… and I run too short, I have too much speed, am too high… bad approach => bad landing…

But it’s not big deal…

The fuel guy asks me if I have a husky, the first to know the Taildraggers… ! ! I’m no longer in the heart of Africa…

The airport is ultra new but does not offer more effective service so far: 2 hours for:

– refuel,

– Secure my plane,

– Pay taxes,

– Make the flight plan for the day after tomorrow,

– Immigration,

– Taxi…

I arrive at the lodge chosen in my selection and am very disappointed with my first impression of Botswana: there are electric wires everywhere: around roads, buildings, around gardens… to channel the movements of wild animals and to prevent them from coming to the lodges… me who made me wake up by “my” elephant two nights ago…

The lodge looks like a German military camp dating back to the 1970s…

Even though you elicit this description, it must not be far from the truth.

Yes, I’m disappointed but especially Mfuwe miss me a lot… a little blues that will pass with a good night’s sleep…

I slept pretty well in my German military barracks… and I take the opportunity to explain here the next days because I doubt to have wifi or time to write…

Tomorrow morning I take off for the Okavango Delta where I am expected in a lodge that has its own airstrip on the bus: Mopiri airstrip.

I will stay there two nights to discover the delta…

Then: flight to Maun, one night and Francistown, one night, then Gaborone, one night then South Africa !

I want to thank all the nice people met since my departure who take my news via whatsapp, look like nothing, it really matters to me !

I allow myself to rename them: Rob and Anne-Marie without whom I would not be here today but also Cédrick, Jim, Vincent, Erardy, Stephen Mkandawire, Jobbe Cliffton, Wongani, Bertie, Ryan, Ronniel, Anand, Chichi, Vic, Andre, that beautiful meetings…

Do not forget to follow me live via “follow me”…

26
JUN
2018

26th June 2018: Lusaka

by Lady Bush Pilot

This morning, I left Mfuwe (Zambia) where I spent two glorious nights at the Track and Trail River Camp.

But back to Lake Malawi where I left my story.

So I left this little paradise Likoma island in Malawi early in the morning to reach Lilongwe.

At 6 o’clock, I left the camp “Mango Drift” going up the steep and rocky way on foot with my luggage to find the taxi that leads me to the airfield by paths all more bumpy than each other.

Arriving at the airfield, I slip the supplement I promised to pay to Mister White (that’s his real name) for parking if I stayed one more night. As it was the case and he was not there, I tied the small bills with a paper clip to my business card and slid it on his desk through a window gap…

On the other hand, the cop who asked me for money to keep my plane 24/24 did not receive much since he was not there when I arrived… hey 6 am, it’s early and no one expected me to arrive so early !

So I take off from this little island paradise where I met very nice people: Bertie and Ryan: South African’s pilots.

Sarah and her boyfriend from Australia.

Marc who is British and globe trotter.

It had been a long time since I had lived without electricity for 22 consecutive hours… it’s deep Africa… I felt cut off from the world…

Ryan who flew a long time in Namibia proposes to help me preparing my Flap 4, another beautiful meeting.

Following Bertie’s advice, I take off and flew along the Mozambique coast before turning west to Lilongwe.

Approaching the west coast of Lake Malawi, I see big clouds above the elevations and decide to go up… once the ground goes down, I tell myself that I should go down under this layer for the approach, I do an attempt but no, it sticks to the ground, poor visibility, I go back on top…

In short, finally, I made an ifr approach thanks to Sky Daemon !

So that you understand here is a small drawing:

Lilongwe is in a bowl clogged by low clouds.

I was flying through this puree keeping a contact here and there with the ground through small holes and Sky Daemon indicating my elevation from the ground and my track to the runway axis; and considering that the runway is more than 3 kilometers, I went to the final without visual on the runway but on the ground, keeping a high and safe altitude, then I saw the lights on the ground in front of the threshold, tweaked my position in relation to the runway center line and suddenly came out of the mashed potatoes and was able to descend and land quietly comfortable on this long runway…

It was, however, the most difficult approach of my life but I came out very proud…

My daily adrenaline quota reached its maximum level, so I decided to stay in Lilongwe.

This gave me the opportunity to meet Bertie again and to meet some of his friends at the Rugby evening (South Africa was playing against Great Britain).

In Lilongwe, I must thank Wongani very much for his help once again, efficient and precious. Wongani is an outstanding logistician !

So, I planned to take off to Mfuwe (airport of entry in Zambia), refuel and take off directly to Lusaka.

It was not so and so much better !

Once again, a dense fog stuck to the ground and I had to wait two hours before taking off.

So I arrived around noon in Mfuwe and the clouds and turbulence of the afternoon decided me to stay one night in Mfuwe.

Nothing is reserved and my camp selection of which I have the phone numbers do not answer…

Suddenly I meet a guide who gives me a valid phone, and here the business concluded, he leads me to his colleague who leads me to the “Track and Trail River Camp” that I invite you to “googling” to have a glimpse of the place !

This camp is on the edge of South Luangwa National Park and wild animals roam there as if they were in their garden…

My two-storey hut offers a surprising view of the river where hippos bask and chat loudly.

The impalas wander around you and… and… at 5 o’clock in the morning, waking me up 4 meters from the foot of my bed ? An elephant ! Who pruned the tree in front of my hut !

I looked at him from my bed without wishing to disturb him… what a gift ! I love the elephants !

Just arrived, I went into night game drive and met Anand, a citizen of the world who takes beautiful pictures !

The next morning, raised at 5 am by my elephant, we left with three Dutch who came from Malawi in early game drive… and the evening: 3rd game drive… which gave us the opportunity to see a leopard who had just killed a baboon and brought it to a tree…

Leopards do not usually kill baboons except Lucy, this leopard female who must particularly appreciate them…

Satisfied by these magical and incredible moments lived in the bush, I fell asleep quickly…

And so, this morning: take off from Mfuwe destination Lusaka.

Extraordinary flight, calm, very cool, hazy but acceptable visibility.

I enjoy flying over the small bush fields…

Arrival in Lusaka… waow, it’s not Africa anymore ! It looks like an American city in a southern state… ultra modern, luxury, impeccable roads…

I am a little disappointed to find this modernity after my immersion in the African bush…

I take the opportunity to stay at the hotel, rest, prepare my next flight and update my notes on these days so intense and loaded with so much beauty !

Tomorrow: ETD: 05:00 Z Destination: Livingstone and flying over Victoria Falls !

See you !

22
JUN
2018

21st June 2018: Likoma island – Malawi

by Lady Bush Pilot

Since the beginning of this wonderful trip it is difficult for me to take the time to write: the reasons are: the daily workload to prepare my flight, prepare my plane, complete the formalities, secure my plane at the arrival, negotiate prices, find accommodation, keep people informed of the next steps… and especially be in permanent contact with my ground crew without whom I would feel alone… I take this opportunity to warmly thank Philippe D. who is behind this initiative of genius: the follow-up of my journey on the ground by a ground crew experienced in African air travel, Paul who follows me ready and answer my questions during doubts or hesitations and Philippe vda who follows me via my “inreach” AND Flight radar 24 and even maybe by telepathy…?

So here I am in Malawi, happy but very tired of my day yesterday.

I’m lying in a wooden sofa on the terrace of my cabin on the beach, on the edge of Lake Malawi… the view is breathtaking and I take stock of the situation after leaving Belgium for almost a month !

Kenya: the delay of the container, the time lost in various formalities is already very far and today what I remember is the experience acquired and especially the meeting of Rob and Anne-Marie de Jong… without them, my wait would have been unbearable.

I also remember my experience as “trainee” with “Direct Maintenance”, I loved to follow Rob during his Condor aircraft checks… Regulate the tires of the 777, open the cargo doors of the 747… be at ground and cabin when changing crew…

I would like to thank Rob very warmly for reassembling my aircraft, and installing my additional tank “Rob is a great engineer” !

Zanzibar: crossing the Tanzanian border, I change my radio frequency and introduce my flight to the controller.

He asks me how many people are on the board when I just told him 1 POB… I repeat 1 person on board, he asks me how many soul is there on the plane , I answer: 1 ! He asks me can you confirm only one person on board ? This sums up perfectly the vision of Africans who see me as a single woman flying a plane… after a very bad landing from a cross gust of wind on the ground, I followed the Marsheller who tells me where to park my plane . I open the door of the plane after turning off the engine and he asks me: are you captain ? Yes… you are alone ? Well as you notice my friend ! He continues: Are you paying now ? In short, bad reception, poorly managed airport but beautiful city and full of history. Happy to have met Cedrick, Jim and Zac…

It was still my good luck to land on the day of the end of Ramadan…

And it is still the first time that one asks me if I want company for the evening…

Tanzania: Arusha: welcome super top super ! Someone had warned the marsheller of my arrival and asked him to help me… I still do not know who it is but I appreciated and so thank you to this person !

Hervé met on the spot informed me about my next destination and I thank him too.

Lake Mwanyara: super flight, difficult approach but top bush airstrip, very cooperative welcome, I loved it !

My two days at the Camp were extraordinary and the Ngorongoro Crater must be visited by anyone visiting Tanzania… it must be the most beautiful place in the world !

Lake Mwanyara is fabulous too and should not be forgotten !

Having had a little stress considering my takeoff from Lake Mwanyara because of its slope going on to a steep cliff at high altitude… I was fortunately well briefed by Philippe, Paul and Aharon and came out as a real pro !

My flight from Lake Mwanyara to Dodoma was less amazing I was not in great shape…

Dodoma: Extraordinary welcome to Dodoma by an aircraft engineer met in Zanzibar who offered me a place in his hangar…

I slept badly in Dodoma in a shabby hotel and got up at 04:00 LT, I wanted to take off at 06:30 at the latest in order to make my long flight from Dodoma to Karonga before the formation of clouds and the elevation of temperature but I had to wait for the gentleman of the flight plan office that did not arrive and then asked me the modest sum of $ 1600 !!!!! Yes Yes ! Amount representing entrance fees, flight, landing, etc… I negotiated at $ 940… proving that my plane weighed 800 kg… it’s still huge and I unfortunately got a bitter taste when leaving this fabulous country.

Everything is indicated black on white in the AIP but in an ultra ambiguous way… I had read the AIP but did not understand the subtleties…

I take off late and fly to Malawi.

Very quickly I am out of range of any radio station but I must admit that this great moment of solitude, 3 hours of flight alone without hearing anyone or almost, I rather liked !

As I suspected, the peaks to cross to Malawi were cloudy. I hesitated to fly between the holes but preferred safety and climbed to 12000 ft with N45458 ! A great first for me and for my plane !

Malawi: Once the contact established with the controller of Karonga, everything became guessed !

Karonga: The arrival in Karonga where I was waiting for the fuel I ordered and some nice people was an unforgettable moment.

The controller and I talked a lot about about things of life, do I believe in God ? Why ? Why not ? It was a beautiful meeting and an intense and pleasant moment that I will not forget…

I take off for Likoma but I have 20 kt of headwind and find myself with a ground speed of 70 kt ! Ouch my ETA is 15:28 UTC 3 minutes after sunset… so I decide to gain a few minutes by cutting short across the lake directly to Likoma instead of following the coast before crossing the lake… and not only I win a few minutes but the wind in the middle of the lake is less strong and I win in GS to finally reach 80 kt !

Finally I see my ETA decrease one minute, then another minute and here is the island ! The sun is setting behind me but I’ll get there ! My ETA is now 15:22 or 3 minutes before sunset !

Likoma: The approach is difficult

The final must be high because of the elevations of the ground and then because of a big shack just in front of the threshold of track 19 then there is a slope (which is very clearly exaggerated on my drawing !)

In the dark and without runway lighting, I made a landing not bad considering the circumstances…

Happy to have arrived !

My taxi is waiting for me and takes us to an ultra-secluded corner on a bumpy road that does not finish… in absolute dark then we must continue on foot for 25 minutes ! He puts my bag on his back and my suitcase on his head and fortunately I have a small flashlight because we have to go down by steep rocks… I still wonder if it’s wise that I follow this boy… ????

Whew, we arrive on the beach and I’m at the Mango Drift where I meet some nice people (Bertie, South African pilot working here as a pilot, he gives me lots of good information about my arrival in Johannesburg and other lands and local uses of great importance, thank you Bertie !).

I am taken to my hut on the beach a bit high and there… Waow ! Paradise on Earth !

I take a quick shower and we all eat together at the edge of the water in the light of candles and stars… I see a shooting star like I have never seen ! She was close, gigantic and lasted for a long time ! I let you guess my wish…

When I went to bed, I felt fatigue all over my body, physical tiredness but also by closing my eyes, my head was spinning as if I had drunk too much (I no longer drank alcohol for several days, I swear !)

And I had a hard time falling asleep… then fell into a deep sleep until 3am when someone close was hammering on something… the horror ! And more way to sleep… this morning, I learned that this is a fisherman who is tapping on the edge of his boat far away on the lake… ????

This freshwater lake has tides ! Small but still !

This morning, I have to check my overflight permit for Zambia… he wants me to fill out a new form… Help Ground Team, no printer, no scanner, no continuous electricity and no wifi except for someone else one lends me via his hotspot… not easy ! Thank you Paul for being there at the right time and for back office !

I finally took the time to write about my trip… I’m happy…

Now, I’m going to go swimming in this sea of ​​fresh water and bask in the sun…

I like this place and find myself with African whites or adventurers I feel good, no one is surprised that I travel alone by plane, nor do I ask the question to which I must answer 20 times a day: why do you do this trip and why not with your husband ?

So I think to stay one more day before flying to Lilongwe after tomorrow, an extra day of rest will be good for me… I’m dead tired… we must spare the horse !

See you soon !

19
JUN
2018

17th June: Ngorongoro Crater

by Lady Bush Pilot

19
JUN
2018

16th June: Zanzibar – Arusha – Lake Mwanyara

by Lady Bush Pilot

13
JUN
2018

Mobasa 13 juin

by Lady Bush Pilot

It’s been 16 days since I am in Mombasa … I waited 13 days to receive my container, then everything was very quick: reassembly of the plane, visit of the FAA inspector from Nairobi to issue the document “released to service”, last works on the plane to refine the departure and here I am ready … I have all the flight and landing permits for all countries … EXCEPT in Kenya! Rather annoying… I want to take off tomorrow to Zanzibar …

I often get mad in Belgium against our administration but here …

During these forced holidays here in Mombasa, I joined Rob’s team with Direct Maintenance to help them (as far as I can) with the arrival of each Condor flight.

I especially learned a lot: I inflated the tires of a 777! I help the cargo guys by opening them and closing the doors of the cargo part of the plane …

I looove!

I hope I can leave tomorrow to Zanzibar and that the weather will be with me!

Expecting me in Zanzibar: Cedrick a French pilot and Jan-Harmen who took care of my plane when she was based in Charleroi! Nice but where is my flight permit?

4
JUN
2018

Mombasa 3 Juin 2018

by Lady Bush Pilot

The shaded pond on my right is full of lush vegetation adorned with small nests of yellow birds with red heads that hang like Christmas balls.The male dominates, littered on a branch and makes his toilet while his two females exhaust themselves back and forth to feed their babies bringing them big green caterpillars.

Everyone will find his metaphor …

This was clearly indicated to me at Zaventem airport: delayed!

It’s been six days since I left Brussels and I still do not have my container …

As a reminder, my plane was placed in a container in Israel to be transported by boat to Mombasa.

The boat has been delayed for various reasons: crossing the Somali waters is apparently not easy, port problems in Mombasa, Ramadan (yes, Mombasa is the Muslim city of Kenya !) And I arrive there in full Ramadan ! ), “The independence day” on June 1st, holiday…

Today is Sunday and I have time to make a clear vieuw of the situation and enjoy a day off.

My friend Raymond who accompanied me to reassemble my plane had to leave for Belgium, can not wait for more… I thank him for having accompanied me and I’m sorry for the delay…

So it’s Rob de jong who is based here who will be in charge of reassembling my plane. I take this opportunity to thank him for the invaluable help he has already given me so far.

Then, the FAA inspector will have to come from Nairobi then test-flight, and eventually I will be able to start my trip…

I’m planning my departure next weekend.

I would also like to thank the Consul Lou Dierick of the Consulate of Belgium in Mombasa for his pleasant invitation to dinner, his interest in my project and his help to unblock my container.

I just witnessed the takeoff of one of the little ones out of the nest that has just taken off ! A beautiful male colored but not yet very feather… he has already chosen the highest branch !

Here is a promising male… ????