Archive for the 'Africa' Category

Leg 21. HAAB – HDAM

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

Where our intepid explorer leaves Bole International, Addis Ababa. Ethopia to crawl ever close to his goal  this time landing in Ambouli, Djobouti.

Winds and weather Hot.  Well it’s Africa. what do you expect.  I crossed the equator a few flights back and didn’t notice it.  That was gonna be a first mile stone.  I don’t even remember noticing it at the time.

The ‘van’ is flying well.  Almost too well.  Fire it up and go.  Ahh, I’m almost pining for the good old days of oil and the smell’s and sounds of radial engies.  Almost.

This is the last leg in Africa.  my next leg is to cross The gulf of Aden at it’s narrowest point.  Any further and I’d be in the Red Sea.  Over the next few legs I’m intending to pass close to such historical places as Mecca, Jeddha, Medina, Then on to the Gulf of Suez and the canal.  Although I may turn East before I get to the gulf.

I’ve been advised to be on m best behaviour in these places.  I’ve bought a Burka and got some funny looks by the locals, but I guess they are not used to a Westener respecting their beliefs.  Just as long as they speak English huh?

While I guess I’ll feel at home in the Middle East, I know more about it then Africa.  I certainly didn’t rush out of Africa, but often I didn’t know what to expect as I landed.  Even thought I’ve never been to Saudi Arabia, or any of the Arab Countries, I, for some reason think I feel more at home there.   Even though I’ve never been there.

I do hope the Pimms is up to scratch.

For the last few legs there’s been a fair amount of Smoke from the exaust.  Almsot everyone has the opinon that I’m running it on the wrong fuel and that I sould be using Jet Fuel.  I keep correcting them by telling them that it’s a prop aircraft, not a Jet aircraft.  But to no avail.    I guess with my vast technical experance that it’s a worn carb needle.   I’ll fix it when I get to Saudi.

I’ve been leafing thru the manual for this aircraft.  The sun set’s quickly here, and the Pimms is very poor.   Anyway,  there is something called a GIPS or GAPS.  It somehow know’s exactly where you are by talking to a load of satellites that are in space.  I didn’t know you would get sky TV down here, but Hey,  I’ll have to see if I can get the cricket on it.   In the absence of a navigator (covered a few posts ago.)  I shall endeavour to find out the exciting things this device can provide, apart from Sky TV.

Ready to fly.

Monday, June 20th, 2011

I’ve managed clean up the Caravan to a flying state.  Well I employed some locals to do that.  I’m more of a delegater then a do-er.  Clean the in out takes.  The body and windows.  Pump up the tyres.  Charge the battery.  Twice after leaving the master switch on overnight.

It hasn’t flown in 6 months by all accounts.  Well it started this morning.  I’m not sure on the fuel though.   I guess it had seperated in the tanks and so we emptied it all into a couple of 50 gallon drums and stirred it around for a while.  We then pumped it back into the tanks.   While the engine started it’s smoking like a WW-2 Bomber.

At a guess I don’t think it’s supposed to do that.  The fuel has a purple dye to it.  from all accounts it’s either 82UL (Not made since 2008) or some discontinued military fuel.  Both are made for reciprocating engines.   While I can run the engine on it (the manual says it’s permissable if all else fails)  one of the locals suggested diesel…..

Well,  it’ll be fresh for sure.  Better then the stuff we are using at the moment.  A local farmer has been contacted and is gonna deliver some.  Well will drain one tank and fill it with diesel then see how the engine runs on that.  As long as I can get to Dodoma everything is good as they have Jet A-1 there.

Once we’ve got a fuel that seems to allow us to create some soft or acceptable power we’ll try a test flight.


It’s quiet out here

Saturday, June 18th, 2011

While flying around Africa I’ve become somewhat lonely.  At most there were 4 aircraft within Africa.  1 was me, and 2 others were long range over flights.  The 4th was another Canenado Cessna Grand Caravan in Tanzania.


Many ways to cross, but only one needed.

Monday, June 13th, 2011


While there are several ways across the Pacific from under 300nm (water) to over 6000nm there are several reasons for preferring one over the other.

My initial decision was to cross from Australia to Chile Via several small Islands Ranging from small to ‘not on the map’ size.

This resulted in a distance of 6400nm depending on what you call the start point. . The main problem being the longest leg was 1620nm.  My new chariot the Cessna Grand Caravan has an approximate max range around 1000nm with standard tanks.  The route is displayed below for you to look at.  It starts in Nadi in the Fiji Islands.  So the route is a little longer as I’d have to get there.  But that part of the route of easy.

I wanted to go that route so I could fly up through South and North America without it feeling like a big detour.


Leg 12. Alive and safe!

Friday, June 3rd, 2011

Well, I’ve just made it to Kilimatinde (HTKT)  in a piper J-3 Cub.  Not the safest of aircraft but it beat 6 hours crossing crocodile infested waters.  At least that’s my inpression of the roads around here.   Not leaving the Hotel I wouldn’t know to be honest.

The reason for the flight in the J-3 was to go and look at a replacment for the DC-3.  I was told it was a Cessna Something.  All I could really make out was that it was “Big and noisy, with a propeller on the front.   That could be a C150 for all I knew.   But at the moment anything was better than the road.  Here is the only picture I got on the epic 80nm flight we made. it took 1:30 to do 80nm.  The only good thing was that it used shag all petrol.   I’m of the opinion that it leaked more then it burnt.


Leg12 pre-cursor

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Yes!  Bloody Hell!  Belive it or not I’m about to  fly somewhere!  Backwards…..

I’ve decided on what aircraft I’m using to replace the DC-3 from just flight.  Read below.  Sorry if you don’t like the narration.  It’s fun


Got a strange message

Thursday, May 26th, 2011

I found a fixer.  He know’s of an ‘Cessna something’ that a safari owner wants to offload.  He tells me it’s very loud and has one engine.   Obviously an aircraft lover.




Wednesday, May 25th, 2011

While not ideal I have a fix.   It is ditch the DC-3 and get a new aircraft.   I have one in mind, but I won’t tell you until I’ve got to know it better.   IE does it work as advertised.

The buggers have deserted me.   I had a local come to me ‘with information’ but he insisted on payment, up front, for the info.  It turns out he saw Norm and the Co-pilot getting on a local commuter flight.  That info cost me $50.  And they were long gone.




Friday, May 20th, 2011

This DC-3 problem as we know is a show stopper.   I’m getting to the end of my tether.  I’m thinking of changing aircraft.   If I’m honest the DC-3 was annoying me.   There was so much aircraft managment that I was forgetting to look out of the window except for screen shots.

I’m considering my options.  I have several aircraft of a more modern  varity that would do the job with similar performance as the DC-3, but are rated for single pilot flying.  This means less micro managment.

I would continue with the DC-3, but I’m constantly having problems with it, and the newest one is the end of the line.

I’ll keep you posted.


Eric’s just told me that the DC-3 is scrap metal.  I had to take a gulp of my Pimms before I would talk to him.  He no longer works for me.  And he should have been grateful for the wages that I paid him.  Not that he did much..   So I’m stranded.  Norm and the Co-pilot have disapeared as well.    And the Hotel doesn’t supply the Times newspaper.   Can it get any worse?  I just hope the Pimms doesn’t run out.

Yet more problems

Monday, May 16th, 2011

While everyone’s FS install has strange quirks mine seems stable at the moment.   Apart from having to run SB outside of FS.  But I understand that’s advised.

Weird things happen to everyone’s FS installs.   I recently installed scenery for Welshpool EGCW and I’ve lost Gloucestershire EGBJ.  The flatten is still there and the runway signs are there, but everything is covered by a layer of grass, and the tower has gone.  Maybe during the flight from EGCW to EGBJ (32 mins) there was a disaster.  Maybe a tidal wave.

Now while most problems can be overcome there are a few that cannot.  I’ve got one of those on the JF DC-3.   It will not take off without FSX crashing.  It’ll fly fine, but not take off.  This causes a problem for me.   I’m not gonna cheat and take off in another aircraft.  Well, maybe once,  but not constantly.

It’s not just my FSX either.  I’ve heard similar problems.  So I’m stuck at Tabora, Tanzania with an aircraft that I cannot fly.  It’s a bugger.    I did fly around Kilimanjaro with a friend in the Carenado Piper Saratoga.  The add on scenery we found from Flightsim makes the area very good. 38m resolution.

Tabora is within about 1 hour of Kilimanjaro and I view this mountain as my second big step.  the Rift valley lakes (Malawi) in particular being the most interesting for me.

So,  I’m stumped.  Suggestions on a postcard to

The Crazy bloke with a un-flyable DC-3




Myself, Norm, the co-pilot and Eric the engineer turned up at the ‘runway’ (flat mud in my opinion).  Eric’s first words before we got within 40feet of the bird were “We are not flying out today”.  I pressed him for a reason.  He started speaking a foreign language.  Something about crankcases and broken blocks.   Of course I hold him directly responsible.  My parting words as I left for the hotel were “Fix it, or leave”.  Yes, I know my man management skills are stunning huh? 🙂  I shall return later on to enthuse him with more words of wisdom.  Norm and the Co-pilot stayed to help Eric by pointing at things and asking “it is supposed to be like that”

Quite frankly I’m angry.  The aircraft should be ready to go at the drop of a hat.  And I don’t want to hear any more justifications that it’s a 50 year old aircraft.  You cannot tell me they were designed this poorly.   And if anyone suggests that it’s my ‘mis-handling’ that’s caused it, I will scream!