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Leg 9

FBLA Mbala – FZRZ Kalemie  Democratic republic of the Congo.

1:20 Flight Time.  Weather Neglible.  21Degrees C.

We landed on a long approach over the lake.  Very pretty it was.

Nothing to report.  I flew the flight with my usual perfect skills.   As I walked away I say Norm, Erci and the Co-pilot standing around a slowly flattening tyre on the DC-3.  I told Eric he should replace them before they wear out.   They just stood around.

The port at Kalemie was built to connect the Great Lakes rail line (from the Kabalo junction on the Lualaba River) to the Tanzanian lake port and railhead at Kigoma, from where the Tanzanian Central Railway Line runs to the seaport of Dar es Salaam. The port was built with a 130 m wharf and 3 mobile cranes, giving it a capacity of 500 tonnes per day with two shifts. However, the cranes are non functional, and vessels cannot reach the wharf due to silting up of the lake next to it. The buildings of the port also require rehabilitation.[1] Moreover, the railway line for 100 km west of Kalemie is ‘very degraded’ and not fully operational.

Leg 8

16:14 FWCT – Chitipa  to  17:04 FLBA – Mbala.

Weather Neglible.  28Degrees.

Flight time 50mins.

The flight was nice.  Pitty Mbala was in a dip, but that’s the problem with addon Scenery. No matter.  We are now on the southern edge of Lake Tanzania.  It’s part of the western side of the Rift Vally in Africa.  upto 6 miles deep.  Human’s have never been all that way down..

We had to spend a few days in Chitipa while Eric the Engineer did something to the aircraft.  Everytime I tried to talk to him he just growled and muttered something about “Pilots!”  It’s obviously complimentory, but he know’s I’m English to the core, and I get embarresed when people compliment my flying skills.   I don’t need complimenting.  I know how good I am.

Norm the Nav, and the Co-pilot (Must find out his name) have been bonding.  They’ve spend the few days with their heads together, and stop talking when I appear.   I’d assume they are planning something nice for me, but It’s not my birthday.

I was very happy with this landing.  Even Eric said it was good. “For you”.

I didn’t show you the paintwork that Eric organised.  I must one day tell him I like it.   I’ve ordered some graphics to be delivered enroute.  Not sure where yet.  I’m thinking at Suez.  That assumes that I don’t change my mind and go somewhere else.

JF DC-3 Modified paint.

Eric does some work!

I’m still deciding what to do with the Pacific crossing,  as you know it’s pushing the fuel envelope.  And Navigating is an issue.  I’ve been taking advice from the guys at www.cixvfrclub.org.uk and the feeling is split.  Some say use GPS, Some say don’t be bloody stupid.  Others are all for it and want to help navigate using a sextant.   I’m still not sure.   I’ll have a decision by Vietnam.    At this rate I’ll have a long time to decide?

I’m worried about the proposed pacific crossing.  On two points.  Norm the nav is not as good as a thought.  He had a problem with correct fueling, that he claims wasn’t his fault.  And we found a GPS reciever in his bag.  GPS is spawn of the devil!!  If GPS was that good why are their VOR’s and NDB’s around.   Every time I mention the Pacific crossing Norm goes pale and starts sweating.   Personally I don’t know what the problem is.  Just go East as fasr as I’m concerned.

Another problem is the fuel usage.  Eric the engineer says that the fuel burn at cruise is fine.  But it’s burning more then 90 gph per hour.  I’m the first person to admit that it’s an aricraft problem.  It’s certainly not me.  Eric thinks I should slow down by 10kts.  That’ll reduce the fuel per hour.  I don’t see the logic there.