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Leg 5

Mtwara – Tundara.  A nice flight using John C’s method of navigation.  Yes, John I know it’s not yours, but you introduced it to me 🙂

Sorry I cannot remember the winds and weather since, as I said a while back I flew this a few days ago.  I’ve been busy with work and narative.  Ohh and fixing the JF Dc-3.

Current legs flown and location

I'm in Tundara, Tanzania!..

John’s methof of navigation is a nautical method.  Since us flyers are sailing thru the air, it’s an apt method.   While it’s not designed for navigation over land it worked surprisingly well.  The theory (forgive me if I explain is poorly) is to not aim for the destination.  This is particularly useful if you are sailing (evidently).   In this case Mtwara to Tundara is 87nm away at 258°  now dead reckoning (following roads and rivers) is not ideal for this flight, and I need to practice my navigation.

So, I intend to fly at 270° until I pass a longtitude of 38° 45′ 45.04 (not that accuratly,  but close).  Once I’m on that Long I turn left on a heading of 180°.  I should pass over head Tundara.   Advantages here are that I don’t have to bee too accurate on the waypoint ETA’s and when in the Pacific aiming for tiny islands in the sea this method is much more accurate.  DI’s and the like being much more accurate.   The only thing I need to consider is magnetic variance.  More on that riving subject later 🙂

The reason behind this method :  If I fly directly to the target once I get there (by ETA) I don’t know where to look for the target.  It may be ahead, left, right, or behind.  With John’s Method I know It’s in front.

Well,  I used this method getting to Tundara and I could have thrown a rock onto the runway as I passed overhead! not bad for a 90 minute flight.   Some more practice and I should be good to go.

John states :

My basic worry is still the legs over the Pacific.  I find it hard to imagine how one could fly Dead Reckoning for well over 1500nm,  which will take somewhere between 10 and 11 hours, without any visual reference, and have any hope of getting within range of the NDB at destination.  Winds can vary but there is no way of knowing how – a crosswind varying by 5 knots from the calculated  figure puts you fifty miles off track after ten hours.  Even Magnetic variation can change over that distance.  TAS can vary with altitude, and with changes in QNH.

Your’s and mine both John.  Yours and mine both.  I will remind you, dear reader, of the rules underwhich I fly No GPS, No Plan-G crutch, just DR, NDB, and VOR.   I’m still planning the long pacific legs.  And dreaming of ditching in unknown locations.  It will be very tempting to not look at a modern aid.    I shall have to be strong and have a very big fuel tank.

Anyway, enough of that :  The flight there to Tundara was good fun, after having to return with a small issue with potential lack of fuel.  Rather then chance it we went back to Mtwara.  Norm the Nav has been replaced.  Orbiting Tundara

Problems with local law enforcment

An Offical in Tundara, with lots of shouting, that our nice shiny Dc-3 (read: bare aliminum) should have the correct markings upon it.   While technically he’s correct before I could assure him that we would fix the problem and that he should accept our payment of a ‘spot fine’  he got louder and louder until a local policeman that was asleep in his car woke up.

Things went from bad to worse and I ended up in the local police station explaining why my aircraft was unmarked to a large chap with a problem with the heat.  I’m now stuck here waiting for the next guy up the food chain to turn up.

Kinda annoying really.  I could see eric the engineer,I wonder what his real name is, was wondering around the DC-3 with a can of black emulsion and a thoughtful look.   I guessed that the problem was about to go away when the policeman woke up,  and I wasn’t quick enough with the smokes and ‘spot fine’ payments.

Meh.   Once I get this sorted we off.   It’s a nice place and the people are nice,  but officaldom is officialdom the world over.

Current Location

As of now I’m in a Town called Tunduru.  The airfield seems to be surrounded by the town.  A very green and verdant place it is.  But bleeding hot.

I’ve not really mentioned the heat.  We are around 650mn South of the Equator and it’s 28degrees as I write this.  Even at 8500 feet it’s around 20 degrees.   Thankfully the wind chill effect is cooling us and the engines.  The Engines are a worry,  the heat up so quickly even with the cowl’s fully open.

Taking off is a case of getting the locals (very helpful for a few smokes) to push/pull the Aircraft to the the end of the runway and complete as many checks as poss with the engines off.   Then a mad rush to get them started and the other checks done and go as soon as possible.

While they don’t get too hot, I don’t want to stress them by sitting there idle.  Better to get going and let the airflow cool them.

Landing is a similar affair.  The engineer watches the temps like a hawk and orders a shutdown if we get too hot while taxing.

Current legs flown and location

Not always up to date. Every 3-4 legs I guess


Now,  While I’m in Tundara I havn’t posted the flying report.  That’s mainly to do with a problem we had 20 mins out from Mtwara.   I glanced at the fuel gauge and had a ‘moment’ .  Returning to Mtwara and filling the tanks fixed that problem.  More later on what happened, and what I did to the old Navigator.  And it’s not my fault,  I’m too busy flying to do paperwork.  That’s why the gauge is infront of the co-pilot.

Navigator has been replaced by new Nav who I christened Norm(I cannot be bothered to remember these peoples names).  Eric the Engineer is still sleeping, but he was seen moving around the aircraft in the dark.  When we got to the aircraft after a fine breakfast of kippers and black coffee for the co-pilot (yuch) there was a smell of new oil.   I guess he’s servicing the aircraft in the dark.  He’s not very tidy though.  There were spots of oil on the ground.