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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
August 31, 2013 2:20 pm
Published in: Flying

This would make a really cool pop-up book, I thought. Doro, ROSSDSC_0081

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here’s the fuel service at Doro.  Delivery is occasionally an issue if the donkey goes on strike.

 

 

Other fueler in Doro

 

The next picture down is the other Doro fuel service. We were a bit delayed when the tractor wouldn’t start.  That’s Jerry Hurd pumping gas.

 

 

 

 

 

Next is flying from Doro to Nasir.  That huge thunderstorm had clouds right down to the ground. Fortunately it stayed a few miles off to the west and 20130821_160107I was able to get into Nasir.  If the storm had come over , no Nasir, and probably no for about a week so the runway would have turned to goo.  MAF recently had a plane get stuck there for about 3 weeks.  Stuck as in stuck in the mud stuck.  Nasir, when went, turns into the gooiest, stickiest glop you have ever seen.

 

 

20130821_164230

 

 

 

 

Of course, the beauty of airplanes is that you get to soar with the eagles sometimes, above the weather and clouds like I did coming back home from South Sudan…..

 

August 31, 2013 1:45 pm
Published in: Flying

I’d like to say the day (22 August) started smoothly but that would be less than truthful. The primary disaster of the morning was my carefully prepared thermos of hot water springing a leak in my backpack.  The clothes mostly stayed dry (let’s hear it for good packs), the real tragedy being a sudden, unplanned reduction in the my coffee ration.

The first leg of the day’s flying went well enough, Lokichogio Kenya to Keew in South Sudan. Landing at Keew was exciting.  The runway at Keew was still wet from rain the afternoon prior and the mud was slippery as grease.  Taxiing to the parking area after landing was interesting, as the plane wanted to weathervane into the wind, so I ended up going a bit sideways down the runway.   Unloading was fast and I took off for Rumbek, and fuel. The fuel truck was waiting so that stop was brief.

Next was Arua, Uganda, where I picked up a load of freight to take to Banda in DR Congo.  The freight was mostly foam for a radio studio…not much weight but it sure filled the airplane to capacity.  The stop at Arua was also fairly quick, and next was Isiro in Congo. Isiro is a port of entry into Congo so there for customs and immigration.  The stop at Isiro was as fast as I’ve ever had….our helper there had everything ready to go so I was on the ground for less than 10 minutes.  However the weather around Isiro convinced me that the rest of the day was not going to happen.  The plan was to go to Dungu next, pick up people and more freight, take them to Banda, drop the people and cargo off, pick up more people then go to Isiro for immigration and then home to Arua.  It was a bit of a fight getting into Isiro due to weather…storms in the area, with a huge area of weather moving toward the town. So I called the charterer and told them I could do Dungu and Banda, but that was it.

Arriving at Dungu also put paid to any thoughts of getting home to Arua.  The cargo and passengers weren’t all ready.  I’d have needed to be less than 30 minutes on the ground there. As it was, I was an hour..  Much of the confusion was due to the change in plans caused by the weather in Isiro.  Still, it reinforced that the decision to not try for Isiro and Arua was a good one.  I made it to Banda…a half hour on the ground, and back to Dungu just at the limit of my daylight reserves.

I spent the night in Dungu with Yannic, the ASF pilot from Canada.  We talked late. Yannic has been in Dungu about three months, with no visitors and not much contact with the outside world.  He had a lot to say.

The next day we went to Isiro and then to Entebbe, and after I had some lunch, I returned to Arua.  The flight home was uneventful, the weather good, the landing smooth.  I taxied to parking, secured the airplane and went home.

August 7, 2013 5:06 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I’ flew out of Arua last Saturday, the 27th of July, down to Entebbe to pick up the body of a Congolese pastor.  He’d gone to Kampala for medical treatment but in the end succumbed to his illness (I never did learn what it was ).  Sunday I was to fly the body and the brother-in-law to Bunia and then on to Kisangani.  Saturday night, however, I got a call from the brother in Law.  “I am at the mortuary, they will not release the body until we pay the rest of the fees.  We’re getting the money wired on Monday.”

We arranged to do the flight on Tuesday, since on Monday I was flying to  South Sudan.  So, Sunday after church back up to Arua. Monday off to Sudan and back.  I ended up back in Entebbe so we could get an early start on Tuesday (it’s a long way from Entebbe to Kisangani).   Loading the casket took about an hour and a half…it almost didn’t fit in the plane.  We made it to Bunia, and there we stopped.  The weather, as the song goes, “was frightful.”  There was a huge system of thunderstorms across central DR Congo.  No one was flying.  MAF had a plane go from Bunia to Nyankunde (15 miles) and stop there, unable to go on and unable to return.  I parked the airplane.  We made arrangements to meet the following day, and I went to find some where to spend the night.

The weather wasn’t great on Wednesday but it was far far better than the previous day.  The flight to Kisangani went smoothly.  It took an hour and a half on the ground to get through everything…the flight back to Bunia was smooth also, but about an hour on the ground to get the paperwork done.  Then home.  So on Wednesday I finished the flight started on Saturday.

It always takes longer than it takes.