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Jay | Susan | Alex | Beth | Samantha
May 4, 2014 6:46 am
Published in: Uncategorized

I thought about titling the post “BEES!” but decided not to since I think one word titles make the link to facebook choke badly.  Now I’ll just wait and see if some activists come and scale the vertical stabilizer of the airplane….

Enough silliness.  Though the story, in retrospect, is rather amusing.  Routine flight, go out to bees1the airport to get the plane ready to go to South Sudan.  I dumped my stuff by the cockpit door and started the walk around while John, our linesman, went to get the keys to the plane.  I pulled the inlet plug, and alerted by movement, or noise, or something, I practically teleported back about 20 feet as a zillion bees swarmed out of the inlet.

Okay, so it wasn’t a zillion bees, but there were enough of them that I wasn’t going near the airplane until they left.  The next question was, how do you get them to leave?  I had a flight to do.  There are some beekeepers in Arua, so we started calling around to see if anyone knew one that could come out to the airport.  Typically the local beekeepers use smoke from a fire to stun the bees. I wasn’t real keen on having a fire waving around the engine area of the airplane, but hey, if it worked….

bees3Isaac, one of our firemen, had the answer.  He suited up in as much cover as he could get, and advanced on the plane with his CO2 fire extinguisher. If smoke stuns the bees, CO2 should do much the same, and no impact on the airplane.  It even looks like he’s fighting an engine fire!   Best of all, it worked. No more bees.  We swept dead bees out of the intake, cleaned out the little bit of wax they’d started to put down (they were definitely settling in for the long stay, with plans to turn the engine inlet into condominiums). I opened up the cowling to get a look into the rest of the engine inlet area with a flashlight and a mirror.  Fortunately, the squatters stayed to the front of the inlet; there was no evidence of them moving back toward the engine itself.

I finished the pre-flight, and off we went for Juba and South Sudan.  The next morning I had honey on my toast. Three cheers for bees!

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