Friday, August 4, 2017

Humanitarian Aid Flight DIAP to DITB

It's started raining and I'm glad for the few days off until things dry out. Landing on dirt is OK, but six inches of sticky mud is a non-starter.

This flight was done several day ago and I just got time to post it. Abidjan Ivory Coast to Tabou, same country.

Off the ground at DIAP and rocking in a gust of wind. On our way to Tabou, about two hours up the coast.

Another shot just out of Abidjan. Nice clear sea down there--more on that later.

This and next two: Shots of the left pattern arrival at Tabou. Nice city from the air but a later tour on the ground showed the grinding poverty and desperate conditions under which the citizens live. MSF is needed here too.

Seconds to go. As we got lower in altitude I could see what seemed to be swarming but sizable fish a few hundred yards off shore. I asked one of the rampies at the airport what they were and he laughed and said they were "the sharks", like they were a part of the local scenery. Turns out they were indeed. Nurse sharks.

Nurse sharks tend to congregate like that to feed and are (thankfully) not known to be man eaters, preferring fish, shrimp and squid. I suppose one might be forced to bite if stepped on or something. Big ones (and I could see some big ones from the plane) can be 15 feet in length.

I didn't go swimming while in Tabou.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Flights of Fantasy

We're into the hottest part of summer now. Thank goodness for air conditioning. I do my outside work in the mornings and then have the afternoons (a few anyway) to flight sim.

The August/September event is now open. Fly if you desire. This event will pay those who complete it an official Bong E designed commemorative attached to his member card.

We picked up two new members during July. The first in quite some time. Always a welcome addition to our little community. The internet works it's wonders. We are joined across unbelievable distances by our common interest in simviation. One new member is from here in the United States (Iowa I believe) while the other is from the Netherlands. Let's make our new guys welcome and I hope they are active members for a long time to come.

July is officially closed. Stats for the month below.

Total fight hours reported: 62.3 hrs

Total number of flights (all flights): 42

Number of pilots reporting flight hours: 10

Average length flight (all flights): 1.5 hrs

GAC hours reported: 62.3 hrs includes all event, destination, and general flying
July light event hours: 32.7 hrs
GVA Hours: none

Total GAC/GVA Hours: 62.3 hrs

Humanitarian Aid Flight DIYO to DIAU

We have chosen to do flights for Médecins Sans Frontières, also known as Doctors Without Borders, as a major event to spotlight the plight of so many in the world.
Whenever people are in desperate need, from New Orleans (Hurricane Katrina) to Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) you'll find the brave men and women who deliver medical care to those in the most desperate of need.

Yamoussoukro to Abengourou Côte d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast) and no, I'd never heard of them either.

This won't be luxury flying. Think basic airplanes and unimproved landing strips, like the one hacked out of the jungle by Granitesquare a few posts below this.

Most, if not all, of the airports are going to feature things like no functioning air conditioning, no comfortable waiting areas, and often very heavily armed soldiers to protect the visitors from terrorists, unless those carrying the weapons happen to be the terrorists themselves.

Oddly, you're going to find unexpectedly good scenery and perhaps rich farm lands, along with friendly smiling people who are hugely thankful for the medical help we are delivering.

Ahh, here we are already. Abengourou Ivory Coast. Gravel strip included.

No response on the radio. No visible tower down there. Use the CTAF frequency and announce our arrival and fly a left pattern and look carefully. Meep Mertens, my second pilot, keeps a close watch through the binoculars but doesn't see anyone else. I'll be her second pilot next flight

On the ground in a cloud of dust. Listen to the gravel ping off the fuselage and hope the prop doesn't get nicked.

Welcome to the GAC Humanitarian Aid Flights.