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Author Topic: My African Dream  (Read 228050 times)

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Offline Tom van Brits

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1060 on: March 31, 2019, 07:19:44 am »
Not lekker, and this will be a true test of you guys relationship.
If he has got a long contract there look into ways of maybe finding work there too?
I had a fireman friend there back in the 90's and he was always telling me about the planes the smoke jumpers used and he eventually also did commercial and changed career.
You are a good pilot, and the sky is the limit  :thumleft:
 

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1061 on: April 10, 2019, 06:29:50 am »
Sunsets and cities.
Guess the city  :laughing4:

Offline TeeJay

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1062 on: April 10, 2019, 06:58:07 am »
Cape Town  :lol8:
Ja/Nee
 

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1063 on: April 10, 2019, 10:38:56 am »

Offline TeeJay

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1064 on: April 10, 2019, 11:14:06 am »
Ja/Nee
 

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1065 on: April 10, 2019, 12:31:22 pm »
I wish!

Approaching Lanseria from the West.
 
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Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1066 on: April 10, 2019, 12:37:55 pm »
Sunday, 7 April

Massive bolts of lightning light up the horizon, 200nm away. Clouds are illuminated for a second, and then all goes dark again.
The stars twinkle above, and then, like a Mexican wave, the sky lights up from left to right. Bolt after bolt after bolt. I can only imagine what a thunderous roar there must be on the ground.

I have seen thunderstorms before. But never from 25 000ft. Whilst heading straight towards them.
For now the weather radar is clear, but airliners ahead are calling for left and right of track due to the weather. We can see their lights, winking above and ahead of us as they pull away doing Mach 0.8; this is good, it means the clouds haven’t developed vertically. Yet.

We consult the significant weather charts, increase the range of the radar, check the map for lit airfields in the area, and make sure our back is clear should we need an escape route.

“Guys!” I shout to the paramedics in the back. “We’re going to hit some weather. We’re not sure when, but keep those seatbelts on!”

For now we are in the clear. But it isn’t long before we’re skimming the tops of the clouds, a peculiar sensation with lightning flashing below. And then, the strobe lights light up the cockpit, indicating we are in the cloud. Strobes off, propeller heat on, I switch the wing light on- we’re in rain. The inertial separator gets opened- any heavier-than-air particles get flung out and “clean” goes into the engine.

A glance back at the wing.
“We’re picking up ice, deice boots going on a 3-minute cycle,” I tell the co-pilot. A sudden blinding flash burns the sun into my eyes for a second. I blink, my night vision destroyed. The rain intensifies and the ice builds up faster.
“Deice boots going on a 1-minute cycle. Igniters on.”

Too much rain can extinguish the “ring of fire” burning at over 780degC in the PC-12 ‘s PT6A-67P engine.

The weather radar starts showing patches of yellow. It isn’t long before they turn red and magenta. You don’t want to be near those areas, especially magenta. We start avoiding weather, zig-zagging our way over the Freestate. Between the flashes of lightning, the clouds around us pulse with the red glow of the beacon light. The calm in the storm. Literally.

I can hear the paramedic in the back, breathing through his headset. If it’s bumpy in the front, it’s 10 times worse in the back as the tail swishes back and forth.

The planned flight time was 2.5hrs. That has come and gone. Is that my heart beating in time with the pulsing beacon light? Must be. 50nm to go. We’re almost there. A final bank of cloud is between us and our destination.

I can hear talking in the back. “Everything ok there guys?”
“The patient’s stats have dropped.”
“Ok, we’ve got 15 minutes to go.”
We’re in the last bank of cloud. And it throws us around, up and down and left and right. Not the worst I’ve experience, but still uncomfortable. And then, we’re out. Lanseria is lit up ahead of us.

I relax, but only slightly. We still have to get back to Cape Town.

Offline TeeJay

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1067 on: April 10, 2019, 12:46:27 pm »
 :eek7:

Beautifully written - you have another talent  :thumleft:
Ja/Nee
 
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Offline >>Thump°C

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1068 on: April 10, 2019, 12:51:26 pm »
Very well written.
Saw a pic on fb that reminded me of someone.

Boys will be Boys.
And girls are darn thankful for that
 
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Offline Kortbroek

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1069 on: April 10, 2019, 01:15:10 pm »
Awesome stuff Sardine. Very well written indeed. Keep it coming  :thumleft:
- you reckon that thing will pop a wheelie? We're about to find out, SLAP that pig!
 

Offline Mr Zog

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1070 on: April 11, 2019, 02:31:26 am »
Beautifully written  :thumleft:
Young enough to know I can, old enough to know I shouldn't, stupid enough to do it anyway.
 

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1071 on: April 11, 2019, 01:49:59 pm »
Very well written.
Saw a pic on fb that reminded me of someone.

Thank you. I love this photo!

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1072 on: April 11, 2019, 02:04:48 pm »
Thanks for the compliments, guys!  :thumleft:
---

So there we were, the city lights of Lanseria overpowering the twinkle of the stars. We were cleared for a straight-in approach, runway 07.
The instruments were set, I had an idea of where the runway was relative to us, and we were to report "runway in sight". Only, I couldn't see it. And at only about 5nm away, you kind of what to know where you're going to be planting the tin can.

Fortunately my co-pilot had been to Lanseria at night before, and knew what to look for. Turns out I was looking way too far ahead.
Runway in sight, I got us on the PAPI's (they give vertical guidance and keep you on the glide slope) and followed them down. We crossed the approach lights, then the runway threshold. And the runway just kept flashing by...

Landing downhill, the runway was falling away from us. Rapidly. I hadn't realised just how hectic the slope was! So we floated like a lilo for a while before I managed to get the wheels on the ground ballerina-style - nice light tippy toe touchdown.

We were given progressive taxi instructions to our parking, as a FlySafair B737 taxi'd out. Turns out the person who taught me to fly was Captain on that B737, so we had a quick exchange of hello's on the radio, and then shut down to wait for the ambulance.

If I had a Rand for every minute spent waiting for ambulances... turns out they were on the other side of the airport, and had to drive around.

Patient offloaded, we filled the tanks for the return flight, and whilst the paramedics were at the hospital, set off in search of coffee. At like, 10pm. Needless to say, there was no coffee. Could be worse - there were people waiting for friends and family off a Kulula flight. Spectacularly late as usual (most likely. I have only known Kulula to be late, lately. As the airport had pretty much closed, I can only assume that flight was probably meant to be there over an hour ago).

But, the hospital was nearby and it was a speedy hand over, so we were on our way before our bodies could melt into the squishy Kauai seats in the terminal.

The weather reports showed the thunderstorms had intensified, with cloud tops at over 40 000ft. The weather-man we phoned didn't sound too certain, so we opted to go with Windy's forecast which showed the storms moving south- we would go north if we had to get around anything.

It was my leg to monitor i.e. do the radio work and paperwork. Normally by now on a night flight I'd be tired, but the fact that we spent 3.5hrs actively monitoring weather meant I was alert (on clear nights you sit there and it's very easy to zone out). We blasted off runway 07, with an early left turn to stay well clear of terra firma. Handed over to... eish... JHB radar I think, we cleared direct to GETEN, a waypoint before our destination. This cut out about 6 other way points and must have shaved off a good few nm's! Lekker.

We skimmed the cloud tops once again, and then entered the clag. Everything that could be hot was hot - it's better to be safe than sorry - and we kept an eye on the weather radar. Which, apart from two spots of yellow, remained green- rain but no turbulence. So much for intensifying storms.
The flight back was a lot more straight forward, with only a bit of lightning on the horizon near Beaufort West.

We got back to Cape Town around 3am. With paperwork done and aerie tucked in, I opted to stay awake until 5am- I had to go into the city and wanted to beat traffic. I'd rather sleep in my car for an hour or two than sit in traffic. Which is exactly what I did; found a quiet street near where I had to be and passed out  :imaposer:

A good 6.8hrs in the bag, and an incredible experience!

Offline TeeJay

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1073 on: April 11, 2019, 02:41:39 pm »
 :thumleft:
Ja/Nee
 

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1074 on: April 22, 2019, 09:49:40 pm »
What a day.

I had 3 days off in a row from Wednesday to Saturday night. On Wednesday I went in to work in the morning to help with a ground run.
I was planning on getting away but I couldn't decide where to do. So I stayed at home. But it worked out in the end. I have been having issue after issue with my car. More on that in another post.

So I was heading in to work today and say 4 guys almost get splattered by a Spar truck - they were fighting and trying to push each other into oncoming traffic on the N2. I called the cops, and amazingly within minutes they called me back to get an exact location as the switchboard lady didn't seem too switched on. I hope they got the guys and arrested them.

Not long after work phoned and asked when I would be in as there was a fairly urgent flight.
I was at the office 10 minutes later, and the flight had now become very urgent. A sick child in Clanwilliam had to be brought to Cape Town. The wind was howling over the mountains with gusts in excess of 40kts, and the helicopter pilot wasn't too keen on going.

But I was. I phoned the airfield owner to make sure he was happy with it; he was. Game on!
I was excited. Not only was this somewhere new (in the PC-12. I flew to Clanwilliam... in 2012...), but it was a challenge as the runway has one heck of a slope.
It took all of 35 minutes for us to get there. There was a bump or two but nothing major.

My landing couldn't have been better, and the owner treated us to coffee while we waited for the ambulance. And once our crew was on their way to the hospital, the owner drove us to his house for a colddrink. Lekker!

About 2hrs later we were loaded up and setting off down the (downhill) runway, the end approaching at an alarming rate. But, we were airborne with room to spare, and set heading for Cape Town.

Once we got back to base we were informed of a George flight. The weather looked good so I accepted it. Then they asked if we could go to Swellendam too. I phoned a friend there to check the weather - all good. Sweet! Swellendam-George triangle!

The wind was pumping in Swellendam, and rain was on the horizon. Eventually the ambulance arrived and we loaded up and set off for George.
Swellendam is almost exactly half way between Cape Town and George, each leg taking 30 minutes.

We were cleared straight-in on runway 11 in George, through the layers of cloud. George was cold and windy and it was a 20 minute wait for the ambulance.

Eventually we were all set, and took off at last light  It was bumpy initially but smoothed right out and we were treated to a spectacular sunset.

This is what flying is about- new challenges, new places, and an action-packed day!  :ricky:

Offline TeeJay

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1075 on: April 23, 2019, 06:24:22 am »
Nice one  :thumleft:
Ja/Nee
 

Offline Ri

Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1076 on: April 23, 2019, 06:26:50 pm »
Good on you Sardine, taking these weather conditions in your stride :thumleft:
 

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1077 on: April 23, 2019, 07:26:04 pm »
Clanwilliam

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1078 on: April 23, 2019, 07:26:58 pm »
Enroute to Swellendam
Swellendam
Enroute to George between the cloud layers

Offline Sardine

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Re: My African Dream
« Reply #1079 on: April 23, 2019, 07:27:50 pm »
George was cold and windy and became even more dreary as clouds rolled in.