Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Last flights before going on leave

Today was my last day of flying before going on leave on Friday. I flew 2 British people to Mikumi via Mtemere (where we picked up Jaap who is one of the managers at Rufiji River Camp)and then on to Dodoma where we dropped of the plane for major overhaul which will happen during the off-season. I've been struggling a bit with speeds on landing lately, generally coming in a little too fast, altho today I thought that it went a lot better. Too bad that I can only try again in 2 months time!

I am spending the night in Dodoma, but tomorrow (luckily) I have a lift with MAF to Dar so I dont have to spend the whole day on the bus! I leave for Malawi on Friday and luckily also managed to get a lift with my friend Gecko who works for Limbe Leaf. I will let you know how I get on!

206driver out

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Lately Ive been in the bush

Sorry for not writing in the last couple of weeks, but so much has happened! I started flying left seat with one of the "training captains" and so far its been going okay. We were a couple of days in Dodoma for maintenance on the aircraft (we had electrical problems) and it wasnt that bad. There isnt much to do, but clever people like myself are never bored.

From there we flew to Ruaha and spent a few nights. Saw some animals, ate a lot of free food and drank free beer. All in all you cant really complain about that! Now I'm back in Dar for a couple of nights and then off again on new adventures. Hope everyone is well. Bye for now!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

The weekend

So I've been sitting in on the Caravan these last few days with Dan. Mainly just doing the radiowork and getting to know the different strips. I quite like the "Van" and can def see myself flying it sooner rather than later.

Friday we went to a tricky strip in Ruaha called Jongomero, tall trees all around and many bumps on the strip (it was like a rollercoaster), from there we went to Iringa and waited over an hour for people who were late.

Last night I met up with Gecko from Malawi (he works for Limbe Leaf Tobacco) and we had dinner and a couple of beers. It was a mission getting into town as I dont have a car and have to bargain on the generosity of others. One day when Im a rich man....... Ill try and upload some pics if it works. Peace out gang.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Good news today!

Time is going pretty slow here until I get to fly. Went with Sven to Matipwile (strip 50nm north of Dar) and Zanzibar yesterday, the flight across the channel is really stunning. Heard today that I passed both exams which is great, now I just need to fly a plane! I've been flyin lots from the right seat, doing everything except landing the bloody thing. Soon I'll perform the usual Rasmussen "greasers". Chao guys, stay safe.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

First impressions.....

I have been allocated a room at the “pilot house” which I share with 2 other pilots (Dan from Kentucky and Sven from Germany). It’s very basic, with no hot water, no washing machine and frequent power cuts. Suppose this is Africa though! I’ve been very surprised so far; in my opinion Tanzania (or at least Dar) is way more backward and ugly than Lilongwe where I was before. The company is in the growth phase, going from 2 to 6 planes in less than a year so things are typically chaotic. Hopefully things will be more orderly come June when the season starts. Peter and Sarah (the owners) are very nice and invited us all for dinner and rugby on the TV my first night. We all live in the same neighbourhood, 3kms from the airport. Because there rarely is a car available to take us there, we usually walk.

I have been using these first 2 weeks to study for the TZ air law exam. Finally sat it yesterday and it wasn’t as bad as I had feared. Results come Monday, so fingers crossed. Otherwise I have been sitting in on as many flights in the Cessna 206 (with Sven) as possible. The main routes he flies are Dar, Mikumi, Mtemere (Rufiji river camp) and Ruaha. The company has safari camps in all these parks. It’s quite different than flying in Malawi, more organised and less room for fooling around! It’s been exciting and I have tried to upload pictures but the connectivity is the worst I have ever experienced. I’ll let you know on my upload progress soon.

Last weekend I was invited to Rob’s place for a braai. I flew with Rob in Malawi, so it was a nice reunion to see him again. It was a great evening, which also gave me the opportunity to meet some of the other guys from the other companies operating out of Dar. Nice people just don’t see them so much. I need to get more involved so I can start enjoying some of my hobbies; running, tennis and football. We’ll see what happens.

Okay that it for this time around, I start flying myself next week so I’ll write some more then. Until then, take it easy and safari njema!!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Travellin to Dar

I had spent 3 days packing so felt pretty ready to leave. My granddad drove me to the airport in CPH (snowing and 0*c outside) and I checked in my multitude of bags. After all I had to survive maybe two years out of one duffel bag so deciding what to pack and what to leave behind was important. The flight to London was boring and cramped, ended up on one of those overfilled charter aircraft where there is no space left for your knees, but plenty for your imagination and what might go wrong! Landing at Gatwick there was no sign of all the snow they had promised, only drizzle and low cloud. We parked next to an Air “Mugabe” 767 and I felt like I had arrived in Africa already, ha-ha. So I got through the airport and onto the bus to Heathrow, checked in and went shopping. They had 50% sales on Ray-Ban sunglasses so bought myself a pair of aviators; maybe they’ll make my flying better! The flight to Doha was pretty routine, I slept, ate, watched a movie, slept some more. We landed around midnight and I had 8 hours to kill, but it seemed I wasn’t the only one. The airport was packed with people and I struggled to find a place to sit down. Finally, I decided to lie on the floor (I had stolen a blanket and pillow on the plane for this purpose) next to the Muslim prayer room and got some kip. The prayer room wasn’t used so much for praying as it was for sleeping. The thick red carpets were very inviting, but I thought it might look suspect if I moved myself in there so I didn’t. I slept on and off and got up around 6am, managed to check my mail and joined the queue for Dar es Salaam. Somehow on all the flights so far I’d had a whole row of seats to myself. This was also the case this time around, and I settled in for the 6 hour flight to Dar. Taking off from Doha we came straight over the CBD, and I managed to get some nice pics of the skyscrapers and of course all the sand! I slept for a lot of the way and before I knew it, we were landing in Dar. De-boarding and making my way to immigration I got a nasty surprise. I had to pay $150 for a business visa and I had no cash at all on my person. Of course the 2 ATM’s in the terminal were out of order and the change bureau only accepted Mastercard. So, what to do? Luckily I was saved by my boss Peter, who came into the terminal after a while looking for me and helped pay. After 24 hours of travel I had finally arrived!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Got the job, bought the ticket!

So after sitting idle in Denmark for two months watching the size of my loan slowly increase, sending over a million CV's out to different companies and not hearing a word (probably due to the economic crisis), I decided to search for a job back in Africa. I sent my CV to all the companies listed on the Tanzanian CAA's website (more for fun than anything else) and waited. A week later I got a mail asking if I was interested in flying the Cessna 206 and later the Caravan around TZ, based in Dar es Salaam. Of course I said yes!

So today (Feb 1st) I bought my ticket to Dar, leaving on Thursday via London and Doha with Qatar Airways. The next days are gonna be hectic, packing, sorting and calling various people - gettin ready to travel. Can't wait! Its gonna be great gettin back in the air after leaving my last job in Malawi (even tho Im turning to the dark side - flying Cessna's instead of Piper's). Fingers crossed, its gonna be great!