News: 27 Sep 2010, Dar again



The flight from Zanzibar back to Julius Nyere international in Dar Es Salaam was uneventful. I kept to 1000 ft to keep well below the constant flow of traffic which flies the route. The original plan was actually for me to fly from Zanzibar east to Lazy Lagoon, a very nice lodge on an island near Bagamoyo, part of the Fox empire, and continue to Dar the next day still with plenty of time to get the FIB washed, oiled and packed up for monday morning. Peter Fox, who I'd met before in Ruaha, is a good friend of my brother-in-law Noel and his wife Nell. He now lives in Dar and had planned a bit of a party there with various people coming out from town for the night, but in the end the lodge was booked up for the weekend with real customers which of course had to take priority.

I taxied up to the Coastal Travels hangar, Eve was waiting. One of the Coastal men washed the FIB nicely. As it dried, a man from the ever effecient Teddy Junior delivered my blue barrels from Zanzibar. Now with the tools to dismantle the undercarriage we had the FIB safely in it's container by late afternoon and retired to her house for a Tusker baridi. Or two.

The wing I left to dry overnight and derigged it the next morning. Recently the FIB has been flyng a bit 'sideways' relative to the wing, although I'd looked before I couldn't find anything wrong but this time I made a closer inspection of the keel and hangpoint. The keel is fine but I found the stainless steel hang-point was a tiny bit stretched, allowing some lateral movement which is of course greatly exaggerated at the bow of the boat. It was probably caused on that occasion in Nungwe when the wingtip got caught in the sand as the FIB was being turned around and broke the tip-strut, and once there was a bit of movement it has been getting ever so slowly worse since, so I replaced it with my new spare so it will fly straight in Mauritius.

I went to pay my landing fees for Dar and the outrageous $40 per day navigation fees they charge any day you talk to someone on the radio in Tanzania, the fee is the same whether you are a Jumbo Jet with 300 paying passengers or a microlight with none, making one flight in the day or twenty. They were a bit uncertain of exactly how much the total bill should be but I think we came to the correct amount in the end. Dollars cash, of course, but I did get official receipts.

On monday morning Eve was back at work in her job at Coastal and I braved the ghastly traffic solo and went into town to give Eljone Dube at Teddy Junior the ATA Carnet they'll need for Mauritius and make plans for the collection of my kit from the Coastal hangar. It was agreed they would come with a truck and collect the container and wing tube before I might be leaving in the evening. Back through the traffic to the main airport terminal to see if Frank in Coastal's office there could pursuade his friends at Ethiopian to put forward my flight home by a couple of days.

Although they could probably get me on the plane to Addis, the flight onwards to London was more problematic, only guaranteed if I upgraded to business class at a supplement of $1000. Although I've got plenty to do the moment I get home, like deal with a large vets bill for a dog Freddy bit while I was away, sort out this winter's firewood, repair the aga, prepare for the FAI general confrence next week, take my daughter Alexandra to university, and talk nicely to my bank, I decided it still might be more pleasant to stay in Dar rather than risk two days wandering around Addis Ababa airport.

A red truck appeared outside gate 8 in due course, we got it through security eventually, the outrageously expensive forklift was hired. It had rather short forks and the container would only go into the truck end-on so it was a bit of a balancing act to get it in, but we did, I was pleased to know we can do this, but the forklift must be at the heavy end of the container. So the stuff has gone and I've two days until my flight. Time to catch up on this diary, deal with emails (if the internet is working) and plan those 1001 things I've got to do as soon as I'm back home. I wonder how many more things there will be to do I haven't heard about yet...

Micro Avionics - Suppliers of pilot intercom and radio equipment to the expedition
Joint Aviation Services, suppliers of insurances to the expedition
Cam-ARA - Suppliers of video equipment to the expedition
SKYDRIVE, the UK Distributor of ROTAX engines
Polaris - manufacturer of the FIB
Articole Studios - GRP mouldings