Saturday, June 27, 2015

More safety stuff

Preparation for our flight over the Mozambique Channel next month is ongoing and today I sorted some more of the Civil Aviation Regulations requirements - sea anchor for the liferaft, paddles and whistle in case we need to be rescued. Hopefully all of this is for naught, as our Rotax powered Sling Aircraft will take us there and back .. just it's nearly 10 hours of flying over the sea with one engine, so best be correctly prepared.

Sea anchor, paddles and whistle

Life jacket light being tested for auto-switch-on under water

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Pietermaritburg again

Yip, made it to Pietermaritzburg and back again today to fetch my Sling from it's service. We went there in our flight school taildragger and then I flew FYA back. It was a bit murky and there was a little rain in the air and the clouds came down a bit low on the way back, but got there and back and the plane is now good to go for another 100 hours.

Selfie of myself at the flight controls

Coming along the Bluff headed past the city for Virginia Airport

Earlier selfie flying in the taildragger to Pmb

Pietermaritzburg and back

It's crazy, we are turning over 50 hours a month in my flight school Sling, which means that we need our 100 hour service every two months. So it's back to PacAir in Pmb for the service.. it requires a ferry flight to Pmb, then a ride home in my other Sling, and a repeat journey the day after to fetch the serviced plane. So look out for my follow up pics.

Pietermaritzburg Airport where they serve a lovely breakfast

The onboard computer efis of the Sling

Without rain, high air pressure and a temperature inversion makes for hazy visibility

Broadcasting live from FYA somewhere over Camperdown

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Expedition to Madagascar

In a month's time today we will be winging our way to Vilankulos, Mozambique, for our flight across the Mozambique Channel to Toliara, Madagascar for our expedition to the land of lemurs and baobab trees. (click on the Sling Madagascar Tour 2015 link here to see the related tour stories and info)

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Weekend flyaway to Ubizane - north coast

We took a short 90 minute flight from Durban up the KwaZulu-Natal North coast to Ubizane Wildlife Reserve near Hluhluwe for a quick weekend getaway in the great outdoors.

The game farm is on the border of the Hluhluwe game reserve and has 1500 hectares with a variety of wildlife. To see the big 5 though one needs to do a game drive in the neighbouring reserve. There was plenty for us to do and see though and without predators in the ark, we were able to freely take walks in the bush and do some game spotting of our own.

Our host Wayne from Ubizane who met us at the bush airstrip alongside the lodge

I think we will park the plane here

Getting set for our trip to Ubizane

We parked the aeroplane in the bush alongside the runway for the weekend

Flying from Virginia to Ubizane

Thatched lodge, lovely pool area

Game drive with the hubby

Welcome drink on arrival at Ubizane Zululand Tree Lodge

Beautiful African sunset

A little pond of crocs in front of the lodge

This photo of the wildebees almost looks like a pastel painting

I wore my zebra shirt to blend in with the wildlife ha ha

We took a walk in the glorious winter sunshine to check on our plane in the morning.. we left it for the 2 nights in the bush alongside the runway

Aloe plants and dry ground

The giraffe were stolling a few metres away from us

Chloe the goat wanted to play/eat the Genga blocks

Giraffe spoor of the one which just crossed the road ahead of us

Magnificent giraffe at sunset

Evening toast to a great day down

Taking our walking safari guide Nic for a quick flight

Heading along the St Lucia lake to the estuary

Shipwreck near Richards Bay

The cockpit of our Sling aircraft

I flew us there, Llew flew us back

Umhlanga beachfront comes into view

Llewellyn on final approach to land on runway 23 Virginia

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Ubizane for the weekend

Here is our flight route for our weekend at Ubizane Tree Lodge, just west of Hluhluwe. It is a one and a half hour flight and the lodge has their own runway.

The blue circles are the Durban Terminal Control area flight restrictions - the closer you get to King Shaka International (the small oval shaped airspace in the middle) the lower you must fly so you don't get swotted by an Airbus. Richards Bay also has a control circle around it, so one just has to skip carefully through the different airspaces and change radio frequncies to report to the different Air Traffic Controllers in those zones.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Keeping warm in the ocean

Got some rashvests today, just in case we end up in the Mozambique Channel and need to keep warmer awaiting rescue. The vest clings tight to the body and will help keep the body heat in.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Student's first landing

It's great to watch the progression from an initially nervous student to landing the plane by himself. I flew up the north coast today to Isithebe, a little runway inland of the Tugela River mouth, about a 30 min flight from Durban. Here, apart from cows, people and cars on the runway, one is able to practice landings (free) and get the approach right without the buzz of other planes in the circuit and no Air Traffic Controller... so we had a great time and by the time we returned to Virginia my student was able to land the plane by himself. We also managed a touch-n-go at King Shaka International on the way home which is always exciting. Great going Gordon. you'll soon be doing this without me in the plane.

Flying over Umdloti, just north of Durban

Coming up for right downwind runway 05 Virginia

My student Gordon looking chuffed, having managed to land the plane by himself

All smiles as we surf the skyye

Beautiful coastline north of Durban