Sunday, August 23, 2015

Instructor's renewal

I can't believe it's been a year since obtaining my National Flight Instructor rating and this morning I did my renewal skills test with Brad. I have not been that busy with students for the year as I run the admin for the whole flight school too, but I have notched up 45 hours instruction and a total of almost 500 flying hours in the short couple of years since getting my licence.

Brad and I in the skyye over Durban

Durban Stadium off the wing of my Sling ZDL

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Pietermaritzburg jaunt

Durban Harbour in the background as I head to Pietermaritburg in ZDL to bring back my partner who has taken our flight school Sling for another 100 hour service - we've just topped 1100 hours in that plane now

The rolling green hills and sugar cane of KZN just passed the toll plaza - I didn't have to pay

The onboard computer EFIS logs the journey via Light Flight, Cato Ridge

Pietermaritzburg Airport - well worth a visit and fabulous coffee shop

Another of my famous Stadium pics 

In the flight school taildragger this time

Another of my famous selfies ha ha this time in FYA bringing the serviced aircraft home

Saturday flight lesson with my student Gordon who can now fly by himself!!

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The boys are back!

The Sling Madagascar Expedition ended today with the safe arrival of the 6 participating aircraft and pilots back on South African soil. We flew for a total of 35 hours through Mozambique and Madagascar which included 12 hours flying over the sea and a crossing of the Mozambique Channel to Toliara and back in a tour that lasted 9 action-packed days.

Team Sling Madagascar 2015 - Rae, Bruce, Lee, Carsten, Marc, Llewellyn, Louis, Dave, Sean, Andrew, Jacques and (front) Hennie

The Bidvest VIP bus collected us from our aircraft at King Shaka Airport to take us to International Arrivals and back to our aircraft after clearing immigration and customs.

Welcome back to South Africa where the staff were friendly and efficient 

Our 6th sea crossing over the 220 km Bay of Maputo on our return trip today

We enjoyed a last supper together last night at Zombie Cucumber, our lodge on the Mozambique side at Vilankulos.. thanks Elizabeth for being a fabulous and accommodating host

The currency of Mozambique - we needed 1500 Meticas (about R500) for departure/landing fees per aircraft which we drew from the ATM in town, only to discover that they forgot to add overnight parking (another 600M) so we were now short and and had to scratch to pay and made it using $63 instead.

We weren't allowed to fetch fuel from the local petrol station (about R17 litre) and were forced to refuel at the airport for about R30 litre

Mozambique landscape as we flew over a small lake in an otherwise pretty dry looking land

Crossing the Bay of Maputo at 1500 ft above the waves and 40 nm / 75 km offshore

Our onboard computer screen (EFIS) shows the GPS of our position in the Bay of Maputo en route to Ponto 'd Ouro with 166 km to go. We were flying at an airspeed of 103 kts / 190 kmh with a headwind of 25 kts / 46 kmh

The KZN northcoast near Richards bay, back over South African soil

Lee, who flew in one of the 6 planes, is overjoyed to be home safe and at the International Arrivals gate at King Shaka International Airport

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Morondava for the Avenue of Baobabs

We crossed back to the west coast of Madagascar for our final night stay before returning back across the Mozambique Channel.

Our stopover, after diverting over Antananarivo following weather predictions, was Morondava, famed for the thousands of ancient baobab trees and the avenue of baobabs accessible by road.

An absolutely incredible experience seeing these majestic trees dwarfing us.

Some of the pilots on our expedition - Carsten, Louis, Llewellyn, Marc, Bruce and Hennie

The Durban boys selfie - Dave, Llew, Louis, Lee and Marc aka Cark or Troll

The Airport at Morondava where we spent our last night in Madagascar

Ox or Zebu wagons, bicycles and walking.. main means of getting anywhere for the locals

Some nasty looking bullfrogs at Morondava

Meeting the local kids

Baobab selfie with Llewellyn

These beautiful trees

A chameleon on my shoulder

No visit to Morondava would be complete without a visit to the fresh meat, fish and veg market

Bruce declines some of the favoured seafood
Sunset on Madagascar Expedition

The sun sets over the hills in Durban, South Africa, where I come from, so it was different and spectacular to watch the sun setting over the ocean on the western shores of Madagascar at Morondava where we spent our last night in beautiful accommodation - Palissandre Cote Ouest 

There was a huge beach on front of the hotel with low lying land, so the sea comes in at high tide. There were even boats stranded in the middle waiting for the tide to change.

Our stunning hotel at Morondava with the west coast Mozambique Channel in the background

Exquisite chalets on the beach

I had a swim in the pool despite it being quite chilly in the water, warm out

The sun setting.. small lagoon in the foreground which we crossed to get to the edge of the sea

Dugout boats for fishing as well as many dhows offshore

On the other side of the hotel was a swampy river which seemed to flow into the sea nearby. We took a walk alongside and found an Italian restaurant and bought pizza to take with us for lunch in the plane for our 5 1/2 hour channel crossing the next day.