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You Know You Are In Africa When.....

African Aviation Regional issues that affect the numerous pilots who work in this area of the world.

You Know You Are In Africa When.....

Old 27th Jun 2008, 05:01
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Intercepting the glideslope during an ATP test when the testing officer is forced to grab the controls because an Antinov is also intecepting the same glide slope not on the frequency and is less then 200m ahead of you AND he intecepted the slope from above
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 11:36
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UN: "UN... declaring an emergency, we have had an engine failure, returning to the field."

Juba tower: "UN... roger cleared to return to the field"

minutes pass...

Juba tower: "UN... keep your speed up I have alot of traffic!"

A few more of my favs,

"Call again short, short final"
"Call again on ground, have a nice time"

and a fav for the "northerners"

"stttaaaccccion CCCHHAAAling KKKharrrrtoum, say again!"

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Old 27th Jun 2008, 11:59
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More funnies....

Here are a few of my experiences:

1. On short finals the ATC requests that we confirm safe on the ground as he can no longer see us or the runway over the tall elephant grass from his elevated position in the tower!

2. Setting up for the ILS at 5000' in the clag atc reports Cloud overcast 4000' and scattered at 1000', we execute the missed approach at 250' agl still in solid clag, request "confirm scattered cloud at 1000'" (thinking to myself in a bemused fashion what the ?)??!!! Affirm comes the response, set up second approach and on the brink of commencing the second go around we get the runway visual. Confirming we have the runway visual ATC response: "rojjer, cled to lend" (roger, cleared to land). Taxiing to park, another aircraft joins overhead with the same weather report!!! Go figure.

3. File a flight plan over the phone, get to the field, request start only to be told they have no flight plan and I have to come to the tower and file a flight plan. I try objecting on the radio only to be met with the dreaded African silence treatment (you know the kind where you call ATC for hours as you pass through their FIR's only to get a "confirm crew, pax, a/c type?" question from atc just as you are about to exit there airspace so they can bill you for overflight clearances). Back to the story, I eventually give up, tell the pax to take it easy for 20 minutes and go file the flight plan....again! I must say, I never made that mistake again. Always only file at the field with the relevant personnel.

4. This one happened to crew I worked with and not me so perhaps allow a little poetic license:
ATC instructs them to execute one orbit to the left for traffic avoidance. Being the good crew that they are, they happily oblige and shortly thereafter they are cleared for the approach to land only to be met by a multitude of army and police personnel demanding why they flew over the kings/presidents palace, prohibited airspace, transgression of which is punishable by undefined jail sentence until it can be established if you were attempting some sort of coup. Anyway, the crew profess innocence and argue a lot saying they were instructed to orbit due to possible conflict with other traffic thereby trying to avoid a mid air collision and all end up in a smouldering head over the local market. The captain by now, bless him, has a complete sense of humour failure about this 'harrassment", throws all his toys out the cot and promptly gets arrested. In jail he is instructed to write a letter of apology to the King for disturbing his peaceful afternoon. He refuses, spends one night in an African jail and suffice to say by 6am next morning his letter of apology was forthcoming. African jails are not for the faint hearted.

5. I was once fined $300 for having a passenger board the aircraft without his pasport being stamped. Try as I might, I could not convince the chaps that customs and immigration are not my responsibility but there's and that I just drive the airplane. I paid the fine. The boss was a little miffed to say the least.

Lessons learnt
In Africa you always smile, be polite, be humble, wish everyone a wonderful day and pay your "fees" without making a fuss or cross examining their calculations. Generally they respond in kind and call you Captain or Commander even with two bars on your shoulders.Any other approach gets you nowhere fast. That is a fact as far as I am concerned.
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 15:27
  #44 (permalink)  

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The President decides he is going flying, so the nation's capital's international airport is closed, without notice, until he takes off, or changes his mind.

Aircraft short of fuel having to divert, and making forced landings where they can.

Doesn't happen all that often, I admit.

Not more than a couple of times a month.
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 15:54
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haha...now that's a funny thread! keep on coming guys!
And capnsparrow, keep going!
This is all what somehow makes africa special and lovingly at heart.

ironically.....dark humour!!!
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 16:08
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Aviation in Africa

Some time ago, I was working tower and had been on my own for a couple of hours and need to head to the toilet. Nothing was happening but I was lucky to have a fellow in the tower repainting the walls. We'll call him Syfo. In any case, on the way down the stairs I told him that he must listen and when I get back tell me if any planes tried to speak to me. Down the stairs...(you know)... Up the stairs I come back into the tower and Syfo has the headset in his hand, and yelling on frequency, "Yes, you cen come lend!!!" The pilot (a young lady) was just saying "say again" incredibly confused...

I was laughing so much I couldn't talk for a good couple of minutes. When the pilot retold her end of the story I once again burst into a fit of giggles.

Having said that however, I was impressed that this young guy clearly had a good understanding of what it was that I was actuall doing. Bravo
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 16:35
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Quote: "File a flight plan over the phone...."

Where were you that the phone system was actually working? You must have been in the (relatively) advanced part of the continent! I either filed in person at Briefing/Tower or air filed.
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 17:19
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skyjuggler good one
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 17:42
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Before departing for a particular field i got the WX and was told CAVOK, After a 30min flight on finals we got a CAVOK report at MDA we had no sight of the runway and carried out a missed approach with the controller screaming at me why I did not land, I told him I could not see the runway and his reply was " I COULD SEE YOU " .
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 21:08
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Farmer 1

The President decides he is going flying, so the nation's capital's international airport is closed, without notice, until he takes off, or changes his mind.
Yes....but not limited to Africa... same thing happens when the Pres of the Good O'l USofA flies in or out... Clinton kept LAX closed for over an hour by having his hair cut aboard AirForce 1 before departing... And the super-cretin Bush had Heathrow closed only a week or so ago...

But... getting back to Africa (hopefully never again)... another comes to mind... Having to undergo a CAA check on our ops in Kinshasa ( can you imagine ? ) ... the two guys are checking out my FAA ATPL and decide it's not valid as it doesn't show my photograph and want to fine me $500... I point out that FAA ATPLs don't show a photograph... they go into their book and show me a photocopy of the new FAA license which depicts.... a photo of Orville and Wilber Wright ... Now... where do I begin ?
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 21:49
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Memories of a then very young pax:

- on a flight to Gaberone Captain coming over the PA "It, err, seems we have arrived ahead of schedule, descent will be very steep"

- sharing the transit lounge in Luanda with rats bigger than cats

- at Lusaka, after a DC8 landed without it's front gear, walking out of the pax terminal and standing on the side of the runway looking at it while the fire engines arrived.
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Old 27th Jun 2008, 21:53
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You know you are in Africa when

As a new member I considered “Lumumba” as a nomme de keyboard out of respect for “Mobotu”, who introduced me to this site and conferred honorable martyr status on my would be namesake by slightly murdering him back in the 1960s. Ah yes, those were the days, before GPS when none of us knew where we were all the time. When Africa was really Africa, with benevolent white colonial dictatorships, as opposed the modern trend towards benevolent black democratic dictatorships.

Well, no. I chose Gnu instead, because they are superficially silly animals, but have a surprising collective intelligence. Who else surround themselves with nice stripy zebra targets while dining al fresco? Gnu skin rugs shoes and handbags have never been considered to be hot fashion accessories, and it won’t be a gnu’s head nailed to a shield on the wall in a Bavarian banquet hall. So what if we lose a few kids to the lions? We have short memories and can always have fun making some more. WE, are not the endangered species.

Yes Mobotu, we have all seen it. The traditional crocodile skin carry-on hand baggage. Long and flat and very much full of live crocodile, with an evil disposition, brought about no doubt by the prospect of featuring in a star role in an upcoming menu.

But I digress from the thread, or more accurately, have come nowhere near it yet.


Can be a very useful and enlightening experience leading to helpful cooperation, but a few guide lines or reminders might be in order.

African culture demands very high standards in manners and etiquette. One has to be cautious in ones methods when broaching ticklish subjects.

On no account should you bring bad news. This is a serious breach of tradition, which in the old days was the starting signal for some swift assegai practice. Modern culture is more reasonable and might result in a mere “Proceed to the VOR and hold” which is unpleasant never the less.

It is of course impolite to come to the point directly. One needs to take the time to discuss some traditionally pleasing subjects first, such as when the rains are due to start, or if already raining, when they are due to stop. Be sure to know whether this refers to the long or to the short rains, and the difference between the two. (One being long and the other short)

Another subject which is popular and pleasing concerns free travel arrangements for the subject and his wives, children, close relatives and work colleagues. In this context “Lobi”, and “Lobi Kuna” might be useful words to know. (Roughly translated meaning “later”, and “much later”, or strangely enough, “before” and “much before”, the difference being determined with hand signals, which leads to confusion and misunderstandings on the phone.)

It might be wise to show some sympathy for a controller’s difficulties. That it is not his fault for example, when the VOR, DME, NDB, ILS and HF radio are not working because 14 kilometers of overhead power cable went missing one night, the stealthy culprit and his get away truck being unnoticed by 5,000 people living in the vicinity when plunged into sudden darkness. The police we hear are looking for an individual trying to sell or trade a suspiciously long piece of wire.

With the niceties dispensed with, after a decent length of time, the real subject for discussion might proceed. (A bit like this piece of thread)

I would like to take this opportunity to extend my thanks and appreciation to the controller who brought this mission to a particularly satisfying conclusion.

When the Russian pilot, 40 miles out and trying to jump in front of us again, called “Rrready forr viiisual appoooch”, the said controller promptly cancelled his IFR flight plan and told him to proceed VMC to the river and hold.

There is a nice black god somewhere.
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Old 28th Jun 2008, 07:48
  #53 (permalink)  

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Yes, I had the same two events in my mind when I posted. Not quite the same, though, are they? I've no doubt there would be the odd notam about them, and I'm sure ATC did not simply shut up shop.

That must have been the most expensive haircut in history. Any estimates, anyone?
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Old 28th Jun 2008, 13:27
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A race apart

I was on a trip to Lagos on a 767.
We were just sitting on the apron watching the general
antics involving a local, to remain un-named, 737-200.
They had over booked the aircraft so, to settle things,
they brought all the pax out on to the apron, lined them
all up, dropped a FLAG and they had to run twice round
the aircraft.
First 130 to finish got a seat!
The lucky ones got to go home until the next day,or, if
needed, oxygen.
I have never seen anything like it, before or since.Hilarious.

Last edited by Storminnorm; 28th Jun 2008 at 13:42.
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Old 28th Jun 2008, 13:35
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We used to operate a late flight from Warri Air Strip to Lagos which departed at the same time as another operator's, both of us using Twin Otters. It was a matter of whoever got going first, when Number One would go at FL80 and Number Two would take FL100 so that we could fit in with the non-radar Lagos environment. This was just a gentleman's agreement to avoid being tied in knots on arrival and it usually worked just fine.

I had flown with the other outfit too, and now one particularly bumptious former co-pilot was sat there across the field as my rival captain.

While we were starting we had our aircraft faced out towards the perimeter so that we only saw each other once we had turned around but of course we knew each other's voices. I was pretty quick on the draw but this time there was the opposition also ready to go, both engines running and all. Sometimes you could catch them calling for taxi with just one engine running and the pax still boarding, just trying to jump the queue in the true Nigerian manner but this time he was ready fair and square.

Not a lot of people know this but the safest place to be when sharing your air space with someone young and thrusting is above and behind him, so that I said we would let them go first if they wished. No, we could go first, came the answer. "What in the world?" was all I could think to myself. I never knew young Captain X to take second place to an Oyingbo before; what was he up to?

So off we went, climbing to FL80. Next thing, our following traffic says they need to stop climb at FL60 because "my co-pilot has an ear problem." Well, with an "ear problem" they would have gone right down on the deck, so this seemed to be an "ego problem." He was going to show that he could get there first using superior airmanship, the little toad. Plus he probably was going to screw me by hanging there below and behind me as long as possible before descending, putting me close in and high to have to do descending orbits over the approach fix.

I could not believe it when Lagos Approach had their radar working for the first time in years, that afternoon. They gave us both squawks, identified his aircraft as being something like eight miles in trail and sent him off on a loooong delaying vector to follow Number One, us! Bwhahahah! What are the odds on that happening twice?

Later he parked his Twin Otter in a banana grove, to general and unrestrained merriment among some of the local pilot population (me, at least). (The Twin Otter has a way of sometimes slewing the nose wheel to full travel left or right if you don't first check that it is centered after take-off and then check it again before landing. If you are careless enough to miss those checks then you may get a very, very close look at the scenery off to one or the other side of the runway as you lower the nose during landing. A definite case of "hero to zero" as your perfect landing, two squeaks from the mains, turns into a big squawk from the nosewheel and a windscreen filling with greenery.)

I would feel a lot better if I didn't think there was something like this, perhaps, in my future too!
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Old 28th Jun 2008, 14:38
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The NBO shuffle

We had the misfortune to hit one of the local ****ehawks
going into NBO one day.
We reckoned, from the damage caused to the engine, the
B*st*rd had been wearing a hardhat and carrying one hell
of a tool-box at the time.
A replacement motor was duly dispatched ex-UK and arrived
in NBO whilst the old motor was dropped and placed in a local
Customs area to avoid having to pay "Import duty".
The new engine was also put into the same "bonded" area
when it had arrived and discussions started about how much
"Duty" would be charged to release it for fitment. It got dark.
You can imagine what a busy night it was, transferring all the
bits from the old "knackered" engine onto the replacement.
The following day the Company told Customs that they had
decided to refit the "original engine" which was duly done
leaving the costly "replacement" in the bonded area until
local discussions took place . I think it's still there.
Anyone looking for a cheap JT3D,3B?
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Old 28th Jun 2008, 15:00
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STORMINORM, are you serious ?? (about the passengers running around the plane to get a seat)
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Old 28th Jun 2008, 16:19
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Jumbo 744

Yes, Absolutely seriously Serious!
We wondered WIHIH at first, but found
out about the bum/seat discrepancy
from the dispatcher later.
By then we were rolling in the aisles!
PS And also about the Oxygen for some
of the more senior would be PAX!
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Old 28th Jun 2008, 17:02
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lol this is crazy!
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Old 28th Jun 2008, 17:29
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Jumbo 744

No, not crazy, Africa!!
On our second night stop, the Capt & Troll dolls
decide to venture into town to a SEAFOOD eaterie.
I did warn them, but to no avail, they had been told
that it was an excellent restaurant.
I stayed in the Hotel and had omelette & chips, having
been to the area before!
Despite the warning I still had to assist in the cabin on
the way back, ( Via Kano!), due to several of the totties
being, shall we say "unwell".
Funny thing is, the A/C was on charter to Shell Natural Gas.
Boy Oh Boy could you smell it in that cabin!
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