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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 1st Jul 2008, 17:48
  #81 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2007
Location: Everywhere
Age: 37
Posts: 2
Dont forget the 'controller' shouting loudly at you mid go around because you had the audacity to take evasive action to avoid the AN12 he cleared onto the runway seconds before you touchdown. "why u go around I tell u land".

And of course theres nothing more rewarding than finding the starving people you risk your life to save have helped themselves to the contents of the first aid kit whilst you were concentrating on avoiding the CB's.

Anyone who has been to goma will never forget the sight of a well overloaded AN12 flying off the end of the runway and staying in ground effect over the town and lake for about a mile before managing to get to flying speed. Its also always exciting watching a clapped out DC-9 with no brakes trying to stop on the downhill runway with a 15 knot tailwind and a wall of lava looming closer.

cant wait to get back there...
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Old 1st Jul 2008, 21:17
  #82 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Germany
Age: 73
Posts: 1,561
African ATC!

I was going into Sokoto, Nigeria one afternoon, the only airplane within 100 miles, I think.

I had called within range and passed my estimates. Then I called again ten miles out and again on short final. About then the tower lost power and went onto some crummy little battery-powered radio, so that the controller couldn't really make out much except that some airplane was calling on the tower frequency. Now who might that be?

Sherlock there was shouting down his radio insisting that the mystery aircraft identify itself when all he would have had to do was to look out the big windows to see my Cessna there all lit up on final, right on ETA!

Another time we were waiting in the VIP waiting room there for our passengers, when my Nigerian co-pilot decided to use the toilet. Unfortunately for him, he chose the one that was reserved for the VVIP, the Sultan or Emir or Sardauna or whatever he was called, so that the surly custodian locked the door while he was in there!

Some time later I wondered what had become of him, so that I went looking, when I heard muffled cries of distress emanating from the V.V.I.P. B.O.G. Once we had negotiated his release a heated discussion ensued between the custodian and the co-pilot, who happened to be a minor prince from Yorubaland. That cut no ice with this fellow from Sokoto, of course, when it came to defiling the holy of holies at the airport!
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Old 2nd Jul 2008, 09:11
  #83 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2006
Location: Africa
Posts: 46
Overheard in NDjamena

ATC : (Callsign), cleared XYZ, After departure right turn out squawk 7700

American CHC crew, very drily : Uhhhhh, thats the emergency code sir.

ATC : eeeeeeeeeeeehhhhhhhhhhh, I say again squawk 7700

Yanks : Uhhh, we are negative emergency sir.


about a min later he clears them to takeoff and refuses to mention anything about squawk codes, the CHC guys just said to him "We will be squawking 2000"

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Old 2nd Jul 2008, 10:11
  #84 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Germany
Age: 73
Posts: 1,561

One day we got something like 37234 as the squawk, when one of those "Do what I tell you to do because dis be my country" discussions ensued for a short while.

Another time we got something like 3782, which led to another, similar discussion.

Of course we have all had to turn to heading 370 or make a right turn to 350 from heading 355 but that could happen anywhere, I guess.

One day I was on my way to Abuja when my buddy the Prince said there was an Airbus at our 3 o'clock and three miles, same heading.

"Ah yes, well. It is often so that another aircraft will appear to be at the same altitude when it is actually two thousand feet higher or lower. Let us see now... DAMN!"

Yes, well, there was a pefectly reasonable explanation. We departed Lagos for Abuja ten minutes ahead of A310 Whiskey Tango Whatever, cleared to F230, ETA ATD plus 1:10. The A310 departed Lagos at our ATD plus ten with an ETA of our ATD plus 1:00, cleared to F230. So we had ten minutes separation at each end. What happened in the middle, well...

The funny thing with that one was that ATC ignored their attempted homicide but tried to hang me the next week for doing a perfectly legal VFR departure from Lagos with an en-route transition to an IFR arrival at Abuja.

The very same A310 captain got all torqued when the little Cessna just blasted off while he was stuck there waiting for an IFR clearance that was never going to be delivered, due to some ATC industrial action. I could go 65 miles at 1 500 feet without burning all my fuel, when he couldn't, I guess. Life is unfair: get over it.

Since he was also some kind of Line Training Captain with some status at the NCAA he went whining like a little bitch to them to see if he couldn't get justice. I found it grimly funny that a gross error went ignored while a non-event had me trekking back and forth to see if I might not say something, anything, incriminating. Nigeria at its best, that was.
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Old 2nd Jul 2008, 10:12
  #85 (permalink)  
Join Date: Nov 2003
Location: Planet Tharg
Posts: 2,472
...when you are instructed to report five miles out, then on final, then on short final (despite the fact that you are the only airplane flying at that time) and finally on the ground, although he can see you on the runway...
Bet you he had his girlfriend in the tower and had her dripping all over the floor with his masterful handling of traffic by the end of his shift (if he waited that long).
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Old 2nd Jul 2008, 11:25
  #86 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: 3rd ROCK FROM THE SUN
Posts: 320
Hahaha Sdt... "end Of His Shift" In More Ways Than One.... :d
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Old 2nd Jul 2008, 11:40
  #87 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Nearest Bombardier AMO
Posts: 417
A Namibian Air Farce officer had just returned from China, where he had attended the ground-school for some or other chinese turboprop heap that said military had procured. On inspecting the lineup of aged 335 piston 'push-pulls' that represented the cream of the crop of Namibian military might, he discovered that ALL the props were broken! Dutiful to the end, the Major-General-Admiral found a blade-paddle and proceeded to repair the defective props.. by cranking them into the feathered position! I believe he 'fixed' about four 335's before someone managed to stop him.

Last edited by Doodlebug; 2nd Jul 2008 at 11:41. Reason: spelling
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Old 3rd Jul 2008, 12:43
  #88 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southeast U K
Posts: 291
It always used to amaze me that, no matter how hard you
tried to hide them, any empty engine oil or hydraulic oil cans
were snapped up AT ONCE.
The locals had millions of uses for them, from making toys or
jewellery, to using them as cooking pots!
I did think of starting a business exporting them to Africa at
one stage. Could've made a fortune, (NOT).
They never seemed to have the same appeal to the Africans
if you actually GAVE them the empties.
I reckon part of the game was to quietly slip them away from
you without you actually noticing.
I used to upset things sometimes by crushing the cans !
Not a very popular move!
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Old 3rd Jul 2008, 22:30
  #89 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: CV
Posts: 54
As a professional and I mean just that what I find most disgusting and disturbing is that it is the pilots from outside Africa looking to build up hours who tend to end up in Africa and start making stupid jokes about the system when they are the cause of 50% of the ****-ups themselves.

Africa has a long way to go, but what complicates the equation is outsiders who come to build up their hours, officials corrupted by outside money and many other system faults.

Watch this space for an African Miracle coming to a place near you.
Fropilot is offline  
Old 4th Jul 2008, 01:56
  #90 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Canada
Age: 37
Posts: 431

I have never flown in africa as a pilot yet, only as a passenger, but I have lived there for 20 years and I've been running a business there for 2 years. You cannot imagine all the bullsh*** you can encounter when working there and trying to do a clean, legal, professional job. There is no reason Aviation shouldn't be managed the same way countries are managed over there, it must be terrible and chaotic. And I have confirmation from my brother who flew there for 5 years before moving on to an international airline, he told me crazy stories about the african sky you wouldn't believe.

And this is Africa, you can't do anything about it, just live with it and deal with it.

I really don't think that those pilots from outside or inside africa are responsible for the system. I'm sure that if it wasn't for their awareness and professionalism there would be far more accidents in that region of the world.

Also, the posts in this thread are not jokes, they are facts and situations that really took place.

Have you ever been to Africa? You really cannot understand Africa until you have lived there for some time.
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 03:31
  #91 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Manchester
Posts: 55
"empty engine oil or hydraulic oil cans were snapped up AT ONCE".....
-Had the same in Moz with cig buts, emptied two ashtrays out at the side of the apron, not a sole in sight, walk 10 meters back to the aircraft,came back with another ashtray full of buts and I couldnt find the previous pile- all gone!-taking great care to watch this time notice 2 'scruffs' just crawl out of the woodwork,- amazing!
Re African Atc ,-was once over Zambia when an engine let go with a violent bang, so declared an emergency and plan to divert to the nearest airport which was Lusaka-controller came back with "Arrr eessh we are too busy we cannot accept you, please go to Ndola!"....yea right I just declared an emergency who has priority over me..vip?!
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 05:07
  #92 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Germany
Age: 73
Posts: 1,561
Which came first?

It is a fair point to raise, whether the expats contribute to the mess that can be African aviation or whether they are partially responsible. I think you need to spend some time there first before you can understand the situation.

The funniest part of that one is how often we see well-meaning people, all warm and fuzzy, coming to Africa with their liberal ideals. After about three days of being thoroughly worked over by these poor, little, semi-retarded, disadvantaged Africans whom they think they love (why?) there they are in the bar, spitting venom and saying they should drop the Bomb on the place. Yeah, well, turns out the indigenes are fully-formed, often highly intelligent adults who make the perfectly informed decision to take full advantage of these idealistic schnooks.

I used to see them come, the Chosen Ones sent to reform aviation in Africa with their wisdom, superior airmanship and their compassion. I used to hear them losing their rags with ATC. And then I used to see them go.

The record-holder in my last outfit was the 24-hour German. Okay, to be fair it was maybe 27 hours if you count the time between the arrival of LH560 and the departure of LH561. He came in the bar freaked out over having seen a group of black men with guns on the corner of the main road from the airport (police, actually) and decided that Lagos just wasn't for him.

Guys would rock up, lose the plot and disappear over the horizon cursing the entire Nigerian nation and every sick, racist, white bastard who was working there, all in the name of African reality failing to conform to their precious, little liberal preconceptions.

On the other hand, this Swedish lady showed up to be shocked by my crude ways with our local driver when he missed a turn-off I had been pointing out for 500 metres. "It is that one right there so slow down now... We are almost there and you are going to miss it... HERE! Turn HERE, godammit! Oh, FARK! That was it back there, you dozy git! Call yourself a driver! My granny could have made that and you missed it after staring at it for 500 metres! Now we have to go 3 klicks, turn around, drive through that nasty slum area and turn back to show up late for the client's Christmas party. If you miss it on the way back you are sacked!" Blah-blah-blah... the Oyingbo is blowing big, big grammar again, ho-hum... Like when you shout at your dog for eating your slippers, actually.

So Inger was shocked by meeting this crudely-spoken maniac. Fast forward three months and it was Inger who would go to the driver to say, "You stink. Here is soap. Go wash." (He really could skunk out our little Mexican-built Nissan if he went about three or four days without a bath. I guess he ate a lot of spicy stuff. We men used that to keep the car for ourselves but Inger was made of finer stuff.) She was not stupid and she clicked on the idea that this was not Sweden, actually, where a weakling would have retired hurt.
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 05:33
  #93 (permalink)  
Join Date: May 2007
Location: Nowhere But Here
Posts: 19
Jumbo744, in Nigeria, an Austrian and his firm,Avstatel or Avatel(not sure of the name), along with 2 ex mimisters, are being charged for stealing money meant to revamp the bad ATC system you guys are mocking.The bad things happening here are partly as a result of the cooperation of expats from Europe and and other developed countries and our leadership.
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 07:35
  #94 (permalink)  
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Germany
Age: 73
Posts: 1,561
Got us there, yes...

Whatever next, white crooks co-operating with black crooks!

Most of us posting here, I think, are low-level guys. Not that we are pillars of virtue, just that we do not usually have the chance to pervert the system to line our pockets even if we wanted to.

It is not that we want to zing the poor old Africans, as if to say that they are the only ones to make a mess of things but here it is the African system under discussion.

If you get told, every bl**dy day, to "Squawk Alfa XXXX..." because this dozy git thinks "Alfa" means "Altitude," well, this sort of thing does engender a certain attitude towards African ATC and Africans in general.

What, you mean "Charlie" refers to altitude and "Alfa" refers to the numerical code itself? How does that make any sense? (It beats me but it is so and you could look that up for yourself if you could find a copy of the relevant ICAO publication in this hole of an office you inhabit with crap scattered everywhere.)

How often I would explain, chapter and verse, what ICAO had to say about this or that when I could literally see the information zizzing right through that thick skull like a neutrino or whatever those thingies are that can pass right through the Earth itself without even slowing down.

It was as if to ask, "Will knowing this make me a better, safer pilot?" (Yes, of course it will, you stupid git! We are not alone here in the African skies; there are many people here from other lands where they expect SARPS to apply. Boring stuff such as keeping that transponder on even when out of radar contact, so that the other crew's TCAS has a chance to prevent a mid-air.)

Followed closely by, "Will anything bad happen to me if I ignore this white clown and stick to the local way of doing things half-baked, the way I prefer to do them? (No, of course not; this is, after all "Your country!")

I had to point out this transponder business one afternoon to a crew from a rival company after we had a close one. This time we were in the clear and could see them busting an altitude right in front of us, when there was nothing showing on the TCAS. We asked, politely, ATC to ask them if they were, perhaps, squawking Oscar November there, when they suddenly appeared. Whoah, ju-ju!

So when I went over to tell them about this miracle, life-saving gizmo we had, the answer was, well, why should they turn on their transponder when they did not have TCAS themselves. You know, what diffo would it make to them?

I just stood there gawking at the sheer stupidity of this before gathering my thoughts to point out that it was usually so that both parties to a mid-air collision ended up dead, hmmm? "Oh, yeah, I guess so..." was the response, but I really don't know if they got my point or not.

Never mind SARPS, they had their own, time-honoured, local way of doing things. One more switch to flip, sigh... What is the point, when mid-airs are so rare?
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 07:39
  #95 (permalink)  
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: South Africa
Posts: 510
your in africa when a passenger pulls out his memeber and has a piss on the tyre of the pax bus, and this was at CAPE TOWN INT today, still cant believe it
You probably saw I had him arrested for his own safety. His car was in the parking lot.

As a professional and I mean just that what I find most disgusting and disturbing is that it is the pilots from outside Africa looking to build up hours who tend to end up in Africa and start making stupid jokes about the system when they are the cause of 50% of the ****-ups themselves.

Africa has a long way to go, but what complicates the equation is outsiders who come to build up their hours, officials corrupted by outside money and many other system faults.

Watch this space for an African Miracle coming to a place near you.
The miracle is that some of the guys posting here are still prepared to ply their trade in Africa and having given up and left the locals to their lot.....

Finally from the old RSA and homelands: Flying a low level nav exercise in a noddy jet, I pass close to Pilanesberg ATZ and decide to give the tower a courtesy call to check for traffic.

"Ahh, B47D, you are cleared to land runway 27. Do you require transport to the casino?"
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 07:58
  #96 (permalink)  
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Behind 1480mm RHA equivalent
Posts: 667
Originally Posted by Fropilot
Africa has a long way to go, but what complicates the equation is outsiders who come to build up their hours, officials corrupted by outside money and many other system faults.
Yeah, it's those nasty outsiders, it's all their fault...

To add to the list: You know you're in Africa when they're blaming somebody else for everything!

And.....I never realised you could actually discriminate against money! 'Outside' money?
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 09:08
  #97 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Earth
Posts: 67
You Know You Are In Africa When.....beer is cheaper than fuel.
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 09:23
  #98 (permalink)  
Join Date: Oct 1999
Location: In the oil wealth of sand dunes
Posts: 293
You know you're in Africa when the police helicopter gets shot down

Johannesburg - A police helicopter has crashed, injuring of the three occupants, after being shot at by robbers in Meadowlands, Soweto on Friday morning.

"They were helping the Dog Unit pursue armed robbers at the time and were shot at," said police spokesperson Captain Dennis Adriao.

According to Johannesburg Emergency Services the helicopter hit power lines before crashing.

All three occupants were airlifted to Johannesburg's Milpark Hospital in a very critical condition, spokesperson Percy Morokane said.

The incident happened at around 09.20.
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 10:34
  #99 (permalink)  
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Southeast U K
Posts: 291
How were they helping the DOG unit pursue robbers ?

I suppose they had a bloodhound on a bit of rope ?
Wouldn't surprise me at all !!

Next time get a longer bit of rope !!!!!

Fropilot, what's this "African Miracle coming to
a place near you" that you mentioned in post 94 ?
Don't tell me the Messiah will turn up in Lusaka
or somewhere like that ?.
Or will it be Luton , and he'll be Blick?

Last edited by Storminnorm; 4th Jul 2008 at 11:38.
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Old 4th Jul 2008, 13:25
  #100 (permalink)  
Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: Charanga y pandereta
Posts: 61
...when you ask the "controller" what is the other traffic position (whose ETA is exactly the same as yours) and he answers, with an increasing pitch of his voice: "you are visual, you have to look for traffic!" Oh, Goma, I will always remember you.
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