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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 23rd Jun 2008, 18:52
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Talking You Know You Are In Africa When.....


The Pilot Controlled Lighting System consists of a low fly past down the runway at night.

The Pilot Controlled Lighting System at an International Airport differs slightly in that it consists of a request to ATC in a neighboring country to make an international phone call back to one’s destination.

One is only mildly surprised when a destination airport’s actual location is more than 2 miles away from the published co-ordinates.

The 100/100 rule applies, in which pedestrians, cyclists, goats and chickens will not begin to clear the runway until approached by an airplane within 100 yards at more than 100 knots.

The pilot of a jet airplane, recently totally wrecked while running at high speed through bush and trees before crashing to a halt 500 meters off the end of the runway, claims not to have been unduly concerned at the time, because “I have done it before.”

All of the crew of a jet passenger airplane escapes, unscathed, while most of the passengers perished, after crashing in a ball of flame into a crowded market place.

Restrictive ICAO regulations regarding the transport of live animals are resolved by slaughtering the animals with a machete on the ramp.

Losing an engine or a propeller has a more literal application, involving being unable to find it on the ground somewhere en-route.

The “Go Around” possibilities consist of an unpublished terrain gradient leading to a 15,000 ft volcano.

The 2 toilets, locked before takeoff, are discovered en route to contain 15 extra passengers.

The bed of a small “backie” is used to control passenger carry-on baggage volume.

The only air start unit available, when connected to the airplane, belches flames while leaking fuel over it’s batteries.

The new, internationally donated, airport fire trucks stand in readiness to take on diesel and water in case of an emergency.

In francophone countries, a commendable education policy is applied. Where conflicting traffic occurs, ATC will deliberately communicate with each in a different language, (different from the one each is using) thereby concentrating minds, sharpening language skills and underscoring the need for TCAS.

Communication and traffic co-ordination between two ATC services in the same control zone is not possible because neither one has mobile phone airtime units.

Most hard surfaced runways are artistically decorated with elegantly curved black lines, sweeping gracefully off the sides and both ends of the runway.

A wheel change can take all day, but an airplane parked overnight can be retrieved in the morning, minus fuel, wheels, landing gear, engines, propellers, seats, instruments and radios.

In the event of an “AOG”, parts for most Russian and pre 1970s western airplanes can be purchased conveniently at the local fish and vegetable market. (Should be checked for fire damage before use)

The two “spare” wheels on a 4 wheel bogie are considered to be optional extras.

Runway repairs are merely a means by which commercial air operators receive government funds to dig up runways, thereby conveniently reducing the runway length in order to restrict commercial competition.

“Push Back” consists of a gang of local people manually rotating the tires in reverse.

“Cigarette Packet” rules are applied when marshalling taxiing airplanes on the ramp. A strict minimum vertical clearance of one cigarette packet will be maintained at all times between wing overlaps.

“Second” and “Segment” are considered by commercial operators to be dirty words when used in sequence, punishable by a salt mouthwash and a salary postponement.

Last edited by Mobotu; 23rd Jun 2008 at 18:56. Reason: Bold Print Missing...
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Old 23rd Jun 2008, 20:18
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If it wasnt so true it would be funny . Especially the ATC part. INto Kinshasa the other day I was halfway down the slope and another a/c was cleared to take off directly into us. After this some gorrilla who stank of booze and had no ID. tried to fine us $1000 for having a flat tyre (it wasnt flat). Also the static line from the fuel truck was tied onto the copper clip in a text book reef knot, with no part of the metal clip connected to the copper wire as the wire was covered in plastic.
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Old 23rd Jun 2008, 20:54
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"...... When the Anotonov 12 that reported his alt/speed and location causing you to slow down to maintain spacing... eventually passes 50 feet above you 10 minutes later "...
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 03:57
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.....ATC makes you orbit at 200' to allow another aircraft to enter and backtrack for take off.

....when handling, navigation, parking and landing fee's exceed the GDP of most nations in africa.

....when someone parks a bus infront of your aircraft after engine start because you didn't give him paper with pictures of Benjamin Franklin on it..

.... when ATC tells you to stby 10 times on the last 6 miles before touchdown.

...when 100 people, 10 goats and 4 spare tires for a AN12 disembark from a YAK 40

... When Ground marshallers park you so your Jet blast is facing the Fuel storage and Bowser..

...... The airport is a good place for the workers to take a nap.

...... Being an alcoholic is a pre-requisite for being a customs,Immigration or security officer as well as being a chronic sleeper..
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 06:43
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All True ..& more!!

Only aircrew that have actually operated a lot into Africa, can understand any of this!
The rest of the world cannot comprehend nor understand how this can be?
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 06:44
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Paying 16000 dolleros cargo tax for the privelage of delivering 35 tonnes of high protein food aid in one sub sahara paradise.

Told to track a radial inbound to the VOR while at the same time cleared to a very definitely not co located NDB
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 07:22
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Cleared to track inbound on a radial only to hear departing traffic cleared outbound on the same radial and through your level. WTF?!

Verifying the clearances given with ATC leads to no enlightenment so separation is maintained by comms between the two aircraft, cutting ATC out of the loop. This leads to sulking and long delays trying to get ATC to deliver further clearances.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 13:08
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Or someone being killed outright by a departing fuelbowser, whilst napping in its shadow, under the tires.
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 13:11
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Being instructed to take up a hold over a beacon at the same ALT as two other a/c, ALL below MSA!
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 13:48
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Short finals for Goma when a AN12 cuts in from no where (No broadcast..)
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 14:07
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Qickly, just 3 came into my mind:

-Paying all the ATC, Nav, Lights, etc. fees after doing a GPS approach (VOR, NDB is out of order since the colonials left...or stolen) during daylight while the ATC is having his praying time (not answering the radio of course)...

-Even if it's clear for the client that the a/c takes only 19 pax OR roughly 2 tonnes of cargo, they'll still try to make us loading both...

-French Air Force...
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 16:54
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Fly four hours to Kigali at night , descend and be told only overhead at
10 000ft that runway lights are U/S, PRICELESS.

At least the ATC did not run away..........................
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Old 24th Jun 2008, 19:24
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The Original Post........

Many Long Time PPruners may remember this - so for the newbe's....

You Know You've Been Flying in Africa Too Long When.......
- You can name the National Beer in most African Countries
- You know that 'Clear for immediate take-off - Trafic on final' means they are just crossing the piano keys
- A couple of Tuskers or Primus are perfectly acceptable equivalents to sex
- 6am preflight is - Two wings, Two engines and a Tail
- You know Pilot Activated Lighting is accomplished before entering the aircraft
- GPS approaches are not just prefered but required for international airports
- 'The Savanah' has become the bar 'Where everybody knows your name'
- You actually understand what everyone is saying - no matter what the country
- 'I have a headache' - is listed in the MEL as 'Minimum Required for flight'
- A WAC chart is best used inside CB's to cover the windscreen
- The Ohh's and Ahh's from the passengers are you best form of weather radar
- MTOW is not applicable for most flights
- 'Can we take it' means 'Will the door still close'
- Take Off Distance Required is only relevent if there are trees at the end of the Runway
- 'The weather is ok' almost always means inside where I am standing
- You consider single engine landings on a twin as recent experience for the VAN
- When you hear 'They're fighting again' you immediately respond YES AND....
- Your boss has propossed most entries in Jane's Aircraft Guide as suitable to be operated in Africa
- You stopped calling home long ago since they only ask when your comming to visit
- You can find the Red Light District whilst drunk and disorderly in any city
- A new pilot says he has heard of a great place to go 'The Florida 2000' - and you just smile and say sounds good!

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Old 24th Jun 2008, 21:55
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If you dont like it in Africa ,I suggest you go back to where ever you came from.I presume the're lots of jobs out there...you refered to a man as being a gorrilla ..how the hell did you pass your last medical ? you better go check your vision once again. Guys like you just keep on windging about everything around you but still stay on to fly here in Africa.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 05:30
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Who are you referring to
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 06:58
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Capnsparrow you are right. It is these so called gorillas that are destroying Africa and creating jobs for the ‘western world’. If it weren’t for their incompetence there would be far less food aid, medical aid, and humanitarian aid flying all around Africa.
One other thing you mention “stay on in Africa”. What a simpleton. Are you from some racist dark age that you assume, by the tone of your reply, that these comments have been made by Europeans, Americans or some “non African” I can guarantee you they have been made by Africans themselves. They may not be black, but Africans they will be. So they are entitled to stay right here in there home land, Africa and comment on the balls up that 99% of the majority voted governments are making of a once fertile and productive continent.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 07:10
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It was only a matter of time before somebody like capnsparrow came along to spoil a perfectly good thread.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 07:41
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Midnight in KRT a few weeks ago.....three aircraft arriving(including ours) and 1 departing. Somehow ATC managed to put us in conflict with ALL of them. It takes a special kind on incompetence to get that right. And why does it always smell like someone has taken a dump outside the L1 door when we open it?!?!?!?

On the positve side, the fuel is half price (yip $700/ton). However it is made with tears of squirrels.

Everytime I fly into africa I remember why I left it.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 07:48
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Like being given the (unasked for) QFE for an airport with an elevation of over 3,000 ft.
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Old 25th Jun 2008, 07:49
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Don't recal reading about a Gorrila.

-The fire fighting crew obidiently suits up and gets in the truck for all arriving jet aircraft. Only problem is that the truck has no wheels.

-The fire truck is burnt to a crisp whilst the firemen were off fighting a bush fire with their hands due to a lack of functioning equipment

-Arrive at airfield to find half of it in flames from before mentioned bush fire.

-A 421 looses it's nose gear due to the large divet caused by all the people crossing the runway at the same place and a lack of maintenance.

-Final landing checks include a low pass at the airfield, followed by a very low pass in order to chase off any, cows, dogs, goats, children, bycicle traders, dump trucks rebuilding the runway (very rare sight) guys on motor bikes who think they are faster than you

-People think you are trying to save the engines by doing a reduced power take off because you use all the runway. Not realising that you have worked out exactly how much the aircraft can take out if said runway at max power, thereby being ultra effecient and not having to leave anything behind.

-People think propelors are made of rubber and will not harm you if walked into, even if spinning at several thousand RPM.

-You think you have done something to piss off ATC since every time you fly they seem to want to kill you.

-The tower is now located on the roof of the airport building, under some orange tarp on a few couches. Whilst the origional was being repainted and had new AC's put in. Toilets in terminal have not worked propperly in over seven years.

-During certain times of year you may be one of the lucky few to have Korean or Vietnam war flash backs. As the air is filled with the gorgeous sights of ancient migs. And your in the middle of them all. All the while desperatly trying to land with insane commands from ATC. "Cleared to land 14, wait orbit to the left, one on final, ok cleared to land, oh wait I see another one turning final"

-Always have a camera with you, beautifull scenery and the highest chance of becoming an on scene reporter to some sort of air crash or disaster. Usually once a month or more in some places, if you don't get arrested first for being a spy.

-The ancient Migs at the end of the runway are considerded super top secret, even though they have not flown in years and will never fly again. Even though in plain sight, these aircraft are not really there, at least as far as anyone in the army or police is concerned. At least until you pull out a camera.

-Whilst off loading your passengers a fully loaded Hind gunship taxi's past to go take on some of the rebels.

-Jeppesen says "Fuel available" reality = no fuel in many years. Cue crash course in extreme flight planning and fuel economics that would do the Israeli airforce proud.

-The only way to get the ATC's attention is to pass low over the tower. Especially bad during the holidays.

-Weather reports are read out regardless of the actual conditions prevailing. Eg, cloud 2500 feet on a Cavok day. Or three mile vis in a thunder storm with enough water to drown a hippo in.

-The safest think to drink is the booze.

-Precision aproach at some airfields do not require the use of radio/nav aids (Mostly due to them no longer working) But consist of some hand drawn notes reading. "Follow railway line, take right fork, convigure for landing, keep going to football pitch, make hard left onto short finals. This approach can be done as long as you are visual with the ground and minimum descent altitude is two feet above highest obstacle.

-You know most if not all the voices on the radio
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