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Radar coverage in West Africa

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Radar coverage in West Africa

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Old 1st Mar 2013, 10:59
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Radar coverage in West Africa

How is radar coverage in West Africa? I hear spotty at best. How far does it extend from the coastline? I'm interested in information on the entire region, from Senegal to Cameroon. Also, what is the likelihood of a private aircraft flying in from South America (i.e., not a small plane flying VFR) landing undetected in the region? Can anyone shed some light? I checked FlightAware.com and flightradar24.com for info, but no joy.
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 20:11
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Are you asking what the chances are that you'll get caught flying illegal things/people from one continent to another?
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Old 1st Mar 2013, 22:08
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The question is rather moot because any aircraft capable of crossing the atlantic will need to land at an airport with a decently long runway so the unscheduled arrival will attract a lot of attention.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 03:53
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Some years later, and we still dont know precisely wich 727 was...???
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 07:44
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West Africa radar coverage

No, I am asking how come there are so many flights that do manage to get through with narcotics in their cargo - undetected. Is it simply due to local corrupt officials and lax customs controls, or is it really possible to fly in undetected? These flights originate in Venezuela (SVBC, SVMC, SVMG) and Brazil. I can't imagine they are flying VFR without filing a flight plan with local authorities, so if they do file an IFR flight plan, why is it that they manage to land, ostensibly refuel, and take off again for even doggier locations like Kidal or Gao in Northern Mali? And large planes can land on makeshift dirt landing strips in the desert. It has been done before.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 07:49
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Landing strips?

Not at all. There are reports of at least one 727 that landed on a dirt runway in Northern Mali in 2009, so it is possible. But how did it get there without raising suspicions, given that the flight had originated in South America? It must have been in contact with ATC in either Senegal or another West African country, as it approached the African coastline. Could it have entered their airspace undetected?
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 09:10
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You poor innocent soul, believing that the world is honest.
Africa is irretrievable corrupt - just learn to live with it.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 10:08
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Wisdom pearl

Thanks for the comment. I'm aware of rampant corruption. What I am trying to understand is whether someone could fly in undetected, and if yes, how? Is is at all possible? Do you have any actual flying experience in the area? What is your assessment of ATC procedures, radar coverage, possible loopholes? I need facts, not opinions. cheers
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 18:50
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If you need to fly in undetected, ask the drug mafia in South America to give you the links to their pilots.
This entire thread seems dodgy to me.
I've flown somewhat extensively in West Africa. The countries that have radar to my knowledge are Senegal, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 19:29
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oh boy

ok people, I am not a drug trafficker, or i probably would not be posting on this board because I would already know the answers to these questions.
I am a journalist trying to understand how traffickers work in this environment. Thank you for the suggestion of asking around in S. America, but I doubt the sources would be forthcoming, as it were...

Since I am a pilot, although not an ATP, I was hoping I would find professional pilots in this forum who would be willing to share some of their insights.

Drug trafficking thru West Africa is fast becoming one of the determining factors in the growing instability of the region, and possibly a source of revenues for terrorist groups operating in West Africa.

So, if there is anyone out there who has something pertinent and useful to contribute, I would be most grateful if there could contact me either through this open forum or by private message. All others, please abstain. I don't want to waste your precious time; please don't waste mine either. Thank you.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 19:31
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thank you eagleflier

First message that I get that actually contains some information. I really appreciate.
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Old 2nd Mar 2013, 22:36
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To be frank, coming on to this forum with a total of 6 posts, all on this page on this subject, the chances of being flamed are about as near to 100% as makes no odds.
For what it is worth, there is a rather sensitive military presence pretty much half way along the track you allude to, and one might reasonably expect that an unidentified aircraft would soon have some rather heavily armed company.

Perhaps your answer lays elsewhere.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 08:01
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Having flown down the West coast of Africa fairly often in small aircraft, I think we drop out of Dakar radar about Bissau, and then get picked up by Abidjan at about Roberts. Of course, there is no way to be sure that we are under radar coverage, but this is the impression I have from the messages from ATC.

So no surprise that most of the Latin American drug planes come into Sierra Leone or Guinea-Conakry. I have no idea how they leave Latin America and get across the Atlantic without detection, but they appear to be able to do so.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 10:21
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@ Trim Stab

Thank you so much. This is all very precious info.
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 10:34
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Chica67,
Get a copy of "Outlaws Inc." by Matt Potter.
ISBN 907-0-283-07132-4
Not just the west coast of Africa, but it will give you an insight of the whole airborne smuggling shebang.
Regards, Den
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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 11:05
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Try

9780330531665

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Old 3rd Mar 2013, 19:44
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Trim-Stab, Abidjan's radar is down since last december if I recall right.
Only radars left are Dakar, Accra and Lagos.

You get Radar Coverage in most parts of Senegal, and from the Ivory Coast / Ghana frontier up to Nigeria/Cameroon frontier.

The thing is.. we're talking about ATC here. Besides that, you have to take into account all the military bases in western africa.
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Old 5th Mar 2013, 10:27
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Go & have a quiet beer in Varela, G.Bissau at midnight & listen to the single engines overhead; you can see how low they are if the moon's bright enough
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Old 6th Mar 2013, 05:26
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Even if there was RADAR, even if it was manned, even if by a person skilled, even if you were seen, what would they do, launch a palm tree to intercept you?
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Old 6th Mar 2013, 11:42
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Call your grandmum to chase them
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