Whilst there is clearing in this photo taken later in the day ...you get the drift!
Joining over-head the 900m long airfield, this is my first visit, I can see it looks in in excellent shape. There is very little wind and the wheels kick up a small red dust cloud, as they bounce along the 'murram path'. More MSF passengers and freight await but this time I have to unload some of the seats that are strapped together and re-install them on the metal tracks provided. They are designed to be quickly unlocked and removed & equally quickly re-installed, perhaps they were 21years ago when 'Bravo India Lima' was built, but now they are absolute rat bags to get back in quickly - think very uncharitable thoughts towards the designer of what was once a good idea, as I wiggle, shake, push, prod and kick them into place. Perspiration drips down my brow, time is slipping by now as I still have to fly 150nm back to Dungu before heading south to Bunia - it shuts at 1700 hrs local and no one will be allowed to land at 1701 (last daylight landing time is 1711 - NB an hour time zone difference to Uganda). Phew job done...
By the time I bounce gently onto Dungu's murram I have 10 minutes to load & unload the passengers and be off. All 8 pax enter into the reasoning behind my haste and we are rumbling down the runway 9 mins later, sadly had to leave 90kg of freight behind as it would have taken just to long to tie it down. The days work was always going to be a race against time unless everything went smoothly!
A beautiful late afternoon sun slowly sinks, changing the forests colours from the noon day harshness brightness to a gentler pastle shades of later in the day. The ETA is 10 mins before the airfield shuts, and their are several alternates I could go to if the enroute weather is not as expected, would be interesting arriving at a bush strip with a stack of unexpected passengers but am not expecting a problem - but MAF, has as do the scouts, the motto 'be prepared'. Reach down in my flight bag for another sugar boost, 'What no raisins!' A truly great disapointment but the view sort of makes up for it as we roll along at 2.5nm a minute and supper is perhaps not so long off, certainly breakfast was an age ago.
|Climbing out over the river the 208 makes a great shadow|