Friday, 20 April 2012

Some news from the ramp at FTTJ... A little dust goes along way.

...the licking of ones lips seems a constant occupation out here and trust me, it is not because of the cuisine! Today the visibility is down to 1200m which is marginal for us under IR (Instrument) rules, the air being laden with dust which gives it the appearance of fog with a hint of khaki. Unlike fog though it will never burn off and is here for the day. There is a cooling breeze; even though it is a bit like having your hair dryer on low heat, the moving air helps keep you ‘refreshed’ in a manner, when standing on the apron peering through the khaki mist trying to see if you can really see the radar dish, as if you can visibility, must be improving. There is the earthen taste on your tongue, your nose is dry & sniff free and your skin has lost some of it’s youthful suppleness, guess we should make that all  of the suppleness it might have had. The temperature is climbing to the forecast 44; appreciate there are many places it gets higher and some where there is also high humidity - I groan at the thought. 

On the ramp Kalvin is helping calibrate the fuel tank 'dipper' on our new aircraft when I say new the airframe is a ‘79 but the engine is new technology and is one of 5  we have recently acquired, it sips a far far cheaper fuel Jet A-1 aka parafin, than the piston ‘petrol’ drinker aka av-gas, it replaces.  Whilst the smallest of our aircraft we think it is going to be a great addition to our fleet. Another interesting fact is that the beautifully made propellor is made of laminated wood! 

The 'dipper' is used to ensure we have an accurate measure of how much fuel we have in the tanks, as the internal guages are known to be unreliable except when empty! Pilots on small aircraft always say about fuel 'if you havn't seen it, you ain't got it' ...well words to that effect anyway. NB. The aircraft is still with a British registration but is in the process of being de-registered and put onto the Chadian TT- register.

There is something magical about this desert nation, touches and sprinklings from Arabia, a soupcon of France, a batch of the Sahel and a giant helping of the Sahara. 

... next is an hour of French, in an effort to extend my conversation with all and sundry including the local traffic police, who seem eager to pull you in to have a friendly chat any time your passing and I fear my Bonjour and Enchante may be insufficient for my needs thereof.