It's warm sunny day in Africa and you wonder what events this airstrip has seen as in it's heyday it was a lot longer! Lining up on finals I held the aircraft steady as the runway desperately tries to dance it's own rythmless quickstep, left, left, left, right, up, up, down, down and down. Somedays airstrips really do not behave and today it seems particularly eager to discourage a visit. It is a strong quartering headwind from the right but I soon get the airstrip to behave itself and come into line. Need to add lots of power descending through the last 200 feet, as a sudden rush of air** seems particularly keen to push one into the ground for an early 'arrival' but I out guess the downdraft and so cross the threshold in a firm, secure and very short-field landing. Definately a nine (my daughter always used to mark my landings out of 10), there is a certain pleasure in the challenge. The runway has been shut for nearly 2 years and has only recently been re-opened after some remedial work but it is rather narrow now and turning on the runway needs caution as the slope of the drainage ditches is not ideal.
The aircraft rocks gently in the breeze and I think about Karamoja over the years so many cattle raids, fights that have become battles. Almost unreported the tribal warfare has cost many a young man's life. The nomadic lifestyle paints a romantic freedom to the westerner tied up by rules and expectations but the good and bad rain cycle creates a hard hard life and the mobile life takes its toll on the women and children of the region. Interesting how some may say let them be but if you talk with a few of the mothers you find they want for their children exactly what we want for ours, to have health living beyond 5, they want peace and for their children to go to school.
as I look at the photo , I think what a lovely day, so peaceful but appearances can be so deceiving, in so many ways.
Full power and I am off in no time as I turn into wind and climb away. Next stop Soroti where I pick up 4 more people but we have an extended stay for 20 minutes whilst my 3 passengers change their complexions back from green to white. Actually in all my years I have had very few passengers who have been sick - honest.
*we would expect a groundspeed generally around 140-160kts
If interested their is a video on youtube bigglesgsy you should be able to find a clip of landing at Kaabong a couple of years ago.