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The adventure is full of surprises

The adventure is full of surprises

 

Ria, the owner of the guesthouse where I stayed at Graaff-Reinet, contacted her brother who’s pilot who contact Billy, another pilot at Mossel Bay, my destination !
Billy is expecting me !
How nice South Africans are !

 

I took off the 23rd October from Graaff Reinet where I spent a splendid time, in a blue sky, light brise, beautiful weather.
Nice GS, I take pictures and enjoy the flight.

 

After having overflown the impressive mountains, some bumps but quiet normal, I thought, now I will enjoy the flight along the coast line and I hope to spot some whales !

 

It didn’t last long before gusts of strong hot wind coming from the north started to play with me in this turbulent air.

 

I thought I should flight over the sea to find some quiet air... it was worst...

 

OMG I wish I were in the ground...

 

I checked my ETA in this strong wind, my GS felt to 60 kt! One more and a half hour to reach Mossel Bay where Billy is expecting me...

 

I checked my alternates airfields and one with 2 grass runway is at 10 NM back from my present position... I didn’t hesitate long, make a 180° and reach the Tsitsikamma airfield quite rapidly.
But where are the runways ?
Where is the field ?
I can’t find it !
I learned later that the farmer cultivated the field! No runways no hangar any more ! Thanks for the wrong information ! 😡

 

OMG, I wish I were on the ground !

 

But where shall I land here ?

I turned back and headed west again, my next alternate is at 30 minutes of flight ahead: Plettenberg Bay, tar runway 30, look at the wind... 335... that a strong cross wind on tar runway...

 

I continued above the ground along the shore with a 60kt GS in a bumpy strong hot wind (40degrees !..) the air coming into the cockpit is so warm that I have the feeling to get the hot air coming out from the exhaust gaz in my face...


My lips and mouth are dry as if I were in a desert since many days without water... no I don’t have water, but even if I had, I don’t see how I could drink it !

 

I am approaching Plettenberg Bay airfield, happy that I will land but anxious about the strong cross wind... now that I had some times to get used to this very inconfortable weather, shall I continue ?? No my GS is too low, I will have to avoid Georges CTR via the sea... not a good idea, let’s land here at Plettenberg Bay.

 

I overfly the runway, where is the windsock? Here it is! Straight horizontal and crossed!😱

 

Overflying the runway, I noticed that the left side of the runway 30 is a nice green short grassed area, clean and flat...

Joining the left hand downwind in a hot bumpy air, the advices of Paul are coming back in my mind, what Aharale would tell me now ?
I try to be patient, calm and focus, I check my speed, shall I put flaps or not? Turning base, my height is good, my speed is fine, turning final runway 30, less bumpy, I put flaps, the grass left of the runway is calling me... and I made a kiss landing on the grass ! Pfffff, waow, proud of me... ok stay focus ! I want to go to the runway to taxi to the apron... taxi is NOT possible at all on the runway! Thanks 🙏🏽 To the grass area next to the runway, I reached the apron.

 

I immediately call Billy who is expecting me at Mossel Bay, he told me he will come and pick me up here at Plettenberg by car! He told me also: we never fly with hot north wind !

 

Billy suggest me while I am waiting for him to try to get in contact with Stew who should be in a hangar at Plettenberg Bay airfield...

 

I met Stew ! What a character this guy ! He was pilot at SAA, he flies acrobatic and he’s one of the Harvard water skiing pilot ! OMG total respect !

 

Stew found me a hangar, he’s afraid that my plane finish in the sea with this kind of wind !😱

 

Billy arrives, what a nice and generous person! Many thanks to him and all his family who invited me during 2 days !

 

What is sure I will never forget this day and I will have stories to tell when I will be an old lady... 😉

 

My days with Billy at Mossel bay were quiet full: I flew his Piper Cub Cruiser that I love! We spotted whales and whales and whales... amazing how many whales I’ve seen...

 

We flew with Billy’s cruiser to Plettenberg Bay next morning and came back, with the 2 airplanes to Mossel Bay, we’ve been escorted a while by Stew and Barry who took many pictures in flight ! Thanks a lot guys !

 

We flew his PA28 late afternoon with Cecil his wife and Monica one of his daughters... nice flight ! Again many whales !

 

Because Billy is so generous and likes to control and assume what he undertakes, he decided to escort me to Stellenbosh...
He contacts some pilots on my way asking them to help me...
What a generosity !

 

Yesterday we took off at 6 from Mossel Bay and flew 2:30 to Stellenbosh.
Again I saw plenty whales along the shore, nice beautiful flight.
Landed at Stellenbosh, Billy’s expectations were satisfied.
Malcom found me a hangar and as I lost a little door of a check hole of my right wing, he offered me one dedicated ! 🙏🏽❤️😍😘

 

Cyril came from Morningstar with 2 friends : Edge and Jaap who are planning a African tour flying trip! Really nice pilots! I enjoyed my time with all of these people around a nice table at Stellenbosh.
Thanks again to Billy !

 

I spent the rest of the day with Judith (Cecil’s sister, Billy’s sister in law) with whom I had a lot of fun.

 

Today I must organise my next legs about fuel and other stuffs, busy day !
This afternoon I will fly around Cape Town with Luke !

 

What a country ! I ❤️ South Africa!

 

Stay tuned 👍🏽

 

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