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Birthday at Abidjan

I left the hotel in Accra and joined the ultra modern airport, they scanned my finger prints and took my picture and they even took my body temperature !
All ok until the scanner, my water in my bags: no problem, my bag full of electronic devices: no problem, but where is your tag ? Your Tag ? I am a private flight sir (he meant a company badge), no where is your tag ? You need a tag ! Then I took out from my bag my AOPA card in a holder and put it around my neck.
Yes ok you can go !
He even didn’t look at it, if it was my supermarket card he would have been happy as well !


Of course the procedure to pay the parking, to go to the flight plan took more time than expected.


I finally took off and was happy to be back in the air, alone and free.
I can cool a bit after the extra heat on the ground of the airport.


I followed the coast line and discovered some beauties.
Some old fort probably from the Portugese and lagoon and plenty fishermen wood boats...


The coast line I had overflew in Central Africa was much wilder, big and dense forest, small beaches and oil wells in the sea, some harbour...


The coast line in West Africa is full of some villages, fishermen, towns, lagoons, and of course oil wells except in Benin.


I like west Africa because it is more authentic, more exotic, more music, more traditions, I like the way people are dressed and the colours they wear.


The air is much more humid and temperature different.
I remember in Ondangwa the OAT was 40 degrees and the DP was 1 degree !
In Cotonou the OAT was 31 degrees and the DP: 33 !


Another news is that my compass which was completely out of order since Kenya is now working perfectly !


My flight from Accra to Abidjan was low at 1000 ft and I couldn’t keep contact very long time with the air controler.
I had to ask some commercial pilots to relay my messages and it goes well.


Before crossing the border I was in contact with Takoradi, nice lady air controler.
She insisted many times for me to report 28 NM before the border but I was still inbound her position and the border far west of her !
I insisted to make her understand that I will overfly her runway or cross the runway axes but she didn’t understand and was still asking me to report 28 NM before border.
An helicopter going in the sea on a drilling well was ready for departure. I ask the lady if I may cross via south, she suddenly understood that I was very close but never answer the question not clear me, she just asked me to report 28 NM before border.
As I had heard that the pilot will take off on 21, I flew via north of the runway, saw the helicopter taking off, kept him insight and joined back the shore.
She noticed nothing !


The shore line in Cote d’Ivoire is really gorgeous, some lagoons and beautiful properties around, really beautiful !


As soon as I get in contact with Abidjan I noticed the dense traffic, the controler didn’t mentioned the wind, I had to ask.
While in downwind, I guess he went to the toilet, 4 pilots called him without answer.
I’ve been asked to report on left base, arriving end of downwind, I turned base.
The controler came back on the frequency and asked me to report on short final.
I heard a airliner was on final but I guess far away behind me !?
As the wind was totally unstable I choose a wheeler landing with Flap 1, on short final the controler ask me to expedite the landing, I answered: I fly a PA18 sir, I will do my best.
The controler asked the airliner to slow down, he answered he was at he minimum speed already.
The controler asked me to vacate at the first exit (that is at the very beginning of the runway)
I decided to make a 3 points landing to expedite the landing and put Flap 2, dived on the runway, touch down, breaks, back track and vacate !
Vacating I saw the airliner just behind me !


I joined the aeroclub and received a very warmed welcome.
Mostafa the president is a hilarious guy, as much organised as me ! And VERY helpful !
Because I will exit Cote d’Ivoire via an non international airfield I need to ask to the Lieutenant Mala with the approval of ANAC with the over approval of the Aviation Civile.
Mala is also a very nice and funny guy.
Sitting in his office, someone tried to enter and he said: Push ! Push ! Push !
I smiled and he asked me why, I said: don’t you say that to your wife ?😂


I went to the guesthouse and wanted to visit something of Abidjan, the driver took me to the museum that is very interesting especially if you love african masks like me !
The director who made the guide visit for me promised me to invite me while making some special exhibitions in Paris !


I was so tired, I had so many things to prepare that I went to bed very late: past 10 pm (for me it is very late while traveling).


This morning I was at the airport at 8:30 and started a long official procedure that delayed me.


Started up the engine, asked for taxi and wait, wait, wait, taxi to the holding point and wait wait.
The air controler wanted me to take off just behind an airliner after its landing.
I said negative I want to wait 2 minutes for the wake turbulences, another airliner landed and he asked me to line up and wait, I did, clear for take off, I put full power because another airliner is coming on final behind me, but my engine made very strange noise, I stop, backtracked and vacated.


After 30 minutes waiting at the holding point, 2 of my spark plugs were in bad condition and Antoine, the mechanic found some cracks in a piece on top of a spark plug (Papa at Cotonou showed me that crack that was single at Cotonou, he didn’t have the spare piece.)
Now there are multi cracks.
Antoine repaired everything and I am ready for departure tomorrow at 8:00 !


Destination: Yamoussoukro where Mostafa gave my very nice and helpful contacts.


Stay tuned !




September 2019
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