Wednesday, 22 July 2009

A long night ahead

Ever get nervous about flying a single over water? Spare a thought for Mike Blyth and James Pitman who are, as I write, flying from Guinea in Africa to Brazil, a flight that is expected to take between twenty and twenty-five hours (yup, they’ve got ferry tanks).

They're flying a D6 Sling, a Rotax 912 ULS powered LSA that they designed and built. Their departure from Guinea was somewhat delayed thanks to a spot of bother with the local constabulary. Apparently, while taking pictures of the night-time African streets they inadvertantly included a policeman in one of the frames. This led to lots of interviews in lots of rooms by lots of officials, who, judging by the reports were not the friendliest of human beings.

That mess got sorted out today, and after a quick trip to a petrol station (there was no avgas at Conakry, Guinea) they headed back to the airfield where it seems they managed to get their satellite tracking working again. You can see their position live by going to their site here.

I’m happy with longish sea crossings in the C182, but I would be distinctly nervous about flying more than 4,000km over the Atlantic behind a Rotax fuelled by petrol I’d just brought from a petrol station in Africa. I’ve never seen or sat in a D6 Sling, but the cockpit must be huge to accommodate the cojones required for this trip.

Update: After 21 hours flying Mike and James arrived in Brazil. I'm guessing that they are sleeping right now. Tomorrow they're scheduled to fly again, but it's a relatively short, four hour flight.

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