© Copyright World Flight 2002







May 12th - Djibouti

Djibouti is located on the horn of east Africa in a very stratigic position for shipping traffic. All of Ethiopia's imports/exports move through this small port. The country has little trade and it is here that the Dubai Port Authority is planning to help the country develop with plans to create an international port. There is a very large military presence here. Forces from France, US, Germany, Spain and the UK all have troops based here. Their purpose is as part of an anti terrorist force. Civil and military aircraft alike shares the airport. The country is very poor with up to 80% unemployment and yet very expensive. It was explained to us that everybody who works is supporting about four families and the wage reflects this. The only people who buy anything are military and with no competition, the prices are set high.

We were in effect out of contact here with no Internet facilities or mobile phone. A special word of thanks must go to all the staff at Djibouti airport. To David Hawker, Airport Director who made us very welcome and allowed WF2003 to use the airport without charge.

Some light maintenance was also required and the local military allowed the use of a hanger for this to be completed. On the evening in question the temperature hit 35C and the coolness of the hanger was very welcome. The local fuel company does not hold oil in stock and we needed a few litres for the next leg to Oman. To our rescue came Daniel Martin, who flies Puma helicopters for the French Army. Daniel also flies a Cessna 206 (with same piston engine as ours) and managed to secure oil from the air force for us free of charge. Many thanks Daniel for this and for meeting us for a beer later in the evening, hi to Matilda from Paul and Alan.

Original departure was planned for the 12th May and all seemed well until we decided to run the engine after maintenance. The battery was again flat. It had taken very little charge enroute from Luxor. Again engineering staff came to our rescue, removing the battery for us and returning it fully charged. We refuelled late at night. This was the first time we would take fuel from drums with the process taking about 2 hours to pump 600 litres.