May 14th - Djibouti
to Muscat, Oman
12hrs 54 mins
this was to be a flight of about ten hours. However it became
the longest so far with a trip time of over 12 hours. The routing
from Djibouti brought our aircraft "The Bremen Spirit"
about 90 miles off the Yemeni coastline to enter Oman airspace
at waypoint Boski, and then direct to Muscat.
day began with Paul not feeling very well but elected to fly anyway.
Alan would do most of the flying on this leg. Departure from Ambouli
(Djibouti) airport was made easy in the 29C heat by very efficient
handling staff. Just getting airborne we were called by Daniel
(flying a French Army Puma helicopter) to wish us good flying.
again headwinds would add time to this already long sector. Due
to having so much fuel on board we were unable to fly over the
hight terrain on land and had to accept a routing that meant we
would be over water for 6-7 hours. We made land again in Oman
airspace and received a direct routing to Muscat. The approach
into Muscat was made very interesting, in failing light and visibility
reduced to 100 metres, by the appearance of high terrain on both
sides of the aircraft. We could see the mountain on our charts
and even with an assurance from air traffic control that we had
terrain clearance it was tense descending into Muscat. We asked
for vectors for an ILS approach onto runway 08. We
arrived after 12 hours to a very welcoming Sheraton Hotel.
we leave for India with a long crossing of the Indian ocean. Our
problems so far have being contacting Air Traffic control while
out at sea. On VHF radio, coverage is lost at about 100 miles
as we are flying at a low altitude usually around 7,000 ft. We
then have the problem where we cannot cross the borders of a country
without having communication to confirm our clearance. Tomorrow
out at sea we must have permission to contine into Indian airspace
over the Indian Ocean so we will try the HF radio (long range)
which operates from a 100 metre trailing wire aerial out the back
of the aircraft. Failing contact on HF we have to resort to calling
up an overflying aircraft at high altitude to ask them to relay
our communications to Indian Air Traffic Control, tomorrow will
be a busy day flying with lots of water below. We track from the
Ocean to Bombay and them north to a small town called Ahmedabad.