Now we are home, we organized a presentation of our trip. The presentation was on Saturday the 22nd of March at the Skydeck Hangar on Teuge Airport (EHTE).
Our event induded our presentation of the trip pictures and videos as well as an explanation on why we went off on this trip, how we prepared ourselves and what we experienced.
For pilots there was more. In the afternoon we hosted the “Weather-to-Fly” masterclass together with Reinier van den Berg from RTL Weer, Freek Hoogeveen and Sjoerd Jan.
A picture presentation of the event.
Find out more about the event here: http://www.aeroplus.nl/events/weather-to-fly
We left the Middle East and set course to Rhodos. We were dead tired from the heavy schedule of flying through the Middle East and seeing so many great sites. So we decided to fly only to Rhodos and take a good night sleep there before continuing. While flying to Rhodos we had to divert a little to avoid a Russian navy exercise but finally arrived. The hotel we booked in the old city on Rhodos was closed and the whole old town was deserted. We finally managed to find someone to guide us back to the taxi stand and a taxi driver took us to an open hotel on the island. This was definitely not yet holiday season on Rhodos.
From Rhodos we flew to Corfu on the other side of Greece to enjoy lunch there before setting course to Vienna Int’l airport.
Initially we were not able to climb out from Corfy to flight level 120, which was the minimum IFR enroute altitude for the airway we had selected to fly through the Balkan to Vienna. So we decided to cancel IFR for the moment and fly along the coast of Albania about about 4000 feet to see if the weather would clear up more North, which it did.
We were able to fly here and there in between cloud layers, but also picked up some ice on the leading edge while descending later on into Vienna airport.
Just before landing in Vienna, we had a great sunset and again great weather.
The last stretch was from Vienna back home to Teuge airport (EHTE) back home. We stopped half way at a small airfield in Germany for lunch before arriving at 14:00 local time at Teuge. Here we were welcomed by family and friends.
Friends and family were awaiting our arrival.
Here is a small picture impression of the city of Cairo, the Pyramids and a visit to Jos and Adrienne Strengholt.
We entered Egypt via Aswan.
The river nile. Picture is taken in Aswan.
Below you can “see” the Pyramids… The weather enroute from Aswan to Cairo International Airport was pretty bad with a thick fog.The fog prevented us during this flight from seeing the Pyramids from the air. Later on we had to fly from Cairo Int’l to the airport 6th of October to refuel and that gave us the opportunity to see the Pyramids from the air.
Enroute to the Pyramids (by taxi) we had to cross through the city of Cairo and its traffic.
We visited Jos and Adrienne Strengholt enjoyed a glass of wine on their rooftop terrace.
Picture above right is of the “City of the Dead. This is a huge “city” where the dead are burried in old houses. Nobody lives here except for the dead.
Yemen was our entry point into Asia (yes, it is Asia). From Aden, Yemen we flew to Aswan in Egypt with a fuel-stop in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
The flight over Yemen was over mountains and dessert landscape. Once we got close to Saudi Arabia, we got a good view of the Red Sea and some great looking islands in them.
While enroute we are able to communicate through the Thuraya Sat network with our AeroPlus operations centre in The Netherlands. This helped in getting everything well prepared for our arrival into the next destination. Our ops staff would call ahead and inform the airport and handler of our estimated arrival time and would confirm again the arrangement made earlier on and if all was going to work out as planned.
Jeddah is right next to Mecca, which is a prohibited area that we could not overfly.
Here some pictures of our approach into Jeddah airport, which according to them has the largest airport surface area of any airport in the world.
The reason for our stop was to refuel. The tanks were filled including our ferry tank inside the aircraft. While taxiing out to the runway, the tower warned us of a possible fuel leakage. At the holding point for the runway we stopped for final checks and a pool of fuel was appearing underneath our aircraft. So .. we returned to the apron but could not find a problem other than that we had filled the tanks to the top and that some fuel had spilled over through the overflow valve. That fuel had been leaking onto the apron and taxiway. Actually, a firetruck was cleaning up the mess. It seemed strange to us that we had lost more than usual.
Once airborn enroute to Aswan, we wanted to pump some of the fuel from the ferry tank on the back seats to the right wing tank using an electric fuel pump. However, we then found out that most of the fuel in the ferry tank was not there anymore.
What happened was that we filled both the ferry tank and the wing tanks fully, but forgot to turn off the electrical pump that pumps fuel from the ferry tank into the right wing tank when we need to. So, the pump was pumping fuel into a full rightwing tank and this right wing tank did not have room for extra fuel and thus threw it overboard via the overflow valve. We lost 50 liter of fuel while flying into the night overhead the Red Sea and just having received an amendment to our flightplan. We could not fly directly anymore to Aswan in Egypt, but had to fly via Luxor to Aswan. That addition to fly via Luxor added about an hour to our expected flying time. Seemingly there was a military exercise in the area that we had to circumvent..
So, I suggested to the Egyptian air traffic controllers to give me a direct flight to Aswan through the military area or that I would have no other choice but to declare a fuel emergency. It helped and after a clearance from the Eqyptian military and having to tell them from which country we were, we got permission to fly direct to Aswan from our current position overhead the Red Sea.
We arrived save and were welcomed by a full staff of fire trucks at the Aswan airport.
Above we are pumping fuel with a small handpump from a jerrycan into the ferrytank. After the pumping we cleaned the pump outside the aircraft to get rid of the fuel smell.