Day 1: Valencia!

Today we departed for our ambitious journey from Teuge in the Netherlands. Families and friends had come out of their beds very early on this cold and wet sunday morning, to wave us goodbye.

We left EHTE around 0900 local time in the morning, flying to Béziers at the French Côte d’Azur. We left Béziers only an hour after arriving, to continue on our last leg of this long flying day: Valencia!

We arrived in Valencia shortly after 19.00 in the evening, and witnessed a spectacular sunset during our arrival. For now, it’s off to bed early to prepare for tomorrow, when we start the next part of our next journey, flying to the Canary Islands via Gibraltar and Morocco! (You can follow our progress live here!)






Aircraft arrived at Teuge

Today we flew our aircraft to our point of departure Teuge, where we will further prepare it for the departure coming sunday. Some proper maintenance was done in preparation of the 130 flying hours it will do in the next six weeks! We will continue tomorrow starting to pack the airplane and install some additional navigation and satellite communication equipment. To be continued!

sjoerd jan lex africa challenge piper vsx klein


Stocking up Survival and Satellite Equipment

Between planning our route and arranging the necessary visa we have started putting together a useful survival kit for our trip. What you see is just the beginning, as we will need to prepare for the worst as we will be flying across the dark African continent from North to South. We will cross both the Gulf of Guinea, fly over the rain forests of Gabon and Congo and cross the Saharan desert. These areas bring their specific needs for lifesaving equipment.

Sjoerd Jan with survival equipment

The Thuraya satellite network allows us to stay in touch with the homefront and our AeroPlus Flight Operations Centre (FOC) in The Netherlands. The satellite link allows us as well  to check for bad weather while enroute or even make phone calls while airborne or to connect to the internet.

Thuraya Satsleeve

The Thuraya Satsleeve will be linked to the avionics stack of the aircraft through the Flightcell Pro device. This way, all voice calls can be dealt with through our aviation headsets while staying in touch with air traffic control (ATC) at the same time. We have adjusted our own AeroPlus flightplan and weather apps to support receiving information over the satellite network. We are therefore able to receive significant weather charts, rain radar, flightplan data, the latest METAR, TAF and SIGMET weather data through our satellite link.

Additional fuel tanks will be taken along as well as that we will be having extra fuel on board using a TurtlePac extra fuel tank. This extra fuel tank is linked to the aircraft system and makes it possible for us to cross longer stredges across the desert or across the deep Africal jungle. Some of the airports we will be flying into will be rather remote and with have no supply of the preferred AVGAS fuel for our aircraft. We will then have to rely on fuel from the local gas station and special fuel tanks, fuel filters and fuel testers are taken along. The aircraft is as such capable of flying on autogas, but we have to be sure it is of the right quality and not contaminated with too much ethanol/alcohol or dirt.

Spare fuel tanks

In case we do get stranded we are supplied with a fuel burner (wood burner) that can even charge our satellite equipment or iPhone.

Fuel stove


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