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Leg 46 - Lanseria (FALA) to Livingstone (FLLI)

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I was just finishing my tour of the new tower facility when I overheard the controller give Joe’s 787 permission to land. 

It was the first time I had managed to visit the new complex since it was built, and I was impressed. Not only did it house the Air Traffic and Navigation Services (ATNS) and South African Weather Services (SAWS), they had incorporated the Aerodrome Rescue and Fire Fighting Services (ARFFS) as well, which is how I had managed to get an invite; a husband in the ‘business’.

I had checked my flight plan to Livingstone had been filed, and had checked the weather on the journey, which should be smooth, but I had better get my skates on.. Daily temperatures in South Africa at this time of year were climbing into the 30s, and it was already lunchtime, so the heat and altitude of the airfield would affect the performance.

I scanned the apron outside the terminal for my aircraft.  She might have logged a lot of miles, but she had been well maintained by the Comair maintenance crew, so our charter flight up to Victoria Falls should be uneventful.


I bagged a lift over to the terminal and headed for the Dreamliner.

I just needed someone to bring me a set of air stairs!


“So, how does it end?” Joe was obviously riveted by the movie he had been watching pending my arrival, that he had nodded off, and my voice made him jump. “Oh, you know, the same as usual; the technical consultant should be shot at dawn for signing off on that unbelievable rubbish!”

I made a mental note to give that B-movie a miss.

Taking the baton and wishing him a safe trip home, I made my way down to B10 where my Co-Pilot, Pieter, was already doing the walkaround of our F27 Friendship.


I had to stop and take stock for a moment. The last time I had flown on one of these was back when I was a young child, from our home in Hampshire to the Channel Islands. I could never forget the incredible sound of the Rolls Royce Dart engines as they started up, and then literally screamed. I would never have guessed that I would now be piloting one of these vintage aircraft myself.

We would be taking members of one of the local ‘wine appreciation’ societies, and as I entered the cabin I could tell that one or two had already started to check out the alcoholic provisions on board. I motioned to the steward to try and keep consumption to a minimum until we were in the air, and then walked up the aisle to the cockpit. It was a squeeze, even for me, to get into the seat.. it was cramped to say the least.

Checks done, we started the engines with the necessary GPU (no APU in this bird).

For those of you who have never had the ‘experience’ of hearing those engines, here is a taster:  https://youtu.be/zlg9p9JX6KY



Departing FALA we would be heading NNW towards Francistown in Botswana, and then across into Zambia.

Turning North from Lanseria





Once at our cruising altitude, we set the very basic Autopilot, and we could relax a bit. The laughing from the cabin became so loud that even the screaming of the engines was drowned out. I pressed the 'crew call' button and asked the steward what all the excitement was about.

“Well, it appears we have a joker on board”, he started, “You can imagine how amusing my flight safety brief was when I realised someone had swapped all the cards in the seat pockets”. He handed me a sheet of paper..


I tried not to snort. “Got to admit that is pretty funny”, I said as I passed it across to my Co-pilot, who, despite all his efforts, could not contain his amusement.

“I brought you some late breakfast”, the steward remarked, offering me the tray.

Not one of the most palatable in-flight meals I’ve seen



“Thanks, but I ate before we left”, I lied, “you take it, Pieter”. Even if I wasn’t a Vegetarian, I doubt I could stomach that culinary disaster.



It wasn’t long before we were crossing the border into Botswana




The Friendship is a great aircraft to fly even if the view from the best seats is a little restricted compared to others of the era




Approaching the Shashe Mooke, near Francistown


As we neared Shashe Mooke (on the left) and Francistown (on the right), ATC sent us West towards the Sua Pan which is one of the largest seasonal lakes in the world, and site of Sodium Carbonate mining.

At this altitude, you can appreciate the size of this lake





Our aircraft might be over 40 years old, but she’s reliable and a great opportunity to be more hands on without the technology that sometimes takes the joy away from flying.




As we neared the Zambia border, I made a cabin announcement so that our guests in the back wouldn’t be too involved in their latest ‘tasting’ and miss the show altogether.

We followed the Zambezi River and finally saw the Victoria Falls emerge from the low cloud








Second circuit above the falls




As the sun was starting to set rapidly, we contacted Livingstone Approach and requested permission to land.

Turning towards Livingstone




Gear down, final checklist completed





On Approach





On Final





Approaching Minimums



Turning off the runway we taxied to the parking area. The terminal wasn’t much to speak of, and as all other flights had come and gone for the day, it was pretty deserted.

Shutting down the aircraft and listening to the ‘scream’ of the engines slow to a whine, we shut down and then went to check the damage in the cabin. Not too bad, considering..

Our merry party had even left a few unopened bottles of Thelema Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 in their haste to get to the hotel bar, so rather than it go to waste, Pieter and I grabbed a bottle each. 

Retrieving my flight bag from the cockpit, I pulled out the baton, put the bottle and my charts in, made sure the baton was close to the top where I could get it easily, and texted Tim to let him know I had arrived.

A short adventure but seeing the falls from the air was an experience I would not forget any time soon.



Sim: FSX Accelleration

Add-ons: FALA from NMG Simulations

Fokker F27 - Just Flight

Comair Repaint courtesy of : John O'Duffy  June 2015 available from AVSIM


Edited by hlminx
minor spelling... arrrrgh
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Yey! well done Steph :clapping: that was very underhand of you to build me up to expect a minimal PIREP and post this, you really are a Minx!

I have to tell our fellow pilots that Steph is suffering big time from a cold, and is living on honey and lemon at the moment so a great effort also given the problems she had making the images show, and she arrived on time, that's dedication for you! I hope your special recipe curry clears those sinuses.



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Terrific trip Jess. The F27 whine makes one want to throw oil into the works...sounds like it is screeching itself to bits...a gorgeous steam gauge bird. Your wide pics are Jealousy Inciting...and now that I am better employed and just starting to recover financially I resent the timing on this lovely set of temptations to upgrade. :P 

Lastly, that emergency card...wonderful.

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16 hours ago, Captain Coffee said:

Terrific trip Jess. The F27 whine makes one want to throw oil into the works...sounds like it is screeching itself to bits...a gorgeous steam gauge bird. Your wide pics are Jealousy Inciting...and now that I am better employed and just starting to recover financially I resent the timing on this lovely set of temptations to upgrade. :P

Lastly, that emergency card...wonderful.

Bless you Coff... better get another brew! Jess isn't posting for a few legs yet ;)

I'm re-building my PC again after some rather nasty goings on, but sometimes wiping can be beneficial. I'm not quite at the point where i am resigned to move to P3Dv4 so I know how you feel about soldiering on with what you have for the time being. Got to say that my My Triple Head to go is my saviour!  Those wide screen shots are a doddle as they don't tax my Graphics card too much, and i get pretty good FPS as a result.

Just another 30-40 add ons to do, and some tweaking, then i might be back to where i was when i did my Sion trip :blink2:

Edited by hlminx
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