Sunday, October 29, 2006


van onze CAR correspondent ...

Hi Hans

Berberati is still rare as a destination but I met the bishop and his accountant and they will probably ask for some flights in the future since the roads in this area are very bad at the moment and not always safe (Berberati is weer een bisdom).
Olivier from the Red Cross has left about 2 months ago and Marie-Claire is his replacement. She is coming along to Bangassou on a regular basis. There is nothing happening with MSF or WWF. I think that WWF is flying with the ASF C182. The CICR is also using ASF to go to Paoua. Their price is less than half of our plane. I guess that they do not have to pay for maintenance. There are mechanics coming in every couple of weeks from France to do the work on the Caravan (which is coming in from Mbandaka for that) and the 182. So that will save them lots of money. I calculated the maintenance costs for every 200 hrs to be more than 4 million FCFA (2000 CFA = 3 euro). On top of that I had an extra 600.000,- to pay to fix our electrical problem. Plus there is about 50.000,- to be paid as landing fees to ASECNA every month. Then you have the salary for the two guardians every month and the odd guardian at other airfields that need to be paid when I stay overnight. All this comes to quite a bit of money. On top of that, we have to change the licence plates of our vehicles as well. That has cost me 65.000,- so far for the Landcruiser and will be more for the Corolla since there is still the tax to be paid as well. I am still managing although I am starting to run low on our account. The upcoming propeller change will not be for free either, not to mention the cost of the propeller. The propeller itself is being paid in The Netherlands though. Unfortunately Ben is still in The Netherlands and he will be back on the 18th of November. But I am sure I will manage the financial situation. I have still got a nice account in St. Charles if I have any need.
In general there are not a lot of outside clients at the moment. So I am trying to do no empty flights. But I think that the number of flights will rise with the lack of security on the roads. There will be a bigger demand for flights within the Mission itself.
The other 206 is flown by two pilots. I am not sure though whether they are locals or from DRC. They seem to be flying with 2 crew all the time. The other day I heard them on the radio stating 2 crew and 4 pax. I was a bit surprised because that means a very heavy aeroplane. But then I was told that another pilot had seen them take off in Bria (I think). He said that the plane hit the runway twice after take off before it finally got really airborne. Either they were really overloaded or they did not know that rotation speeds are different with different weight. One of the pilots also asked me once what the best landing speed would be for the 206. I am not sure if I would want to be a passenger on that plane.
As I mentioned, Ben is still at home and will come back on the 18th of November with two of his family. We will go straight to Mobaye the same day. There will be some celebration because of his 40th (I think) anniversary of his ordonation.
Helmut has had a very bad case of malaria. He told me on the radio that it has been the worst he has ever had. Piet has been very busy because he had arranged some huge gathering of people in Mobaye. I think there were about 6000.
Theo is doing fine in Bangassou although the Maison Maanicus is getting empty. There is only him and Antonio left. Astianax went to Nigeria for further studies and Christoph is now in Pissa. I am always welcome at Maison Maanicus and there is always a cool beer there for me in the evening when I stay in Bangassou. Fidel is slowly taking over the part of accountant from Theo and is also always helpful when I arrive. But you know what it is like to be the pilot here. Wherever you go you are being welcomed as if they had known you for years.
I have been invited by Manolo, Regine and Jacky to spend a few days in M'Baiki before I leave. I hope that I will have time. Annick and Thomas have left last week. We had a nice farewell lunch at Ali Babas. Yvonne has been in St. Charles for a few days two weeks ago. I always get along well with her. On her last day we had pizza in town. We were joined by Achmed who then invited us. Achmed and his brother Mohammed are Lebanese who also fly with me regularly to Bangassou. They have got a store in Bangassou. I had been invited to their house a few weeks ago for dinner along with Blandine (the new co-operant = vrijwilliger), Marie-Claire (from the Red Cross) and Fidel.
André from Minair has now been in France for two months. I have no idea when he will be back. The story is that his passport had been stolen in France. At the moment Nicola is running the shop.
The mechanic you are talking about is still around asking me for money every now and again. Unfortunately my wallet is always empty. Yesterday he told me that he needs to see Alex at the Ministry of Transport for his mechanics licence. I have no idea what he would need a Central African licence for when the plane is registered in DRC unless they are planning to reregister it here. But you know that he is always very important and talks a lot.
The fuel supply has not been a problem since I have arrived. A few days after my arrival they got stocked up again and since then there has been no shortage. I hope it will stay like that. But I think that also the military has put some pressure on them because they are flying quite a lot with the 2 Islanders and they have also got a C172 or 182. There is a Hercules based here now as well along with an MI8 helicopter. As far as I know they are both owned by the military. The Herc and the MI8 are not flying a lot. I guess that they are expensive to run. But at least that gives them some transport capability if they have to deploy troops somewhere quickly. At the moment this is exactly what they need.
So you see life here is never boring. If there is absolutely nothing to do for me I take the time to read or write emails to you. So far I have always found something to do to pass the time. But then I am not a person who needs to be occupied all the time or go crazy.
I am still looking forward to Bas’s arrival. Not because I am ready to leave but it will be fun to fly with him and show him around in town and have a cool draught beer once in a while. I am having a drink with the other pilots in town from time to time. But apart from the ASF pilots they tend to have a rather big quantity of drinks and I end up having to take them home. I do not like that a lot because driving around in town at night is not something I like a lot. There are always people walking on the streets and the streets are not well lit. The oncoming cars are usually blinding you because the headlights are not adjusted properly. So it is very easy to run someone over. And then of course there is the military that stops the cars at night regularly. Not that I ever got in trouble, I just do not like talking to people armed with an AK47 stinking of booze asking for money for "coffee". The big advantage of being a pilot here is that you get to know lots of people that are in some or other way superior to the guys that stop you on the road. That means that you usually get away without problems. It is still a hassle though.
During daytime it is the police that are stopping the vehicles. But they know me quite well now and I just greet them whenever I pass them. They return the greeting very friendly and I have not been stopped during the day for about 3 months. After I had changed the licence plate I passed them at the traffic lights where the old runway starts when you come from the airport. I greeted them and first they did not recognize the car with the different plate. All of a sudden I heard one of them shouting:"C’est lui!" through the open side window. Theo was in the car with me (I had just arrived with him from Bangassou) and he looked at me very surprised.
The last I heard from Bas was his email from Tanzania. I have no idea whether he is still there or already back in The Netherlands. I think the plan was to stay there about 3 weeks and then return to Amsterdam. I think he said he would stay in the Netherlands another 2 weeks or so before starting his journey to Afrique noir. Last week I got an email from Albertine asking if it was possible for me to stay a little longer so that I can show him around a bit and get the necessary paperwork done. It is a lot easier and saves time if you do not have to go and find offices and people (they are not always in the offices either) all by yourself.
So at the moment I have no schedule, neither for Bas’s arrival nor for when I am supposed to leave. We will see what happens.
That’s enough for now. I have had three power cuts while writing this. You know, my laptop is already 5 years old and therefore the battery is U/S. So whenever the power cuts out I am sitting in front of a black screen. Luckily the auto save is enabled; otherwise I would have gone mad.
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Friday, October 27, 2006


A never-boring-story

Hello Hans

Sorry for the late reply but we had some work going on in St. Charles and therefore some power cuts from time to time in addition to the regular ones.
Life here goes on as you remember it. On Sundays and Mondays we are having our obligatory drink before lunch. Since Soeur Noella has come back she is usually joining us on Sunday as well. Whenever there are people coming or going we are having a little welcome or farewell drink and yesterday we had one on Austria since it was our national holiday.

There is more news at the airport though. The King Air 90 I told you about has left for Entebbe. They have got another contract there. But there is another one here now, French registered. A few weeks ago another Cessna 206 arrived, registered in the DRC. Yesterday a Cessna 208 arrived and will be based here for 6 months to fly for the World Food Program and UNHCR to Mboki.

The propeller for our plane is still in Florida. So I talked to Alex from the Ministry of Transport yesterday if we might get an extension for the old prop since there are still almost 400 hrs to go. It is actually the 7 years that limit us to the end of October. It seems that it will not be a problem to fly until the new propeller arrives. I still hope that it will be sooner than later. I would rather get it done before Bas gets here so that he does not have to deal with it while he is getting settled in.

Last Sunday I went to Berberati. The Saturday flight there was postponed due to weather and so I went there twice on Sunday. I tried to leave early but was a bit delayed because of quite thick fog in Bangui. We finally took off at 07:30 hrs local time. As usual there were low clouds covering the beautiful landscape all the way to Berberati. I got hold of ASECNA (L'Agence pour la Sécurité de la Navigation Aérienne en Afrique et à Madagascar) in Berberati on the HF and they told me that the cloud base was at 400 feet, solid overcast. Now I was thinking about the last flight when I did not have to find a hole in the clouds to find the airport. By the way, the VOR in Berberati is working!
This time I was about to turn back towards Bangui when, oh what a miracle, a hole in the clouds appeared. It was about 3 NM northwest of the airfield and we had a nice low pass over the town which is the second largest in CAR (according to the Britannica 2002 with 47000 inhabitants). On downwind the right suction pump failed but luckily we have two. When I got back to Bangui the weather was VMC and I flew back to Berberati. On the second run I was finally able to see most of the landscape since the sun had burnt the clouds off. I stayed there until Wednesday and was able to finish my book (must be around the 20th book I have read in CAR). Back in Bangui we changed the vacuum pump and the plane is again in perfect order (apart from the prop but this is being dealt with as well).

You might have heard about the not so good news. The problems in the Darfur region in Sudan are not getting any better, au contraire. Saturday morning I talked to a South African crew who was on the way back from Chad to SA. They told me that the situation in Abeche (east of Chad, not far from Sudan) was getting worse by the day. There are lots of problems with so called rebels. When I was in Abeche about 2 years ago there were 43 NGOs working in that area because of the problems in Darfur. Most of those NGO were trying to help the thousands of refugees. Back then it was the refugees that had come to Chad and now the violence has caught up with them again. Today at the aeroclub I was told that there was news on the radio this morning that rebels had been chased away by government troops from Am Timan in Chad. Am Timan is only about 300 km north of N’Dele. It was said that the rebels fled but nobody knows yet whether they went east or south.
Another unknown factor for the stability in this area is the second round of the elections in DRC the day after tomorrow. Apparently there has been some shooting in G’Badolite just south of Mobaye. It was said that it had happened between supporters of Bemba and a son of Mobuto (who, as far as I know is not involved any more because the election on Sunday is only between Bemba and Kabila). However, the northern part of DRC is a stronghold for Bemba and maybe the other faction is now supporting Kabila as well. The situation is sometimes very confusing. I am sure that if you ask those fighting what they are actually fighting for they will not be able to tell you. All they will tell you is that they are either fighting for this leader or for another.
It seems that our politicians have not yet understood that Africa is not Europe and that sending some soldiers is not a solution. But who am I to criticize.
All I can tell you is that at the moment the situation is not yet out of hand and CAR seems to be still in some kind of orderly state although there is apparently also some fighting already happening in CAR as well. However, the problems all around it are certainly not helping. In the local newspaper there have been talks about more French soldiers being sent (about 1500!) or even UN troops.
My personal opinion is that the problems are mainly coming from outside at the moment. CAR may need help (military or other) to deal with that or things could start boiling within as well because I am sure that there is one or another that might just be waiting for Bozize to be weakened and then start another coup d’État.
We will have to wait and see what the future holds.

Best regards

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Thursday, October 19, 2006


Mario vertelt verder ...

Hi Hans

Got an email from Bas (Bas is de gedoodverfde opvolger van Mario in de C.A.R. en hij doet op dit moment een stage bij FMS – Flying Medical Service - vanuit Arusha, Tanzania, zie de link van FMS) today. He is in Tanzania and is enjoying it thoroughly.
I loved Tanzania as well. I checked my logbook and found that I did 22 flights, a total of 46:20 hrs, between the 12th of October and the 2nd of November 2004. I went to 15 different airfields (Mario heeft – als piloot - met National Geographic het hele Afrikaanse continent doorkruist op zoek naar de effecten die de mens op de Afrikaanse natuur heeft, zie ook de link van National Geographic).
I remember the one in the Serengeti very well because it was a very short runway. When we landed it had rained before and the runway was still wet. In fact the runway was so slippery that I could not apply brakes until the speed had come down to almost walking speed. It was scary at times.
I did two flights from this airfield over the Serengeti. I remember taking off with full tanks and 3 persons on board. The other pilot and his wife were at the other end of the runway to take pictures and a video. I remember them running to the side because I needed practically all the runway for take off. Talk about high density/high altitude. But it was certainly one of the most amazing places. We saw hundreds and hundreds of wildebeests (gnus), zebras, elephants and antelopes of all kind. I remember once flying so low that we could make out an ostrich egg on the ground. Not to worry, it was for scientific reasons and we had a permit for low flying in the park. We also did a game drive and we saw two herds of elephants merging, they must have been 500 in total.
The airfield was right next to an awesome tourist camp. It was a tented camp but with all the luxury you can imagine. They even had wireless internet. My tent was almost as big as a bungalow with a huge bed. The shower had no roof so you could see the stars in the evening while having a relaxing shower. You know what the sky is like in Africa. With no artificial lights around you can see thousands and thousands of stars (I think I read once that the naked eye can see about 6000). Connected to my sleeping tent was a library tent. I would be woken up in the morning with a wake up call like that: “Good Morning Mr. Mario. Your coffee is in the library tent.”
I would come from the bathroom, dressed in one of the softest bathrobes I have ever worn and have a nice hot coffee before getting dressed and then going to the dining area where the big breakfast was waiting. After that I was ready for the next flight, bouncing around in the heat at 300 to 500 feet AGL for about 4 hours. Unfortunately we spent only three days there. I could have spent the rest of my life doing that.
But the rest of Tanzania was just as amazing. In the Ruaha Park I also did a game drive. I found a herd of buffalo, I would say about 300. They were gathered at the almost dried out river bed of the Ruaha river. Then I noticed some lions sneaking around, trying to separate a young or weak buffalo from the rest. They did not manage that time. I know it sounds strange but I would have liked to see the lions killing a buffalo. But then again it is not that strange since that is the way nature works.
I left the buffaloes and lions alone for a while but came back about an hour later. The lions were resting in the shade of a big acacia tree. There were 18 lionesses and one male lion. He was sleeping under another tree a little further up the hill. Of course I had to tease the three women who were with me that this is what it should be like for me as well. Anyway, that was the biggest pride of lions I have ever seen.
We also stopped over at Mahale at the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika. The camp there was right at the beach of the lake. It was like being on the beach in Italy except that it is sweet water and there are crocodiles and hippos and you could just make out the shore on the other side of the lake and behind you was the tropical forest. The shore on the other side is the Democratic Republic of Congo. But the most fantastic thing about this place are the chimpanzees. We walked into the forest for about 1 hour. All of a sudden there are these chimpanzees all around you. You are supposed to kneel down so that you do not frighten them. I was told though that they are very strong and can easily kill a human. It is still interesting how they walk just past you, almost ignoring that you are there. There are so many more interesting places to see in Tanzania, like the Kilimanjaro or the Ngorongoro crater or Lake Natron. These are fantastic views from the plane.

Anyway, I am also enjoying the flying here. I went to Kembe and Bangassou the other day. It was a “heavy” load since I had the bishops of Bangassou and Alindao and the accountant of Bangassou on board. We got into Kembe just before the thunderstorms came in from the east. I had them already on the weather radar and knew that it was going to be tight. We got in ok and the rain started about ten minutes afterwards. So we spent an hour with the sisters having some coffee and cookies before we continued on to Bangassou. The following day I went back to Bangui via Mobaye. I had one passenger from Bangassou and some packages for Mobaye. Helmut told me on the radio that the weather was ok in Mobaye. So we took off in Bangassou and entered the low stratus after about 2 minutes which would make it about 600 feet AGL. Coming out on top I noticed that this stratus was everywhere, as far as the eye could see. So the passenger asked me whether it would be like that all the way to Bangui. I said that I did not know but it certainly looks like it. He was wondering how we would be able to land in Mobaye. I said that I was wondering myself but if we would not be able to land we can just continue to Bangui. In the meantime I heard another pilot on the HF who had taken off in Bangui and I asked him what the weather was like. He said that it was overcast at about 600 feet, so not a problem to get in. All the way to Mobaye I did not see a single hole in the clouds. I was willing to fly the “GPS-approach” down to about 2000 feet (boven zeeniveau, dat is daar ongeveer 600 voet boven de grond) and see whether I would break cloud or not and continue to Bangui. I was finally over the river just south of the aerodrome when I saw a nice hole in the clouds just above the river. So I circled down through it and got out aligned with the runway. After flying over the runway we landed without problems. The cloud base was also at about 500 feet. By the time we got to Bangui the sun had already broken the stratus into cumulus clouds and I landed visually.
The winds have changed considerably now. Even at 3500 feet you will have a headwind going to the east. But coming back towards the west is a pleasure. Even at 6000 feet the groundspeed goes up to 150 knots. Next time I have to check what it is like at 8000 or 10000 feet.

Hope that you also enjoyed the story about Tanzania.
Till next time.

Thursday, October 12, 2006


Armoede en dromen

Hello Hans

Although I promised to answer your questions from your last email I will do that next time. But as you are also interested in the present situation in Central Africa I will comment on how I see the social situation here but not strictly confined to the Central African Republic. This email was actually triggered by a radio report which I was listening to on yesterday’s flight to Bangassou on the HF radio.The flight itself was unremarkable. I was enjoying the flying as usual only a bit annoyed that the groundspeed would not go over 105 knots (so it took me 2:38 hrs to get to Bangassou, the way back was only 2:09 hrs). So while I was watching the landscape passing underneath me I was listening to the news which comes on every half hour. I have to admit that I have already forgotten what had been reported. In between there are reportages of all different kinds but yesterday’s caught my attention.It was about a little village in the Democratic Republic of Congo, nowadays well known because of the European soldiers being committed there due to the elections having been held. By incident a large part of the way to Bangassou takes me over Congo territory. The report was a merry one as it was about a new school that had been built. Finally the kids are able to get some kind of (my insertion) education. So far not something that would really blow your hair back. But then they interviewed two little boys about what they want to become. One of them was very enthusiastic about one day being a pilot and that he was so happy that he could finally go to school. All of a sudden there is this strange connection made between yourself and a far away and completely anonymous boy. Had he said that he wanted to become a biologist I probably would have forgotten about this report just as quickly as I had forgotten the news that had been broadcasted before.Now you sit in your plane flying along, enjoying it as always and you think that this boy would probably enjoy it as much, should he really be able to become a pilot in his years to come. You might think that it took you determination, perseverance and hard work to be able to become a pilot. It may well be so in our countries. But in our countries we know that we do have the possibilities to make some of our dreams come true. If you put all my determination, perseverance and hard work that I have invested so far (for 29 years???) together and have this boy have it in every single day of his life, do you think that he will ever be able to make his dream come true? I very much doubt that. I have been to a little village here in CAR in June. I went with father Helmut in his pirogue. The village is basically only accessible by boat along the river. There certainly are some footpaths connecting it with other villages further in the hinterland but there is by no means a road that you could use with any kind of vehicle. When we had beached the pirogue the people were of course interested in who this new white face (yes, I had not yet been exposed to the sun a lot) would be. So Helmut introduced me to the people as the pilot for the Catholic Mission. At least this is as much as I could understand. He was speaking to them in Sango as most people in the villages do not speak French. There was a lot of "ahh" and "ohh" and they eagerly told Helmut that they had seen me flying over their village the day before (which was in fact true because I was avoiding thunderstorms on the way from Bangassou to Mobaye, see one of the earlier stories). While being in the village I was able to talk to a man who was telling me that he is responsible for teaching the children. He said that most children attended his classes at least from time to time but that it was still very hard work. He was not a proper teacher but he spoke French and was also very proud of being able to speak some English. He was trying to educate the young in his village as good as he could. Classes were usually held outside in the shade under some tree or in the building that is also used to celebrate the mess when father Helmut comes. The children do not have any books, neither to read from nor to write in. In any case, they do not have pens to write with either.I am assuming now that there is not a lot of difference between a village in CAR and a village in DRC. I have seen a school (a hut with no benches or chairs or tables) in a village in northern Mozambique and there is basically no difference and that is why I take this assumption as factual.Given these circumstances you will now probably understand why I doubt that the anonymous boy from a little village somewhere in DRC, interviewed by a reporter from Europe who has probably spent less then a day in this village (there are no air-conditioned rooms!) will ever be able to enjoy and to be a little bit proud of being a pilot.I was wondering why these reports were being broadcasted. Is it to calm our conscience, the conscience of us who live in the developed world, that there is something being done for the poor people in the Third World? To me it seems like saying that apart from giving the money to feed the poor so that they do not starve we even pay on top of that for their education. Do you know that the agricultural products being produced world wide could feed 12 billion people? There are now about 6 billion people living on this planet and there are still people who do actually starve.I have read another book lately by a Polish journalist and war correspondent. His name is Ryszard Kapuscinski. He says that about 80% of the people live in poverty which does not necessarily mean that they are all starving. There are lots of different kinds of poverty.Is it not a kind of poverty when you have a dream that (you may or may not know that at the time) you will never be able to fulfil?

Best regards


Monday, October 09, 2006



Hi Hans,

About a month ago I went to the waterfalls of Bouali with Dieu Donné, the superior of the congregation in CAR. On the way there, I saw lots of vehicles that were overloaded with people and baggage so that the rear bumper was almost scraping the tarmac. I saw taxis that had attached some kind of metal cage on the roof so that people sitting on top of the car could hold on to something while the taxi is going along at a speed of almost 100 km/h. The obvious problem is that when there is an accident there are always quite a few people that get killed.
The waterfalls are quite nice and they are just a little bit downstream from the barrage that supplies the electricity for Bangui. Not far from there the former president Patasse had a mansion. Next to it stands an abandoned helicopter, a Russian Mi 8 with a CAR registration. It had taken off just a few meters away, but was too heavily loaded and they crash landed it there. Apparently nobody had been injured but the helicopter was just left there.
Not far from Bouali there is also a little lake with some crocodiles. I went there with a couple of priests and sisters for a picnic the other day. A couple of weeks ago I was in Mbaiki and Pissa. It is interesting to see how the people live in the poor countryside. But even there you can tell the houses of the poorer people from those of the better off.



Lekker zwemplekje


Watervallen van Bouali


openbaar vervoer


nog meer couleur locale


Het achterland



Hi Hans,

Finally I took some time again to write a few things down. I was in Bayanga last Saturday, the 30th of September. The flight was planned for Friday, but the weather on Friday was to laden with thunderstorms. We had a squall line coming in from the east and decided to fly the following day. I left at about 0800hrs in the morning. The air was still quite humid after the rains we had the previous day and the cloud base was at about 800 feet AGL. It was a thin layer of stratocumulus with a few holes in it. Those holes vanished after a few minutes of flight and I was flying over an area of pristine forest, which I unfortunately could not see as it was under a white blanket of fluffy clouds. Only every few minutes I would get a glimpse of what was underneath this white blanket.
But I felt confident that I would be able to descend through one those holes and fly underneath the clouds when I was going to arrive in Bayanga. The closer I got to my destination the scarcer and smaller these holes became. When I had less than 10 NM to go, I cursed myself for not having descended earlier because now the blanket seemed to cover everything. I was almost about to turn around and fly back a couple of miles, when I saw some forest shining through the cloud just underneath me. I spiralled down and I was about 300 feet above the ground when I came down to the cloud base.
It was an impressive sight. There were little columns of moisture between the forest and the cloud base and I felt like flying in a cave with stalactites hanging down from the roof just touching the floor. I had only 3 NM left and found the airfield without problems (thanks to the GPS). On the way back the sun was getting higher and started burning away the stratus. I could get a better impression of how vast the forest is there.

On Sunday I took two newly arrived sisters to Mobaye and was planning to stay there till Tuesday. I like spending some time away from Bangui because I enjoy the tranquillity. In Bangui there is always some kind of noise. There are the cars and motorcycles, the barges on the river, the generator when we have no electricity, the music from the little bars and restaurants nearby, the muezzin of the mosque and sometimes the people of some obscure sect who have established themselves nearby shouting and singing until 3 or 4 o'clock in the morning. So when I was in Mobaye I started reading a book of Jean Ziegler. He is Swiss and is presently working for the UN. The book is called ‘The Empire of Shame’ (a direct translation of the German title ‘Das Imperium der Schande’ so I do not know whether this is the real English title). The book gives you some insight of how the developed world is still exploiting the Third World. How the big enterprises of Europe and America are making huge sums of money over the backs of the poor. The book has got about 300 pages and I had finished it on Monday evening. There are some amazing figures in it, e.g. that in 2004 the whole world has spent 780 Billion US Dollars on the military or that only the 500 biggest enterprises control almost 50% of all the wealth that was produced in 2004 worldwide. It is definitely a book worthwhile reading, makes you think a little.
Tuesday morning I flew from Mobaye to Kuango to pick up one sister and then continued to Bangui. An uneventful flight, so I will not bore you with the details.
Wednesday morning I flew with two sisters to Bangassou and spent the night there. At about three o'clock Thursday morning I heard the rain drumming on the roof and some thunder. When I got up at six it was still raining. Fortunately the rain stopped at about eight thirty and we took of at half past nine. The winds were pushing us along and at FL 60 we had a groundspeed of almost 120 knots in the climb at an indicated airspeed of 95 knots. So I decided not to climb any higher, since we were heavy as well. I had 4 passengers with some luggage and our trusted aeroplane was battling to climb at 300 to 400 fpm. As usual the thunderstorms were waiting for us about 100 km to the east of Bangui. They were well spaced though and I could get through with only a minor detour to the south. But when the storms arrived in Bangui about an hour after our landing the winds were really strong and I was glad that we had encountered only some turbulence when we had flown past. In the afternoon Tanneguy and I went for a drink to the U'Bangui Hotel since it was my birthday (I am 29??? now). We enjoyed the nice view of the river in the light of the already low sun. In the evening we had a nice apéritif. Since this was naturally a very special occasion we had a digestif as well.
That night the noise from the bars did not bother me at all.

All the bestMario


Een gesloten wolkendek ...


... zover het oog reikt


met toch kleine gaatjes

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