2009. december 20., vasárnap

Night flying with Saint Exupery

Sweet unemployedness. Well, at the moment I'm enjoying it. Being with family. Preparing for Christmas... And for Botswana.I had an NVFR flight on Thursday (17th of December). There was snow, fantastic lights, and cold. Taxiing slowly in the snow to the holding bay of RWY 32 at LHTL is really challenging. The taxi lights unveil just a small part of the taxiway. Geez, a marshaller would come handy on a night like this.
Not to mention that the runway was also covered with snow. There are no real RWY lights at LHTL, just RWY edge lights. I had to realize that for the first time I'm a bit scared (or sort of). Taking off is not that tricky, just keep heading with a bit of rudder. But landing... You need to be neatly lined up. Keep cool. Rule 1: forget about the brakes... Rule 2: if you start to slip then Engine Master OFF... Save the prop.
With the instructor (an ex Hungarian Air Force test pilot, also MiG21 display pilot and trophy winner at the Fairford Airshow with the Hungarian Sky Hussars – the one in the middle of the pic) we flew over LHBP CTR. On the pic above you can see the T1 GAT terminal.
But this wasn't the most memorable part of the flight.
OAT was -11°C at 4000 (QNH 1005). And the problem was that the inside temperature in the airplane was the same. We had no heating. After half an hour I've reached to a point where I could only think of Saint-Exupéry and his novel the Pilote de Guerre. He describes a reconaissance flight where he not only had to vanquish german fighters but had to fight against hypoxia and cold.
It was a terrible and yet fantastic flight.

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