Touring historic Jordan..Part 1

After arriving in Amman I searched around the internet for a tour company in the area. I knew I would be here for a few days prior to heading off to Cyprus. At that time I thought that arrangements were in good order for that next leg the following Monday. Didn’t quite work out that way.  Some email problems got in the way but they now seem to be resolved and progress is being made for a departure sometime next week…specific day unknown. More on that in the next post.

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Bahrain to Amman, Jordan 4 Jan 2011

First a word or twelve about the hospitality of the DHL Air Cargo folks at the Bahrain airport. As briefly mentioned previously, they had extended the invitation to hangar the aircraft due to high winds on the day of arrival at Bahrain. It would have made my visit very uncomfortable if the Red Rockette had to sit in that wind with no tie downs available. The chaps also helped me a great deal with minor maintenance items that were easy to deal with because of their great attitude about keeping such a vintage treasure in first class order. I cannot thank them enough for their assistance and hospitality. The manager of this facility is from Scotland, where this aircraft was first flown as a British Royal Navy “Traveller” in 1944. He was pleased to hear of the old girls history in his home country during WWII. As some of you know, in the future I plan to stop at that airfield where she was first based, todays Glasgow Airport, in order to give her a homecoming party. So a BIG THANKS to the DHL chaps of the Bahrain facility.

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Welcoming in 2011 in the desert of Bahrain

As I left off in the last blog post, I was being entertained by a local Bahrainian lady and one of her friends from Oman, thanks to a great chap back in Muscat who organized the meeting. The Omanian chap who was with us in Bahrain had a family emergency back home so he headed off to tend to that event. I was invited to spend New years eve in the desert with a great group of folks. A tent had been set up, a fire started, and a wonderful evening of stories, card games, and camaraderie took place under the stars of the desert.

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Muscat to Bahrain 27 Dec 2010

After a lovely Christmas and wonderful hospitality with old friends in Muscat described earlier, it was time to move on. The senior Koscos were leaving their daughter Hollis on 28 Dec and it seemed right to give them at least a little time to themselves. And there was a weather system coming their way with some high winds expected. The Red Rockette was not tied down. I don’t like to leave her anywhere and not have her tied down but the situation just did not lend to a place to tie her down or store her inside a hangar.

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India to Muscat, Oman just prior to Christmas

I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and will have a Happy New Year.

The flight from Ahmedabad, India to Muscat was a long one…6.5 hours. The usual fueling delays and problems with leaky hose nozzles, etc.  I was still refueling when the ATC folks sent a truck out to see why I had not called for my clearance. One has to work at maintaining demeanor in situations like this one. Finally got in, received  a start clearance quickly followed by a “taxi now” clearance. Zipped right into position on the runway, did the runup there, and away we went. She was heavy but performed beautifully. A direct course to Karachi was not available so an extra 50 miles was added to the journey by flying north to Chor, Pakistan, making a hard left to Karachi, then out over the Arabian Sea paralleling the coast line.

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Chiang Mai to Kolkata, India to Nagpur, India to Ahmedabad, India

Yeah, I know that’s a long title but it’s been too long since I’ve updated this blog.  And now it’s late in the evening here in Ahmedabad and I have an early call for the flight on Monday, 20 Dec to Muscat, Oman. Can’t seem to get it all done during these layovers.

The flight from Chiang Mai to Kolkata got a late start due to a Holiday that nobody could identify. Got away at the last moment of my clearance limit, flew along the required airway to the south, then turned west to enter Myanmar. I had actually wanted to land there but with the recent elections it was to be very difficult. But their ATC folks gave me a shortcut up to the northwest towards Dhaka, Bangladesh to shorten the flight a bit. The downside of that was some LBPC’s…Little Black Puffy Clouds…rain clouds that looked quite menacing. Skirted most of them and washed the aircraft in the rest. No cockpit leaks so that test is now complete.

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Chaing Mai to Kolkata–at least it’s a start

It’s Friday, 10 Oct 2010 here in Chiang Mai, Thailand. The alarm rang at 0500, a shower, and another delightful breakfast served by Apple, the Thai wife of Tony Waddoup of the UK. They’re the operators of the countryside Baan Chuenjai Guesthouse near the little airfield called NOK. All meals are taken outside on the “bandstand”…Tony is a musician. Got to the airfield very early, created a good deal of sweat loading the Red Rockette, and finally got airborne, having avoided the cows but NOT their pies, on the way to Chiang Mai airport to clear Customs, etc before leaving for Kolkata, India….or so I thought.

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Chiang Mai and Thai Taste Treats

Still out in the country about 10 miles southeast of Chiang Mai.  After a great deal of drama with the Thai flight clearance folks a few days back after arriving from Cambodia, I finally was released to fly the 10 miles to little NOK airfield.  However, I have no further clearance to fly locally so the Red Rockette sits in a nice hangar at NOK.  I, on the other hand, am enjoying the taste treats of a wonderful chef, Apple, the lady of the house. Her husband, Tony, and I have been fed to the max with wonderful Thai home cooking. Apple has often taught Thai cooking in many places, including London.  True to her name, she makes an outstanding apple pie served with homemade ice cream.  Dinner this evening was Green Curry with Chicken and veggies.  Yummy.

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Cambodia back to Thailand

Sorry this has taken so long to get posted. Operator error.

Huge disappointment last week as Vietnam denied entry with the Staggerwing.  The final reason was “You fly too low.” They are accustomed to jets that fly above 20,000 feet that they can keep in radar contact.  At the 9 to 12,000 feet that I would be flying I would be out of radar contact at times.  I turned to the east from Thailand only because I wanted to visit Vietnam.  So it is very disappointing to be denied entry.  On the other hand, I have discovered the very pleasant the town of Siem Reap, Cambodia. I waited out the Vietnam drama here, saw the famous Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom temples, the silk farm, and the largest lake in Southeast Asia, Tongle.  Visited a very interesting “Floating Village” by longboat.  All homes are on stilts due to the massive change in water level of the lake from season to season.

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The Bay of Bangkok

It’s 0100 (that’s military for 1am), I’ve just made my first connection to the internet in Thailand, and I’m watching a fantastic lightning show out the front window over the bay of Bangkok.  I’m still stoked after the flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia to Pattaya Airpark, Thailand.  I’ve rented a beachfront condo for a few days to try to catch up a bit.

My reception committee did an amazing job of it.  Landed just prior to darkness falling, was presented with a beautiful lei as a welcome gift (smells great!) put the aircraft to bed, and was treated to a wonderful seafood feast!  And all from the local waters…absolutely blown away by the hospitality shown by these wonderful local aviators.

Cheers, Windsock

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