Phuket - Nagpur 08.06.2010

We thought that the most difficult part was done. With the Atlantic and Pacific crossing behind us, we expected that for the rest of the trip we would just relax and enjoy what we like most : flying. This was without counting on the wet season which is present in Asia at this time of the year. The weather forecast that is sent to us daily from Meteo Suisse predicts that our stay in Thaïland could well be extended.

We are nevertheless glad to be already in Phuket. Yannick is even more happy as Vasita (his girlfriend) is coming from Bangkok to visit him. For once, we can really enjoy a few days of rest. The swimmingpool is beautiful but with the heavy rain falling we divert our occupation towards some Thaï massages. After all the long flights, our sore backs do appreciate the treatment.. We also enjoy the « Thaï Cuisine » which will allow us to gain the few pounds lost on previous flights. The digestion is also improved by some naps taken in the afternoon. I love holidays !We quickly come back down to earth when we study the weather forecast. Nothing good for the whole week. The rain only stops intermitently and starts again with higher intensity. We think about our aircraft which are sitting on the tarmac under the heavy rain and gusty winds.

We plan for an eventual departure on Tuesday the 8th of June but we need to modify our routing and change our destination. The weather in South India is really bad so we choose Nagpur. By selecting a destination north of the 20th parrallel we give us more chances to be in better weather conditions for the next few days. So we start the permit requests again with Thaïland and India. This time we get permission within 24 hours. I guess the 2700 $ we spend in various services (handling,taxes, aviation authorities) does seem to expedite the paper work approval.

It’s 05h30 and we say goodbye to all the people that came to see us depart. At 06h30 we lift off towards the Andaman islands (India) and Nagpur our destination. The first hours into the flight require our full attention. We must circumnavigate around these huge clouds that climb above 40’000ft. After 5 hours of flight we can see the weather improving and can start to enjoy our breakfast, we were hungry.. We start to get used to these ultra-long flights of 12-18 hours. Today the flight will last 14 hours but “only” 10 hours over the water. It is good for our moral to fly again over land. At 18h30, we land in Nagpur with a visibility not ideal for VFR flights. With the extreme heat (42-45°C), the haze reduces the visibility down to 3 miles. Our handling agent (who came specially from New Dehli for our flight) is here to help us with the Crew Visa issuance and all the formalities which will take a good part of our evening. We didn’t eat anything consistent during the whole day so we are starving but we decide to reduce the food to a minimum. From our previous professional trips we did in this part of the world, we recall that following a local dinner, it was often recommended to be near the restrooms, just in case… As we do not have a sophisticated toilet installation on board our small aircraft, we decide to just eat some white rice with an excellent Kingfisher beer!


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