Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Put this down as "You'll do it once, but never again."

Yesterday I hitched a ride from Nairobi to Loki on the DC-3. I decided to stay with them as they went over a lot of Sudan, and come back to Loki in the evening. It was going to be an opportunity to see a lot of ground I need to learn in Sudan ... and they were giving me a lot of "stick time" during cruise which is always fun... think heavy on the ailerons and light on the pedals.

Well, our best laid plans ran out of time. Delays in Juba, plus a long unload and reload in Loki (including offloading four motorcycles and loading a six wheeler golf cart on steroids), put us in Kurmuk with no option to get back to Loki before sunset. So I got to see a little taste of non-South Sudan. Really interesting.

We got into Loki this morning at 10. The freight was already loaded in the 206, so I did my preflight, loaded fuel, got my passenger ready, tied down the cargo, and taxied out. I was dropping of my passenger in Werkok, a small community near the Nile River. I would pick up four passengers with not much cargo, so it was an easy trip.

In Werkok I pulled out my freight, uncovering the stowed seats I needed for the return... and slowly realized there were only two and I needed three. That meant one passenger couldn't come. I got out the satellite phone and called base to let them know and start thinking options, then broke the news to the passengers. Three needed to catch an international flight from Nairobi that night, and one was just going to Nairobi for a visit. Unfortunately, she was the one that had to stay. I wish I could describe the look on her face when she found out she had to stay one more night there... but I have blocked it out of my mind.

I spend tonight in Loki, missing the kids (even IF Grace didn't want to talk on the phone tonight... "Dad, I just don't like talking on the phone. I just want to say good night...") and especially Breanna, then tomorrow I will slip over to Werkok at the end of my day and pick up the marooned soul. The DC-3 agreed to wait in Loki for us, and we will come down to Nairobi on it. So, hopefully, not too many feelings hurt. It was a madhouse this morning as they were getting the DC-3 ready to leave, and that was part of the reason the seat got missed, among a few other things. Hopefully a cold Coke or a milkshake will help her overcome another night spent in Werkok. I'm praying so.

Goodnight from Loki.

1 comment:

Lance Atkins said...


Thanks for all your excellent writing. It's great to keep up with the happenings in your guys' life and at AIM-AIR. I miss y'all, but maybe I'll be coming back in the nearish future!

-Lance Atkins