7 summits by Microlight

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(UTC + 5:45)
2-1

News release: 6 May, We have fuel!


 

 

 

 
At last our fuel has arrived. Four lovely 200 litre metal drums of AVGAS. It came in the same helicopter which brought me here 10 days ago, and has come all the way from India. We are in business!

Barty and I were at the airport earlier in the day during the 'rush hour' between seven and nine when anything up to 15 Twin Otters and Dornier aircraft can arrive and depart to Kathmandu. There is only parking for four so the turnaround is very rapid, some only stay for a matter of minutes. Even then the parking is only just big enough and it is extraordinary to watch the 'planes manoevering within inches of each other. 'They've never hit one another yet' I am told, but to fly in here in such relatively large aircraft requires very skilled pilots, we are at 9100ft, there is 200ft height difference between one end of the strip and the other and with a rock face at the uphill end of the strip there are no second chances.

The main purpose of our visit this morning was to let Sydney Spider inspect Lukla air traffic control and get a stamp in his passport. Sydney Spider is a well travelled creature belonging to my son Hugo's class at school. Amongst other places he has been to Dominican Republic, Canada and Morocco, but surely this must be his most exotic journey yet!

After our fuel arrived the weather was still good (for a change, it is usually very murky or even raining after lunch) so we went back to the airport to rig my microlight. Our parking place is the 'old' one in front of the Police post. It is not often used by the aeroplanes which land here, but is regularly used by the big MI-17 helicopters. These machines weigh up to 13 tonnes so they make a very considerable wind when they take off and land; not exactly the ideal place to park a microlight, but there is no alternative. They don't fly in the afternoon, or get here before about 8 in the morning (if they come at all - you never know) so we can fly from here in the two hours or so of light before 7 or after about 11 if the weather holds up. Between 8 and 11 my machine must be tighty fixed down with several tons of sandbags or it would be completely destroyed by a helicopter. The same applies to Angelo's glider.

This is one of the main reasons why we want to move up to Syangboche as soon as possible. The place is apparently much bigger and only rarely used by helicopters. Pilatus Porters are the only kind of aeroplane capable of using Syangboche and the last one of those in Nepal was crashed five or six years ago. It was flown into the side of a mountain in poor weather not far from here, apparently you can still see the remains.

While Barty and I rigged my machine, Angelo went for a fly in his paraglider. He has made several flights in the last few days from a rather unpromising launch point near our hotel. It has attracted an enormous amount of interest from the local people and when it looks like he is about to land you can see school children running from far and wide towards the spot. On this flight he approached to land at the airport on runway 24, surely the first aircraft ever to land in this direction at Lukla, right over the police afternoon parade. It was a most spectacular sight!

By the time my microlight was rigged, double and triple inspected, fuelled with some of our lovely new AVGAS and ready to go it was too late to fly. The huge crowd that had gathered the other side of the fence were disappointed - tomorrow morning perhaps.

The FIAT group
 
 
ICARO 2000 Hang Gliding World Champion
 
 
THE NORTH FACE clothing for extreme conditions
 
 
ALPHA emergency parachute
 
 
PARAMINA; Suppliers of Oxygen equipment to the expedition
 
 
Neltec flexible heaters
 
 
O-ZEE flight suits.  Suppliers of Bar-mitts to the expedition.
 
 
SKYDRIVE, the UK Distributor of ROTAX engines
 
 
Articole Studios - GRP mouldings
 
 
Lyndhurst Touchdown Services.  Supplier of fuel system components to the expedition.
 
 
PEGASUS AVIATION manufacturers of fine microlight Aircraft
 
 
MAINAIR SPORTS  manufacturers of fine microlight Aircraft
 
 
Industrial Pressure Testing Ltd; Suppliers of Oxygen cylinders to the expedition.
 
 
Mainair Sports; UK dealer for Warp Drive Propellors
 
 
BAILEY AVIATION manufacturers of Paramotors and automotive sport acessories
 
 
AdventureWeather.com providing Meteorological information to the expedition
 
 
Gerbings heated clothing
 
 
FLYCOM Intercom and Radio equipment
 
 
Quatar airways
 
 
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Page last reviewed
7 May 2004
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