Mike's Log

99-03-27

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Mike's Pilot Log: South to South Adventure

We managed to get airborne by 8:30 am with a great tailwind

We were supposed to take off at 7 am for our first flight but we had once again been invited out the night before by Carlos and Cecilia and got back to the hangar drunk and disorderly.

After greeting our new Argentinean friends especially the two people who hosted us in their hangar, Santiago and Ernesto, we managed to get airborne by 8:30 am with a great tailwind. Our ground speed averaged 140 km/h. Two of the local microlight pilots joined us for the first 120 km.

The weather forecast was not good. The forecast was a warm front moving in from the southwest. That seemed crazy, because the wind was from the opposite direction. There was a lot of dark low clouds and watching the local pilots expressions when they discussed the weather, told us they were not happy about the weather.

After a quick stop to say our good-byes to the two microlight pilots, we went on alone at last the travelling had begun. The weather started to worry both Olivier and I. We flew into light rain and low cloud. The wind was very strong luckily a tailwind. Our ground speed sometimes went up to 155 km/h. The rain seemed everywhere and so after 2 hours of dodging rain and clouds we landed on a deserted private airfield next to a small shack.

After a few minutes some people approached they talked to Olivier in Spanish they were Koume Rouge Cambodians who had left their country to escape the war.

We had something to eat and waited for the weather to improve. It worsened a little, but we decided to try getting a little further. After 15 minutes we realized our mistake. The weather was terrible up ahead lightning and very dark clouds. We wandered off course trying to find a place to land. We circled a small town and decided on a large field where cows were grazing. I knew it meant cowshit everywhere, but we didn't care.

We put up Olivier's tent, tied the wings down and dived out of the rain. Some people arrived to help us and Olivier went with them to get some food.

When the main storm hit us we felt very exposed. It was the worst and most powerful storm that either of us had experienced - especially in a tent in the middle of a field. We were worried about a lightning strike and the wings being blown away.

 


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