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It's been a interesting 12 months, this time last year I was looking for a job and paid good money to go to Morocco to fly a Boeing 737-800 for 500 flight hours. As things turned out I was offered a job in July with a rival airline based in Casablanca, flying both the 737-800 and the older 737-400. So now I get home to Accrington and my Girl once a month for a week or so.
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Conakry, Guniea

Posted 17-06-2008 at 11:49 by Boeing Guy

Got a phone call last night at 20.00, from dispatch asking if I could go to Conakry, Guniea as they needed a pilot. The flight was to depart at 23.00 and return this morning at 07.00. We set off on the flight, with a full load of pax, 191 souls on board, and settled in for the night. Captain Sadouk, we call him Sadouko, I am sure you can guess why, was acting as Pilot Monitoring while I was Pilot Flying. Somewhere over the Sahara, we lost contact with Dakar Radio, on HF, and tried to contact Stockholm Radio, who keep a listen out world wide, on HF, instead. Our aircraft are all fitted with a inflight satellite broadcast system called ARCARS, this suddenly chirped into life and we has a message printed off from base. At the same time, Stockholm radio and I made contact. Capt read the message, which was in French, swore quietly, and got his charts out. Meanwhile I was informing Stockholm Radio of our posistion and our destination. No small feat in HF. as any radio ham will tell you. They then proceded to tell me that under no circumstanses we are to carry on to Guinea as there 'is a bit of fighting going on'. Now I did not take this to mean they have had a bit of a pub brawl.... I tell the Capt this and he agrees as his message said the same thing.

So now we start to see if we can turn round. Do we have enough fuel for the return. Thankfully we left with nearly full tanks 19T of Jet 1 so going back should not be a problem. As the Capt writes the sat message for base, I explain to Stockhom radio what we are doing and then start the turn and we also start to climb to a relevent altitude (in the air, we fly at certain Flight Levels, (altitudes) depending on the direction of travel, bit like a motorway). Now still having no contact with Dakar radio and there being some aircraft in the area on out Traffic Collision and Avodiance System (TCAS) I make a broadcast on the open fequency we use in non radar controlled Africa, (126.900 VHF) informing anyone who is listening what we are doing. No sooner had I done this, but several other aircraft radioed us to ask us what was going on. As a result a Virgin Nigera, SAA and Air France all turned away from Guniea, so they would not get caught in anything.

That done the aircraft back in a safe place and knowing that we have enough fuel to get home, the flight computer now knows where it is going and both the Capt and I are happy that we have done everything requied we now turn our thoughts to the passengers... I let the Capt deal with this and thank my lucky stars that we have a bullet proof flight deck door!!!!
The purser tells us that there are quite a few angry passengers, but they have it under control and once these people calm down they see sense.

We get back arround 03.00 and the ground dispatcher comes on to tell us that the Police in Conakry have been rioting for more pay and the are is not very safe right now. The company get us both Taxi's to take us home, very old Mercedes Benz's, the staple of Africa and I go to bed happy I am not a hostage somewhere. Oh the joys of flying in Africa
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Views 2921 Comments 5
Total Comments 5


  1. Old Comment
    Margaret Pilkington's Avatar
    Oooh, what an interesting and exciting life you lead.
    I enjoyed that!
    Posted 17-06-2008 at 11:57 by Margaret Pilkington Margaret Pilkington is offline
  2. Old Comment
    harwood red's Avatar
    me too marg, thought you were gonna say when you landed you were told it was just a pub brawl great read
    Posted 17-06-2008 at 21:29 by harwood red harwood red is offline
  3. Old Comment
    BERNADETTE's Avatar
    So did I sounds exciting and scary at the same time
    Posted 17-06-2008 at 21:33 by BERNADETTE BERNADETTE is offline
  4. Old Comment
    flashy's Avatar
    i really enjoyed reading that, what a nice day trip out in the open air you had lol
    Posted 18-06-2008 at 08:13 by flashy flashy is offline
  5. Old Comment
    david1's Avatar
    That was great ! you should write a book about your exploits !
    Posted 24-06-2008 at 20:30 by david1 david1 is offline

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