Tuesday, August 31, 2010

27 August 2010

It was a stunning sunset – pinks and blues that Picasso could not have imagined. And then bats; oversized bats descending onto fruit trees from everywhere. It is quite reflective of life – the beautiful and the not so beautiful and quite accurately reflected my mood. I don’t think I have been so stressed in my life. For three days in a row I had a headache – woke up with a headache – went to bed with a headache. And then yesterday morning David and I clashed – big time. I know him quite well and the worst thing one could do is to argue with him or go against his wishes or ideas. But I did. I took a stand. Of course it was never going to go anywhere good. I knew that too. In the end all my standing ground and having my say lost its meaning with the words, “Well you have a warped sense of reality then…” There was no need for me to comment since nothing would change. So I kept quiet. But I was so fuming mad. David was fuming mad too. Stress is a different sort of a character…
Is one not supposed to feel better after such a blow off?
We have run into a problem with the renewal of our Authority to Fly. To help those that are not familiar with the workings of the civil aviation authorities let me try to explain it, briefly.
Every aircraft needs an annual inspection for airworthiness. This inspection must be done by a so called Approved Person or AP. The AP signs the forms which are sent to CAA (Civil Aviation Authority) and after the aircraft owner has paid both the AP and the CAA, the CAA issues a certificate of airworthiness for the aircraft. In the case of the micro-light it is an Authority to Fly certificate. Our problem this year is that we have no AP person to do the inspection. Our plan was to use our good friend Peter who is a qualified AME (Aircraft Maintenance Engineer) but as it turned out, Peter does not have the appropriate rating (cloth and tubing rating). Unfortunately we only discovered that on Tuesday – the day after my arrival.

Of course, the back-up plan has always been to fly an AP out from South Africa but this was as a last resort only. It also meant that it was going to take a few days to get all that organized. In the meantime we are missing out on flying and surveying days which of course is making everybody edgy – especially David and me. (We are both ticked-off by the whole predicament…)

Our alternative was to ask special permission from the South African CAA to do the inspection – given my experience and that Peter has agreed to help (even though he is not cloth and tube rated). It was worth a shot but this in turn opened up more cans of worms. We needed to write motivational letters – agreements from Peter, formal flight permission letters from the Seychelles CAA giving us permission to fly in their air space (which though has always been openly accepted by the Seychelles CAA it has never been put in writing), proof of experience etc and all of these needed to be emailed to RAASA (Recreation Aviation Association of South Africa) who has been delegated by the SACAA to look after the airworthiness of micro-lights. RAASA in turn needs to have a board meeting and decide if we could do it or not. All of this of course takes time and it has been a difficult to decide which of the two options is the better - one is more expensive but a certainty (flying an AP out to Seychelles) the other is cheaper but not a certainty at all. To be honest, we didn’t even know when RAASA will make a decision nor if they even would say yes in the first place. It is small wonder we are stressed.

And if you did not follow one bit of that – don’t let it bother you. It’s just business and politics. Like me, I am sure you are interested only in the flying and whale sharks. J

In the meantime we have been doing loads of maintenance on the micro-light. It was quite necessary too. Surprisingly the wing is in great shape. We did a major inspection of her today and frankly did not even need to change one bolt. The undercarriage required some attention. Would you believe I discovered a smooth patch on the front tyre! (Pointed out by Peter!)

Wish you were here..!!!

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