Gabon to Poland

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Gabon to Poland

Postby Darcy » Thu Jan 21, 2016 6:16 pm

At 500 feet in a Super Puma! This is how my February is shaping up! Fingers crossed....

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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Kurt » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:39 pm

Darcy wrote:At 500 feet in a Super Puma! This is how my February is shaping up! Fingers crossed....

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Skipping Lagos?

Probably a wise move but I thought Victoria Island had some good places and landing areas.
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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby coldharvest » Thu Jan 21, 2016 7:41 pm

Shotgun
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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Darcy » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:20 pm

I thought going straight up would be interesting, but the banks who actually own these things thought otherwise.
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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby coldharvest » Thu Jan 21, 2016 8:32 pm

Darcy wrote:I thought going straight up would be interesting, but the banks who actually own these things thought otherwise.

fuck'em, what do they know about flying helicopters
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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Darcy » Thu Jan 21, 2016 9:04 pm

Probably getting laid off when I hit Poland, so dragging this out as long as possible isn't such a bad idea. Got some friends to see in Benin, Liberia, Senegal, and Morocco, so this could be a real blast! The engineers are sure there'll be mechanical issues in all the right spots....
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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Darcy » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:10 am

Feel like a 5 year old before a trip to Disney. Maps arrived today, going over routing options and border crossings. Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Cameroon, Nigeria, Togo, Benin, Ghana, Cote D'Ivoire, Liberia, Guinea, Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Western Sahara, Morocco, Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria then Poland. Unfortunately some countries are just refuelling stops but lots of overnights planned and a few days in some favourites. The guys got stuck in Ibiza for almost two weeks bringing the birds down due to mechanical issues.....

Made up a cooler route shot....

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Anybody know where that restaurant in "Inception" might be in Tangiers? I was looking for it in Mombasa (in the film they said Mombasa) but heard they shot the Mombasa stuff in Tangiers. Stupid I know but I said if I ever got to Tangiers....
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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Darcy » Mon Feb 08, 2016 6:33 am

Last day packing up the base, heading out tomorrow. Hopefully.

One guy on the crew has done this same routing four times, always got by just calling himself aircrew and no problems, but someone got our corporate lawyers to look into the legality of it, and apparently we don't qualify for "Aircrew Transit Visas" because we aren't really an international carrier, and we require visas. Everyone is groaning because winging it has always worked, and is a hell of a lot more fun.

Corporate wanted a formal risk assessment done as well and we'll get right on that at some point in the very distant future.

So off to the Liberian embassy in Libreville to get the last Visa sorted, and there's two guys already bumped off the other bird's crew as their Serbian and Uzbekistan passports made things really difficult. All Canadian crew now! There were some permit issues flying through Cote D'Ivoire but think we got that sorted.

Old school!

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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Darcy » Tue Feb 09, 2016 4:44 pm

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First stop Libreville. Spent the morning packing the birds and then the flight up, too hazy for any good shots, then the rest of the day trying to get our hands on our exit permits. It was hilarious, everyone sending us to see someone else, and we ended up visiting four different offices on opposites ends of the airport, repeatedly. On foot. Eventually got that sorted, still have Customs and Immigration to see, maybe tomorrow.

Thought we'd spend a day at the Liberian Embassy sorting our VISAs but it appears our company has hired someone to do it for us! So some dude takes all our paperwork tomorrow morning, all pre-filled out, thank you very much, just needs our signatures and some photos, so we can sit pool side all day with G&Ts and wait.....

Trying to find our Exit Permits for the aircraft.....

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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Darcy » Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:38 pm

Impounded. Guess we are not off to Nigeria in the morning.

Apparently the Gabonese government thinks we are not covered by the oil exploration tax break granted to the project, and the company who own the copters supposedly owe a great deal of money. I had similar problems managing an operation in Morocco when we tried to leave but it was quickly sorted. Lawyers have it now. I certainly don't mind an extra weekend in Libreville! ;)

Worst I had to deal with was managing an operation out of Mombasa and being accused of bringing in mercenaries to overthrow their government. Cops with AKs and the whole nine yards. At the time I was not aware that our aviation partner's owner had been implicite in a coup attempt in Tanzania in 1983. My bad. Rumour has it that our Kenyan competition put the bug in security's ear. Can't say that I blame them for playing dirty.
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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Kurt » Wed Feb 10, 2016 3:59 pm

Darcy wrote:Impounded. Guess we are not off to Nigeria in the morning.

Apparently the Gabonese government thinks we are not covered by the oil exploration tax break granted to the project, and the company who own the copters supposedly owe a great deal of money. I had similar problems managing an operation in Morocco when we tried to leave but it was quickly sorted. Lawyers have it now. I certainly don't mind an extra weekend in Libreville! ;)

Worst I had to deal with was managing an operation out of Mombasa and being accused of bringing in mercenaries to overthrow their government. Cops with AKs and the whole nine yards. At the time I was not aware that our aviation partner's owner had been implicite in a coup attempt in Tanzania in 1983. My bad. Rumour has it that our Kenyan competition put the bug in security's ear. Can't say that I blame them for playing dirty.


Impounded? That means you have to pay through the nose to get it back I assume?

That sucks.
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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Darcy » Wed Feb 10, 2016 4:18 pm

I seriously doubt they'll have to pay anything, this sort of shit happens often, typically a few phone calls can sort it out, but we have had aircraft stuck for months in the past too, so I'll just drink gin and watch the show.....
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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Darcy » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:24 am

Well it appears that Customs in Gabon is not really a Federal entity. We cleared into Libreville, and of course would clear out of Libreville, being our port of entry/exit for Gabon. But Port Gentil Customs, where we operated, wants a piece of the pie. Apparently a whole flock of customs folk marched into our hangar in Port Gentil and were visibly upset that the aircrafts had already departed, so they seized whatever parts and tooling that was still on site, in the process of being packed up. They delivered a letter claiming that all company assets were being seized. When we spoke with customs in Libreville, they said THEY had no issues with us and we should be cleared to depart today, that the problem was just with the Port Gentil office.

We're not playing any shady games, everything was done on the up and up, but these sorts of things do happen with some regularity. I had a similar problem when I managed an operation in Turkey years ago, just moving operations from Samsun to Trabzon, not even crossing any border......

So maybe we get away today or first thing tomorrow. Kind of screws up my plans for the weekend.....
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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Darcy » Thu Feb 11, 2016 6:33 am

Some shots around town....

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Re: Gabon to Poland

Postby Darcy » Thu Feb 11, 2016 4:11 pm

Breaking hearts......out of here bright and early tomorrow, Nigeria next, and sleeping in Benin. Assuming everything goes as planned......
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