Clouds spirits

Clouds spirits

Whenever it is time to leave, a kind of race starts, and the end is never known.

I prepare myself, to no win, but to cross the final line and see the checkered flag going down.

I do my best, but the results not only depends on me, but also depends on others.

I was able to rest in Seychelles, with free time for my mind. The place I have found was called Marie Laure Suites, according to the nearby beach name, a perfect place to stay. Jacques, the responsible man of the installation was outstanding supporting all the needs I had, even providing me googles and a snorkel, to be able to explore the other world, the other one separated from the sky, by the horizon. The other world were it is also possible to fly.

The fact is that no many colorful fishes were around. Sure they were afraid of the spaniard that could be hungry. It was not the kind of swimmers they knew. He was donning a short, held with a rubber band….and was looking suspicious…

Take off was scheduled by the Seychelles Civil Aviation, at 0745 local time. So I was ready at 0600. Jacques drove me to the airport, so it was much easier.

Going through the gates was straightforward, and once I arrived to my dear airplane, I prepared everything to taxi into the refueling area, next the main apron.

They are not used for this kind of RV8 jets, nor with a pilot being the copilot, the flight engineer and the stewardess. So just starting to refuel took its time.

Everybody was kind and nice.

Once the airplane was refueled, I had to move it to the stands where the small airliners were parked (B787, and other small things, not even able to fly on 180 hp).

The Air Seychelles representative was unhappy to present me their invoice. He knew that it was a pure abuse to ask $900 just to pay the around $60 of airports fees. I told him kindly that we was right to be concerned !

In year 2001, when I was round the world, at Hakodate (Japan) I had to pay $3000 to handling, just to pay also,the $60 airport and landing fees..

I wrote an email to the Seychelles Cicil Aviation about those fees: no answer so far….

Finally I was able to take off at 0805 local time, and turn left direct to destination. Once the airplane floats in the air, again I feel free. It is the first step of discharging stress, even if the sky is black !

Weather was to be right. Tail winds were a dream for me, because headwinds were the ones normal at the area. However, when climbing to 10000 ft, figures were much better.

But not all was nice. Vertical clouds were developing and promised some action.

They were more or less scattered at the beginning but later they turned bigger, and went higher, converting themselves in huge equator thunderstorms.

As you know the atmosphere around the earth is not spherical. It is thinner at the poles, and thicker at the equator. At zero latitude, the troposphere can go really really high, and also the thunderstorms.


I had to decide many times which way to turn to deviate the many cells that were on my way. No weather radar on board leads to handle the situation in a different way.which-way

Which way to go?

Usually I try to find a hole in the sky. That hole doesn´t need to be blue, just a light grey would be enough. Then, I have to follow the light…

Bad thing if the light turns off.

I was relaxed looking at the clouds. Sometimes, I can see human faces in them. Those faces can be serious, angry, lovely, inviting or even, not kind. It is magic, or may be I need to be checked for madness, I don´t know.


The old man laying with his grandson

Then the Sat phone rang. It was Paula, quite excited. Are you OK?

Yes, of course, why?

The spidertracks produced an SOS messages, and alerted initially the team that should take the decision if the SOS is a real one, or not. Don Pearsall was sleeping in USA when the alarm alerted him. Soon, many calls went between them as I was peacefully find out faces from the clouds…

What a good system. Safety is really increased using it !

Then, a few minutes later, the telephone rang again. It was Don.

Michel, are you ok? Yes of course, Don.

…Don, I was thinking to push the SOS button from times to times, to have people calling me ...

Sky opened after that and it was not necessary to deviate any more. Soon, I was in VHF range to call GAN airport.


Swirling thunderstorm

I used Iridium for position reports along the way. Seychelles were cool with the procedure, but once I left their boundary, they didn´t want to relay my position to Mumbai. They provided me a telephone number for them, but Indians were not effective with this system, so I finally decided to be sure they got my position and let them know I would call back later.

Gan is an atoll at the very south of Maldives islands.


There, my friends Mayte and Paco, were waiting for me. They are engineers at Asian Academy of Aeronautics and I knew that I will have a great time with them.

I can tell you I was not wrong. What a good decision to fly here !!!


Schneider_p / Oct 17, 2016 6:42 pm / Reply

Wonderful trip, Michel!
I would love to be there and see you taking off for the next leg! All the best, blue skies and tailwinds tomorrow!

MAYTE / Oct 18, 2016 6:59 am / Reply

Empezamos los preparativos a las 04.15 de la mañana,pre flight sellado de pasaporte y devolucion del pase del aeropuerto y termiar de encajar el puzzle de la diminuta mochila algun bocata extra algo de agua para el viaje y comprobar que todo estuviera donde debe estar , llevar el avion desde el hangar empujando hasta la plataforma uns 800 mts ya que la plataforma esta en obras y no era seguro ponerlo en marcha cargado con casi 600 litros de combustible , buuuff , pero on time el avion listo para despegue hacia cocos a las 05.05 am, michel preocupado por la respuesta del avion al despegar con tanto combustible y el avion respondiendo como una maquina , despegue limpio y nosotros en el suelo apenas saliendo el sol y pensando ( perdon por la expresion ) vaya par de coj….. tienes haciendo esto ,pero michel es michel la travesia no es ni facil ni corta al menos esperamos que encuentre algun barco pesquero para entretenerse y no aburrirse pero hasta que no llegue a cocos estaremos con el corazon encojido .
asi que desde aqui suerte y a por el polo comandante

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