- thirty thousand
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9 June 2007
- Wanna Fly
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Ha.. once visited East London SA for some leave while working in Bloemfontain SA during early 60's.... however I was drawn to your post by your reference to the dh rapide at Entebbe. That aircraft was indeed operated by Caspair and it did the round trip of Lake Victoria as you mentioned. I was working for Burroughs from Nairobi and had arrived at Mwanza by dc3 from Nairobi but was scheduled to pick up the rapide flight to Bukoba. Flight was cancelled so I chartered a local 172 to Bukoba. Completing my work in Bukoba (next day) the rapide finally turned up but wouldn't restart so rescue flight called in from Entebbe. Of course Murphies Law dictated that the left engine started at first attempt. Rescue pilot was the Irish chief pilot from Caspair, Rapide pilot was David Mackie. Lame at Caspair was Reg Gow. My company subsequently transferred me to Kampala and I started flying out of Entebbe and David M became my flying instructor.. he sent me off on my first solo ! I remember flight training purposes the rapide pilots were were taken down almost to water level flight for familiarisation with appropriate landing attitude!! Very scary!! Uganda and kampala and Entebbe were god's own Pearls of Africa in those days. I returned to UK later in the 60's and became a development test engineer on the Concorde Development project at Hawker Siddeley Dynamics in Hatfield.... where I worked until I migrated to Australia in late 1967....where I continued flying light aircraft until that became far too expensive... !! Of some further interest... my first ever flight in a commercial aircraft was as an 11yo in a dh rapide from Northolt to Jersey about 1951/2..... fantastic aircraft. !Christopher wrote: ↑Fri Jun 26, 2015 1:54 amBruce, I don't know why I have not looked at East London for an age; but have just caught up with this particular thread -- thanks, as ever, for your splendid pix!
If that is the dH Rapide I <think> it is, then I can claim to have beaten you (and the future missus Bruce) to it -- I believe this aircraft was operated by Caspair at Entebbe during the mid-1960s and I was passenger in it, once, for the round-trip Entebbe-Bukoba-Mwanza-Bukoba-Entebbe, which was a daily service. There is a South African connection, actually, since the parents of Johnnie Stols (now of Cathay Pacific) managed Caspair during that time. I was just keeping my Brit PPL up-to-date by flying a few hours each summer, when out for the holidays (C150 or 172 at around 100EAshillings/hour!) I was offered a ride that day by one of the Caspair pilots (Tom Basin -- full-blooded Blackfoot American Indian!)
Caspair was a sub-division of Safari Air of Wilson, the Cessna distributors for East Africa and one of the big charter and training operators at the time.
Thanks for the memories!
- These users liked the author DavidSA for the post (total 4):
- Ugly Duckling • Ray W • Segg • Christopher