Friday, 10 October 2008

Road trip to the Mother City #8: Taking to the Air

Today (Friday) we went up, up, up and away as I contacted the local Flying Club at the Cape Town airport and arranged for a flight around the peninsula. Unfortunately my original plan of taking myself and two passengers fell through as the clubs aircraft are quite small training planes, and so myself and Ulricha joined Gareth the instructor and we set off.

Having already flown in both London and Johannesburg, and with around 10 hours of training experience behind me, this was not something new to me, but it was new, or at least different to Ulricha who had not flown in such a small light plane before. Nonetheless, we joined the taxiway behind a commercial plane and set off.

Our first destination was the Cape Town city bowl, and so we headed West from the International airport, over the “Cooling Towers” of the Athlone power station and the over the harbour. It was an exquisite day for flying, calm and clear, though with an inversion layer at around 1,800 feet which caused a bit of cloud cover and haze in the later part of our flight.

Once we had cleared the power station, Gareth handed the controls over to me, and for the first time I flew a passenger that wasn’t my instructor, as we headed over the harbour, the Waterfront and then the Green Point Common, site of the new 2010 World Cup Football Stadium – a MASSIVE building amongst much smaller buildings that really stands out on the common. I was amazed at just how mammoth it was by comparison to its neighbours.



Then I turned us south and followed the coast line toward, Clifton and Camps bay. To be honest, I didn’t notice if there were people on either of those beaches – I think I was too preoccupied at keeping us “straight and level”. The Sentinel at Hout Bay looked magnificent, and we rounded that and then headed along Chapman’s Peak, seeing the construction over the road way from a new perspective.


The flight continued uneventfully, as we followed the coast past the Kommetjie lighthouse and the Cape Peninsula Nature reserve. Just before we reached the Point itself, the cloud layer at 1,800 feet thickened slightly but I kept us just below that level, giving a very eerily feeling as the clouds passed just above our heads.

We rounded the Point which was looking quite stunning, and then we found what Gareth had been looking for – whales! And not just one, but 3 at first, as as we continued along the False Bay coast line, a few more.

We crossed the coastline at Muizenberg and I found myself taking a route that I had often taken by road, but now was taking by air, as I followed the Main road north, passed Wynberg and slightly east over the Kenilworth race course.

By the time Gareth took control of the plane we were nearing the International Airport once more and negotiating our way amongst commercial jet traffic that was taking off and landing.

All in all I had another hour that I can add to my flight experience for my Private licence, but the experience was fantastic! I am now looking forward to taking Ulricha up over Johannesburg once we get home – and hopefully we will have some Johannesburg aerial photographs too!

2 comments:

Karen said...

As a Capetonian, I truly appreciated the photos from high up in this blog posting (and am mighty jealous!). I run a travel website and this week chose it as our travel blog posting of the week - we have linked to it from our weekly newsletter.

Please keep up the great writing.

Karen said...

As a Capetonian, I truly appreciated the photos from high up in this blog posting (and am mighty jealous!). I run a travel website and this week chose it as our travel blog posting of the week - we have linked to it from our weekly newsletter.

Please keep up the great writing.

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