January 29, 2011
Submitted by Erin Nolan
So sorry for the delay we had a very busy first two weeks with a few technical/mechanical difficulties and I had some catching up to do but I will start from the beginning and promise not to leave anything out!
I arrived on a Saturday it was the 29th of January bright and early after my over night flight. I got a good rest on the plane and was expecting to meet Matthew and the Av Tech Academy girls upon arrival. As soon as I got off the plane on the open tarmac, I could feel the heat and see a complete change in the atmosphere around me. As I entered the terminal building I was excited to finally start my adventure in Ghana.
As I came through customs I saw the smiling faces of Lydia, Emanuella, Ciara, and Juliette all decked out in their bright yellow WAASPS polo shirts. Matthew got us all to the car and we headed directly to the airfield. It took us about an hour and a half to drive approximately 80km from the airport in Accra to Kpong airfield. I instantly took notice of the tremendous amount of people, taxis (tro tros), and people walking alongside the roadway all along our drive. Matthew was quick to warn me that this was nothing compared to the normal traffic during the week and we were surely about to experience a reckless driver or two! No sooner than a minute later a vehicle in front of us began to swerve all across the motor way throwing trash outside the front window of the vehicle!
We arrived safely at the airfield and Patricia and Jonathan were busy conducting flight training. Saturday and Sunday are the flight operation days and everyone was excited to get back to flying since the weather had been keeping them grounded for awhile prior to my arrival. The first thing I noticed was the how well they maintain the airfield, it was so clean and the grass was perfectly sculpted and everything has a place. I immediately sensed an aura of peacefulness and pride.
All airfield duties are split up among everyone. Matthew oversees the ground operations and Patricia whips everyone into shape on the airside of things. They are one big team working together to create a safe environment for learning, teaching, and flying.
While operations are up and running all the girls are busy operating the radio, fueling, and moving aircraft around the airfield, giving wind and weather updates and I am meeting the many staff members. Mr. Solo the mastercraftsman and a group of masons who are building the new accommodations at the airfield, lunch caterer who cooks lunch for staff during the day, Kojo the mechanical wizard (as the adventure continues he gets us out of a few situations), night security at both the airfield and the house, and Jane, Matthews girlfriend who does the work around the farm house!
Later on in the afternoon I took my first flight with Jonathan. I have to admit I was a little nervous at first I have never flown in a LSA type aircraft and wasn’t sure what to expect . Jonathan just gave me the controls and off we went. WOW!!! Do I need some practice flying a light aircraft!!! The controls have a very different feel. I will be definitely focusing on getting back to the basics. The scenery is fantastic and feels good to be getting some training.
Sun sets around 6pm so later that evening we headed back to the house to get settled. I got set up in my room and was exhausted from the long journey and all the excitement of the day. I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow and I hope I adjust to the 5 hour time difference!