We took Proflight to Mfue to reach Flatdogs, our South Luangwa destination. Now, I’m used to flying in small planes. While growing up my dad had first a 4-passenger something or other, and then a 6-passenger. We flew at least every other weekend to “the river” (Lake Mohave) and once to Nebraska (over the Rockies in a lightning storm). (Yeah, that was fun, sitting in a small tin can for hours and hours — I think 12?)
So, when Thom checked us in for the flight (while I was in the bathroom, no ID necessary, no person necessary) and we finally boarded, I was ready for the 20-passenger jetstream craft.
What I wasn’t prepared for was the spider-cracked windshield that we could clearly see from our seats. There were only five of us on the flight — us and a husband, wife and their child. They asked us to sit in the back to balance the plane. Oh, and they said don’t bother checking luggage. As we climbed the stairs into the plane they pointed and we tossed our bags into the cargo hold ourselves. This was what the inside of the plane looked like from our seats.
Turbulence never ever used to bother me. Many many years ago a pilot told me that an airplane is like a cork — even if it’s pushed down or turned any which way it always springs to where it is supposed to be and rights itself. He said it’s nearly impossible to flip a plane. This recent Nippon Airways plane flight confirms this, I suppose. When the pilot came back from the john the co-pilot accidentally pressed the wrong button to let him in and voila! The plane tipped 140 degrees and dropped 6,000 feet in no time flat. Can you imagine? Ninety degrees is straight up and down. Imagine going almost half as much again on your way to being completely upside down! Glad I wasn’t on the flight. I definitely would have freaked out and we would be taking an ocean liner everywhere instead of a plane.
Anyways, the ride there was very turbulent. So much so that you couldn’t read or do anything except look at your seat partner and raise your eyebrows. The flight attendant said this was normal this time of you, and I could see why. It’s incredibly hot at the surface with a cool counterwind far above. The point where the two air masses collide remains bumpy until you break into the upper atmosphere.
The flight took about an hour and we arrived in 105 degree weather. Here’s Indiana Jones himself deplaning. (Ok, the Michigander-type boots are a dead giveaway Thom.)
Here’s the Mfue airport terminal.
A driver from Flatdogs was there to pick us up in an air conditioned SUV and we drove about 30 minutes to reach the lodge. Along the way we saw a newly renamed drinking establishment.
And the local Lutheran church.
p.s. The Proflight back was full, the windshield was clear and solid and there was minimal turbulence!