(Originally posted 12/14/13)
We will circumnavigate Africa counterclockwise. After the Maghreb, we go full south across the Sahara, then back to the atlantic coast at Dakar. Western Africa follows, all the way down to Cape Town. Northbound then eastbound, we reach Madagascar before coming back to the continent in Tanzania. The East African Rift, Ethiopia and the Nile conclude this first part at Cairo.
Particularly worth seeing are the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara and the Ahaggar, the Sierra da Leba in Angola, the Comoros, Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Nasser.
Some statistics :
- Number of legs : 110
- Total distance : 17,600.2 NM
- Shortest leg : Gibraltar to Tangier – 37.5 NM
- Longest leg : Beira to Toliara – 537.3 NM
Depart: Gibraltar (LXGB)
Arrive: Ibn Batouta Airport, Tangier, Morocco (GMTT)
Aircraft: Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC Trop. (ND Art and Technology) *
Flight Plan: LXGB GMTT
Distance: 37.5 nm
Scenery: LXGB RAF Gibraltar
Welcome back to the first major chapter of The Big Tour! Today we'll be leaving Europe behind and beginning our journey across and around Africa. As I mentioned in the previous recap, I've never once flown in the skies above the African continent so all of this will be a new experience for me. I'm excited to begin, so let's cut the chatter and get right to it!
Today's flight is a very short jaunt across the Strait of Gibraltar to Tangier, a deceptively brief introduction to flying over the expansive continent of Africa. Our ETE is under 20 minutes, but the trip will probably be even quicker thanks to my choice of aircraft.
I'll be flying the Hawker Hurricane Mk IIC in a tropicalized variant created for combat over North Africa and the Mediterranean. This version is equipped with a robust, 1,480 hp Rolls-Royce Merlin XX engine that will get us going pretty fast over the Strait. I start this bad-boy up on the military apron and taxi to runway 09.
For having such a powerful engine, the Hurricane is pretty forgiving on the take-off roll. I retract the undercarriage and begin to climb up and around the Rock.
As I pass the southern tip of Gibraltar, I turn south for Africa. Get one good, last look at Europe now because it will be quite sometime before we see her again!
It's a mere minute or two before the northern coast of Africa comes into view. The peninsula to the left is home to Ceuta, an autonomous city of Spain, and dead ahead is the peak of Jebel Musa, generally thought to be the southern Pillar of Herakles.
As I approach the Moroccan coast, I turn west and fly along the length of the Strait of Gibraltar. Cruising at around 220 mph (just under 200 knots), I make short work of the bulk of the trip; a few minutes later, I spy the city of Tangier off to the left.
Ibn Batouta Airport lies to the south-west of the city; I fly west, passing over the waters of the Atlantic Ocean for the first time during the Tour, before beginning a large, banking approach toward runway 10. I drop the gear and flaps to prepare the Hurricane for landing.
I come in a touch too fast and bunny hop slightly before putting all the wheels on the tarmac. Welcome to Morocco; welcome to Africa!
Next leg: Tangier, Morocco (GMTT) to Rabat, Morocca (GMME)