|Sun 08/08||DGAA - Accra, Ghana / UTC +00:00||SBNT - Natal, RN, Brazil / UTC -03:00|
|Departure||Enroute||Arrival||Distance||Avg. Spd.||Max. Spd.||Max. Alt.||Fuel|
|Estimated||07:00 (07:00Z)||14:45||18:45 (21:45Z)||2,215||236|
|Actual||06:32 (06:32Z)||15:28||19:00 (22:00Z)||2,245||145||180||8,611|
Here's where the weather gets interesting. This leg takes you to the south of the spawning ground for Atlantic Hurricanes. The greatest concentration of rainfall and storms will be from West Africa west to the South American Coast. Flight routes that are south of the Equator have the greatest likelihood of favorable flying conditions. The weather at Natal has a 2 in 3 probability of being favorable and storm free.
|Temperature in Natal||Low: 68°F, High: 84°F|
|July Precipitation||3.6 Inches|
|Winds Aloft at 7,000 to 10,000 Feet||From the southeast at 18 MPH|
Sunday AM we take off on the last long flight across the South Atlantic. Weather should be good and winds favorable. We were cleared to Natal via the coastal route via Liberia then direct. We were told to ask for GPS direct after take off. We did and it was approved. HF communications were a pleasure. Loud and clear. We reported every two degrees of longitude to the controlling centers. We arrived in a heavy rain shower with an 800-foot ceiling and a mile and a half visibility. A DME arc VOR approach and a diligent search located the approach lights and runway.
The winds en route were better than forecast, plus the direct route brought us to Natal an hour before planned, the 2227 NM took 15 and a half hours. We looked for the expected FOP presence but were disappointed. Investigation revealed that Brazilian IFOPA was in the Sao Paulo area and not in Natal. Douglas, our handler was touched by FOP and promised to distribute our Portuguese language brochures to the airport medical officer, fellow employees and friends.
We were billeted in the five star Pestana Resort Hotel at a 135-dollar rate including breakfast. Elegant but remote.
We refueled the airplane Monday morning and were dropped off in the old city center in downtown Natal. Commercial, with no restaurants. Unexciting.