Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Cape Town to Goodwood Day 40: Grounded....

Big front moving through, with 30-40 knots winds on the ground, 50 knots at 5000 feet today, so it's another day in Marsa Matrouh for Spirit of Artemis and team.
With tomorrow looking like more of the same, the chances of the two planes making it back to London  in the seven days predicted are looking increasingly remote.
Good news is the regular updates we are now getting from Annette in this case courtesy of Inmarsat and Livewire since the storm has knocked out the electricity  in their hotel.

So how did Mary Heath amuse herself when she got stuck in North Africa, with home so tantalisingly close?
Her problems arose on attempting to leave Sollum when her wheels came up against some stones on the runway. There followed a big bump and when she looked behind, the rear quarter of the engine had been pulled off.
"Having surveyed the damage, I found four longerons quite done in and found it necessary to re-build the whole rear quarter of my little Avian," she tells us in "Women and Flying".
Work started pretty immediately on it, with the Egyptian Frontier Force, the local Italian authorities, and later, the RAF all pitching in.
For the next few days, she left them at it, taking the time out for some swimming in "the lovely pools of the Gulf" and enjoying a dinner dance, where Egyptian soldiers played the bagpipes. While the work continued,  the Giblieh, a fierce storm, blew in from the south almost blowing the Avian away.  This sounds like what may have happened to Spirit of Artemis.
"The giblieh lasts usually for three days and then there is a three days' spell of peace before it rises again," says Lady Heath, pronouncing it the only enemy of aviation on the north coast of Africa.
Local skirmishes between warring Arab tribes and the Italians didn't appear to enter her head - at least until she found a bullet hole in her fuselage when she arrived in Tunis.

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