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June 25, 2014

African Express DC-9-32 Mogadishu to Nairobi Milk Run

AT MOGADISHU

After we landed, the African Express DC-9-32 is already arrived on the apron. With two planes arriving almost at the same time, the airport became crowded.

African Express DC-9-32

African Express DC-9-32

African Express DC-9-32

African Express DC-9-32

This is not just an ordinary photo with a DC-9, this is our group in Mogadishu!

Mogadishu Airport

Mogadishu Airport

Station manager in Dubai have already informed Mogadishu about our connection there, an agent came and took us from the MD-80 to the next plane, DC-9-32! That’s the transit formality and it was done in less than 2 minutes! Our MD80 captain came over to the DC-9 and took some farewell photo with us! What a nice guy!

Charlie on the apron of Mogadishu. He fancy a night or two there next time!

Mogadishu Airport

Mogadishu Airport

The worried transit turned out to be a piece of cake and as enjoyable as it can. We were in Mogadishu for less than hour before taking off to Kenya. Would love to see more of the country on next visit.

 

ONBOARD THE 1968 BUILT DC-9

African Express DC-9-32 is one of the rarest one in the region and one of the most senior one. (46 years old, 13 years older than me!). The crew welcome us onboard and allow us to seat in Business Class despite some confusion from the ground staff. Depsite the age, the DC-9 cabin was well maintained.

African Express DC-9-32 Business Class

African Express DC-9-32 Business Class

African Express DC-9-32 Business Class

African Express DC-9-32 Business Class

African Express DC-9-32 Economy Class

African Express DC-9-32 Economy Class

While waiting last passengers, I took the opportunity to visit the cockpit and have some nice conversation with the pilots. They’re all very very proud of their DC-9!

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

 

MOGADISHU – WAJIR

Flight: XU528

Mogadishu – Wajir

DC-9-32 5Y-AXF

Flight time 1hr5mins

FL280, speed 280 knots

ATD 1150

ATA 1255

POB 88

The stop at Wajir is needed for Kenyan authorities to clear all passengers arriving from Somalia. All baggage will be screened and arriving formalities will be done in Wajir, hence adding an extra stop for the milk run.

Lunch is served on this flight, catered from a local restaurant. A Member of Parliament from Somalia is onboard sitting opposite me; we have some casual chat about how to attract Chinese development into Somalia…….blah blah blah……

African Express DC-9-32 in-flight service

African Express DC-9-32 in-flight service

African Express DC-9-32 in-flight service

African Express DC-9-32 in-flight service

B747SP on a DC-9 safety card! Passengers may think every plan looks like a Jumbo Jet!

African Express DC-9-32 safety card

African Express DC-9-32 safety card

My friend Ian is in the cockpit for landing into Wajir, so I went to the rear of the DC-9 to get some video footage. It is another landing on Mars!

African Express DC-9-32 landing in Wajir

African Express DC-9-32 landing in Wajir

Beautiful African Express crew

African Express DC-9-32 crew

African Express DC-9-32 crew

After smooth landing, passenger disembark using rear doors.

African Express DC-9-32 in Wajir

African Express DC-9-32 in Wajir

African Express DC-9-32 in Wajir

African Express DC-9-32 in Wajir

 

WAJIR STOP

Apart from our arrival, there is a UN Dash-8 also arrived from Somalia to clear immigration in Wajir.

Stopover in Wajir, Kenya

Stopover in Wajir, Kenya

Baggage re-screening underway.

Stopover in Wajir, Kenya

Stopover in Wajir, Kenya

We got our visa on arrival into Kenya (USD 50 cost) and proceed to waiting lounge for re-boarding. The stopover in Wajir is just one hour.

Stopover in Wajir, Kenya

Stopover in Wajir, Kenya

Enjoying my time in Wajir, Kenya. Without the stopover, I would never able to visit this airport in my life!

Stopover in Wajir, Kenya

Stopover in Wajir, Kenya

 

WAJIR – NAIROBI

Flight: XU528

Wajir - Nairobi

DC-9-32 5Y-AXF

Flight time 1hr5mins

FL280, speed 280 knots

ATD 1355

ATA 1500 (arriving 30 mins ahead of schedule!)

POB 87

We boarded from the rear of the plane, I walked all the way to the cockpit to take my seat J 1 passenger got off in Wajir, we have a total of 87 onward to Nairobi.

Stopover in Wajir, Kenya

Stopover in Wajir, Kenya

Looks complicated!

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

During the whole flight the Master Caution alarm on the DC-9 keep coming up, the pilot have to push it to reset it almost every 2 minute. The reason is due to Air Cond Supply Temp High

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

Our flight data

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

Approach into Nairobi is beautiful, the clouds in Africa looks huge. The runway is situated on a highland or terrain. We landed smoothly at 5,500 feet (I didn’t know NBO is quite high!) The most enjoyed part is watching the pilot flying the DC-9 manually from takeoff to landing. A lot more interesting than the modern glass cockpit.

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

African Express DC-9-32 Cockpit

 

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED

Please see the takeoff and landing video from Wajir into Nairobi.

One last look of our DC-9-32.

African Express DC-9-32

African Express DC-9-32

At immigration, we encountered a problem. 3 of us are not on the passenger manifest name. The immigration control is tight with arrivals from Somalia, even cleared already in Wajir. After 15 minutes of waiting and describing our trip, we were allowed into the country!

 

THOUGHTS

To be able to fly from Dubai to Nairobi on a highly unconventional route through Somalia is such an eye-opener that broadened my horizon. I enjoyed every minute of it because together we were able to pull it off with ease with all the problem. Thanks to the very friendly and proud captain of the MD-82 and DC-9, we were treated to cockpit takeoff and landing on every sector of the run! A chance doesn’t exist much more elsewhere. The real delight comes from watching these skilful airmen flying their classic jet manually! A trip like this was exhilarating, but infinitely rewarding!

I would like to thank my fellow companion travellers, they have definitely make the trip much more entertaining. Our aviation friendship was amazing!

 

Bonus photo

At Carnivore Restaurant, Nairobi next to Wilson Airport. All you can eat!

African-Express-75

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