My first trip to Africa went to Accra, Ghana. It was a truly positive experience and I still regard Ghana to be one of the better countries on the continent. (I was medical advisor for a team escorting a prisoner.) When I returned home I started to listen to Air Traffic Controls for flights en route over the African continent. This traffic is held on shortwave due to the distances and transmissions on shorwave can travel far, even to Tullinge, Sweden. I loved to listen to the same flights every evening. The radio traffic was sometimes a bit messy and undisciplined. One operator that was easily recognizable was “The Shouting Lady” in Khartoum. Her voice was very loud and hysteric and sometimes the pilots where annoyed over her way of handling the traffic.
Next travel to Africa was with Kenya Airways flight Kenya 117 from Amsterdam to Nairobi . This was before 9-11 2001. Near midnight I got the idea to ask if I could visit the pilots in cockpit. The result was that I spent some hours in the cockpit together with the Australian(!) Captain and First Officer Barbara Green from Canada. The night was clear and we could see the stars in the sky. Over Libya we saw the flames from the oil fields. We met other aircrafts in the same corridor. Southbound aircrafts on odd flight levels and Northbound on even flight levels. The pilots flashed with the ligths to one another! I told them that I have heard The Shouting Lady in Khartoum from my home, and guess who was on duty that night!
“Let’s see if we can wind her up a little.” said First Officer Barbara Green and we all laughed…
When I got home I managed not only to listen to the very same aircraft I flew with to Nairobi, I have also tape recordings with First Officer Barbara Green! (Now I’ve lost contact with her. She lost her job when the market collapsed 9-11…)
Thank you for your patience reading this. I haven’t been to Africa for seven years now, and I think I will never experience something like this again.