It was an early morning in September back in 1999 and the sun was already shining on our aircraft. It was parked right in front of the tower and the door was open.
A small stair invited me to the cabin. Once inside I prepared my camera equipment, placed them in the front row seat while the cockpit crew prepared the aircraft for our departure.
One of the friendly girls in the crew gave me a hot cup of coffe to enjoy while I waited. Sipping the coffe I looked out the window of this HS748.
Today’s assignment was a flight from WDK (Windhoek, Namibia) to LUN (Lusaka, Zambia) via VFA (Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe). As I was working with Air Namibia, I didn’t expect this flight to be with a HS748, but Air Namibia had leased this Executive Aerospace HS748 with registration ZS-NWW for a few months. No problem for me as it was my first time in a HS748 and a new type for my flightlog.
The ride out to the airport from central Windhoek took us straight through the flat African landscape. Looking through the dirty windows from our crew buss I saw the monkeys sitting by the edge of the road looking back at me.
The bus was full of Air Namibia crew, all going out to work. To me it seemed like everybody knew each other since childhood.
Everyone was cheering and laughing, talking and discussing.
I have no clue of their topic as I don’t speak the native language, but I loved listening to their laughs.
Not many people are riding to work in such a good mood as these people. A great way to start my day.
When the crew was ready I entered the cockpit and sat down in the jumpseat. It was a pretty tight space for me, but still enough room for me to set up and move a little.
When I was seated I looked up and looked around. Oh, gee… This is a low spot. No matter how much I tried I couldn’t look outside the window. I was too low! Oh, perfect.
Passengers were already boarding and the captain prepared engine starts. I unbuckled again and tried to stand up a little. It looked like I was 30-40 centimeters too low.
The captain saw me and asked if there was a problem. I explained the situation for him and he called for the purser. Luckily she found a big blue plastic box that I turned upside down and on my seat. It fitted pretty good on the seat, and I sat down on it. With my legs down on each side of it, my feet touched the floor.
A quick glance forward provided a good view of the apron outside. Ah, perfect! Now I can see and film the takeoff and landing. Captain asked if it was ok, and I confirmed.
Yes, no problem I said. The first officer called up and received startup clearance. The 2 props started turning and whining outside as I adjusted my headset and recording levels on the camera. With a good view out the window we started taxy for takeoff and flight SW144 was on it’s way.
We reached the holding point just at the same time as the blue plastic box under me started to get very uncomfortable. Those corners were hard! Ouch… Time for departure and my focus was on the crew and the camera.
Captain increased to takeoff thrust and we started our takeoff roll. v1…rotate and we were airborne. A quick glance back at Windhoek airport as we turned to the east for our destination. The HS748 climbed pretty slowly up to our cruising altitude. I wrote down the flight details so far, aircraft type: HS748, airline: Executive Aerospace, registration: ZS-NWW and takeoff time: 07:55 zulu time.
When I was served a snack my rear was complaining loudly about the blue plastic box under me. Jumpseats are normally not the best seats in the aircraft but I never complain, sometime to the cockpit crews surprise. But this time it was different. I finished my meal and continued to film.
We started our descent and reached VFA approach. First officer called tower and we were cleared to land. A smooth landing in the Zimbabwian heat and we taxied to our stand next to a Air Zimbabwe 737-200.