Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Flying The Middle East
These days, the most intelligent advice might be simply, “Don’t”
On the premise that perhaps the left hand didn't know what the right hand was doing, I called flight service and filed an IFR flight plan for Luxor, Egypt. The flight plan was accepted without question. I checked out of the hotel, grabbed a cab to the airport, arriving just after noon and told the service manager at the FBO that I was going to do some engine run ups. He was a burly Canadian with a sense of humor. He smiled and winked, reminding me that I wasn't allowed to depart. I told him I wouldn't think of it; he grinned and went to lunch.
The airplane was serviced and ready to go. I climbed aboard, started the engines and called clearance delivery for my clearance, expecting at any moment to be told to shut down. Instead, I was cleared as filed via Bahrain, Riyadh, and on to Luxor. I taxied to the holding point, did my run up and called the tower for takeoff clearance.
Again, I assumed I'd be directed to return to the ramp, but after some delay, the tower finally cleared me for takeoff. Just over an hour later, long after I had left UAE airspace and was working Bahrain Center, the Bahrain controller, a retired American, said he had received a message from Abu Dhabi that there was "something irregular" about my flight plan. He asked if I wanted to return to Abu Dhabi, I said no, and he commented, "Yeah, I didn't think so. You're cleared as filed, flight level 200, Riyadh and direct Luxor."
After I landed in Luxor, this time with both engines running, and checked into the hotel, I waited for the phone to ring, but it never did.
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