Morning Flight - South Africa

Taken just after take-off in a small twin-engined charter aircraft flying the route of the gas pipeline between Mozambique and South Africa. These are the cooling towers for the power and petrochemical plants at Secunda. During my career in the oil industry I have flown about two million miles in assorted aircraft ranging from jumbos to small single-engine Cessnas. Only once was there a mechanical mishap - on this flight. As we flew from South Africa towards Mozambique one of the engines stopped!

the pilotThe Captain feathered the propeller on the useless engine and we continued our flight along the pipeline to Vilanculos in Mozambique. All safety brochures state that twin-engine aircraft can fly safely with only one engine but we don't expect to put those claims to the test. Equally, passengers on business charters are normally too "cool" to applaud the pilot for a successful landing. Not on this flight. She received loud cheers for a perfect landing on one engine. The calm mists in this photo covering the industry below reminds me of that pilot's calm exterior and the anxiety the passengers were hiding.