Tuesday, 9 March 2004
"The Eagle has landed"
Couldn't sent this lot through the computer so you've got is 'first hand".
As you can see I've made headlines, although only a local newspaper. Peter has printed the story very much
as it happened. Apparently this stoiy has generated so much interest its to be printed in one of the South Africa
birding magazines, which is distributed country wide.
I'm sending identical copies to "the Russian" so he has some more "bragging rights" for his creation, and how
strong it is.
Apart from the fright of the initial impact there was no change to the flying character of the aircraft. I was glad
to get back onto terra firma, not knowing the extent of the damage and if the spar had been damaged - luckily
not. Someone estimated the strike at between 2-300 k.p.h. - the bang was awesome. Dr Mike Toft - my vet of
18 years who is also a pilot on our field, is removing the bird from my wing and "plucking the feather out" just
for good measure. Every little bone in its body was broken - Mike is a bird expert.
Looking at some of my previous letters I promised to tell you of the work I do -1 hope you receive your cylinder
of goodies from me with all the pamphlets, etc. - will give you a pretty good idea of Durban/Natal, etc. and what
we get up to here! I'm sending a copy of the duties/tasks we perform as Environmental Health Practitioners.
- In the "bad old days" - we were called Sanitaiy Inspectors, then became Health Inspectors, then Environmental
Health Officers and are now called the above. The level of knowledge required has to be quite extensive an it
takes quite a few years to master all the various functions - most of the work is specialised.
Anyway enough for now -1 prefer "dictating" to Lindsay as it makes life easier and I'm a terrible writer.
Regards to your Family and Zaka.
Please don't try my stunt - not clever.
Page ! ot 1
From: Ajab Khan
Sent: 04 April 2004 02:51 AM
To: Greg Pedersen gray
Subject: WOW the Headlines !!
Dear Greg & Lindsay .
Many thanks for the pics and news paper, received them today The post man had tried to remove the
lovely stamps with out much success Wow that is some freak incident!! I can imagine how it must have
felt, but then ! hope you dont make similar headlines again. It was close ,had it hit the spar I guess it
could have been very serious. Out here its been my big concern too hitting the 100's of such birds near
our airfield ,rnore so the greatest danger is from razor sharp strings of kites that people madly fly here for
kite dog fights The strings are epoxied with powdered glass to make more lethal They slice through
metal wings like a hot knife through butter .So the ultralight flyers have developed a remedy, a steel wire
from the wing tip to the nose or bond a paper thin sheet of stainless steel on the leading edge of metal
aircraft. 1 Ve had a few narrow misses just grazes at the wing root. Have you repaired your Streak? The
russian would be happy that his design sustained a guided missile attack !! Zaka sends his best wishes
and wishes you Good Luck too. I guess you could send your story to the shadow owners club in UK.
You seem to have an interesting but awfully intensive job, so you need to break free in your streak to
relax. BTW I noticed a band around your wing is this the band for fixing the stall fences and are they of
metal ? BTW how far are you from Johanesberg ? Some friends of mine are visiting your country from the
25 th of April 2004 on an official trip, so if you need anything from here ,it'll be a pleasure to send it
across, I wish you safe flying, you won the dog fight and could paint a Hawk on your streaks nose, dont
add any more !!! Good Luck. Lindsay thanks for keeping our communication alive, till Greg goes cyber if
Best regards to both of you
19 April 2004
Once again, sorry I am late in sending this to you, but it was the Easter Weekend, we
had our country's elections and I have been working on my plane.
Guess what - Baby Eagle flies again. We took to the skies yesterday and it was just
like riding a bicycle. It was great to get back into the air and is absolutely fine.
These last two months I took the time to take the engine off, rebuild the exhaust
system, fix up all the oil leaks, redo certain wiring and respray my engine mountings.
So, all in all, it was a good all-round sen/ice.
I am glad you got the correspondence I sent you. Please keep a look out for the 2,5 kg
cylinder of goodies that I posted to you on the 23rd February by 'snail mail'. I hope
you actually get this because it contains a huge amount of information about Durban
and Natal and a nice colour poster of the area between Durban and the Drakensberg
which spans about 200 km. This will give you an idea of the terrain over which we
fly. I have also included one of my old aeronautical maps.
By the way, I did get a full page in a national birding magazine, called Birding SA,
which is circulated throughout the entire African continent so we will wait to see if
there are any comments from that lot.
Thankfully, all the yellow-billed kites have now migrated up north, so we only have
pigeons with which to contend. (We left a feather in the wing as a momento.)
Looking at the contents of your letter, we don't have much in the way of kite-flying in
this country but I can imagine that it must be a huge concern having the wing of a
plane cut, sliced or pulled down by a kite so clearly the stretching of wire from the
nose to the wing tip is pretty ingenious, similar to cutting devices on helicopters for
the cutting of cables, something that Zaka would know about.
I posted a letter with exactly the same contents to the Russian on the same day as I
mailed them to you, but, as yet, have had no response. Typical old slide-rale guys -
snail mail! By the way, I love my secretary - Lindsay is very good!!
You mention the band around the wing which is for the stall fence. It's made out of
glass fibre which I moulded directly off the wing for a perfect fit. All I did was to
stick some plastic cling film over the wing and then applied the glass fibre cloth, layer
by layer, until I had the desired thickness.
Thanks for the offer of sending anything with your friends who are visiting South
Africa. 1 don't need anything but the offer is much appreciated.
This coming Sunday, 25 April, I will be embarking on a voyage on one of our South
African Safmarine 60,000 ton container ships, from Durban to Cape Town. The ship
contains 6 luxury cabins for people who still enjoy the romance of the sea and they
ply between Durban and Tilbury in England. There are 48 trips a year. I will send
you some pics on my return. It should be quite exciting.
Not much to do on the ship but to put one's feet up and play with engines and
propellers of a different sort. This is primarily a container ship therefore it only has a
well stocked library, small gymnasium, lounge/video room and a sundeck with a
small swimming pool. The captain, crew and passengers all dine together. I think the
ship is about 360 metres long. Hopefully we will be spending a few days in Cape
Town and then flying back to Durban.
Its just so nice to see that the neighbours are finally talking and we have been
watching the two cricket teams play - but I see your team got thumped. What
happened there - letting the side down!
Best regards to your wife and family and to Zaka,
Greg and Lindsay