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Adventurer & pilot

Nigel Pogmore

In the desert with encounter Overland

Introduction

Up & down,

Around the World

 

38  Years of  Travel

 

From  humble beginnings in Yorkshire

 Born as far back in 1955, Oooch! Alas perhaps with all respectable attachments to the likes of Peter Pan, I would say  that I was blessed at  birth  with an adventurous spirit, one that  I dare say has kept my inquisitive mind for what lies beyond, far younger than the many years  that lay behind. 

Brought up within a working class background, situated on small yet refreshingly pleasant council house estate in the then  quaint  somewhat sleepy village of Bishopthorpe, a suburb of York. As it turned out over the years, this was to be where an in-depth wanderlust was to manifest itself .  In my childhood years, say from the age of about five years old, I was fortunate enough to be  encouraged towards adventures of  combining camping and fishing trips with my father. In subsequent years cycling making tracks to places far further than my parents ever knew, all too satisfy yearnings to experience places beyond the immediate horizon, charging off a great speed in a similar fashion to that of a donkey  pursuing the carrot suspended from the stick placed over its head!

Eeven to this day, I often wonder how we managed. Along with a couple of friends, we would decide to cycle on knocked together bicycles,   all cobbled together from parts found   wastefully discarded on the scrap heap. each contraption barely capable to take me to far-off places. A rag wrapped round a bicycle seat, might offer some protection from the protruding springs. As  for tyres, well often their condition was such a state that there was every   likelihood, that if I ran anybody over, they would have been whipped to death. Bicycle lights, what are you thinking about, often a luxury beyond our grasp. there was no alternative as the sun headed down,  if we were to avoid the local bobby, one that in those days that had  very little other than a better bicycle and I, we must pedal like hell. It was our motto, if we were going to have our boys adventure, the unwritten rule was not to even consider halting our journey an turning around until we were absolutely knackered, often with legs like jelly, almost certainly withoutout   food  nor nor pocket money, all leaving us little alternadtive but to  conjure up the strength in order to cycle back home again.

At this point many people  would probably continue such an introduction, reminiscing of their cherished time  attending   sixth form college,  perhaps thereafter  elaborating  on their occasionally debaucherous university years. Looking back,  at the same time whispering a few  "what if" "if only",  there's no escaping the fact that academia never graced my horizons, well at least not in the conventional fashion. In reality, at the time of leaving school, just short of my 15th birthday, I couldn't even spell the word, university might just as well have been  placed  in a far-off  galaxy. For that very reason,  the denial of mainstream education, shall become most relevant throughout my life, hence several of the following paragraphs touch on a topic that until recent years, I had preferred not to talk about.

Ten years of schooling were proved to be a complete, yet agonising disaster, but then again they would be, for in the 1960s   dyslexia wasn't recognised or at least there wasn't the long-awaited understanding  that to a moderate extent, prevails today.  Even amongst my  supposes educators, that widespread ignorance, resulted in a arduous ten years of school punishment. Out-of-school, I would more often than not, subjected copious amounts of ridicule, often degenerating to lower depths of  cruel  and relentless mickey taking. Often unceremoniously placed in a corner, there was no escape,  one simply had to endure whatever came ones away. I've long since learned that  this abysmal   state of affairs to have been  a common occurrence for all that suffered this often hidden handicap of  that era. As my father would say "you'll be sweeping the roads for the rest of your life, doesn't that school teach you anything, what do I pay my taxes for"  Dad had a way with words!  Don't worry, with many a local folk very much word wise economical, yet not so when the truth needs to be spoken, never would they be found using two words when one  would  be suffice. I believe it to be the case, that in those days, it was widely believed to be a Yorkshire man's way of encouraging his son!  

Occasionally when dad's other pressing  pursuits  of say fishing or playing bridge were set aside, with a smoking pipe in hand, he would attempt in his own yet mysterious way, to improve my written work. For say a  8 to 10 year-year-old, books viewed through irritating fog, in more ways than one, relating to such topics as gardening wasn't is conducive as it might have been. Protesting of any discomfort, was not an option,  "sit down and stay still, or I shall give you the back of my hand" such was his persuasive manner. As to why the hell father would encourage me to commence such tuition commencing with learning how to spell   "chrysanthemums",  even before I could spell my name, to this day  remains a mystery. Of course  if it was the winter months when his   fleetingly seasonal interest of gardening were well and truly  diluted, left-wing literature such as Karl Marx  would sprout root before me, doomed to failure a bunch of chrysanthemums  were exchanged for the rent a crowd readership, a readership obviously   attracted to words containing every letter of the alphabet  "anti-disestablishment" for God's sake.  I don't think I need elaborate further, other than to say that was more than enough to put me off any affections pertaining to either gardening or politics for the rest of my life, at the same time doing nothing towards  working  closer to  the   inclination in attaining literary prowess.

  Whilst there are many drawbacks, all was not lost, for it cannot be argued  that  the  "gift of   dyslexia  ( the title of Ronald D Davies's book ) whether I wanted it or not, has ultimately formed the foundations to build the character that  I became. In hindsight, looking at the broader picture a view all that has something that has to some extent, has placed me in good stead for the rest of my life. Basically I genuinely believe that any dyslexics, either of today's generation or of a bygone era, simply have to do develop survival  strategies, in order to get by in day-to-day life. I feel that stands true to this very day where thankfully such encumbrances are better recognise. Unfortunately for the long-term undiagnosed dyslexics, stemming from say the 60s & 70s,  cloaked with numerous myths that spawned the recklessness of   prejudicious misconceptions,  I feel that it would be fair to state that we have all  endured a needlessly disproportionate part of our lives, having to dodge  societies shortfalls in order to cope with, or head off the social stigma.

  Once again referring to the gift of dyslexia, whilst of course this  handicap  has for better or for worse molded  many lives, I am very proud of the fact, that having develop the necessary coping strategies, dyslexia went on to save my life when after falling seriously ill in  Egypt. With no reliable medical facilities, no painkillers, although it would be be some time before I knew the   actual ailment, I survived for five days on my own, suffering from what later turned out to be burst appendix and salmonella poisoning. Eventually without alerting the cabin crew,  clutching a bottle of water to cope with serious dehydration, cunningly  camouflaging my disposition, I managed  to hoodwink myself onto a flight back to the UK. Had I faulted in that  concealment,   matters would have dramatically  worsened.`

  Departing  Luxor, I was conscious of the fact that I must not drop my guard, for the very reason that the flight was due to stop off in Cairo before going on to London. the last thing I needed right then was for the cabin crew to realise how sick I was, only to ferried off to a local hospital.  Once back in the air, keeping an eye on the time,  desperately searching for the English coastline, the point which I had planned to alert  the crew, after what felt like an eternity tweenty minutes prior to landing, I finally alerted the cabin crew of my predicament. They were quite shocked, initially non-believers at the time of requesting that  the pilot to radio ahead to ensure that medical staff were on standby.  Upon landing, once all of other passengers  had time to disembark, I was assisted into a wheelchair, thereafter quickly taken to Heathrow airports mini hospital.  The slightly shocked Indian doctor had a great deal of difficulty in believing that I hadn't taken any drugs, mystified of my illness  along with his obvious concern of my welfare, it didn't take long for him  to someone's an ambulance.   As it turned out,  I was to spend the next five weeks in  barrier nursed in intensive care Unit at Harlow tropical diseases  centre.

   Prof Paswell, along his team of 14 junior white coated  entourage, were a welcome  sight. Not so welcome at the same time, thinking to myself that they certainly knew how to spoil someone's day, was the news that I had just two days to live.  Whilst I had no doubts of his  medical diagnostic skills,  I was reasonably confident that the laboratories microscope could never have in 1 million years, detected that I was indeed a Yorkshire man, that really translate to a game changer, one of being a  rugged survivor. Once in hospital,  having survived in the balloon flying area of Luxor without any painkillers, pethidine  provided on a almost demand basis, became a welcome friend. Whilst I remained nil by mouth, for many days, intravenous fluid, cannula's, injections delivered all that  that the ailing body required, whilst a catheter, along with two  groin implanted cannula, drained  the enormous reservoirsof two stanching internal  abscesses.

Five weeks later twentysomething kilos lighter, prior to being discharged,  the ever  so perplexed Prof, maintaining his kind and gentle nature,  with the best intentioned, warned me to  detach myself from  previous wanderlust activities, he was a wonderful man. Before departing we exchanged a firm, certainly a mutually heartfelt handshake, at the same time he articulating his astonishment at my survival, with the words "Nigel from now on, treat every day as a bonus,  four that's what each and everyone shall be" I never doubted his words for one minute.

That was 21 years ago. Since that time, many adventures have come and gone, of which, good or bad, I'm grateful for them all. Importantly I am immensely grateful to the many characters, characters from all walks of life that I have met along the way, each unwittingly, yet never to know of their involvement  in  individualistically flavouring to such adventures,  the herbs and spices, the very components crucial for any  adventure traveller,  destine to turn autobiographer.

As to explaining  as to how dyslexia  saved my life,  that amazing feat, yes it even amazed me, is beyond the scope of this  brief outline. Rest assured  this fascinating survival method shall be found in future publications, where my intention is to attempt to bring before you, mostly positive, certainly hilarious anecdotes, gathered from various experiences throughout almost 40 years of world travel. I would stress that such publication is not by design meant to be tales  hormonally overloaded he man adventurer, quite the contrary. This is to be a book based on my resounding attachments to vital ingredient, of living life to the full, with attachments to positive thinking. It is hoped that publication may-well  bring inspiration to others, at the same time, helping others arrive at the realisation that this philosophy, is far more preferable than the wastefulness of crying in one's own beer.

Lake District struggle
As soon as I was old enough, I quickly exchange pedal power for motorcycles.  initially this offered some relative freedom experienced when accompanied by good friends, Graham, one whom acquired his nickname of skip, (dumpster)  owing to the amount of food   he could consume in one sitting. Also tagging along with a ever jovial Tony, who was often found in desperate need of a cigarette stop.  making up the quartet, there was Andrew, quiet & always happy to follow. In the early days, such outings would take us to such places as North Yorkshire Moors,  before reaching  a favourite coastal town of Whitby. Very soon these tantalising short jaunts seemed to be getting shorter, a cure was quickly sort. Not long after, we found ourselves heading off to such places as the Lake District. Similar to tthousands of others picturesque Ambleside was a regular stopping point in order to fix my  ever-increasing addiction of tea, however with a passion for the hills quickly developing, it would not be long before I would be heading up the struggle  ( to which the signpost represents) making my way to Kirkstone pass, placed at a  relatively staggering altitude (for the UK) of 1,489 feet. Not satisfying the addiction, an about turn was  called for , seeking the rewards of travelling along Wrynose Pass, onward Hardnott pass and beyond, before once more making a dash for home.
Having worked as a bus conductor, then later  at the age of 21 driver for five long year, with the York West Yorkshire Road car company. Despite working amongst some wonderful characters, for me driving the number 12 to the same destination day after day, it was inevitable that I was getting decidedly worried that this would amount to my lifelong travel plans.  With feet needing to be relentlessly scratched, determined to break free, eventually cracking the mould, I found myself working mega amounts of overtime in order to afford a brand-new 750 Honda, I had a plan. Later this machine would be to be described as a bike of the century, for the very fact that it broke new  engineering grounds.  Sporting four cylinders, four carburettors, I remember  so well , for its time at around £1000  equivalent to 6 months salary, it was an affordable  touring motorcycle, in those days, far more pacifying societies expectations for having no attachments to the Hells Angels.
Buses in York  that I used to drive

  At around this time Bob Geldof's band of Boomtown Rats come out with a hit single Rat Trap. Justifiably this achieved  wide acclaim, for in November 1978 this was the first single bringing about groundbreaking punk gathering and was written by Bob Geldof. This is a rock ballad,  with no shortage of decibels, telling the tale of a boy called Billy, who obviously feels the depressing atmosphere of the town he lives in is a "Rat Trap"  As songs often do,   this easily summarised where I was and what I was doing. Simply put I was also working like hell, a 70 hour week was the norm for me, yet a non-smoker, practically the tea totaller & devoid of yearnings for luxuries or indulgences of extravagance, like many around me, I was often left skint long before the next payday arrived.  Of course the  roots of wanderlust had been firmly established long before Bob   started shouting in  my ear. Nevertheless perhaps it could be said that his timely contribution, was in part, a jolt that helped in making the inevitable move.

At the time I felt that Geldof typified that of the minds of working class lads &  lasses, something that  has for many, a stark reality  with lyrics   of " Little Judy's trying to watch "Top of the Pops" But mum and dad are fighting don't they ever stop, She takes off her coat and walks out to the street It's cold on that road, but it's got that home beat. Deep down in her pockets she finds 50p Hey, is that any way for a young girl to be,Hey, is that any way for a young girl to be"I'm gonna get out of school, work in a silk factory, work all the hours God gives.......... later on she finds Billy, he's drunk, it's hard to understand what Billy says, But then he mumbles in his coffee and suddenly roars "It's a rat trap Judy, and we've been caught"

  For myself, determine to cast off any perceived shackles,  with no idea of how where or when, I remained adamant, that I wasn't going to allow myself to remain " caught"  or as as I recall feeling at the time, referring to the typical British weather, trapped in the greyness  Tupperware like existence.


 

Honda 750 York to Turkey road trip
Now for the first time I was able to stretch my legs further than ever before. It wasn't long before I embarked  5000 mile (8000 km) trip throughout Europe, this time heading in the direction of Turkey. With just three weeks to complete the entire trip, before I was due back on duty  driving  the dreaded big red buses, I recall spending a great deal of time in the saddle. Upon returning to York well and truly smitten with the wanderlust, I was in absolute despair. I felt that I either  needed to develop a diet for valium sandwiches or make alternative plans. It was then whilst looking to buy a single deck bus, one that I intended to convert into a camper, thereafter once completed,  was to gather a few like-minded individuals together, before heading off in direction of Asia. Fortunately as  lives unexpected paths  reveal themselves, tt was at that time, that I came across Encounter Overland. EO were advertising for trainee  expedition drivers, thinking to myself, now there's a title to cherish for the rest of your life!

The criteria was some basic mechanical background,  holder of a PSV licence (bus driver) and some moderate travel experience. The only thing that I didn't have going for me  was that I was only 23 not the stipulated 24, however as a renowned fast talking Yorkshireman, near enough I thought.  The rest is history, simply put,  whether or not you are a driver or indeed an expedition member, life can never be the same again.


 

Encounter Overland founder Tony Jones

 EO founder, friend & visionary, Tony Jones puts it all this into perspective

Don't be shortsighted

Please feel free to borrow my classes to see what Tony has to say:-

"If I said to you, have you ever seen dawn over the Himalayas or manhandled a truck through the Congo, or paddled a reed boat on Lake Titicaca, you might think me a bit bizarre, when you consider it, how many people do you know who have experienced such places".

  Whilst many around me might have differed, as far as I was concerned, I clung with all my might to the perception that what ever lies beyond our immediate shores, is nothing more than the extension of our very own back  yard.  For the relatively few of us in possession of such privileged notion,  only once   having cleared one's minds of the somewhat falsitiesof political or geographical borders, lies a world  yearning to be explored.

I've been involved in adventure travel industry since 1979. In those early days, I would be found driving for Encounter Overland in an  eight ton converted ex-British Army four-wheel-drive truck. Once loaded with twenty passengers of various nationalities, we would set off along the 20,000 km jaunt from London to Kathmandu Nepal. The route taken was through Europe, the former Yugoslavia, on into Greece, thereafter into Turkey. By this  time we would be approximately ten days into the trip. For me Turkey was where the trip really began.  Crossing over the Bosporus,  finally we could say that we had reached the northen outer  perimeter of Asia. After spending some days touring around the backblocks of Turkey,

 

Himalayas, nobody visits once
 Unfortunately, when communicating with head office via telex, it transpired this was the first trip to be instructed by EO to keep out of Afghanistan, for the very reason that the Russians were poised to invade, tensions were running high. From Turkey onward into Iran, a fascinating country if ever there was. it was onward into Iran.  It was during this time where we are often approach by Ayatollah Khomenei special police force. All friendly enough, could have been more so if they would just had put their revolvers away, however  in reality they were no threat, just aslong as we   complied with some strong hints, passing over much-needed medical supplies, a smile would appear before they tor off down the road in their  V8  four wheel  drive Chevy Blazer. From there it was onward to Pakistan that I felt by and large was a very friendly country brimming with diversity,   and yes regardless of all the negative news we now  witness on TV, I had the pleasure of meeting many a welcoming families.  Weeks later it was onward to  Northern India, a country one could easily spend a year or more exploring. Unfortunately there were time restraints even attached to flexible itineraries. After spending some time on Dal Lake Srinagar Cashmere in relative comfort of the houseboat, before pressing forward to the upper reaches of the Himalayas of Leh & Ladakh. This sector of the trip is an adventure  within an adventure, calling in to Gargill, Gilgit  as we  traversed the old silk Road.

Operating above 13,000 feet certainly takes its toll not only on one's body, yet also on a normal aspirated Bedford truck. I seem to recall that during  this particular  drive, as we negotiated the steep and winding road, it was never once possible to actually engage top gear (4th) of course such adventures always seem to come to the end far sooner than one would have liked,  two weeks later we would arrive at our final destination of Kathmandu. This one-way trip covering no less than 20,000 km, would take twelve weeks. Once in Kathmandu I would be fleetingly involved in white water rafting, as well as short treks. Later after saying my farewells to my outward bound passengers, I would be soon be found conducting the same overland expedition in reverse order yet with a fresh set of passengers, but that's another story, to be found in "the book"

 

The late 70s early 80s were very interesting times to the on the back roads of Asia. Fortunately I had the immense pleasure of being able to visit places such as Iran & Pakistan that soon after, for political reasons,  each have become downright dangerous to travel through.

Later, while still with Encounter Overland, I would be found sailing the seas around Malaysia & Thailand, with Capt Bob Pearson.   The idea was to conduct ten-day charters between Malaysia and Thailand, my involvement in this was nothing glamorous  as I acted as deckhand, or as it turned out under the deck, perpetually keeping an antiquated diesel engine at the ready.  The worst that happened was when the rudder fell off several miles out of Penang, O yes, I nearly forgot, when anchored not far from Langkawi, it was my turn to stay on board while Capt Bob along with our seven passengers headed for to land to experience and indulge in freshwater lake.  Now home alone, it was the ideal opportunity to run the portable petrol generator in order to keep the fridge cold,  with a petrol leak  setting the deck on fire, as well as my feet and bodily parts further north, I spent a few hours in a local hospital, followed by a night chewing on painkillers

Eventually departing Encounter Overland, heading off in the direction of Australia.  Based in Sydney, amusing myself with various jobs, including working at Sydney hospital as a trolley-ologist, or later manager  carers proofing outfit.  After renovating a well used Landrover, I spent some time  explouring downunder, Hummmm, might have being more  relaxing in a Toyota, Ah, ah now is not the time for all that. Nevertheless  setting back in the series 2A Land Rover,  spending days driving along the old Telegraph  Road on the Cape York Peninsula, crossing the then calm Wenlock River on to Musgrave before driving across the infamous Jardine River. Ss luck would have it, in true Land Rover time, I finally made it to Australia's furthest northern point of the Cape York.

It was whilst I was in OZ after meeting up with adventurous pilot  Chris Dewhirst that I became a commercial balloon pilot. It didn't take long  to recognise common ground. Chris had recently attempted to fly a hotair balloon over Mount Everest, he along with adventurer cinematographer & author of filming the impossible, Leo Dickinson, also produced an award-winning documentary entitled flight of the wind horse, well worth  viewing if you can get your hands on a copy.  with their first attempt having eluded them a subsequent attempt years later proved very successful. 

Chris taught me to fly, indeed exciting times. Unfortunately with the ink  of my recently acquired commercial pilot's licence  still wet, Alice Springs produced what was to be for many years the world's the worst hotair balloon accident. Two balloons collided at 4000 feet, killing 13 people, including one pilot.  Tragic enough however there was more to come.

Just weeks after that event, another balloon accident, this time in New South Wales,  as the balloon flew into power lines. Pilot Ross Spicer along with one passenger  were killed, I recall  that, that accident took place on Wednesday.

Situated not that far away in the vineyard area of the Hunter Valley, pilot examiner David Bowers, while soul-searching at the loss of his friend, uttered the words "how could Ross had done that, he was so experienced"

 72 hours later David Bowers along with one of his passengers came to a similar fate on power lines.  In the course of three months,  a staggering 17 people lost their lives. Understandably the Australian balloon industry was in shambles.   my prize commercial license was for quite some time as good as worthless.

  Meeting the many challenges head-on, the Australian authorities, along with commercial operators wasted no time in taking a long deep look at what had happened, then confronted many issues resulting in rigorous reform.  As a result I genuinely believe that since that time Australia has led the way in introducing some of the highest standards in the world.

 At the time, myself very much wet behind the ears, respected professionals such as Hayden Wickes, a former Qantas 747   pilot instructor /'commercial balloons pilot examiner, , along with Internationally awarded Chris Dewhirst, made it their business to ensure that I was not let loose before receiving additional oversight.  

 As well as attending many hours in-depth lectures, hours spent analysing hypothetical situations, all as a result of these accidents having taken place, it was demanded that I also  received additional yet advanced flight training.  With Hayden having the final say, rather than been subjected to the normal one-hour flight test, I was to quickly learn that the entire weekend would be consumed with test flights. Normal flying along with extensive mock/induced emergency situations,   had to be dealt with with no errors.   These included being able to quickly identifying  rectify the reason for fuel starvation, or indeed a leaky parachute, or for that matter the mysterious malfunctioning pilot light. The crescendo was to land the balloon on a   examiner assign target, however at the last moment, without any forewarning I was to simulate burner blast valve malfunctioned yet still land on the same target. the pressure was on.

 There is no doubt in my mind  that these two professionals  passed on invaluable insight, not only surrounding their flying skills, importantly in adopting the appropriate attitude when assessing what is undeniably a potentially dangerous sport, as all fassett  of aviation are.  Whilst it is true to say that none of us are ever exempt from accidents,  it's advisable to  accept that passenger safety starts on the ground, it is preferable that we accept that regardless of hours flown, we never  know it all.

Although I didn't realise it at the time, despite the carnage that had taken place prior to myself taking command of a passenger balloon, years later after observing  standard elsewhere, (Egypt, Turkey comes to mind)  I would only then  appreciated to be fact, that I was brought into commercial ballooning at the highest level.  To this day, I remain immensely grateful to both  Chris and Hayden for their  invaluable insight.

Since that time, (1989) I have had the immense pleasure of flying in many exotic locations,  occasionally some not so . I have no difficulty in reporting that the Serengeti and of course the icing on the cake was being brought back into Nepal so as to fly in the Himalayas, each for contrasting reasons, rank very high on the list of locations afforded to me, for that I am grateful to many that place their trust in me.


Flying balloon in Kathmandu Nigel Pogmore
 1999 after completing three seasons in Kathmandu, with the Maoist uprising indeed a civil war, affecting tourism in Nepal, not to mention a balloon envelope that mistakenly was washed in bleach!   long story, business partner Chris Dewhirst brought me back to Australia. 

Cadbury's special shape balloon Freddo the frog
  With Chris successful in securing  a special shape balloon contract with Cadbury chocolates, I became the sole pilot of the Freddo the frog balloon. Freddo's envelope weighing in at a staggering 380 kg, standing 10 stories tall, this promotional heavyweight graced the skies  the length and breadth of Australia during its three-year tour, of which I piloted every flight. in total  my wife and I covered 170,000 km in the course of the three-year contract. not bad for someone addicted to chocolate

 

 In 2003, I did pay a visit to  Sri-lanka, at the time expecting to fly  a 16 man Kavanagh 350, ( 350,000 ft.)  Unfortunately the owner, a non-pilot and very new to the industry seem to think that we didn't need insurance or for that matter did we need to acquire an air operator certificate (AOC) matters got stranger by the day when he attempted, brings me that it wasn't a real aircraft and that therefore didn't need to bother getting a local pilot's licence. Our working relationship with this inexperienced Australian came to an abrupt end,  at the same time producing a cheque that bounced far higher than the kangaroo.

 In 2007 I took up the offer of position working for UK owened Serengeti Balloon Safaris ltd. Make to mistake the Serengeti is a wonderful place to work, however it didn't take long for the gremlins to  emerge, later more passenger injured Although not involved  in such activities myself, there was a history of numerous accidents, eventually deaths of passengers, as well as corruption, legal and physical threats made against  yours truly, after raising concerns regarding passenger safety. Full details can be found on www.serengeti-balloon-accident.com

  Finally a message to those considering  setting foot on the road of adventure, more so to the concerned parents of those of whom they have raised, I genuinely believe that with the right mindset attached to  the ability to balance adventure & associated risks involved in pursuit of those adventures, that   adventures sought are worthy track. After many years of varied experience, I pride myself on being able to quickly identify, thereafter  eliminate or at  very least, minimise any unnecessary risks, therefore allowing adventures to continue. 

 I feel that, what one does when one encounters obstacles preventing fulfilling one's professional and moral duties that one must afford to those whom have placed their trust  in you,  for example a pilot or expedition driver is always up for discussion,  What is not up for negotiation  is the safety of all concerned. Those that do not adhere to such principles, in the interest of safety and integrity, must surely be exposed.

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Canadian balloon accidents

Balloon crash burns passengers

Returning to Kathmandu NEW

Guns used  to encourage pilots to fly

UK Civil Aviation Whistleblowing Department, open letter to balloon manufacturers  Updated Demand for full and proper investigation

Threats, deaths & corruption A website dedicated to events in the Serengeti

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