Kenya aviation news update – From the one and only Harro Trempenau

An aerial view of the Orly airfield, outside Nairobi in the Kitengela Plain








Harro Trempenau, former and almost forever chairman of the Aero Club of East Africa at the Wilson Airport in Nairobi, has since his eventual retirement two years ago from that position been relatively quiet, much to the dislike of, amongst many others, this correspondent. Harro, an aviator through and through and a larger than life personality, was one of the industrys prime sources of information, combative, eloquent and never shy to call a spade a spade, which earned him the admiration of most within the aviation fraternity and, mostly from regulatory nitwits with neither sense of humour nor any affinity to the reality of general and leisure aviation, lasting curses and wishes for swift damnation.
Harro of course moved on to the Orly Airfield he developed, to move leisure and general aviation out of the ever busier and constricted Wilson to the open plains and the news from there, told with tongue in cheek as ever before, are encouraging to read.
And so, as often done before, I am doing a copy / paste job on Harros mail, because only Harro can tell the story as Harro would, notwithstanding my own skills to play with words. But credit where credit is due, including another few broadsides as 2011 wanes and 2012 makes its presence known by knocking on the eternal door of time to be let in Enjoy, and do encourage Harro to continue writing so that we can all have some regular aviation fun when his works of art hit our mailboxes:

Dear Fellow Aviators and Orly Members

The Management of Orly Airpark sends you the compliments of the season and encourages you to use our airfield and its excellent facilities more frequently in 2012. The airport has two excellent runways, an Aero Club Club House for ACEA members, a Lounge, and even an aircraft maintenance facility. Check it out on our website

The Outlook for 2012

Plans for 2012 are well advanced at Orly, including the water tower, taxiways, extension of Runway 06, and road improvements. We also keep pushing the Ministry of Transport to re-surface the Kiserian to Ollooloitikosh “Pipeline Road” that has frustrated our members all year. It’s a disgrace as travel time to Nairobi has doubled. We are assured by the authorities that the contract to re-build the road has been awarded and construction will start in January 2012. If that comes true, our prayers for 2012 will have been answered. Meanwhile, we are continuing to meet all bureaucratic obstacles that various Government department can think of for investors like us: a new NEMA Environmental Audit, a renewal of our KCAA Aerodrome Licence that requires(amongst other things) a policy manual on hazardous and radioactive goods, County County Rates, security inspections and countless other hurdles. The dream of pursuing the “Freedom of Flight” is a never-ending struggle, as most of us have seen at Wilson Airport. It is not clear why Governments throughout the world seem to all focus on aviation as the greatest threat, when 99% of all terrorist acts and bombings in the world are in fact perpetrated by means of conveyance like pick up trucks, scooters, donkeys and even people in various disguises. It is sad when aviation and air transport could help in making everybody’s life a lot easier, there is a push afoot to regulate flying to such a degree that the hassle outweighs the benefits. Flying is not growing at the pace it could, and it is not a good business to be in if the authorities continue to micro-regulate it with an army of bureaucrats that we are feeding. In Kenya we now have some four or five Government employees guarding and taking care of each of our 400 airworthy aircraft. This includes KCAA staff, KAA , KRA, Customs, Police, Intelligence, and who knows who else that are overseeing each flight. Yet, there is no evidence that this intensive “oversight” and mountains of new regulations have made any difference to flight safety. Things just take a lot longer now then they used to and flying now costs us a lot more money. . And we all thought that we fly because it’s quicker???

KRA Imposes Inbound Passenger Departure Tax

In a move that took everybody by surprise, the KRA suddenly sent out a circular a few weeks ago, that a Passenger Tax (Shs. 300 per person) will apply at Wilson Airport to aircraft that are “inbound”. Up to now, Passenger Departure Tax was applied only to aircraft departing from a number of larger airstrips in the country. The Kenya Association of Air Operators has objected to the new measure. It is not clear how KRA can justify a Passenger Departure Tax from airstrips that are not operated by the Government. For example, Orly Airpark is a strictly private airport that is not dependent on Government funds and, as such, it seems spurious if the Government charged a tax for departures from such private airports.

KCAA Weight-Distance Formula Has Teething Problems

Pilots will have noticed that the KCAA has imposed a new system of navigation fee payments. A formula, based on a factor involving the square root of the distance flown and the weight of the aircraft is being applied. Great confusion has set in at the AIS Stations around the country, as personnel are misinterpreting the system, are confused about the location of various airstrips, etc. Based on a check of the AIP, it is believed that the KCAA actually only knows about the existence of about half of the 650 or so airstrips in Kenya. It is not clear how the KCAA can charge a pilot correctly for a flight, if the officer is not certain where the airstrip is actually located.

Aircraft under 2500 kg all up weight are perhaps fortunate that they are eligible for a ‘commuted rate’ of Shs. 50000 per year, or Shs. 12500 per quarter. It is suggested to all operators of such light aircraft to prepay the ‘annual fee’ asap.

Tsavo Safari Camp Makes Come-back

Many of us who already flew in the seventies and eighties fondly remember our visits to Tsavo Safari Camp, along the Athi-Galana River near Mtito Andei. Overnight stays broke the flights between Malindi and Nairobi, and Sunday curry lunches were a favorite. In the nineties, the camp entered a downturn with the vagaries of the tourist economy, but it is now back with a vengeance. The Camp is under new Management, fixed up, the pool is clear, many activities are on offer, and the runway is most useable. This is an aviation-friendly destination and pilots and passengers have been invited to drop in and visit…….

” Father Christmas has landed you with a unique opportunity to be amongst the first ever members of Kitaani kya Ndundu-Tsavo Safari Camp..the old time favorite! This IS the perfect destination and stopover in a remote part of Tsavo.

Upon your first booking and arrival at Camp you will be presented with your Kitaani kya Ndundu-Tsavo Safari Camp loyalty card which offers discounted rates, whether its a stop over lunch or a longer stay which includes a newly created bouquet of unique Camp activities. and a window to much more!

Your details need to be submitted via email to tavosafaricamp, including telephone number, Email address and Country of residence. Please register soon in order to benefit from this membership at NO COST. A good steak, a good curry or simply a cold tusker a dip in the pool ready at all times so drop in…….

Those who want ideas about other day trips or overnight aerial excursions in Kenya should also check the Aero Club of East Africa website You can also use the link on the Orly Airpark Web site . Check web page “Flying in Kenya”.

Orly Welcomes New Shareholders

We welcome Chris Kuto, Jonathan Knowles and Dr. Graham Omondi as new shareholders in our company. Their membership will add strength to our project , as all three have diverse aviationrelated backgrounds and/or are active pilots. Karibu, and we hope to see all of you make use of our facility.

Happy 2012….and Safe Flying….

Harro Trempenau

6 Responses

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