landing with scenes & skeletons
By Pradeep Silwal
July 11 - Have you ever dreamt of flying all over the world alone in an
aeroplane? Well, for ordinary folks—dreams are just that— dreams. But for Tom
Claytor, an American bush pilot, sky is not the limit.
Claytor landed in
Kathmandu this week after flying 100,000 miles and visiting 50 countries since
he started his journey from his home town Philadelphia, USA in December
Kathmandu is only a stop over in his seven continent odyssey flying in
a single engine Cessna-180 aeroplane, which can fly 15 hours and cover 3600 km
in one go. He has already covered four continents in seven years—North America,
Europe, Africa and Asia.
He was in Pakistan and India before he landed in
Kathmandu. He plans to fly to Australia, South America and Antarctica before he
returns home where he has father, mother, two brothers and a sister.
plane which he has named Timmissartok, a word taken from Greenland language
which means to fly like a bird, serves Claytor as his home and office besides
being a mode of transport. He pitches his tent beneath the plane when he has
nowhere to go for a rest. So, what keeps this extra-ordinary man so
The 34-year-old American wants to make a history by flying to all
the seven continents in a single engine plane with the aim of getting an entry
into the Guinness book of world records. Besides these, he makes films for
National Geographic "Explorer Journal", and also takes photographs.
also working on a book "The Wisdom of the Wilderness."
"I am on a journey to
visit wilderness. I want to learn from the people who live close to nature,"
Asked why he chose Nepal as a stopover, he said: "I choose
countries where people live close to nature. I have chosen Nepal as an
inspiration for my next painting."
Claytor has decided to take photographs
of Himalayas. He has already taken photographs of Congo river and Sahara desert
which he commissioned to a painter for reproduction. The paintings with the
added figure of his plane appears on post cards.
Claytor has a mind of
exploring the whole of Nepal in his month-long stay here. "Now I’m excited to
explore Nepal. I want to make Nepal a part of my journey to share with people
all over the world, the extrovert American pilot says.
His brother joined him
in Kathmandu a day after he landed here. "Warren, my little brother wanted to
meet me in a beautiful place and he chose Nepal," he says.
A loner in the
wide world, Claytor has gathered bagfuls of strange experiences. One of them was
in Liberia where he landed in May 1992. He saw 20,000 human skeletons on the
"A soldier told me," says Clayton, "during the war we ate people not
because we were hungry, but we were scared and if you ate your enemy it makes
In Algeria, he was detained by the military because they
thought that bush pilot means the pilot for then president George Bush, who was
hated in the Muslim world at the time of Gulf War. "Later they understood the
meaning and released me," says Claytor with a smile.
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