2008. december 24., szerda

So this is christmas...

Merry Christmas to You All!
'Pilots don't need much school. They just have to learn to read numbers so they can read their instruments.'

2008. december 16., kedd

My first iron...

So, this has come too, after flying a lot with "stick'n'rudder plastics" I ended up flying irons too. This is a step towards bigger more powerful "yoke'n'rudder" Cessnas.
HA-ERJ is a really nice 1979 Cessna 152. But the weather was really bad, with mist and rain, and very-very poor visibility.

2008. december 11., csütörtök

A letter from Maun

To all those Dudes out there, ladies as well for that matter - Being one of those people that you have asked for an ACTUAL tell of the situation at present - ill try and give a little bit of insight into the going on's of a pilots life in Maun. At this time of the year, the best things that you could do for yourself, is make sure that you turn up to EVERY Christmas party!Meet everybody thats here, leaving here, and looking here. The best way to get a job - make a good impression the people within the company - they do the hiring. We dont care on your hours, what you have flown, whether you have an Instrument rating or not( whats instrument flying anyway?? ) just get along. There are a lot of people leaving here in the next few months, even weeks, so chances are good. Cant put a number on who's going, staying - but a fair amount are. To Live here...dont expect much, this really is one of the slum's of the earth! BUt for those of us that live here, Its like a great night out in a Major Town with girls everywhere, except there really aren't... sorry fellas, think i spotted one the other day although! You have an absolute blast with the people that you work with, the community is small, being segregated partly into PILOTS, hunters, guides, and locals. We all get on though if you make an effort. I know the looking time is hard, we have all had to do it, see the good side of it though and make the most of being here, if you dont get a job at first, go see africa, Maun is not the only place that has planes! Look foward to meeting those of you that arrive next year!! ALL THE BEST

Thoughts on flying for today (from Dave Gahan)

I'm taking a ride
With my best friend
I hope he never lets me down again
She knows where she's taking me
Taking me where I want to be
I'm taking a ride
With my best friend

We're flying high
We're watching the world pass us by
Never want to come down
Never want to put my feet back down
On the ground

I'm taking a ride
With my best friend
I hope she never lets me down again
Promises me I'm as safe as houses
As long as I remember who's wearing the trousers
I hope he never lets me down again

2008. december 10., szerda

Some clouds

If you followed the situation on PPRUNE you saw that there is a great number of wannabe pilots heading down this season to Maun. All prepared to live in uncomfortable conditions for love of flying and career.
But there is the big cloud of recession above our head. The problem is that there is no actual reliable info on present tourism situation.
I'd stress that anyone heading to Maun try to call, email or whatever before getting his or her ticket.

2008. december 9., kedd

Some flying in Hungary

Finally on Monday we had some wonderful CAVOK after a long poor visibility and low cloud base period. So some flying came. And hey it was 2 hours and 50 minutes (and so reached 110+ TT wich takes me closer and closer to Maun).
I took my photographer colleague for a ride. Yepp it's the guy you can see on that earlier picture in my first post. We climbed a DA20 and made it round Lake Balaton. Here's a few pictures for you (although I stole almost every other picture on this blog these photos are copyrighted).

Pilotage (useful stuffs)

Sundial I. (temple ruins)

Sundial II. (temple ruins)

Sundial III. (castle ruins)

Earth wound (small lake on a hilltop)

2008. december 8., hétfő

111 TT and runnin'

With the monday flying round the Lake Balaton I passed the 110 TT.
C150/152 rating coming up this weekend, C210 and C206 in sight as well as NVFR and IR. Maybe even some ME rating on L200 Morava.

Funny little Czech twin...

... with a nice shape!

Sorry for the delays...

I got stuck a bit. Thought that I'm almost at the and of this, but after receiving a few words from the guy who served trout then headed to maun I had to realize that there is a lot more to add. 

2008. november 29., szombat

Let's go on! part III.

Money you need for "surviving" untill you get the job:
Around P200/day (20 Euros) while looking for work. You'll probably spend less, including a fair drinking allowance. Work out how long you're prepared to stay without a job and add 2 months on low pay before you get online.

well yo ain't goin to buy your first yacht from this money but hey, it is not why you are here. Expect around 800 euros monthly. Some operators offer housing/allowances.

What if anything happens to you out there? Probably no sane insurance company will be available if you tell them that you wanna be comercial pilot in Botswana. But no worries, companies will take care of this as soon as you get hired.
 What I surely know is that at Mackair you get a nice healthcare insurance for emergency flights out to SA. In case of something happens!
And finally FLYING IN MAUN:
If you have a 206 rating... great, if not... well, get a rating as this will increase your chances of getting into the system quicker. Also, any aircraft on your current license that you have flown for less that 5 hours will not be endorsed on your Botswana license!
If you get hired the company will train you in bush flying. This is usually 50 hours flying.
You will be starting out on the 206’s (kavango and moremi start on the 172’s). Long term pilots move up to the caravans (turboprops), and twins. Will be flying approximately 800-900 hours a year.

Some more info to sum it up, and we're done!

2008. november 28., péntek

Facts, part II.

How to get there:
Fly to Johannesburg, then either Air Botswana it to Maun for about 200 euro or get a bus to Gaborone and then onwards to Maun for a cheaper, but many more times sweaty, excursion. Audi camp (www.okavangocamp.com) seems to be the place to stay for pilots, bring a tent, mention you are a pilot looking for a job, and apparently they give you a discount (35 Pula = 3 euro). It is 12km North of Maun, so I am not quite sure how you actually get there, but I suggest walking would be a decision left severely lacking.

Visa & license conversion:
You can go to Botswana for a job hunt based on your passport, so no special visa is required. In order to get your license converted to the Botswana equivalent, you will need five hours in the C206, then you will need to pass a flight test, and also an air law exam. Apparently this is easy. The company will also sort out the work permit visa papers that you will need once and if you get a job, and this will take a couple of months.

It is important to have everything certified, or bring over the originals. Birth certificate, passport, police clearance certificate, school certificate, licenses, logbooks, and anything else you can think of.
The application process for a license can take up to month!
Paperwork and residence permits:
(THX Jono)
  • certificates (as many as you can get your hands on – even for 1 day courses!!!)
  • work references
  • current CV
  • passport – showing date of issue, date of expiry & number
  • birth certificate
  • 20 X passport photos (Its ridiculous but you can never have to many of these!)
  • 2 X form 16 – must be signed in front of commissioner/policeman
  • 2 X form 4 – signed by doctor and MUST be stamped employment contract (upon being accepted by company)
  • application letter for the job (chief pilot should issue this to you)
  • copy of the job advert (ask the chief pilot for a copy)
The cost of these permits is roughly P1200 (120 euros). The company usually helps out with all this, so don’t stress to much, just get as much paperwork together as you can before coming over, and have about 4 certified copies of each! There is a company that will do all this for you, and I would recommend using them as they really speed up the whole process, there called jumbaliya and there next to Mack Air.

2. (THX Dupre)

Bring at least 5 certified copies of your passport, licences, birth certificates etc. Also a new requirement is a Certificate of Clearance (from the police, stating that you are a good egg and haven't done anything terrible). Finally bring copies of all the certificates/education/degrees you've got... they lap that stuff up at immigration. Make sure that everything has an official looking stamp on it - for some reason Africa is the place of official stamps and any document lacking one is viewed with suspicion.
+ The latest trick form DCA is to say that they have to contact your DCA to clear your license - if you can try and get a letter from your DCA as some form of clearance letter indicating that your license is valid and you're not a fraud - I'm not even sure if it will help - but we're trying to cover all our basis.

Life in Maun:
Maun has many bars with paved roads in the centre and a smallish airport (which is always a bonus when you are trying to find a pilot job). A modern hospital has just been built, but I don't know if this is open yet. The low season for pilots is the Summer and is the wet season in Botswana, and is the hiring season as well, so you will need to take a good waterproof tent and be prepared to get a little moist. It gets cold at night so bring warm things you can layer yourself up with in the evenings and shed them like some sort of onion in the mornings.
Travel in bots is a bitch, so be prepared to share lifts, buy your own car or take a taxi! 2nd hand cars are really cheap. Upwards from about 800 euro.

Accommodation isn’t always provided, so be prepared to camp out for a few days. The best I can suggest is chat to the pilots and see if they might have a room available. Look at paying 100 euros upwards a month for shared accommodation. Audi camp caters for pilots and is really cheap, let them know you’re a pilot and they charge around 2 euros/night.
First hand info on house rent is 250 euros/month for a small house with pool.

2008. november 27., csütörtök

So, the facts! part I.

...you probably have enough of all the crap that I was posting you here. Maybe you are like me, you don't care where you are going if there's a flying job waiting for you.

Here are the facts (stolen from a guy who served trout before he went to Maun and completed from stuff from here and there):

The Operators:
Sefofane: Caravan/Cessna206/
Cessna172/Airvan (www.sefofane.com)
Moremi Air: Caravan/Islander/
Cessna210/Cessna206/Cessna172 (www.moremiair.com)
Kavango Air: Caravan/
Cessna206/Cessna172 (www.kavangoair.com)
Delta Air: Islander/
Cessna210/Cessna206 (www.okavango.bw/air.html)
Mack Air: Caravan/Airvan/
Cessna210/Cessna206 (www.mackair.co.bw)
Safari Air: Babyvan/Caravan/Islander/Airvan/
How to get a job:
Forget emailing. If you decided you'd like to go just go to Maun between October and February! You can send off CV's to the companies, but they won't hire you unless you are on their doorstep, looking imploringly into their chief pilot's eyes (this is very important).
C206 rating with at least five hours on type (instrument rating is a bonus's but not required). Age is not really an issue.
Expect 1-2 years contract minimum. And you won't even regret it.
Quote Dupre:
You won't be able to arrange any permits in advance, as you need to have a firm job offer before you can apply. By all means email the companies before you go - that's a very good idea. But don't expect them to hire you before they have met you.
Quote theRealFlyingNomad:
... knocking at "charter companies"'s doors...and having the usual "come back tomorrow, not now"...or "yes, you interest us, but come back in a month"...and then , by pissing those guys off day after day, ending up a few days, weeks, or month, actually flying for them..
Quote alexace:
All the companies want to get to know you and it is the pilots and the rest of the staff that make the decision. The presumption is that everyone can fly, we all have CPLs, so the emphasis is on if you're a nice guy, fit in, and they believe you want to be here for a couple of years.
Oh yes, and the minimums:
Well 200 hours valid CPL will be enough.

More info coming up...

Basic info on Maun, Botswana

Maun is the fifth largest town in Botswana. It is an eclectic mix of modern buildings and native huts. Maun is the "tourism capital" of Botswana and the administrative centre of Ngamiland district. It is also the headquarters of numerous safari and air-charter operations who run trips into the Okavango Delta.

Although officially still a village, Maun has developed rapidly from a rural frontier town and has spread along the Thamalakane River. It now has shopping centres, hotels and lodges as well as car hire, although it retains a rural atmosphere and local tribesmen continue to bring their cattle to Maun to sell. The community is distributed along the wide banks of the Thamalakane River where red lechwe can still be seen grazing next to local donkeys, goats and cattle. Credits: Wikipedia

As you can see from the city pictures this is not downtown New York, nor London.

But if you can live with this the surrounding is hilarious.

The Okavango Delta (or Okavango Swamp), in Botswana, is the world's largest inland delta.

The area was once part of Lake Makgadikgadi, an ancient lake that dried up some 10,000 years ago. Today, the Okavango River has no outlet to the sea. Instead, it empties onto the sands of the Kalahari Desert, irrigating 15,000 km² of the desert. Each year some 11 cubic kilometres of water reach the delta. Some of this water reaches further south to create Lake Ngami.

The waters of the Okavango Delta are subject to seasonal flooding, which begins about mid-summer in the north and six months later in the south (May/June). The water from the delta is evaporated relatively rapidly by the high temperatures, resulting in a cycle of cresting and dropping water in the south. Islands can disappear completely during the peak flood, then reappear at the end of the season. Credits: Wikipedia

Quote Der absolute Hammer:

... have a look at the thrilling dustbowl. The delta begins north of the town. The town itself is not green and water filled with fountains and broad boulevards full of exotic animals.
On weekends you can go into the next desert and watch your blade of grass grow?
Also maybe these days it is not needed that you take your own food into the hospital? I do not know. It was that way.
Schools - must be some?
Maun is a very long way from any where else. The flying may be adventurous. I do not think that the adventure of living in Maun will be greater than the boredom of doing so.

Welcome to this Flying in Maun, Botswana Help

Just a few words about me...
I am an Art Director of a major Hungarian economical magazine. And had my own clientele too. So, the party was on... Not a huge one, but things were rollin'
But at the age a 31 I woke up one morning and realized that I'm not doing what I always wanted. Yepp, there was no flying at all.
Took my photographer buddy on a ride

So I started to fly. Made PPL, flew some 100+ hours, completed a CPL course and realized that if I wanna go on I need to find a pilot job. But sill have to fly some 100 hours to make my CPL valid. And during this time I had to realise that from my Easter uropean income it is almost impossible to become a pro pilot. No chance of gathering the money fore some 1000 TT and multiengine and all that stuff that you probably know if you've got to this blog.
Turning to final at LHJK

And I have enough of sitting in the office from 9to5. But I'm still doing it... the story is just starting to unfold.

And this was when I've found Maun in Botswana. The light at the end of the tunnel.

And then it took a while, until I gathered the information.

I made this post to gather the information and sort out the essentials, also to help guys like me who decideded that thay are ready to go wherever flying jobs are.
So give me a few days until I sort the material and post it here.

I "stole" the majority of information from these guys (they started or replied to threads regarding Maun on PPRUNE.com, and were helpful on other forums too), respect:
Der absolute Hammer (he's not the Maun lover, but he points out a few problems that may occur there, and he knows the hoop snakes)
Gavin S and Brett JF (who helped on Facebook without even knowing me)
Jono (aka maunpilot)
Ludwig JR (who helped a lot in the name of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy, respect mate!)
Swamp Rat (I don't know who he is in reality but he's on the site)
Solid Rust Twotter (thanks for the hairspray)
waiterpilot (after serving enough trout he landed in Maun, a bit like a Douglas Adams story you know: So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish)

And lots of others from PPRUNE and other places.

Coming up next: the info!