2009. március 31., kedd

Some recent flying

My way or the highway

Somogyvámos temple ruins

Hungarian Pentagon

Lake Balaton
Not much nowadays, except some flying. Weather improves so there'll be a lot more of it.
On African situation no new info.

2009. március 23., hétfő

Sounds like some good news from Malawi

Just a short one here:
Mike who is flying for Nyassa Air Taxi writes on his blog

We are getting there, flights are increasing and the bookings look promising! Just working on getting A/C to fly and pilots ready! Likoma Island has a new airstrip now. Its great! The only thing missing is the terminal building. As the contractors say that will be done by mid of April. Jahuuu, what a change this is to the old bush strip we used before.
Andy Pope, airliners.net

Update on Kilwa Air, Mwanza, Tanzania

Kilwa Air does still exist partially. There is just one Islander left that still flies under Kilwa Air.
Most of the work is done for an Exploration company. The Casa was sold in November last year.

2009. március 19., csütörtök

Some first hand info on Kenyan pilot licence validation torture

From LOW BURNER via PPRue:
I just got back from 2 months over there.
Pilot licence conversion test for CPL is on the second thursday of each month. Only this day. Dont miss it. It costs $200 us dollars. I dont know what your licence is like but the Kenyan exam is a lot different than the canadian one. A good deal of the questions are written in broken english and the words combined do not equal a sentance. Its multiple choice and done on a computer.
You go to the Kenyan civil aviation authority to book the test. You go across the building to pay for the test at the Kenyan revenue authority. You then go back to the Aviation authority then they tell you when and where to write the test. The test is on the old airport road down a small road at the East African School of flying. Despite confirming and visiting several times to make sure i was booked for certain date they still did not have me on the list when i arrived. Had to stand in the Testing office and demand that i could write the test for one hour and refuse to leave before they allowed me to write.
If you go a couple weeks ahead of time you can get a flying shool to prep you for the exam. Dont know the cost of that process though. Once you have a licence in hand some of the companies will then talk to you.
The work permit is around $2000 USD. You may have to bribe someone an equal amount to actually get them to process it. It is a two year permit. If you have just finished your CPL and have 2-300 hours they may just flat out deny you the permit since there are a lot of kenyans in the same boat.
You can avoid a work permit with the right company and out of country placements.
If you can get in you are in a great position. If nobody is willing to take you on try to convince them to let you work the ramp for a while and you will end up flying a fair bit and logging hours when they need somebody. Most kenyan pilots wont give you the time of day but a lot of the expats can be quite helpful. It will be an adventure...

Sweet Home Arusha


Sweet Home Arusha from Matt Watt on Vimeo.

2009. március 17., kedd

Something cool from Kenya

Is a Kenyan air charter company, owned and operated by Mike Seton and his son, David Seton. It is based at Wilson Airport, Nairobi. It is one of the largest privat air charter companies operating there, and it is also one of the oldest established companies on the airfield.
Aircrafts: Grand Caravans (3), Cessna 406, Cessna 310 (2), Cessna 210, Cessna 206, Cessna 182 (2)
Requirements: already sent out a mail, in hope of a reply, but with no big expectations (as until this day I haven't got any reply from any company that I've wrote).
What I really loved at this company is the family spirit. The heritage. They have a history section with old photos, that really make this company very personal.
And as usually: any info is welcome!
P.s.: After the Kilwa info (updated today) I'm starting to be afraid after posting these things here...
Update: got reply from them, good and bad news too... Will clarify a few things and then will post the info.

2009. március 11., szerda

More on Tanzania

Ran over the list of Tanzanian Air operators on the TCAA website. There is a lot of info, what airplanes they are flying, where is their base, phone numbers and emails. Might also be a good start cheking them out. So check it out! As usually I've found a very simpathic one: KILWA AIR based in Mwanza. Now not becouse their website is so cool (could redesign it in a few days), but becouse the Kilwa staff seems to be very cool. Also wrote their chief pilot already. So if I get any answer (maybe) then I'll let you know about their requirements.
Cessna 182s 5H-ZGF
Photo: Felix Borner via Airliners.net
Updated this one to (by Soap Box Cowboy via PPRuNe): Company does not really exist anymore. From what I recall the CASA has been sold. The 210 was banned from Tanzania after it taxied into a caravan ripping of it's own beacon and the pilots decided to go ahead and fly without reporting it. The 406 was sold to Auric Air and destroyed during a training flight, sadly leading to the deth of both pilots. There is one islander left with one or two pilots flying it but not sure for how long it will be operated. With the curent situation in Eastern Congo and world fincial crisis their market has dried up a bit.They are operating out of Entebbe into Eastern Congo last I heard.
So that's the end of this info too...

2009. március 10., kedd

A few excellent words about pilots by Bob Buck, retired TWA captain

You see them at airport terminals around the world. You see them in the morning early, sometimes at night. They come neatly uniformed and hatted, sleeves striped; wings over their left pocket. They show up looking fresh. There's a brisk, young-old look of efficiency about them. 
They arrive fresh from home, from hotels, carrying suitcases, battered briefcases, bulging, with a wealth of technical information, data, filled with regulations, rules. They know the new, harsh sheen of Chicago's O'Hare. They know the cluttered approaches to Newark and LaGuardia; they know the tricky shuttle that is Rio; they know but do not relish the intricate instrument approaches to various foreign airports; they know the volcanoes all around Guatemala. They respect foggy San Francisco. They know the up-and-down walk to the gates at Dallas, the Texas sparseness of Abilene, the very narrow Berlin Corridor, New Orleans' sparkling terminal, the milling crowds at Washington. They know Butte, Boston, and Beirut. 
They appreciate Miami's perfect weather; they recognize the danger of an ice-slick runway at JFK. They understand short runways, antiquated fire equipment, inadequate approach lighting, but there is one thing they will never comprehend: Complacency. They marvel at the exquisite good taste of hot coffee in Anchorage and a cold beer in Guam. They vaguely remember the workhorse efficiency of the DC-3s, the reliability of the DC-4s and DC-6s, the trouble with the DC-7 and the propellers on Boeing 377s. They discuss the beauty of an old gal named Connie. They recognize the high shrill whine of a Viscount, the rumbling thrust of a DC-8 or 707 on a clearway takeoff from Haneda, and a Convair. The remoteness of the 747 cockpit. The roominess of the DC-10 and the snug fit of a 737. They speak a language unknown to Webster. They discuss ALPA, EPRs, RVR, ICAO, fans, mach and bogie swivels. And, strangely, such things as bugs, thumpers, crickets, NATS and CATs, but they are inclined to change the subject when the uninitiated approaches. They have tasted the characteristic loneliness of the sky, and occasionally the adrenaline of danger.
They respect the unseen thing called turbulence; they know what it means to fight for self-control, to discipline one's senses. They buy life insurance, but make no concession to the possibility of complete disaster, for they have uncommon faith in themselves and what they are doing. They concede the glamour is gone from flying. They deny a pilot is through at sixty. They know tomorrow, or the following night, something will come along they have never met before; they know flying requires perseverance and vigilance. They know they must practice, lest they retrograde. They realize why some wit once quipped: "Flying is year after year of monotony punctuated by seconds of stark terror." 
As a group, they defy mortality tables, yet approach semi-annual physical examinations with trepidation. They are individualistic, yet bonded together. They are family people. They are reputedly overpaid, yet entrusted with equipment worth millions. And entrusted with lives, countless lives. At times they are reverent: They have watched the Pacific sky turn purple at dusk and the stark beauty of sunrise over Iceland at the end of a polar crossing. They know the twinkling, jeweled beauty of Los Angeles at night; they have seen snow on the Rockies. They remember the vast unending mat of green Amazon jungle, the twisting Silver road that is the father of waters, an ice cream cone called Fujiyama; the hump of Africa. Who can forget Everest from 100 miles away, or the ice fog in Fairbanks in January? 
They have watched a satellite streak across a starry sky, seen the clear, deep blue of the stratosphere, felt the incalculable force of the heavens. They have marveled at sun-streaked evenings, dappled earth, velvet night, spun silver clouds, sculptured cumulus: God's weather. They have viewed the Northern Lights, a wilderness of sky, a pilot's halo, a bomber's moon, horizontal rain, Contrails and St Elmo's Fire.
Only an aviator experiences all these.
It is their world. And once was mine...

2009. március 9., hétfő

A few words from Africa to give a little hope

I've only been flying here in "real Africa" for 3 years. It is not that hard, it isn't that dangerous and you don't have to be a macho marlboro smoking cowboy to hack it. Just rock up, keep you head screwed on, get stuck in and have fun.
As for jobs I spoke to coastal by email in Tanzania and they said I should fly down there next week and if I stay to work they will reimburse my flight! starting in a c206 and upto c208 when proved myself, if i remember. And as for the boredom thing, 90% of us started flying for fun and excitement, so if his job isnt that anymore, he should pack up and move on. And guess what? If he moves here to work that means there is a flying slot in India so maybe one this forums idiot can rock up over there and get it!??!
I'm in Africa and think you should come on over.
(THX SLIPANDSKID via PPRUNE – had to post it here to keep the spirit alive)

2009. március 5., csütörtök

I'm asking a favor

I see that I have a few hits from Botswana, Namibia, Malawi, Tanzania. 
If you guys read this post please keep me up to date. Or if you have any comments please feel free to write it to me.
We're a few guys out here who are eager to know about the situation about the changes that take place (see post on Scenic). Thank you guys in advance.

2009. március 3., kedd

Just bad news

Just found out that the insurance company of Scenic Air changed their policy (don't know if this applies to other Namibian companies too). It is good-bye 200 TT fresh CPL. The insurance company asks that Scenic entry requirements for new pilots need to be 400 hours! Well, I think this kindda changes things. 

2009. március 2., hétfő

Fun with clouds

We - my buddy Matt and me - managed to hire a C152 for a longer period. So really cheap time building is on it's way. 
This weekend we took her on a ride. The weather was minimum VFR at the beginning but we had some beautiful clouds at 3000 so we flew between them. And as there was no other traffic we did not have to care just for the airspeed. We went from Kalocsa ex military (LHKA) to Szeged (LHUD), landed had a little chit-chat with the lady in the Tower, then flew over the city. Headed to Szentkirályszabadja ex military (LHSA - see last picture) where the weather really improved. We will keep the plane here. And hope to have lots of fun with her.