2009. május 26., kedd


I already wrote about my longterm plans of going to Maldives and eventually flying Twin Otters on floats in paradise. So here's a couple of pictures.
Absolutely fantastic.
Although the job is hard. Flying the whole day with 10-20 T/O's and landings. But who cares when you can enjoy being an angel in paradise?

2009. május 22., péntek

Just dreamin'

2009. május 20., szerda

Word from Maun

Here's a situation report from "ground zero" (THX flying paddy):
I will try to give you an honest run down on what is happening here. Firstly it is very busy in Maun at the moment and any rumours of a recession are just that. I was chatting to one of the owners this week and they admitted that they did not have enough aircraft or pilots. So that is a very good sign.
Unfortunately it is too late to take advantage of this years boom as such, there is no way anyone is being hired at the moment as it is just to busy to train and get folks on line. The law here is a bit different and it is a bit of a pain to get all your licence and paperwork done quickly.
Now plans for the future! Well that is not so great I am afraid. The word on the street is that due to the recession bookings at the lodges are down on next year so far. (This years flying was booked a while ago) This has a direct knock on effect on the operators. If you do want to experience flying here (and it is fantastic) then you will need too weigh up the odds. There is no point in coming here before Xmas, all the hiring is done in the New Year during the off season. (There is time to train you etc). You also most absolutely come here no one has ever been hired any other way.

2009. május 18., hétfő

My buddies...

... are doing their line training at WizzAir. One will be based in Prague (one of the most beautiful and exciting cities) the other will be based in my natal city Timisoara.
Wizz is the largest lowcost airline in Eastern Europe and owned by Hungarianns. With a constantly growing fleet of A320's it seems that it is not effected by the downturn. They are constantly hiring. This company is a good starting place for midtimers (with 700-1000 TT). My first instructor is also flying for them. He'll shortly become a captain.
Well it is good to know that by the time I might be coming back from Africa there'll be a few captain buddies at Wizz. The more I am into this "business" the more I have to realize that proper networking is one of the most important factor in getting a pilot job.

2009. május 12., kedd

Flying therapy ✈

Still ill.
But since I have flown a few hours in the weekend at least the office depression passed.
We hoped with Matt in our good old rented Piper on Saturday, and flew to Wiener Neustadt (LOAN) to have the best wiener schnitzel in Austria, strictly "unter den Turm". The Piper has four places but you either carry fuel either carry passangers. It has 160 HP, but still doesn't seem to be enough.
It is located near a military airfield (LOXN). So I was coming in for a landing on the RWY10 and reported over the Pulverturm as asked (this is the entry point, the turn from crosswind to downwind). I was trying not to overfly the railway which is paralel with the base. Then turned to final at 100-150 ft, in case of the Piper I extended full flaps and touched down (my buddy Matt was like a real F/O, he was constantly giving me the speed). Meanwhile the crazy old guy from the tower awaits the moment when you have the highest workload and starts asking you about your departure airfield and the name of the captain and similar very importan questions. Me just asked him to stand by. So we were down and happy but not for a long time as there was no free table at the restaurant. On the picture behind the Piper you can see the tower and the restaurant.
Wiener Neustadt airfield is home of the Diamond Aircraft. So there's a lot to see. And there is a small aviation museum too, where among other airplanes they have a Messerchmitt Bf109 which looks to me to be in flying condition (but I might be wrong).
With no place to eat but hungry we hopped back in the Piper and headed for Tokorcs airfield in Hungary (such a small one that it doesn't even have a code). But they have a great restaurant there and by air it is only 30 minutes. From there we flew to Kaposújlak (LHKV). Here I had my first wake turbulence encountered on final. There was parachute dropping from an L410. After deploying the packages she was descending like crazy (as it is used in case of parachute dropping). Turned to final some half mile in front of me while I was holding to let her land. Then I turned to final and saw her touching down. Was also descending towards the runway when I first encountered a strong turbulence yawing me to the left. Agressively corrected it and got into an other one now to the right. This was when I realized that I'm in the turbulence zone of the Let. Turned left and left the final. Made a slow slight prolonged turn. Got back on final a few minutes later and landed without further events.
Sunday. LHSA. 0600Z. We've been planning to go to Portorož (LJPZ) in Slovenia. But haven't.
Instead We flew to Nove Zamky (LZNZ) in Slovakia. We met a few slovak pilots. Chatted for an hour or so and headed back to LHSA.
Had some coolers and took off for Punitz/Gussing (LOGG) airfield. Matt fell asleep on the way there. In the Hungarian airspace there was no big traffic. The engine was working perfectly and for a few minutes I also had to fight not to fall asleep. Landing, an Almdudler and we were heading back to LHSA again. Climbed up to 8000 ft to catch the building clouds.
Climbed above the cloud base. The sight was gorgeous. The air was smooth. And I forgat that I'm ill. So when we started to descend intensively for LHSA hell broke out in my head. As I had this flu it probably blocked my eustachian tube and my middle ear couldn't decompress. I was swallowing and yawning and doing the valsalva without any success. My tears bursted. Gush. Was I stupid to go to those hights.
It took 2 days for the barotrauma to go away. And did I mention that I'm still ill :)
But hey flying we must (I think master Yoda told this to young Skywalker).
Share Digg!

2009. május 8., péntek

Downward spiral

I'm sitting in the office and getting depressed. Haven't flown since a month. I don't even want to write about my plans for this weekend as previously almost everything that I was planning and posted here was a huge failure...
It is getting hot. And I ironically have a serious flu (hopefully not H1N1).
The best thing that happened nowadays that I've got a mail from "flyaustria" who is 38 years old and starting his carrier. He will leave for Namibia in a week or so. Thanks man for keeping the spirit alive. And I hope to get some good news from you. Good luck!

This is me now on the picture: Monkeypilot...

Share Digg!

2009. május 4., hétfő

A long time ago in Maun

For all of you who are not really into forums here's a post from a Maun "vet" that really gives you the last kick to start packing and head to Maun. Thanks Draglift for allowing me to post your memories here too.
I was based at
Khwai River lodge just North East of Maun in 1983-1984 aged 24. At the time I had an FAA ATP and had converted to both a South African CPL/IR in Johannesburg (Lanseria) and then did a Botswana CPL/IR validation in Gaborone. For the Botswana medical one of the printed questions on the doctor’s form was “Is he an idiot?" My job was to fly a Cessna 206 (A2-ADX) and 2 Britten Norman Islanders (A2-AEA and ZS-KMD.) I have quoted those registrations 26 years later with no need to look them up (...) I thought the Islander was very sophisticated as it had a seat belt sign switch which illuminated 2 seat belt signs! It was great flying and great multi-engine experience. Apart from Maun the roads through the bush were sand, navigation was dead reckoning apart from NDBs at Maun and Kasane. In the camps we refuelled by handpumping avgas from 54 gallon drums through a chamois leather filter. The Cessna Caravan had not yet made it to the Okavango. Britten Norman had come out to demonstrate the turbine powered Islander but noone had bought them. All flying was daylight only as there were no runway lights anywhere although once in an emergency I landed at night at Khwai between 2 landrovers with their headlights on and Maun when one of our servants had accidentally cut off most of her leg at the ankle while chopping wood. My routes were Vic Falls via Kasane. Also Maun, Gaborone, and a lot of the camps, and occasionally to Etosha and Johannesburg. A lot of the flying was dead reckoning and the delta could change overnight after rain.

The Cessna 206 was an incredible workhorse and I handpropped the 300 hp Lycoming on a couple of occasions when the starter solenoid failed. The one I flew didn't have a pod and the weight and balance rule seemed to be "if there is less than 6 inches between the tail skid and the ground the c of g is too rearward or it's too heavy! (Please don't anyone take this literally.) The DCA insisted on a weight and balance per flight and we got round that by having about ten completed weight and balance sheets in the plane and if I was met at the end of the flight I hurriedly selected an appropriate one. The new Airport at Gaberone was being built and flying down to Gaborone to have the plane serviced meant a couple of hours dead reckoning before the ADF picked up the local radio station which was a stronger signal than the airport NDB.
Kasane was a dirt strip in those days. The airport manager's job seemed to be to clear cattle off the strip. My first trip in to Kasane he said to me "After takeoff if you fly over de army camp you will be shot down" I innocently replied "OK, where is the army camp?" His reply "I cannot tell you, it is a secret!" However I had been well briefed beforehand. If you wanted immigration to attend your arrival you first buzzed the town of Kasane and cycled your prop(s). Ten minutes later a white Land Rover would arrive in a whirl of dust and 2 immaculately dressed passport officers would get out and stamp your passengers' passports on the bonnet before driving off again.
Victoria Falls was a delightful airport. For a while the landing fee was 25 Zim dollars but you could only import 20 Zim dollars. It was a catch 22 situation. There was no currency exchange at the airport and you had to pay in local but there was a fine if you brought in more than 20 Zim dollars! I used to look enviously at the Air Zimbabwe Vickers Viscounts which seemed enormous.
My experience in the Okavango was unforgettable and one of the best experiences in my life. 652 sectors in all with a few interesting moments. But at the time I was thirsty to fly bigger planes. I've been flying wide bodied Boeings for the last twenty two years but have a yearning to go back to the Okavango...

Photos: Mack Air and Kavango
Share Digg!