2009. június 29., hétfő

So, you want to fly one of these! Bush planes in Africa II.

Photo of HA-SKW 1960 C210 was taken by Peter Nadasi. The large size can be found here.

Next to come is the Cessna 210 Centurion with retractible landing gears. I could not tell you weather 206's or 210's are more in Africa, but there is a clear distinction among the countries. If you look at Botswana you'll find more 206's. If you look at Namibia the 210 is the true workhorse in the bush.

Although from Hungarian operators I know that the 210's constantly have problems with the landing gear. The 210 is a very stable aircraft. In level or turning flight it behaves as if it were turning by robot. The ailerons feel heavy and there's a need to properly trim the aircraft. Also you can feel the weight of the airplane through the elevator (actually it is the second heaviest single engine behind the Malibu). As speed increases so increases elevator force, need to trim this, too.

The early Cessna 210 (210 and 210A) had 4 seats with a Continental IO-470 engine of 260 hp (190 kW). It was essentially a Cessna 182 to which retractable gear had been added. The one I know is from 1960. Still fourseater. But whith a new 300 hp engine. I'm gonna do my check in this one. See pic of HA-SKW.
In 1961 the C210 was completely redesigned. The wider and roomier fuselage allowed for a third side window. New sut the semi-Fowler flaps were added (slotted, rear-moving), which allowed a lower landing speed (flaps-down, power-off stall speed is around 56 knots according to the operator of C210 HA-SKW).

The 1964 model 210D introduced a 285 hp (213 kW) engine and 2 small child seats.

In 1967 the model 210G introduced a cantilever wing replacing the strut-braced wing.
In 1970 the 210K became the first full 6-seat model; this was achieved by replacing the flat-leaf main gear springs with tapered tubular steel springs of greater tread width (which allowed the tires to be nested farther back in the fuselage).
In 1979 the 210N model eliminated the folding doors which previously covered the retracted main gears; the retracted tubular springs lie in shallow channels along the bottom of the fuselage and the wheels fit snugly into a closed depression on the fuselage bottom. Some models featured de-icing boots as an option.
The aircraft was offered in a normally aspirated version, designated the model 210, as well as the turbocharged T210 and the pressurized P210 versions.

Pictures from Airliners.net

2009. június 26., péntek

So, you want to fly one of these! Bush planes in Africa I.

If I got so hooked on the Caravan let me put you here some more bushplanes. And for start here's the Joly Joker of bushplanes in Africa, the rugged Cessna 206 Stationair.

Cessna "simply" stretched a 182 and put two more seats in it. First they numbered it as 205 but it soon became the 206 and became the real thing in bush country. Some say that because they’re a little underpowered for as large as they are and have the tri-gear the 206's are not the ideal bush plane. Even so, it is common in the bush because it is a real allround plane.

The 206 was manufactured for years with a Continental IO-520 engine that produced 285 to 300 hp depending upon the particular model. It was offered with factory turbocharging on some models and was produced from 1962 until 1986 when they stopped production. But the demand was so great for this little monster that Cessna "had" to re-introduc the 206 in 1998. The planes are produced with Lycomings that produced 300 hp. Although the third row seats are a bit cramped, the 206 can haul six adults easily and it is this load carrying capacity that has made the 206 common on hard terrain.

206s are decent flying planes and are very stable. Their controls are a bit heavier than many planes, but they are by no means difficult to fly. Construction is semi-monocoque aluminum, much as the Cessna 180s and 185s.

The 206 will cruise at 150 mph (faster with turbocharging) and are decent short field performers, though they are not nearly as spritely as 180/185s and certainly nowhere near a Super Cub or Helio. 206s on floats seem to have to be coaxed into the air compared to float equipped 180/185's. Some 206's are fitted with floats.

Also they offer a Garmin 1000 version.

Cessna simply describes the C206 as "the sport utility vehicle of the air."


Lots of great photos and stories from the field on Ben Wilhelmi's blog (some photos to this entry were taken from his site): http://benwilhelmi.typepad.com/ and http://benwilhelmi.com/

2009. június 25., csütörtök

És most a hátszeles kolléga kedvéért magyarul

Igen, én írom azt a sok marhaságot az index fórumába. Nagyon nehezen, de vállalom, hogy én vagyok a Bernoulli nick alatt futó entitás... És sajnálom, hogy a kislányom így sírdogál éppen.
Sorry for this useless post, it's just a proof.

2009. június 24., szerda

Hooked on the Caravan

So, well. I got hooked on the Caravan these days. And irt seems that only to satisfy me ASA has published a book:
Caravan: Cessna's Swiss Army Knife with Wings!
Here's the info:
Known for being one of the most versatile and robust aircraft ever produced, the Cessna Caravan has become the DC-3 workhorse of our current times – as Cessna nicknames it, a "Swiss Army Knife with wings"! This pilot favorite does it all, on land or sea: bush flying, geophysical exploration and mapping, patrol, air ambulance, military, sightseeing, corporate, commuter airline, skydiving, cargo, missionary and humanitarian flying, and much more. The Caravan’s almost legendary reputation of safety and reliability remains a comforting constant for those who affectionately refer to the aircraft as their “flying SUV,” “Suburban with a turbine,” or “aerial truck.”
From its coverage of the Caravan’s colorful history to its innovative-yet-conventional aircraft systems, to interesting pilot stories, tips, and beautiful photography throughout, Lewis and Cook's book is both entertaining and enlightening—Caravan edutainment at its best! The chapters parallel flight phases on a typical mission, and are chock-full of experience, insights and trivia from preflight to postflight – a truly amazing story for all pilots interested in this legendary powerhouse.

Every chapter contains a special topic along with the related phase of flight, comprised of Lewis and Cook's coverage of pertinent Caravan characteristics, or stories told by pilots flying Caravans in unusual circumstances and faraway places. Two sections of color photography are included, and multiple appendices with further information on specifications and industry contacts for Caravan owners, as well as extensive footnotes and bibliography.

2009. június 23., kedd

Green Hawk Aerobatic Team, not your usual formation

Not the usual post. But it is interesting to see this bush workhorse as the star of an aerobatic team.
Pilots from Royal Rainmaking Project in Thailand set up the very unique aerobatic team called "Green Hawk". The number of aircraft is varyes, from 4 to 9. Their debut was in 2007.

And here comes the pun: Green Hawk normally uses C208B Caravan as a main aircraft to perform.
Unfortunately I've found no video.

2009. június 19., péntek

Tanganyika Flying Co. and Safari Air

John (who's running the African Bush Pilot blog) posted a few comments at a previous entry but I tought they are worth a separate post here in the mainstream.
He writes: Tanganyika Flying Co. operate four Caravans and a 206 (not sure if 206 is operational at the moment). They also have a contract with Vamezi Island down in Mozambique so they basically have aircraft based down there going in and out of Pemba and Macimboa.

Also a hint: I'm hearing rumours of a company called 'Tropical Air' in Zanzibar is apparently looking for pilots due to expanding operations here and in Gabon. There is a link from my blog to their website (African Bush Pilot).

Safari Air in Maun is a good company, its pilots are a little more mature and responsible than the young party animals they had a few years back.... its probably a good thing.
Tropical Air fleet (it seems they have 9 aircraft): PA-28 CHEROKEE, PA-34 SENECA II, PA-31 NAVAJO, PARTENAVIA P68, CESSNA 206, CESSNA 208B GRAND CARAVAN

2009. június 18., csütörtök

Ever heard of Tumblr?

It is not really related to African aviation. It is a relatively new blog tool. So as I'm trying to keep the hype I also started to publish there too. Here's the link to my blog: maunpilot.tumblr.com/ (it is only a duplication of this blog, and presently under construction).
This way maybe I can reach more and more guys and gals ready to go wherever there's a little possibility of getting a cockpit job.

2009. június 17., szerda

Just a few more operators in Botswana and Tanzania

Kalahari Air Services is based in Gaborone. Fleet KingAir B200, 1900 and Cessna 210.
Safari Air is aparently based in Maun. Operates single engined Cessna 206's, 207's, 210's and twin engined Britten Norman Islander.

Tanganyika Flying Co. is based in Arusha, Tanzania. Apparently flying Grand Caravans and maybe C206.
Link (not very useful): www.tanflyco.com

2009. június 15., hétfő

Remark (updated)

I'm getting emails asking my advice on where to go when to go. Even got email from guys who'd like to start a career in aviation asking weather I think it is a good idea or not.

My short answer is. I dont know.
I don't know where one should go to get the job. I know that there are oportunities. And there will be oportunities. I'we listed here a few countries, a few operators, best times for jobhunting and a few opinions too. But one should make his/her decision where and when to go. Unfortunately I'm not in Africa and the info on this blog is just a crumbs. It might help you in making the first steps but I won't lift that leg for you.
As for the aviation career start. Well. The story is the same.
I decided that I will change my life and will do what I always wanted to do. No matter what. And I knew from the start that it will be no light stuff and it will cost a small fortune. But if you want to live your dream you might have to sacrifice everything os at least lots of things to finally get your reward.

Just do what you think will suit you. This downturn will end sooner or later. And my opinion is that the majority of fellas starting now will succeed in their dreamhunt. It is just a question of persistence. Not to mention that the majority is at least 10 years younger than me...
Here's my opinion:
The way I see it, you can either work for a living or you can fly airplanes. Me? I'd rather fly!
Keep cool and fly.

2009. június 9., kedd

Susi Air, Indonesia

From time to time I run over non-african companies that are willing to hire low-time pilots (if you are willing to go there). Here's one from Indonesia.

Susi Air is a charter company with the main base in Jakarta (with bases in Medan and Jayapura). Operating mainly Cessna 208's. Their fleet also includes two Pilatus PC-6. And they operate a flight school in Pangandaran with DA40 and DA42's. All aircraft are young.
Rumor says (heard this from an NZ mate – thanks Sam) that they are hiring lowtime pilots at this time. One interview was these days, the next will be sometime in July.

I've heard and read controversal stuff, but the majority of info on them is good. One interesting thing is that they operate the Caravans and even Diamonds with two person crews. Also there might be license conversation problems. Long and expensive, but I'd think that it is the same as in Africa, if they hire you they will sort out these things. One thing seemed interesting: as long as you are flying P2 you ill not have the conversion done (seems that many guys went there flew a few hours and then left, so they will do your conversion when you have 1000 hours and become a captain). Flying is 80-100 hours a month.
PPRuNe quote:
The SOP's are followed at all times, all planes tracked through Blue Sky Sat Tracking, you dont get into probs if you say no, the atmosphere is very friendly, and if it wasnt, I would not be here...

Well, pay is 600 USD for an F/O. Which for me eastern european bastard is fairly good. Don't know for other parts of the world. Also when considering pay you must consider that they are paying the housing, food and transportation. And on each leave, the company pays for economy class ticket to/from EU/US/Canadian/etc "gateway" city, which are e.g. Frankfurt, London, Paris, LA, San Francisco, Vancouver...
3 weeks on/1 week off is the rotation.
PPRuNe quote:
Susi Air is a great opportunity period. They give you all the tools to operate safely, (EGPWS, TCAS1, WX Radar, Bluesky tracking, Dual Garmin, MFD) and most importantly 2 crew with SOP's which are enforced and adhered to. Training continues to get better all the time and improvements are constantly being made operationally. I am an ex employee and truly enjoyed my time there and found the team great to work with. Indonesia is a fabulous place to work and the schedule allows travel within Asia.
Well, just an other opportunity, and a pretty decent company... I'd be curious on other Indonesian companies but couldn't dig up more at the moment.
Sent some mails to guys flying there, so if there's any update then I'll keep you guys informed.

2009. június 5., péntek

Congo Bush Pilots – National Geographic – Thursday, August 6

Well-well, finally the NatGeo staff packed up and made a documentary about bush flying in Congo. They packed a short video of a Dash landing on some dirtstrip. And a few pictures.
Bush piloting in the Congo, a country crippled by 30 years of war and famine, may be one of the worlds most hazardous professions. The pilots come from all over; from developed world drop-outs to ex-army fliers to adrenalin junkies. Some come for the money, some for the appeal of living on the outer edge of right and wrong. In a nation not much smaller than Western Europe, where large sections of the country are inaccessible by road, the population is utterly dependent on bush pilots – flyers with the courage and skill to land planes on some of the worlds most challenging terrain. This is their story.
Here's the link: National Geographic

2009. június 2., kedd

And then there is the DR of Congo

In Congo you will find mostly Let 410 and you need the rating if you want to be sure to find a job.
I know of a girl who went to Congo and found a job quickly because she was there to start the next day. Also she told me that the maintenance of the aircrafts in Congo is pretty much poor. So you might consider this too, before jumping into the first plane to Kinsasha.
The same old story, you won't get answers on emails. Show up and maybe you get something. Age doesn't really matter.
Here's a list of operators out of N'Dolo Airport, there are some more from other airports, but I have no info on those:
Malu Aviation - SC7, An28 (http://www.maluaviation.com/)
FilAir - L410 UVP-E
AirServ - KingAir200, TwinOtter, C208 (http://www.airserv.org/main.cfm?action=contact)
Business Aviation - L410 UVP-E, Nord262
Air Tropiques - B1900, L410 UVP, KingAir100 (the company is seeking presently for pilots: see Pilot Career Centre)
Air Kasai - L410 UVP-E, BN2A Islander