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/

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