2012. március 26., hétfő

210 ditching on the Etosha Pan

African Profile Safaris' Cessna V5 PTL plane crash-landed on the Etosha Pan on 2nd of January.
After ditching in the water
The plane had the pilot and an American tourist couple on board. They were flying from Ongava (FYNG) to Immelmann Airfield (FYIM) in Caprivi when it crashed into the Etosha Pan's water. The cause is suspected to be engine failure.
During disassembling
A helicopter of Expedite Aviation was hired to search for the plane and its passengers. The passengers and the pilot sustained minor injuries and the SAR helicopter brought them to safety. 
Ready to be transported to Windhoek
For investigation purposes the airplane had to be taken to Windhoek. And it had to be taken apart on site so it fits on a trailer.
Back those days flying as my wing (and was owned by Wings Over Africa).
The C210 in the background is V5-KIN of Bataleur Aviation

2012. március 21., szerda

UPDATE: Pilot job opening in Malawi

Bush&Lake Air Charters in Lilongwe, Malawi is looking for a pilot.
Requirements: Commercial license. A minimum of 500 hours. And logged hours on CT206 and PA32-300

Email CV's to info@bla.mw or claudia@bla.mw 
About the company: http://www.bla.mw/

UPDATE: B&LA is a small company with a Cherokee 6 and a beautiful new 206 (as far as I know G1000). The boss is a really really nice lady. She cares and looks after her pilots. She provides a house and a car too. Pay is somewhere around 1000 USD equivalent in Kwacha. Malawi is great to live. You have everything you need, school, supermarkets and so on.
Low Time Pilot's Low Time Pilot's Guide to African Bush Flying - 12.99€

2012. március 20., kedd

Soft field technique

This Skeleton Coast Safaris Cessna 210 landed on the sandy beach somewhere at Conception Bay, on the Namibian Diamond Coast. If I'm not wrong, and knowing the pilot I'd bet on a 100$ that I'm not, they just had a nice picnic. 
I'll share with you as well the advice I got from the wise on soft field takeoffs:
"350 meters of softish sand, only works because of the constant wind. Begin the roll with a clean wing and low power to save the prop, gently feed in the oomph as the speed builds while reducing back-pressure on the stick, then drop full flaps when you run out of surface and let her come off. Stay in ground effect as you go out over the sea, tickling the flaps up bit-by-tiny-bit while staying just over the stall-warning." 

2012. március 13., kedd

Rules of thumb (not just) for the bush II.

Aborting takeoff
On takeoff roll 70% of flying speed should be reached at 50% of the length of the runway or the takeoff should be rejected. The reason: acceleration is not linear.

Crosswind component
Not as tricky as most of the pilots think. If wind is 15 degrees to the runway, the crosswind component is 25% of the wind velocity (at 10 kts wind the cross component is 2,5 kts). If the wind is at 30 degrees, the crosswind is 50% wind speed (10 kts wind 5 kts component). If the wind has a 45-degree to the runway, the crosswind component 75% of the wind (7.5 kts at 10 kts wind). In case the wind is 60 degrees or higher you can calculate that the crosswind and total wind are equal. 
Descent planning
Sometimes we just forget about it, then just fall out of the sky with popping ears and unhappy passengers. If you plan ahead normally a three-degree descent gives aproximately 300 feet per nautical mile (the exact number is 318, but 300 is easier to use). Dividing the altitude to be lost by 300 should be a piece of cake. Say you are approaching an airfield at 3,000 feet and you want to know when to start a comfortable descent. You want to lose is 3,000 feet, which when divided by 300 results in 10. So start your descent 10 nm out. (And this gives a rough estimate for other altitudes too: 1500 feet would be 5 nm, 6000 feet would be 20 nm out, and so on). 
Descending, but how fast? 
To determine rate of descent for the 3 degree path, simply multiply your groundspeed by 5. At 120 knots, your rate of descent would be 600 feet per minute (5x120=600). If the descent should be initiated at 20 nm to lose 6,000 feet and your groundspeed is 120 knots  (which is 2 nm/minute), then 20 nm will take 10 minutes. And there you go 10 minutes at 600 feet/minute means you’ll lose that 6,000 feet.
Happy landings

2012. március 5., hétfő

Rules of thumb (not just) for the bush I.

A simple bush rule 
Airplanes get old, pilots get tired, runways are not always in best shape out there, things not always work the way we planned. Here comes the first and probably most handy little rule: even when you calculated and planned everything meticulously you should allow for at least a 20% safety margin. Just in case. If required parameters are not allowing for this safety margin you better start thinking how you could improve performance (throw out some luggage, passengers, fuel, change airplane, wait for weather to cool, whatever...). 
Density Altitude
This might sound quite tricky but let me show you a quickie here as well. Every degree of Celsius variation from standard temperature, density altitude (DA) changes by 120 feet. If temperature increases density altitude goes up; if it decreases density altitude goes down. So DA is the pressure altitude plus 120 times the difference between local air temperature and standard. At sea level, the altimeter is 1013 and 25 degrees Celsius, DA would be 1200 feet. Surprised? Add pressure altitude (0, we're sea level) to 120 times 10 (difference of actual and standard temperature) and there you go.

10/20 rule for speed
How much tailwind can you afford yourself? The least the best, but sometimes you can only takeoff or land in tailwind. What you need to know is: if you increase groundspeed by 10%, ground roll will increase at least 20% (depending on airplane it can be even more than that). The faster the longer.
10/20 rule for weight
Like in case of speed a 10% change in weight will cause at least a 20% change in takeoff and landing distance, and the same applies, the actual ammount varies from airplane to airplane. But keep in mind the heavier the longer.

Density effects on performance
For each degree Celsius of difference from standard, the takeoff roll changes by about 1%. Simple, eh? But very useful when you are out on a high field on a hot day.
Low Time Pilots Guide to African Bush Flying - 12.99€