2010. március 28., vasárnap

Tips for Sefofane

As I mentioned in my previous post I came to Maun to take the Sefofane interview. But I arrived too late. Even so I can provide you with some information involving the Sefo process. Thanks to a guy who's done it.
The test consists of a technical exam covering all subjects, but not procedures and air-law. Stay sharp with all this stuff. Know the basics. I recommend re-studying your PPL notes if you have looked at them in a year.
There is also a psychometric exam. Answer it truthfully, not what you think they want you to say because they will ask you similar questions in the interview: It's easier to remember the truth.

Get in the chief pilots face a few days after the exam even if he says not to ring him. Go in to the office early and ask him for feedback. This way they know your serious.
If you have a girlfriend or spouse they want to know how she/he will handle living in Maun and maybe even another African country like Sudan. It's part of the contract to do a 6 month stint in one of these places and you need to have constructive answers on how you and spouse will handle this. I personally believe that Sefofane has a 6 month hiring cycle for this reason.

Theres no point saying what questions they ask because they are random and change from person to person.

I think there's a balance between being quitely confident and cocky. Try to strike that balance.
Also they want to see you handle pressure so if you don't know and answer just say: I don't know can you ask me another one please. DON'T get flustered.

2010. március 27., szombat

Maun again

Some quick rumors have put me on the road again. News came that Sefofane is hiring again. So the same day I hopped on the night train from Swakopmund to Windhoek. Uneventful but tiring trip, as it is pretty hard to get a good sleep on the narrow seats. Then I was supposed to catch a bus that goes from Windhoek to Zimbabwe through Maun. Well it was supposed to leave Windhoek at noon, but it wouldn't have been Africa if it did. Finally at 1700 it departed.
Well the most amateur company tried to take me to Maun. Unprepared. On the way in the middle of the Kalahari we had a flat tyre on the luggage trailer. Just to find out that these guys didn't even think about this so they have no spare...
Now imagine them callling whatever numbers they had in the phone and trying to get someone to fix it in the middle of the night... The trip that should have take around 8-9 hours finally took 16. Adventurous but hell of a trip.
Well so I'm here in Maun again. But by the time I arrived here the written exams already took place and the oral ones were going.
The only thing left was to take part in the omelette party at Buck&Hunters. Have lots of beers and enjoy the company of pilots. The omelette is the rites the passage for the guys who are going online here in Maun. Meaning that from that on he is considered a Maun bush pilot. Elite force. But the omelette is a disgusting stuff. The victim first needs to eat a raw egg with shell and everything. And then rinse it with a mix of different shooters. Everybody is asked to donate a few pula for the drink, and the more is collected the worst this "cocktail" is. Small price...

I'm looking forward to see Sefofane CP on Monday or Tuesday. And will then head back to Swakopmund.

2010. március 22., hétfő

Nothing happens(?)

Lots of people ask me what's happening, what is the situation and so on. Even got complains on not writing about my "adventures".
There is some sadness, because one of my friends had an accident. Out in the dunes with a quad. But I hope that he will be okay soon and back in the Namibian skies.
Get well buddy, cos' nobody is doing the nightly Gruenies-Eclipse-Casino round with me!

And well... then again, nothing really. A month of Swakopmund passed like a day. And the wait is not over yet. The same old thing goes: do the rounds, be patient, and have fun! Time is working for me.
It seems that the global recession has hit hard on the aviation business. As always... But it also seems that things are picking up - even if slowly. So I think that enjoying the moment and being ready to jump is the best thing a wannabe can do now.
With Kike and Cpt. Somatiko (of Bush Bird Namibia, see his plane here)

2010. március 16., kedd

A world of patterns

Just some thoughts on the patterns in life. The idea is not new, is not my invention, it only exists as such...
Negative people are usually surrounded by negative circumstances. And these circumstances, if lasting enough, will then create a negative outlook on life. There are lots of blogs or forums where you can find many people who are stewing in resentment on anything and anyone. But fortunately I know lots of people who will behave in a positive way under the same adverse circumstances.

And where's the pattern here? Negative people will end up in a downward spiral as nobody wants to be around them. And this will spread on: nobody wants to hire them, nobody wants to work with them and nobody wants to socialize with them. And thus they become still more negative. This will also discourage them from resolving problems that they would actually capable of solving. When they try to solve problems, it's often halfheartedly, which increases the likelihood of failure, and so in turn their negativity is reinforced.
Positive people, on the other hand get everything quicker, with more success. Thus their attitude is reinforced. Positivity encourages people to attack the rising problems. And try to solve them. And solving the problem will naturally improve their lives, and not even occasional failures will discourage them.
But I need to emphasized that positive thinking works if it encourages people to take action on things they can change. Also it is of no use if you just think positive and take no action! Although even then it is capable of enriching your life. At least you will be a person with a smile.
And, as far as I'm concerned, it has no power over things you can't control. As you won't be able to make the Earth go backwards.

2010. március 11., csütörtök

Namib desert flying photos

Few days ago sitting at Tobias's place and were talking about - no, not aviation this time - photography. Tobias a Bush Bird pilot also enjoys this hobby. And as I found out later he has taken some fantastic pics. So we agreed that I will put some of his pics here as a teaser. And you can view more of his aerial photos taken around the world on his Picasa album. And you might even buy some pics from one of his projects?

2010. március 6., szombat


The importance of dreams and fulfilling them was a recent topic on the Hungarian pilot forum.
With more opposers then supporters. And with lots of idlers. It seems that there is a big number of people that are not willing to do much to fulfill their dreams. As doing nothing is much more easier then doing something. Also giving up your comfortable life seems to be a stupid move in their eyes.
They were arguing that one day I will need to go home and continue my life as it was before. And these days of wandering in Botswana and Namibia in hope of a flying job will seem mindless waste of time and money. But well then, what they do not understand is that I will get a job here in Swakopmund and will be flying... It is just a question of time and patience (and yes also money). But I am used to it as unfortunately things never fell easily into my hands.
Bush Bird Cessna 210 over the Namib desert

And I cannot agree with them. If you have the drive to achieve something then you need to go for it, and try to do everything that is required to get there. This is what drove me from the office to the airport and beyond. The will to fulfill a dream that once a five year old guy had and that was forgotten for a couple of years. And even if one doesn't succeed but has done everything possible to get where he/she wants can be satisfied at the end of the day.

And to all of you who have dreams, and for those who don't here you can read the story of Doris Alexander, who became a licensed private pilot at the age of 84 (read the article at the Plane&Pilot Magazine)!

Desert life (some pics)

2010. március 4., csütörtök

Skeleton Coast (some pics)

They call it Skeleton Coast (probably a former seagull)


Result of a fishing


Navigation failure (the Benguela Stream makes life really tricky)

2010. március 3., szerda

Just a visit

Salinas near Walvis Bay

Today with a rented scooter I visited the salinas at Walvis bay. Gorgeous place with fantastic colors and bird variety. When I arrived back to Swakopmund there was still pretty early.
So headed out to the airport. And I was lucky, because I've met two pilots from
Bush Bird.
Just wanted to share you a few pics I shot in the hangar. And tell you how good it was to see the perfectly maintained C210's.

2010. március 2., kedd

Swakop Gastro: Ocean Basket

After tomorrows sour post here's a tastier one.
Besides flying and other passions I have a real passion for gastronomy. Not really cooking, although I won't be lost in a kitchen. Since I'm in Swakopmund I've already done Hungarian Paprikasch (or goulash as it is wrongly called outside Hungary), dozens of steaks (beef, lamb and pork), chicken and so on. But I was really hungry to get my teeth on some really cool seafood.
One night while I was sitting at the bar in Villa Wiese I started to read a flyer about restaurants and bars in Swakop and Walvis Bay. And finally I saw what I was looking for. The Ocean Basket restaurant. Apparently one of the restaurants in the chain. They are present in 13 countries.
Well today I was determined too go and eat there. Matt for some reason wasn't really high about my idea. He better came back to Villa Wiese and cooked himself half a chicken.
I was searching for Ocean Basket. I've found it on the corner of Albertina Amatila Avenue and Tobias Hainyeko street. The restaurant is situated outside the mainstram part of the town, but as Swakopmund ain't too huge this just means a 5 minutes walk from the Sam Nujoma Avenue, the main street.
So, now you know where it is and I can speed up. I sat down in the garden. Nice and simple place. And for my surprise and satisfaction (as I1m also a father) they have a pretty nice little playground for kids.
The smiling waitress was quickly with me and started to explain the special plates. But I decided to ask her to prepare me a nice big prince prawn plate. And asked for a beer. She was smily and helpful. The prawns arrived 20 minutes later, when I was finishing my first beer. The plate was huge, and she really took me serious in "big" because there were at least 30 prawns on the plate and were sending a gorgeous garlic aroma to my nostrils. The prawns had a slight garlic butter sauce on them. The garnish was chips and rice. But the rice was pretty fantastic and by saying this I do not exaggerate. I really don't like rice. But here they've prepared it with carrots and I think pieces of mango. Oh, and I almost forgot the three clams.
I don't have to tell you that after 20 prawns I was asking from myself how am I going to finish the remaining ten... But well, in Hungary we are taught not to leave anything on the plate. From time to time the waitress came and asked me if I was okay. Indeed I was (or wasn't because of the quantity of the food). One beer later I was finished with them little basterds.
The biggest surprise came with the bill. The plate and the 2 beers costed mere 10 euros...
Is anyone amazed that I am in love with Swakopmund?

2010. március 1., hétfő

This is the end of Maun as we know it?

Although I'm enjoying my stay in Swakopmund I got a few horrendous rumors from Maun. I needed to check them because they sounded nonsense.
Remember that I previously wrote how we used to gather at the airport before going on the hunt, or exchanging the daily infos and also because the free wifi (On the hunt and Pilot wannabe's life in Maun). Well now it seems that the Botswana immigration guys started a hunt for foreign pilots and it started at the airport terminal. And also making the life of freshly employed ones hard (no working permit, no visa and stuff).
Lots of people who stayed in Maun had high hopes as it seemed that Sefofane will be interviewing as they fired on and also wanted to hire some. But this also has been cancelled due to immigration requirements. Also Kavango was planning on hiring guys by April.
A chief pilot said that it appears that there are 30 Botswana pilots finishing their training in SA. And the Bots CAA and the immigration is pushing them to hire these guys and not the foreigners (which is understandable). So the guys who I know there are packing and leaving.
Mack Air C206 over the Okavango Delta

One pilot flying in Maun said that the companies don't want to take the fresh Botswana CPL guys because some of them already have some accidents and incidents.
But then again, there is also an other rumor which supposes that these guys are gonna be hired by Air Botswana.
It seems probably it's going to be one or two months, and then the Maun operators will be allowed again to hire foreigners. Let's hope for the best...