2010. január 31., vasárnap

Quick picks

Arriving to Maun (on final FBMN).

The ATR that landed me here. In the background you can see the planes of the different charter companies

Finally in Maun...

Audi Camp pool life

Sunset at Thamalakane river (as seen from Crocodile Camp terrace)

2010. január 30., szombat

At last

Well this is just a first post from Maun. I'll post more next week. Also some pics.
Keep up until then...

2010. január 28., csütörtök

Last day

I wasn't posting becouse I was pretty much off my plan. I should have had my exam Tuesday previous week. But then the assigned examiner decided that against good weather I will not be doing my exam. A week was lost. As my planned departure to Maun was last Friday.
The next assigned examiner promised that he'll check me as soon as the weather minimums allow for it and we'll try to do all three flights(CPL, IFR, NVFR). And this was on Tuesday. Short preflight briefing. Flitestar planning and I was enroute with 2 examiners from LHTL to LHPP. There I did some NDB and then ILS approaches. We landed. Had a brief postflight. This was when my instructor called me with bad news. The operator of Tököl airport (LHTL) prohibited night operations due snow mounds on the edge of the runway.
The airport is an ex-military base. It has a 2500x60 surface. When it snows they usually clear just a half of the length and around 30 meters wide strip. But that surface is pretty much huge for a DA40.

Me starting to call everyone I know to at least get a permission for at least one night landing. Then calling an other airport (LHPR) to obtain their permit... Then finally I was called back by my instructor, who said that we're cleared for one night landing. But then the examiner arranged with the tower that if they are allowing one landing then they could allow five as well. And who would argue with a CAA guy?

So thus my homework was finished. Next morning I was racing up and down between different CAA offices: a stamp here, a signature there, some copies of the logbook and so on. In 20 minutes I had everything in hand.

Today packing and tomorrow I'm off. Saturday in Maun...

Next time I'll post will be from there. Keep cool.

2010. január 14., csütörtök

Maun situation report

A mate who's in Maun just sent me the message below. It is pretty much depressing. I don't want to comment this... Although it doesn't stop me in going to Maun by the end of next week.
Got bad news for you.
Just went around all the jobs today. There is nothing here in Maun, they have done all the hiring in the last week or so.
Sefofane has hired 3. Mack Air has hired 2, but they will be looking at hiring again in October.
Safari Air has hired, with looking at another guy shortly. They possibly might be hiring again in April.
Delta Air has hired in December.
Moremi Air has hired in December, with looking at hiring another guy in a few weeks (already has a person in mind.)
Unsure about Kavango, keep hearing conflicting information from them about whether they will hire again.
Sorry to sink your hopes before you get here. But thats the situation that I got told today.
Windhoek wont be hiring until at least the middle to end of next month.
Zambia you need 1000 hours before they will validate your licence.
Im trying to find out information about Malawi and Tanzania.

2010. január 8., péntek

Sad day in Maun

On 6th January Mack Air C208 A2-AKG suffered a loss of engine power on take-off and crashed in a wet flood-plain and overturned. Some injuries to the passengers on board, one of whom suffered a broken hip. Click for the report. Hopefully everybody gets well soon!
A2-AKG at FALA (Lanseria)
This particular plane last year was flown by my friend Ludwig.

2010. január 5., kedd

Maun accomodation for pilots

Few days ago I've got a detailed mail on Maun accomodation. I asked a New Zeelander who's on the job hunt in Maun what is like Audi Camp and Old Bridge Backpackers. He pretty much described everything, so I asked him to post his writing. Here it is:
... stayed at both of those places.
Audi offers a special rate to pilots at 17 pula a night for a camp site. If you forget to ask, they will charge you 47 pula a night. I think at the moment 6 pula buys 1 US dollar.
Audi is a nice place to stay, it was quiet and relaxed. But it is a long way out of town. When I was there, there was only about 4-5 other families there. Facilities are cool. They have big showers with open roofs so you can see the sky. I heard that security of things there is a bit of a concern. Cant really confirm or deny that as I wasnt there long enough.
They have wireless internet, but it is pretty expensive. But you pay per MB there instead of time limit so it lasts a lot longer than most places!
Old Bridge Backpackers is a awesome place. I stayed about a week there, and Im going back there after I leave Windhoek. The campsites are 45 pula a night, the bar staff are incredible. Friendly, get to know you by name, and it is a really enjoyable place to stay. When I was there, I didn't end up paying a single nights accomodation... won it all on the poker table!
Quite a few of the pilots will come down to the bar there to have a drink or 5. And one of the other favourite places to drink is just down the road.
All of the stuff there was safe. I left my phone and computer charging at the bar, and it was never touched. The bar staff keep a eye on it for you. Not that they needed to. Only complaint that I could possibly have was that there is a huge amount of dogs there! Doesnt bother me, but could annoy others. On one night there was 7 dogs there.
Both places have self catering facilities there. So you can catch a ride into town and go to the supermarket. Makes the stay a lot cheaper that way!
Taxis are easily available. A ride to the Old Bridge could cost anywhere between 20-40 pula... depending on whether you use the same driver or not. Try to find one that has a decent car, and tell him that if he gives you a good price, you will use him again. Get his number and call him whenever you need a cab. Make sure you do it about a hour before you actually need him though....
The other way is the combi vans that drive into the city. They take a bit longer to actually get into the airport, but they only cost 2.70 instead of 20. They squeeze you into them like sardines though! I had a lovely young lady sitting on my lap...
They are just a van, so wave out to any van driving down the main road, chances are it is one of the vans, there is one every 20 minutes or so.
Usually pretty on time too!
Best to catch the combi in the morning, they get very smelly in the afternoon once the heat starts.
Or you could try hitching a ride on the back of a ute. Most of the locals are pretty friendly and help out white people.
Personal security there is fine. I had no problems whatsoever. But then again it was all during the day, I didnt get a chance to go out at night.
But it is safer than Windhoek anyway!
Thanks Jeremy! Pics are from Old Bridge Facebook gallery.