2012. december 27., csütörtök

Remote area pilot opening in Australia

I found out about this opportunity quite late, the CV's should be sent to the chief pilot by 28th December, but maybe there's still someone reading it so here you go with this pilot job opening:
Chartair is seeking to employ pilots in the early new year for the Borroloola and Warburton Bases. They operate one C210 aircraft in each of these locations providing VFR charter services to the local community. These positions require pilots with a good level of judgement, initiative and resilient enough live in remote Australia.  The successful applicants should expect to be placed in location for a minimum of six months, with movement into the major bases for type progression predicated on availability subsequent to that.

They say it would be ideal for scenic/skydive/etc pilots seeking to establish themselves in a large charter company with chances for development to larger types and a variety of exciting operations.

500 hours total flying hours
C210 or C206 experience preferred, but not essential
Pilots applying should e-mail to chief.pilot@chartair.com.au with the subject "Remote Pilot Application".

Detailed info on the company: www.chartair.com.au

2012. december 12., szerda

Kenya: great flying opportunity

Campi ya Kanzi lodge in Kenya in the Maasai area (Southern part of the country, bordering with Tanzania, not far from the Kilimanjaro) is looking for a 206 pilot. The good thing is they will probably hire through phone or skype interview. 
Here are the requirements: 
We are looking for a pilot who has bush experience and is comfortable flying passengers, aerial surveys, to 'off-airport' locations, game counts, etc. If you are, or know of a pilot looking to explore East Africa, obtain valuable license conversion and Kenyan bush experience please contact us for details.
Must have 1000 hours, preference given to applicants with type experience. 
Info about the lodge: www.maasai.com

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2012. november 13., kedd

Quick peek into the Tanzanian system

Mambo! From all the countries I know here in Africa, the Tanzanian license conversion seems to be the easiest. Some people will surely argue on that, but consider this: Botswana and Namibia does not allow you to convert your commercial pilot license only if you are already hired by a company, have a proper visa or work permit, blabla. 
Jongomero, Ruaha
Here in Tanzania you can walk in to the TCAA (Tanzanian Civil Aviation Authority), sign up for the commercial exam, pay the fees and you're up and running the next Thursday (being the usual exam day). Also depending on what type you want to fly they have Type Tests for everything, even for a Cessna 150... A bit of a strange system for FAA, EASA pilot license holders (we have airplane class ratings), but nothing to fear of, just get the numbers from the POH. And I have to say (again lots of people here will disagree) that I was always treated in a normal manner by the authorities.
Not an unusual sight (Msembe, Ruaha)
I also want to clarify the rumors that lately were on PPRuNe about the visas. For me it never seemed that there is a problem with the visas. I came with a tourist visa, as it expired I got the so called business visa, and 1 month before that one expired I already had my 2 year work permit. All this without having a license, contract or anything. Also never met anyone from the so called Tanzanian Pilot Association...
Right downind for 18 at Zanzibar
The biggest problem was that end of June, beginning of July some retarded individual went for commercial pilot conversion exams and he took with him some cheat sheets, and was cought by the examiner. So they stopped exams to rewrite the questionairre. This was a real pain in the ass: originally the TCAA stated that there will be exams again by end of August, then end of September, later mid October. But finally they only have exams since 1st of November. Well, time in Africa is a bit relative, but one has to get used to it...
Beach in Zanzibar with mangrove trees
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2012. október 14., vasárnap

Getting busy

With still lots of things to sort out and lots to learn I don't seem to get close on giving you some nice posts and pics on Tanzanian flying. But my housemate also started his own blog, so you'll not be without reading and viewing. Here's the link for you: Bush Flying Africa.
And here's one of his posts about flying the PC12:
This machine is a perfect mix of a general aviation aircraft and a corporate jet plane. 
Its ability to take off at full capacity from a rough airstrip with 4h30 of fuel endurance, climb to FL280 in less than 20 minutes and cruise at a speed of 240 kts is beyond any wish of a bush pilot. The ideal commuter for the national parcs to the main cities like Arusha or Dar es Salaam. With a 9 seats configuration it takes off with 30degree of flaps at around 60kts, really impressive...

Pilatus landing
The classic run for this schedulde take you from Dar es salaam at around 8h40 (African time) to Msembe, in the Ruaha Parc, 264Nm in 1h17. Then it continues to Dodoma eventualy (the central capital where there is not much happening). A quick stop over and off it goes to Arusha, the gate of the Serengeti, where people get their corresondances to lodges in a Cessna Caravan.

Cessna Caravan in Arusha
After a quick lunch and the Pilatus refilled with some 1700 lbs of JetA1, the flight goes back to Dar es Salaam via the Ruaha national parc again and possibly a few airstrip on the way. A day with 6 sectors is routine, a nice challenge when conducting single pilot operation.
The shortest leg is a connection between Jongomero and Msembe in Ruaha, 22 nm in 9min, a rocket climb to the top of descent. Nice & low flying over the river with a low wing airplane is unfrtunatly not that fun...

Fabulous PC12
A proper rate of climb at full weight can reach 1800ft/min till FL180 then it reduce progressivly to finish with 600ft/min before reaching FL280. Once up there, an average of 243 kts of groundspeed carry you smoothly to the top of descent, 1800ft/min to keep a 200kts indicated max when entering below 10 000 feet...it can shake quite strongly specially in Dodoma. Power cannot be reduce too much, it provides bleed air for pressurisation of the cabin so the only way to slow down when indicated airspeed reach 200kts is to reduce the descent rate, leading to a steeper & fast approach...a 3,6degree angle of descent in no wind condition sounds right, groundspeeds can reach up to 300kts with a bit of tailwind...

A quick overhead to check out the field condition, most of the time you land and take off on the convenient runway, due to some hill on one side, a slope gradient, or the apron location (Jongomero airstrip is curved on a hill top), the wind is generaly calm but becomes relevant when parking the plane, facing the light wind cools down the engine better during a 10 minutes turn around.

Pilatus Cruising
A proper final configuration is maintain with the use of the AOA indicator (Angle of Attack), this indicate you the angle of the airflow at the wing leading hedge. The overall trick for this plane is to set the power in advance according to the weight (pax + fuel left) and bring the all wheels & flaps down machine at approx 85 kts for a smooth & short landing. Using full reverse until a cloud of dust starts appearing, then full beta...just the the time to switch the avionics, pressu, lights & both generators off and the parking break is set, mixture cutoff & the prop inhibitor pressed (avoid picking up stones/particules during blade feathering).
Only after you opened the door, you notice the few giraffe and elephants standing in peace, eating some trees.

A charter here or there for fortunate guest to hunting reserve, the longest trip you can take from here is a 6h30 flight to reach Johannesburg, Victoria Falls is only 4h40 away...
Pilatus in Dar
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2012. augusztus 30., csütörtök

Working with Susi Air in Indonesia

My buddy, flying with Susi Air in Indonesia decided to help low houred people, and started a blog on the ups and downs of getting a job with Susi and how flying in that area is. The blogs name is Working for Susi Air - Interview First Officer C208B and clicking on it will take you there. As Susi also hires low timers and as I have a couple of friends flying there, and everybody is satisfied with working for them I think it is a good idea to let you guys know about this new blog. Not to mention that it is a great opportunity for a low timer to jump into a Caravan...
Here is the intro of the blog: Susi Air has long been a great opportunity for low hour CPL pilots fresh out of flight school and even as a stepping stone for pilots with a few more hours. Flying new Cessna Grand Caravan C208B G1000's in and around Indonesia in a multi-crew, full SOP environment has meant that many Susi Air pilots have become very attractive to airlines once they leave Susi Air. As such it is a great stepping stone and a good kick starter for any young pilot's career!

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2012. augusztus 28., kedd

Retro Tanzania

Until I get myself together for a proper post here are some old pictures (actual paper scans) from the older days in Tanzanian flying. I hope you enjoy this peek into the past.
When I grow up... C206 and DC10 on apron at HTDA
Vans at Seronera
Van in...
... turning around...
... and out.
As far as I know it was a testflight to see if the Caravan can be landed and can come out of this relatively short strip. Note the tall trees at the end of the runway.
404 coming in to land (nice strip, eh?)
Nice flaring attitude
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2012. augusztus 19., vasárnap

Update: Low Time Pilot's Guide now includes Tanzania

As of now, the guide also includes the know-how of scoring a Cessna 206 or 208 Grand Caravan pilot job in Tanzania as well. I'll be back soon with new stories and pictures, but I am quite busy lately. Asante sana (thank you) for your patience...
All of you who already purchased the guide are getting it free of charge. If you did not receive it please check your Spam folder. If it did not end up there just drop me an email from the address where I originally sent it and I will send you the updated one.

2012. július 5., csütörtök


Seems that we have a nice Namibian veterans reunion here in Dar es Salaam, especially at Coastal Aviation. 
The god thing of flying out of here is the variety of destinations. From paved international airports out into the bush and from there some island hopping. And all that in the sturdy Caravan. Or the PC-12. Fly out in the bush VFR, go back to one of the major airports in IFR. 
An island of the Songosongo archipelago
You don't even have to fly out of Dar for the fun to begin. Conflicting things on runway are not just giraffes, rhinos, and other animals.
One of my colleagues lined up runway 05, applied takeoff power and then while doing the takeoff run he sees that on the other end of the runway a Tanzanian People's Defence Force Air Wing Chinese made jet trainer (yellow painted Hongdu JL-8) is lining up in front of him. Massive abort.
Over the Selous
The Air Force is also doing flights out of Dar. And they radio on a separate frequency - if they radio... It is up to the ATC to forward any message in case of conflict, but hey, it did not happen.
5H-POA leaving Ruaha
Companies here are not your tipical low time hiring ones. But a very good next step for someone over 1000TT.  Especially if you have some time on the Van. Nevertheless from time to time you might get lucky and get hired with lower hours for a 206 job. 

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2012. június 17., vasárnap


Dar es Salaam birds eye
As it always happens we make plans and then life decides for us. So from now on you'll see my stories coming from the beautiful city of Dar es Salaam, the city of traffic jams. And the mighty Caravan. 

Coastal Aviation 5H-JOE leaving a bush strip

Let me get some more experience, and will be back to you with the stories of flying in the East African bush.
And here's the winner of the bush beauty contest, Coastal Aviation's PC12, 5H-FAB
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2012. április 17., kedd

Soft field takeoff

I hear lots of times that taking off is easy, you just push the throttle all the way and let the airplane fly. Yeah baby! Or maybe not?

Let's see the case of the soft field takeoff. It can be applied not only if the surface is soft - like sand or wet mud - but in case it is rough, stony or the grass is long. In case of rough, stony runway with a normal takeoff we are stressing the tires, landing gear and the prop as well. If the runway is soft, wet or the grass is long then the problem is even bigger. The drag on the wheels increases the required takeoff distance. The drag can be so much that the airplane will not be able to reach the rotation speed! 
Now these stones don't really save a propeller
So we need to do something to get the weight of the airplane off the wheels as soon as possible. Thus reducing not only the drag of the soft surface but also the forces that stones and rough surface put on the wheels and propeller. We then get the airplane off the ground at a low speed and accelerate in ground effect, above the runway and free from the rolling drag of the wheels.
Propeller after normal operations
Start with 10 degrees flaps. Needless to say that 10 flyps will produce more lift at a low speed, thus taking some weight off the wheels early in the takeoff roll. Yoke should be held fully back, same as when you taxi, to keep the weight off the nosewheel and keep the propeller as high as possible to avoid chipping from small stones. As you add power the airflow from the prop makes the tail effective, and will create a tail-down force, it will take most of the weight off the nose. At this point, although the airplane will have a nose high attitude the nose wheel is still running on the ground, with the nose strut mostly extended.
Sand isn't your friend...
The nose-high attitude means that the wings are at an increased angle.  This is good, because it means that the wings will generate some lift even at a low speed. Not enough to fly, but it will decrease the load on the wheels. First of all if the field is wet/soft it gradually allows the tires to rise and start to surf on top of the mud. Secondly, on a rough terrain the wheels will not hit the bumps with big force. 
Soft field takeoff (via flickr/fireboat895)
Speed will start building up, the airflow over the tail will continue to increase and the nosewheel will finally come off the ground. If we would hold the yoke in the initial position, completely back, the nose would continue to rise, we wouldn’t be able to see where we’re going and we’d be dragging the tail on the ground. So relax a small amount of elevator backpressure so that the nose remains spmewhere around the climb attitude. If you keep the nose too high the wing creates too much drag. Just hold the nose high so that the nose wheel does not run on the ground anymore. As the airplane is accelerating further you will need to make small corrections to keep the nose in the proper attitude. 
With the increasing speed at one point the lift will be compensating for the airplanes weight and thus we become airborne. 
Soft field technique went wrong (read the article here)
Happy? Not yet... We're just a couple of centimetres from the ground, we have low speed and a high angle of attack, creating a huge amount of induced drag. At the moment we're just floating in the ground effect. But we've got rid of the nasty drag that was created by the rolling friction of the tyres. Lowering the nose slightly - but carefully, not to put it beck down - will help us get rid of more induced drag and gain a couple of more knots. As airspeed builds up just keep the airplane in the ground effect, let it accelerate to a safe climb speed. Upon gaining the desired airspeed simply start to climb out with Vx or Vy.

Here's a nice video on this topic:
Now, I need to point out that you shouldn't jump in the first airplane find a mudhole land there and then try to perform a takeoff. Always practice any new maneuver with an instructor on a paved runway until you are proficient.

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.
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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.
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