I've read all the posts in the past week, very interesting. I'm very undecided if leaving home to get there, of course I know if you don't risk... but I don't want to waste my money either.
I've just finished my training, 330 TT, 21 years old.
I will be grateful if you guys tell me what you think about this plan: Get there by december by taking a flight to Johannesburg and then a local flight (or a bus?) to Maun. Don't tell to the dogana you are looking for a job. Stay a couple of night in an hotel, buy a tend, find the Audi camp or whatever. Rent a space there, where you also probably find some others pilots.
Then go to the airport and try to impress the local company, because the most important thing is the attitude not the total time.
Be prepare to stay there at least 2 months to find something, with a budget of 700 - 800 euros a month, depending on your habits.
Be prepare to a big life-changing, don't be afraid of spiders, snakes and other animal
@ Maxed out. You can probably pick up work with one of the operators for a 12-18 month stay. They usually sign you on for 12 months for the C206 and GA8. Then you sign on for another 12 months on the C208. Wilderness does each for 18 months. Depending on their need for pilots.
Just don't expect the van unless they really need you on it. With your time on type however, they may check you out anyway. You would be smart to check out wilderness air.
Don't mind flying the 206 at all. Hmm just need to renew my piston rating now!
I'll research the old posts re cost of living, salary. My wife prefers the Flying Mission as that is right up her street. I suppose she could maybe look for work at one of the lodges if the response from Flying Mission is a no.
Work at a lodge... probably not as likely as you think, it's downright impossible to get a work visa unless you're sponsored, and that's not the type of place that sponsors many people... not a very unique job...
lilflyboy: Amazing and very informative post, thank you so much!
I have read through the thread in some detail, and as far as I can tell, the minimum time required has increased to 300 hrs, and will continue to increase to 500. That is to say, unless there have been recent changes in their insurance requirements.
I presently have ~227 hours total time. This seems like an amazing opportunity for me, but I was wondering if anyone can update me on the current requirements.
I am all for the adventure, and know full well that nothing means a guaranteed job once I get over there. That being said, I would like to know if there is a firm minimum for hours. If none of these companies will hire a pilot with less than 300 hours, period, then perhaps I will have to look at other opportunities elsewhere.
Start of last year, My buddy got hired with just over 200hrs. His friend had over 900 and didn't get the job. There will always be exceptions to the rules.
This is Africa. They will see all the new pilots being hired with 500hrs, and will put the requirements up even higher for the work permits. Then after some begging and pleading, threats and butt kissing, the work permits will go through again.
Fair enough. Well in that case, I suppose I'll be Africa-bound by the end of the month then!
Can anyone tell me what the pilots/jobs ratio is presently? I'm expecting to wait at least three months, if not more before a job opportunity presents itself. I'm curious to know which excuses have worked for the purpose of extending my stay past the initial 90 days. I don't mind telling a white lie to their immigration officers, but I don't want to risk getting in serious trouble in Africa either!
And finally, it was mentioned that single-bedroom apartments are available for rent there. Is there any reasonable way to obtain one before making the move? Or like the job, is it a matter of just showing up and pounding the pavement until I find something?
I know all the questions you receive must be getting quite exhaustive at this point, but I truly appreciate any and all the help you can provide. Without your post, I don't think I'd have made the decision to travel to Maun : )
I cannot speak for all the companies but I know that Wilderness (the largest operator in Maun) has a requirement for insurance purposes that you have 300 hours before they release you to the line. You will do some bush training and the like so a prudent minimum would be 270 hours to get yourself seriously considered by Wilderness. Any way to get another 50 hours before you arrive in Maun?
I just checked out the Wilderness Air website. They say 250 hours minimum, and they will provide 50 hours training in the right seat. Better than 300, but it still leaves me some 23 hours short... If I had the time and cash to spare, I'd definitely go do the 50-hour bush course in Kelowna, BC.
Given flyboy's last comment, I might just roll the dice and hope that what I lack in hours can be replaced by my M-IFR rating and my killer attitude!
Hey just a heads up for anyone coming to Maun this season, old bridge backpackers is only good for about 5 nights then they want you out, don't know anything about Audi camp sorry but there is a new backpackers 2km away from the airport called Motsebe backpackers. I found the place through a local guy. Its cheaper, quieter and best of all only a 15/20 min walk from town. Has lots of shade, grass,*pool, showers and toilets that are new, lounge and kitchen. Worth a look if you planning on staying in Maun for a while in the search for a job.
...old bridge backpackers is only good for about 5 nights then they want you out...
I did say in an earlier post that 'The Bridge' are not into long term deals any more. They have changed their business slightly and offer a very good price because they aim towards visitors who will book their boating and camping tours. You guys do not come into this bracket. It was also suggested that the other problem is that you are into chasing their wives and girlfriends but I think they were joking? Please do not put them down though it is a great location for an afternoon by the river.
Glad that you have found this new alternative location.
Just spent about 2:30hrs reading the whole thread. First off thanks to all who have helped answer so many questions and especially to lilfy for keeping calm and collected! I just had a few questions i felt weren't asked or answer not mentioned.
1) Looked at operators in both Nam and Bot, most seam to bond you(12months to 3 yrs) if hired. What is the average amount, incase you find a better opportunity in that time? While working is it taken monthly out of salary? how much?
2) What are the eye sight limits for medical? Is it the case of if you have foreign 1st class then its a given or separate tests? Eg FAA have no limit but uk CAA have -6 dioptre for initial 1st class.
3) Someone mentioned that simulator hours were counted in Nam? Wasnt able to find definitive answer, Is this true?..for both FNPTII and full flight simulators? In which case my hours would go from 270 to 360!
4) Seams most people went with the tourist visa option when arriving. Is there a difference in arriving by air or by road? do one or the other bother/hassle you more or less in regards to questions/searching etc
5) I hold a valid and current JAR frozen ATPL MEP/MEIR, no single. And a FAA CPL- ME/SE/IR with the last FAA flight test over 2 years ago! Would i need to do a biannual before I leave? Also can i mix and match my licences, Ie use my FAA CPL/SE and JAR IR to get validated or do i have to apply on one licence? Are there any FAA examiners in maun/windhoek that i could renew with while there?
6) Wilderness air mention 250 hrs as min for Nam, Zim and Zambia. Would one have to go to those separate locations or can you get interviewed in one place? which one is suggested to a pilot with 270hrs? maun/windhoek?
Hmm seams quite long and boring! sorry but any feed back would be greatly appreciated, apologies if these questions have already been addressed in the thread.
"All pilots are interviewed in Maun or Windhoek. We would recommend that applicants take the time to travel to one of the regions and personally hand in their CV. No applicants are hired over the internet or telephonically."
1) I can't remember the bond for the 206 but 6000 Pula (this is for botswana) sounds about right, and the bond for the Van was around 10000 Pula. I think! Its not a huge amount in overseas terms. The bond is not taken out of your paycheck. You basically "Work it off". If you leave before your time then you are required to pay the remaining amount.
2) Unsure of the eye things, I have no problems with mine.
3) Unsure about Nam. I would say go with the 270, but mention you have an extra 90hrs in a sim.
4) No real difference in going via road or via plane in terms of getting your visa. Maun is a tourist town and have hundreds of them arriving every day at the airport. Same with via road.
5) As long as your licence is valid, then it will be converted. You would probably be better off going for the FAA one. Not sure of the FAA examiners. Pretty sure there is none in Maun.
6) Wilderness Air has increased their minimums for ease of permit issue. If you have a truly exceptional CV they may take lower than that, but for the most part they are higher. Don't even bother with Zim. They only use local pilots from there. Zambia has a 1000hr limit on expat pilots so most of the Zambia pilots go from the Botswana base to fly up there. Nam I am not too sure about. I know they were having issues with getting expats work permits, and were looking at doing the whole 1000hr thing as well. I don't think it acutally happened but it is tricky to get in there. Can't hurt but try though!!!