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African Aviation Regional issues that affect the numerous pilots who work in this area of the world.


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Old 31st Mar 2011, 14:03   #81 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: Tanzania
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I only worked one year in Maun, so maybe I missed something, but I didn't think the flying was all that tough and I'm certainly no master bush pilot. It is a hard job, fast turn arounds, hot weather, long hours etc. But most of those strips are plenty long, the Mopane trees are nice and short, and there is no terrain for as far as the eye can see in any direction. Bush Flying Lite. It's not like people are hanging on the prop, crossing the fence at 65 in the van hoping to nail the threshold, you aren't landing on gravel bars or glaciers, just dirt runways. Fact is if a 250 hr pilot can master flying in bots after 50 hrs of poor quality instruction to the point where he is trusted to fly paying passengers it can't really be all that bad.
It is the most fun I've ever had in airplanes, I dig all the low level flying, and the 5 minute legs and the wildlife and I highly recommend the experience. It's a great first job. But don't try to big it up into something it's not.
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Old 31st Mar 2011, 16:14   #82 (permalink)
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Hardly worth the salary by all accounts then?
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 12:14   #83 (permalink)
 
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Maun 2011/2012

hello i'am planning to go in Maun to find a job around October November, anybody know the situation there?, i heard some time ago that the Botswana governament was not more able to issue the work permit for foreigners pilot!!! is this true?? i hope not
anyway, anybody is planning to go there in November
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 15:59   #84 (permalink)
 
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Yes I think the Namibian govt. just announced that they wont be issuing work permits to under 2000TT pilots. But no idea about Botswana.

I am thinking to go to Botswana. I have real low time. In fact I was thinking to go in March. But then I came to know that the hiring season passed by.

I am thinking to go there around sept. if there are any chances of any kind of flying job now, I am even ready to hit that continent now.

Botswana and such other countries in africa are the only places where low time pilots like me can get a flying job. so thats my only option
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Old 2nd Apr 2011, 16:09   #85 (permalink)
 
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I wasn't trying to say that it is bush flying by any means, but what I was saying is that it is not landing on a flat paved surface.

I know pilots in the US who have never landed on grass or gravel.
I've seen many who have only ever landed no-flaps or power off for their check-ride - who rely on the machinery - and would be in deep trouble if they were in situations I've heard from some of my friends here.

Example, a guy's been grounded for 6 months because no visa, gets his visa, 3 circuits to be "qualified", carries 5 pax to a sand / gravel strip, complete electrical failure, 25 knot 90 degree cross wind, large puddle (it's all flooding here right now), the strip is about 10 m wide (30 feet) with soft sand on either side. Sure it's long, and it's not landing on a sand bar in a river, but it's certainly not landing at Van Nuys on 16R.

Another example, a guy picks up a plane after an engine rebuild, 5500 foot elevation, surrounded by mountains, that day it's 11,500 density altitude. Engine failure at about 1000 AGL. Sure it can happen anywhere, and this runway was paved, but there are only a few places where you get 10K density altitude every day.

And third, the runway in Swakopmund is paved. But it's full of potholes, so you can't use it, period. But planes fly in and out all the time (C210's), not on the runway, but on the soft sand along side (Swakop is surrounded by sand dunes - think Sahara Dessert)

Can a young pilot (in hours, not necessarily years) handle it? Of course, or it would not have been done this way for the past 30 years. We all get this kind of training, but very few pilots normally handle this.

Is it bush flying? No.

Is it harder than "normal" flying? Maybe. But it does require skills that are not utilized by the "normal" pilot on a regular basis.
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 03:11   #86 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
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Floatplanes

Having just come back from 3 weeks in the bush there you guys need to start to think about getting floatplane ratings
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Old 3rd Apr 2011, 12:25   #87 (permalink)
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
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I would love to get floats. In fact a lot of the planes here are ex float planes.
But I would need to have someone hang off the floats mid flight to wash them before I can touch down in the next river due to government regs.
Im quite sure that would affect my planes performance
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 12:36   #88 (permalink)
 
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Actually my comment was light hearted given the number of strips flooded at the moment, and the situation is not going to get any better for a number of years. However, seriously then, is this an option? If you are serious about the government regs how about fitting the floats and having a jury rigged spray system to disinfect them between areas? Only an idea. With companies having to uses land, water or rotary options for transporting guests at the moment at some camps this is hitting their bottom line. Prices will go up next year and all stakeholders will be affected. A air charter company that can offer an alternative option will have a significant competitive advantage in the market even given the lower payload for floatplanes.
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 13:10   #89 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Another example, a guy picks up a plane after an engine rebuild, 5500 foot elevation, surrounded by mountains, that day it's 11,500 density altitude. Engine failure at about 1000 AGL. Sure it can happen anywhere, and this runway was paved, but there are only a few places where you get 10K density altitude every day.
That is a very impressive story, especially when you consider that in order to have 11,500 ft density altitude at a 5,500 ft elevation runway the outside temperature needs to be in the neighborhood of 60 deg C. Must have been uncomfortable! I'm not sure how many places get 10K ft density altitude every day but I reckon not many of them are at 5,500 ft as it would require the temps to be consistently in the mid 40s C. So I can't imagine where where this heroic pilot is doing his flying, but I'm glad I'm not him.
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Old 4th Apr 2011, 17:45   #90 (permalink)
 
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I am being serious about the regulations, but unfortunately something like what you have suggested will take years to come into effect due to red tape and having to trial them. These huge floods that have come in the past few years havent been seen since the 1950's so noone was really prepared for them.
The other issues are the depth of the water, most of which is not very deep at all, but enough to cause the runways to close.
The large angry creatures called hippos that would not even hesitate to try and turn over a 206 or 172 on floats.
Also the passengers that are flown are not all fit and agile, in fact, a good 25% would be either overweight, old or just plain not agile enough to be able to navigate a transfer onto a boat. It is very difficult to build and maintain the wharfs big enough that will be need to reach out to the lagoons.
You idea is a very logical one, and that is something that is frowned upon this side of the world. The more illogical, the better!
The easiest solution at the moment is to build new runways on islands that will not flood and boat the passengers across to their camps.

Ragdragger, You have forgotten the high pressures, high humidities and high temps (I've flown in 49C) that are experienced here. While I haven't had a density alt as high as 11'500, I have had one at 9'300 out of Maun. An overloaded 206 out of there chewed up a lot of runway!

The runways here range from 600m to 1000m so I am presuming that your experience here is with Sefofane? All of their runways are 1000m and usually in good conditions with good approaches.

In the wet, the calcrete at a few of the runways becomes very very slick. Its not unusual to see aircraft coming into the parking bay sideways, even at very slow speeds, or watching the pilots and passengers slipping over as they try to walk around! Its almost the same as landing on ice!

I can name a large number of examples that can show that its not as easy as you are making it out to be. But at the same time, I do agree with you that it is not the extreme end of things, such as what you will find in some strips like in Papua New Guinea. I wouldn't go as far as saying bush flying lite, but a different variation in the types that you can come across. This sort of work is perfect for setting you up with contract charter operators.

You can teach a lot of things to a pilot after 50hrs. You can teach a pilot to become a instructor, a night rating, a aerobatics rating, multi rating and a IFR rating all in that time.
You can even gain a private pilots licence in that time.
50hrs of flying in the delta is very intensive and you can expect to make up to 100-120 landings. Which is more than enough to be shown the in's and out's of bush flying and the techniques that you will be more than likely to come across.
As for the instruction that you recieved in flying here, well.... that varies from company to company. I can say that mine was pretty top notch and from guys who have been in the industry for a long time, and have 5 figures in the logbook.

But back to the original comment. Yes. A van is much harder to land here than at a 2000m tar runway.
Weights, Runway contamination and conditions, Weather, Size and length of runways, Animals and Birds are all things that most pilots would never have encountered before.
Some of the guys I have met here have never landed on a nice prepared grass runway before, let alone a grass bush runway.
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 05:19   #91 (permalink)
 
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Yes I did fly with Sefo and I agree, their strips are bit nicer. But I also landed at many of the other strips out there. Are there really still 600m meter strips? I only remember one when I was there, and I had thought it was extended. Are you flying vans into 600 m strips? And I certainly have not forgotten about the heat or the mud. I know how fun saturated calcrete can be, it is the rainy season here and I have to land caravans on the stuff regularly.

It's just going to come down to difference of opinion. I started in Maun as a relatively experienced pilot with a fair amount of C206 time, and I didn't find the transition particularly difficult. To me getting accustomed to rough or muddy runway surfaces is more about common sense and good aircraft control than any kind of special technique The hard part for me was learning to find my way around that featureless swamp with the GPS off, and understanding what the f$%# those controllers were saying. I think what makes difficult bush strips difficult is the environment around them. Obstacles, terrain and weather, usually all at the same time, and there just wasn't any of that in Bots.

As far as landing at bush strips in Bots being more difficult than on paved strips I'm sure thats true if you are talking about day VFR flying. But most van pilots where I'm from are flying freight which means plenty of single pilot, night IFR, frequently in bad weather and icing conditions. So touching down on the tarmac might be easy but the circling approach at night and at minimums in order to get to that tarmac to me seems a lot more challenging than dodging puddles on a dirt runway. Anyone who is good at that type of flying wouldn't struggle too much in Maun I don't think, but I'm not sure that the opposite is true.

Density Altitude...
What are you guys smoking when you come up with these crazy density altitude figures? You have never experienced 9,300 ft density altitude in botswana because until global warming gets a lot worse it is physically impossible. The 49C day you mentioned would have meant the density altitude was around 7,500 ft on the ground in Maun. In order to get a 9,300 DA at a 3,100 ft ele. runway and standard pressure the temperature needs to be almost 70C with and thats not going to happen. The rule of thumb is that DA increases around 120 ft for every degree C over standard so 10 degrees warmer than standard temp means an increase in DA of approximately 1200 ft. Probably a bit less in bots because as you mentioned there is usually high pressure which reduces DA.

Last edited by ragdragger; 5th Apr 2011 at 05:40.
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 06:16   #92 (permalink)
 
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Density altitude is Pressure altitude adjusted for temperature.

I know I had a density altitude of 9'300ft as when I loaded the QNH and the temperature into the GPS, it spits out the Density Alt.

That also doesnt include the humidity in the figure as for the most part, the difference it makes is negligible.
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 06:56   #93 (permalink)
 
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In order to get that density altitude at 3100' and 49C the QNH would have to be about 0950. So either you happened to be in the eye of a hurricane when you made that measurement, or your GPS was wrong, or you interpreted it incorrectly. At a QNH of 1013 and a dew point of 15 the temperature needed to get 9,300 feet is 66C, equally unlikely. I'm not making this up just to be a dick, you can plug the numbers into an E6B or you can use one of the many online density altitude calculators and you will come up with the same results.
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 07:49   #94 (permalink)
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But you shouldn't have loaded in the QNH? You need to use pressure altitude not pressure height for a density altitude calculation? Set 1013.25/29.92 on altimeter subscale, read pressure altitude corrected to standard pressure, enter that figure and the temperature into the computer. Anyway, the old whizz wheel, Jeppesen CSG-8A-which needed to be oiled it's that old, tells that for a density altitude of 9,300ft, you'd need a pressure altitude of 5,500ft and a temperature of +49c.(As near as metal whizz wheels can get)
Anyway again, it matters not too much. Isn't the challenge involved in flying out of Maun exactly what it always was? Survival in the face of disregard for every thought and intention behind a POH, sacrificed on the altar of the certain knowledge that if you don't take the risks someone else will be prepared to endanger life and limb in the service of employment?
eg: (An overloaded 206 out of there chewed up a lot of runway.)
(In the wet the calcrete becomes very slick.)
Slick would logically be the same as ice in terms of runway performance take off and landing graphs and limitations? How much runway does a fully loaded Caravan need on an icy surface at 3,000ft pa on a warm Maun day of +40c which gives a density altitude of about 6,500ft.
Glad to see it's just as dangerous, as argumentative and as fun as it always was.
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 08:27   #95 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
But you shouldn't have loaded in the QNH? You need to use pressure altitude not pressure height for a density altitude calculation?
I have no idea what you mean by pressure height. There are a few ways to figure out pressure alt. If you are in the airplane you just set 1013 in the kohlsman and read PA on the altimeter. If you aren't in the airplane you can figure it out if you know the true altitude MSL, and the QNH. If the QNH is lower than 1013 your pressure alt will be higher than your true altitude and vice versa. So it is true that you need a pressure altitude of 5,500 at 49C in order to get 9,300 density altitude, but if you are sitting in an airplane at a 3,100 ft MSL runway and your altimeter reads 5,500 ft. with a setting of 1013 the current QNH would have to be about 0960.
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 09:54   #96 (permalink)
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A trifle tricky sometimes then if you're using QFE?

Simplicity itself from Australia the land that gave you CS Hames and what are probably still the finest one volume technical manuals to the PPL and the CPL.

This is from Balloon at Brisbane.

https://www.brisbanehotairballooning...ty-height.html

No more on altimeters though. It's far too much of a wind up and probably totally irrelevant, or at the least ignored, in swamp flying.
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 10:25   #97 (permalink)
 
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Not too tricky.
According to that site it's the same sh*t different words.
pressure altitude = pressure height
density altitude = density height
all referenced to the international standard atmosphere 1013 hP or 29.92 hg
you say qfe we say field elevation
the math is the same
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 10:57   #98 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
That is a very impressive story, especially when you consider that in order to have 11,500 ft density altitude at a 5,500 ft elevation runway the outside temperature needs to be in the neighborhood of 60 deg C. Must have been uncomfortable! I'm not sure how many places get 10K ft density altitude every day but I reckon not many of them are at 5,500 ft as it would require the temps to be consistently in the mid 40s C. So I can't imagine where where this heroic pilot is doing his flying, but I'm glad I'm not him.
OOPS. 9,500 not 11,500. My bad.
And WHK has had a few 40's recently.
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Old 5th Apr 2011, 14:35   #99 (permalink)
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(you say qfe we say field elevation)
You might get killed that way. QFE is the subscale setting that will ensure that your altimeter reads 0 at the appointed reference point. It is by no means the same as QNH. QFE does not work so well at high elevation airports or even medium elevation airfields such as HTKJ. It was beloved of the British air force and certain British airlines. It contributed a small extra cockpit workload especially in a go around situation, beloved of examiners when the candidate forgot to set QNH from QFE on the missed approach. That was an auto fail as far as the UK CAA were concerned.
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Old 6th May 2011, 05:47   #100 (permalink)
 
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Out of interest, is there internet at the camp? Ridiculous question but oh well..
There is WIFI at Old Bridge Backpackers not sure about Audi but I would guess so. There is also WIFI at the airport. The whole system is extremely slow and often down.
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