Years ago I enjoyed many hours of flying in the southern part of Africa (SA, Botswana, Zimbabwe). Trips down there where always in the back of big iron but this time it looks different: We intend to fly from Central Europe to Capetown with a Pilatus PC12 and back and looking at the load, we will be able to make approx. 1200NM + reserve (IFR). Any advice please which routing or airports would be the best in regard of: 1. Safety (not being shoot down or killed on the ground), 2. Weather (planed window is March-April or November-December), 3. Services (airports with acceptable standard), 4. Good spots for a night stop (we plan with at least two overnights). There is no need to fly the shortest possible route and for the adventure, we will try to do the trip without or the least amount of help from a service provider (which is available to us when needed). And for those questioning the pilots experience: A couple of thousands hours on jets trough Europe, some north atlantic and south america trips but just building experience in the first turboprop ever flown. Any idea and advice for this (almost) retiree-project is appreciated, thank you.
As a quick reply (I am running around) have a look at the trip writeups on my website and that will give you ideas for a route and good places to hang out at overnight, on the way to the south east end of Europe (Crete or Rhodes, basically).
After that I can't speak from experience but in general people fly from Crete/Rhodes to Luxor (where you can get handsomely ripped off) and after that the options vary according to who you speak.
Burning avtur, you have many more options, of course, than with avgas.
If you email me I can put you in touch with a friend who has done this sort of thing in a Jetprop.
I last flew this route in 2003. My main problem was AVGAS.
East route was easier, west coast more .... exiting.
Suggest you ask one of the clearance agencies the current state of play for best stops. Mail me for suggestions
Probably Luxor, Khartoum, Nairobi, Ndola
But not sure how user friendly Sudan is these days.
Additional/alternative more interesting: Cairo (6th october) for the old stones Ethiopia Tanzania coast (for the beach) Kenya strips are interesting if you want excitement and there are animals to see (though IMHO once you have seen one impala you have seen them all)
Last edited by Romeo Tango; 12th Oct 2012 at 17:39.
But not sure how user friendly Sudan is these days.
According to a friend of mine who flies helicopters out there, the only major problem is with crossing the border between Sudan and South Sudan - flight plans simply get rejected. He said they had to route through Central African Republic with an intermediate landing.
A man from Egypt posted here a year or two ago, saying they are setting up a GA facility at "6th October" (near Cairo). It will have avgas, no idea about avtur, but no Customs so you have to do those at Cairo or Alexandria.
Of just fly straight to Luxor; with a PC12 you can play this many ways
Having flown in southern Africa myself and also worked in Africa for years, I'd say:
1) don't just 'go there' - make it a trip. IOW, stop over several times, there are some of the most magic places on the planet along your route.
2) I would route through East Africa, via Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia. And I would take my time!
3) You are in an almost unique position, as you fly what must be the near-perfect a/c for the trip. No Avgas hassles! While I don't know the short-field (especially in a hot-and-high situation) capabilities of a PC12, I'm sure you'll get into most, if not all, lodge strips.
Take your time and this may well be the trip of a lifetime. Enjoy!
Thanks for the information received until now; the website of Sam Rutherford was found as well. A quick feedback: We intend look at the eastern route as well more then via the political less stable countries along the west coast. As 172driver mentioned, we make it more a trip then just getting down there. However, the this will only be possible on the way back. From Europe to SA we are not directly under pressure but there is no time to stay more then overnight stops we have to go for anyway. And yes, this aircraft is the unique flying machine. No hasle with avgas and it carries you in and out of almost any field even hot and high. We plan for trips maximum 1200NM and this means long flights at high altitudes (the PC12 goes to FL300). Luckily we have a toilet on board but of course, only for the ladies...
@Jodelman Thanks for the link, very interesting trip with a piston single and a reduced range. The AVGAS seems to be the main problem. Fortunately we burn Jet-Fuel and this is better available.
@172driver If everything goes well, more trips like this one are coming up. North Atlantic crossing and a tour trough the US and Canada or going to one of my old work places ie Kathmandu.
If I was you I would also look at routing via the Adriatic. Done the south bound trip on several occasions and found a stop in LGKR and then either LGIR or HEBA (depending on winds) the best option. Service in LGKR is excellent and it also gives me the chance of a good rest before hitting Egypt and what lies beyond!
LDZD - Very cheap, quick turn, friendly. LCPH - PM me, I can assist you there. Route via RDS to avoid Turkish overflight costs. HSPN - quick and painless, relatively civilised. HELX or HEMA as alternates. No crew visas for a Sudan turnaround/tech stop. Fuel was waiting for us before we landed.