View Full Version : UN Flying

Bob Hawke
11th Oct 1999, 06:50
Saw an interesting documentary on tellie the other night about United Nations flying operations in Africa. I noticed such a wide variety of aircraft types and crews, and incredibly difficult operating and living environments.

I am curious as to what they do operate, how they recruit crews, what they pay, and the working conditions. Any information, anybody?

11th Oct 1999, 23:31
Bob. Its the best flying fun youll ever find, but its usually uncomfortable, often unsupported (You do the fuelling etc)there are few if any navaids. No met. Little or no ATC, no doctors for hundreds of miles and people sometimes use you for target practice. Unfortunately getting a UN flying job aint that easy. First, they aint UN aircraft and the UN don’t hire pilots. All a/c are contracted/leased from operators around the world, so you need to get a job with whoever is operating them & that’s easier said than done. They wont usually send new & untried people on these jobs, he old hands get them. Contracts are often short, theres little security of employment. Sometimes they fly real hard, some never turn a wheel in months. They use whatevers cheap sometimes without regard to practicality. Living & working conditions range from aircon & home to bed every night to foul fly-camps – Lokichoggio in Kenya for instance, though you would get back to somewhere better for a week R&R in 3 or 4. My advice is stick to 1st world operators who you KNOW, & check their standards/engineering is up to scratch. Local companies can seldom hire non-nationals. Pay is all down to the employer and the contract. As usual its who you know that counts

The UN is an incredibly incompetent inefficient and bureaucratic organization, extremely slow to do anything except blame others. If you just want a well paid job get one as a desk wallah with the UN in Nairobi. A sociology degree & a beard gets you $12000pm, huge 4wd, house and servants. Do f*** all and go on safari all the time ;)

They might be persuaded to release a list of contractor companies under some spurious “right to know bullshit” so find out where the aviation contracts are awarded. Try Geneva.

Bob Hawke
13th Oct 1999, 16:38
Thanks Pinger,now I know I am better off where I am. I was curious. Life is not all cheese and bikkies with the UN by the sound of it, except for the nerdish blighters. Humm, I'd rather not join them. It was kinda interesting flying, but I don't need that degree of difficulty attached, and that amount of insecurity.

Appreciate your comments. Have a good one.

13th Oct 1999, 18:48
UN Aviation contracts are awarded out of New York, by the way. Pinger has obviously paid his debt to society in the UN field and his summary of the situation can't be bettered!

13th Oct 1999, 22:34
Bob, I didnt mean to put you off. All I said was it is'nt easy, like anything worthwile in life. If you wanna be a cloned bus driver carry on...zzzz. If not the opportunity is there to be grabbed. Get out there, travel, go see people, make conatacts and maybe youll strike lucky. Even if you dont get lucky youll have stories to tell your kids, so go on & do it, what you gotta lose? Before I went to Africa I had a decent career in flying. My time in Africa made the way for a whole new career direction. Some flying was brill fun and incredibly exciting, some was bloody hard work & fun, and some was just just f!g hard work. It got me experience, and thus jobs. I now work with guys with 5X as many hours but they havent had 1/10 the fun or experiences I've had. (but they know much more about droning between UK and Spain.) Sad or what??? MBJ knows the score.

Use it or lose it!

[This message has been edited by Pinger (edited 13 October 1999).]

Bob Hawke
14th Oct 1999, 07:18
Thanks again Pinger, having lived & worked in places like outback Auzz, Papua New Guinea, the Pacific Islands, and now the Asian region, I guess it would be slightly similiar.

I have just always been curious about Africa, and flying there. Maybe later I will chase it up, before the third wife tracks me down. Thanks again. If you have an address or contacts that you can pass on, I would appreciate that, but I will hold for the time being, until I get that humanitarian urge to do something nice for my fellow sentient beings.


15th Oct 1999, 03:33
Bob, you a hasher by any chance?

Bob Hawke
15th Oct 1999, 08:26
I have attended the odd gathering, purely for the exercise, of course!

19th Oct 1999, 17:44
What's it like flying in New Guinea?

Double Whiskey
30th Oct 1999, 05:45
All contracts for flying for the UN in Africa is carried out by the WFP oin Rome.
Most of the flying that is done around the Horn of Africa for the UN is controlled from Nairobi. The UN use mainly C-208, DHC 6,
DHC-5, Hercules, IL 76's Beechcraft King Air's. In order to get a job with one of these companies you are going to need a Kenyan Licence. You can only get this by going there and sitting the test. Then you can apply to one of the companies that fly for the UN.

ATR Driver.
30th Oct 1999, 22:07
Have I found another "Ex-Loki" Boy?

I have a question for the UN...

Q. Who was the silly bastard that gave the Turkanas and Tapozas, (the two local tribes that live near the Loki camp and have fought each other over cattle for the past 200 years), AK-47's??

One night I was rudely awaken from my hut with an earthquake, ok that was a little weird but, the next night I was awaken by the unmistakeable sound of the AK-47 just 5ft from my friggin pillow!
(Big Difference)

We had a great time working in conjunction with the UN in Loki and I would never give that part of my life away for anything.

My advice...If your young and prepared for anything, go to Africa. The money may not be the best but, I beleive the memories you will have when your older will more than compensate for the pitiful topic of coin.

Good luck with your decision.

PS. Bob...Pls Don't cry all the bloody time on national TV will ya!

Double Whiskey
30th Oct 1999, 23:48
It was hardly an eartquake. More like a tremor.
The memories I have from there no amount of money could buy. Things have changed there and the good times of 1994 - 1996 are not so great any more but still it was still good up to May of this year.
Still nothing as scary as a Turkans drunk with an AK-47.

31st Oct 1999, 04:24
ATR Driver, sorry mate not a resident I only passed thru Loki a couple of times fortunately. Youre dead right about being young and ready for anything though, my africa time was the best flying Ive ever had. Id love to go back.Young or not.

AKs, a pox on em. The ruin of a continent.

Double Whiskey,scary?? wait till youve seen a pissed-up 15yr old Ethiopian with his trigger finger on a loaded ZSU 23/4. In the words of one of NASAs finest, In our job we dont get scared, but I sure as hell was impressed!

And some poor sods think flyings about UK - USA and back for a career. zzzzzzz :) :) :)

Rat Catcher
6th Nov 1999, 01:43
Any of you remember the great cricket(as in bug!) invasion of June 97?
What a smell...
I Hate AK's!

Double Whiskey
6th Nov 1999, 04:33
Reference flying a C-130. The best cpompany to get in touch with is TRANSAFRIK who are based in Luanda, Angola.The bought a lot of the old Southern Air Transport planes when the company foled. When I left Loki in May they had 6 C-130's on contract to the WFP. You work 3 months on a nd get 1 month off but you cannot leave Loki in this time which is pretty hard. They also have some contract work in Angola but after getting 2 planes shot down there over Christmas there has not been too many signing up.

Stall Inducer
10th Nov 1999, 23:55
I'm young (20) and have just got my U.K CPL IR , does anyone know if there are any operators around East Africa that would be willing to look at a young low hour pilot to do U.N style flying. I've lived in Nairobi for 4 years when at prep school and love it out there. Ideally I'd like to fly Kingair type aircraft but would consider anything. Any help would be very much appreciated.

12th Nov 1999, 00:40
AfricanSkies - if you're in that much of a rush, do the CPL at a school - 43 Air School at Port Alfred spring to mind. Get a twin rating as soon as you can, but be prepared to sit in the right hand seat till you've got some hours. I wouldn't bother trying to buy a turbine rating with your own money, someone will offer you one soon enough. Then be prepared to go back into the RHS for a little while.
Oh.... and give my love to CT, lucky sod!!
StallInducer... same goes for you. Take any job you can find to get the hours up. You can't be fussy with a brand-spanking-new license.
Afraid I can't give any news on up-to-date contacts though, I'm out of touch with Africa now. I'm sure someone else will oblige.
Good luck.

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