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Ferry helicopter from South Africa to Europe

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Ferry helicopter from South Africa to Europe

Old 27th Jun 2021, 20:41
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MLI
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Join Date: Jun 2021
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Ferry helicopter from South Africa to Europe

Hi everyone,

Im wondering if anybody here has experience of flying helicopter in Africa in general and more specific: Maybe somebody has ferried a helicopter from South Africa to Europe.

Some questions, dig in if you know...

1. Safest, best way?
2. Permission into countries, is it a problem?
3. Fuel? JET-A1 of course. Long range tanks recommended?
4. Everything else!

All help would be fantastic!

Best regards
MLI is offline  
Old 27th Jun 2021, 20:59
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Join Date: May 2002
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Not to come across as sounding negative.....load it on a Freighter and fly it to Europe that way.

Probably a lot cheaper In the long run and if you were to have maintenance issues enroute while flying the machine itself.....it could be really expensive.

But if you were to fly the machine I would think going west and north would be the better routing.

You ask 212man....he has done some ferry flights from Europe to Nigeria in the past.
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Old 27th Jun 2021, 23:19
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Hi MLI,

Based on your questions my first suggestion would be to find a pilot who is experienced at that sort of thing and fly with them. It will be much more enjoyable.

Get the longest range fuel tanks you reasonably can. Eliminating stops will save time, stress and money.

Use a handling company to do the landing and over flight permits, local handling and local fuelling. This will not be cheap but with detailed oversight should lead to a successful trip.

Donít expect a fuel stop to take less than 45 minutes. Donít plan on flying maximum hours per day as there will be many delays. Flight plan conservatively as the day of your trip you may have any number of delays and significant headwinds.

What type are you flying?

I have crossed international borders many 100ís of times and have flown helicopters in 47 countries including throughout Africa and Europe. I do contract work like this and would be happy to help. Website for more information available on request.

Most important is to enjoy the trip!
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Old 28th Jun 2021, 06:33
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Carry lots of US $$$$$$$ for the backhanders you will need to put out. Somebody will find "a problem with your paperwork" which can only be fixed by a brown envelope into the back pocket.
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Old 28th Jun 2021, 06:39
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Talk to the guys at Fireblade Aviation in JoBurg. Fanie and Jonny ferry the owners AW139 up and back every year.
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Old 28th Jun 2021, 06:41
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Originally Posted by Ascend Charlie View Post
Carry lots of US $$$$$$$ for the backhanders you will need to put out. Somebody will find "a problem with your paperwork" which can only be fixed by a brown envelope into the back pocket.
Never had that problem myself with West African ferry flights.............. UAS are a good port of call for clearances. I have used them a couple of times.
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Old 28th Jun 2021, 07:06
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Darcy Hoover posted this on the Rotor Brake website. He has some great stories from not that long ago. I doubt it has changed that much.

https://www.therotorbreak.com/a-day-...-ferry-flight/


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Old 28th Jun 2021, 10:34
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Originally Posted by Medevac999 View Post
Never had that problem myself with West African ferry flights.............. UAS are a good port of call for clearances. I have used them a couple of times.
I agree - did 4 flights from UK/France to Lagos and never paid a dollar.

BB in CA's advice about a good handling company is key, I would say. We used: https://www.gekoair.com/ferry.html They speak fluent French, which is invaluable in obtaining clearances etc in the Francophone countries. A good handling company should also be up to date with the security situation along the route, but you should also maintain your own due diligence and awareness, as it can be fluid. e.g. Bamako (Mali) was a common night stop a few years ago, but certainly is not recommended now.

Don't overstretch the planned daily distances unrealistically - there is always scope for delays, and you don't want to find yourself stuck in a location that isn't really suitable to night stop. Even many of the places you do plan to stop at are not places you want to be arriving at in the dark..
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Old 29th Jun 2021, 18:59
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From my own experience:
1. Safest, best way?
Easiest is along the west coast. Flying mid way thru the continent is a bigger challange. Sometimes no fuel for a looong time.
2. Permission into countries, is it a problem?
Use a handling agent for all the permissions. Doing it all on your own is a pain in the ass.
3. Fuel? JET-A1 of course. Long range tanks recommended?
Auxillary fuel tanks make sense.
4. Everything else!
Bring freshly printed USD and EUR in small bills. A generous tip makes things quick and easy.
It wont go as you have planned, so dont make your schedule too tight.
Take someone with you who did a similar trips in Africa.

PM me if you have specific questions.
helimo is offline  
Old 2nd Jul 2021, 13:50
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Originally Posted by KiwiNedNZ View Post
Talk to the guys at Fireblade Aviation in JoBurg. Fanie and Jonny ferry the owners AW139 up and back every year.
Sometimes they bring two. They spend a couple of weeks ferrying Nicky Oppenheimer and his friends around various Highland shooting estates. They fly over my house to land in a field near a village a few miles away and I've never understood why anyone would bother taking a helicopter all the way from SA to the UK and back instead of flying in one of his jet fleet to the UK and chartering a helicopter (or two) from a UK operator. It may be that when you get to Oppenheimer's level of insanely rich you simply don't care but it still seems a weird use of service hrs.
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