Wild Dog Adventure Riding

General => Africa Info & other International Travels => Topic started by: Sardine on December 20, 2014, 10:16:18 am

Title: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 20, 2014, 10:16:18 am
** Mods, not sure where to post this, so please feel free to move if it's in the wrong spot.

22 years in South Africa, of which a glorious 17 years were spent living in the Western Cape. Beach, surf, mountains, wine, what more could one want? It was perfect. But, I DID want more. Or at the very least, I wanted a change.

So I said goodbye to my home, my family, my friends, my job, and set off on a 3900km journey in my trusty little 1998 VW Golf Chico, in order to start a new chapter in my life. I was chasing a dream 5 years in the making...

I was going to be a bush pilot in Botswana.

Photo 1 - road trip via Cape Agulhas
Photo 2 - Border crossing (took all of 10 minutes)
Photo 3 - +-100km outside of Maun, the Golf had had enough; overheated and low on oil, I gave it a break and used the opportunity to take photos
Photo 4 - Nothing beats an African Sunset. Except for an African Sunrise
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 20, 2014, 10:32:39 am
Maun, Botswana

Where goats, donkeys and cows have right of way.
There are only a handful of tar roads, the majority of which are riddled with potholes.
Houses of all shapes and sizes line the main road, from elegant mansions, to tin-roofed, mud-walled, single-bedroom homes. Grass is scarce, and almost everything is brown. That is, until the rains come; a few days of rain and grass and weeds sprout everywhere.

The people are friendly. Once you get to know them. Initially, you can expect to be ignored in shops, and one needs to be quite assertive in order to do something as simple as pay for groceries. But once they see you around, the warm up, and a "Dumela Ma/Ra" sent their way does wonders. Personal space? The people here have no understanding of it.

Petrol is cheaper than in South Africa, at just under P10 a litre. But then again, that works out to about R12/litre, so at the end of the day, it isn't actually THAT much cheaper.
Food and general groceries... we have almost everything here that you get in SA. A Spar, Shoprite, Pep, Choppies (which is a bit like an Indian Checkers), Nandos, Wimpy, and in Kasane you can get KFC. Prices are the same as in SA, sort of. Once you take the exchange rate into consideration, everything here is actually more expensive. But, things like meat are slightly cheaper, granted, you're probably eating a mixture of donkey, goat and beef.
Fresh fruit can cost a fortune. Melon? Sure, that will be P45 please. And the supply isn't consistent. Then again, neither are the prices; Spar's prices change every week, so shopping becomes a case of good timing.
Alcohol? Depends on where you buy it. Beer can be cheap, especially from the shabeen. But if you're looking for brandy or rum, expect to pay over P200 a bottle.
Crime? It's there, but it's mostly petty. With the death penalty in force, you won't get murdered for your cell phone.

It's a different life out here. A simple life. And it's hot. 30degC is considered a cool day. The rainy season is late, but the few storms we have had have been spectacular.

Photo 1 - the main road
Photo 2 - trying to get photos of the lightning, but there was a tree in my way
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on December 21, 2014, 10:30:51 am
Lekker Heather!  :thumleft:

I love Bots, the people tend to be much friendlier than in most other parts of Africa, the climate is great, and the lifestyle is just.. well... calmer.

Hopefully one day you can get a bike up there, there are some spectacular rides in the area, especially towards Gweta and the pans!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: westfrogger on December 21, 2014, 10:47:16 am
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: JonW on December 21, 2014, 11:14:47 am
Come on Sardine, keep it going  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 28, 2014, 11:28:33 am
So, where to begin? I guess at the beginning would be best.

In 2011 I ventured to Botswana in search of work. With the ink on my instructors rating still wet, and barely 300hrs in my logbook, it would be a long-shot. But my mind was made up; I was going, regardless of my chances of employment. After 2 weeks of camping, and 2 weeks of housesitting, I ran out of money. And, with no job offer on the horizon, returned to South Africa where I took up a position as a Flight Instructor at the school where I had learnt to fly.
 
The memories from that trip never disappeared. The quiet simplicity of Maun was calling my name. And I answered.

The result is that I am fulfilling a goal and dream that I have had for a good few years; Flying in the Bush.

My Life in a Box

I planned for at least a month. Routes, accommodation, budgets. I got my car, a 1998 Golf Chico with over 210 000km, road-trip-ready, and kitted it out with a toolbox, tyre pump, puncture fix, tie wraps, duct tape, oil, tow rope, jumper leads, everything I thought I might need. I fixed the dent in my door, and sorted out the speakers (which hadn’t worked for the past 4 years, and took all of 10 minutes to sort out).

As you can see, I’m very much a DIY person, and I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty. Vehicle ready, it was time to get myself ready.
How was I to pack up 22 years of stuff? Methodically, said the OCD part of me. And so, box after box was filled, and stored in my cupboard. And when the cupboard became full, the boxes lined my room. Wow, I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years!
The essentials were packed in different boxes, and into the car. Surprisingly, once everything was packed, there was ample room left over (I could’ve taken the kitchen sink if I wanted to!), though the suspension was groaning a little under the weight.

So, with my life in several boxes, I set off from home on the morning of 7 October.
And within 20 minutes of leaving, I was forced to experience one of the scariest things in my life; driving up Sir Lowry’s Pass in the pitch dark, with thick fog, and trucks all over. I almost wrote myself off within the first 30km of my new adventure, when the lights I thought were cats eyes on the road turned out to be the tail gate of a truck.

After some incredibly tense driving, the sky lightened and the fog thinned, and from there it was smooth sailing.

A visit at Cape Agulhas was had.
And brunch at the Blue Crane Farm Stall near Riversdale was most welcome (pull in there if you’re ever in the area!)
Eventually I reached Mossel Bay, and had coffee with friends in Nature’s Valley. My first time there, it is now on the ‘Bucket List of Roads to Ride on the Bike’.
Then it was a final push to PE where I would be staying for the night. Night was fast approaching and I was almost taken out by a buck not 20km from my accommodation. Yee-ha!

Day One done, and the Golf had performed well. Fuel consumption was amazing; 600km on just over half a tank! Sadly, this didn’t continue.
Day Two, and I took the back roads to Port Shepstone. This was the complete opposite to the previous day, which apart from a few scares, was quite relaxing. The back roads, while absolutely beautiful, were busy with plenty of busses and trucks, and being single lane each way, over-taking opportunities were slim. And at some several thousand feet above sea level, the Golf simply didn’t have the power to do more than 80km/h most of the way.

Here I went via the backroads of the Eastern Cape.
I should have had a bite to eat in Queenstown but thought there would be another place to stop. BIG mistake! I ended up doing a 7hr stretch, non-stop, and the first time I ate a ‘proper’ meal was in Port Shepstone; a rather lacking Steers burger and chips.
From there it felt amazing to be back on the N2, and I cruised to Ballito in the setting sun.

I spent two nights in Ballito, and then carried on to Centurion.
Having done JHB-Ballito before, I decided to take a different route this time; Greytown it was. And it was very grey indeed. More fog, and a fair amount of rain. My hopes of seeing rolling green hills were dashed by the weather. But, it was still a nice drive.

As I got to JHB, my Golf proved what a trusty little steed it was when I put my emergency braking to the test on the highway. Locked the wheels I did. That woke me up! (Road works, and lanes merging, and me misjudging the speed of the car ahead).

Two nights in Centurion, and then I set off for Limpopo Valley, Mashatu, to be precise. A short drive compared to previous days, a speedy border crossing at Pont Drift, and before I knew it, I was in Botswana!
Within 5km of crossing the border I saw wildebeest and zebra, and the grin on my face widened and I couldn’t stop laughing; I was finally here!
I spent the night at Mashatu Game Reserve, where I had my first real taste of the African Bush; luck was in my favour, and I had my first wild cheetah and lion sightings. I was on Cloud Nine!

The next morning I set off for Maun. With about 80km of dirt road, the Golf proved it could be a rally car. However, the speakers broke again, and now my car is quite literally held together with duct tape. Ah well.

Up until now I had kept a steady pace, not pushing it too much, but not taking it too slowly. Unfortunately, get-there-itis had set in, and I put foot to Maun once I hit the tar, determined to make it there before night-fall (despite having only set off from Mashatu around 10am).

The A1 was having upgrades done, so a lot of it was freshly-rolled tar, which made me very happy. But from Francistown, I got lost, and then was back on the pot-hole riddled roads. 100km from Maun, with the sun setting, the Golf had had enough; for the first time in over 3000km, it had used oil, and the little red oil warning light stared me in the face. I pulled over, opened up the bonnet, gave it some oil, and allowed it to rest a short while, using the opportunity to take photos.

But, night was approaching rapidly, and my hopes of reaching Maun before it got dark were a distant memory. Driving in the dark out here is a no-go. Not long after my unscheduled stop, I had my first wild dog sighting; it ran across the road in front of me. Quite cool. And as night set in, I had the stuffing scared out of me when I saw cows on the side of the road, their eyes glimmering from the car’s headlights, making them look like demons.

Around 8pm I rolled into Maun, a tired, sweaty, dust-covered wreck. Car overheating and only one speaker working, it was starting to complain again, and refused to idle. Road-trip food eaten and no water left, all I wanted was to crawl into bed and sleep. And I still had to unpack the car, and would be sleeping on the couch. But it didn’t matter. I had arrived!

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 28, 2014, 11:49:44 am
Mashatu

And some of the drive to Maun.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on December 28, 2014, 12:03:23 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Offshore on December 28, 2014, 12:04:33 pm
Subscribed.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: elandsrider on December 28, 2014, 12:11:10 pm
 Great stuff. Good luck and keep us posted :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 28, 2014, 12:23:14 pm
I wrote this next bit shortly after getting my work permit.

Botswana, Hurry Up and Wait

The lifestyle is completely different. The living conditions while not bad, take some getting used to; things like going from shopping store to shopping store to see who had stock of what that week, and who had jacked up their prices to astronomical amounts. But despite being a village in Africa, Maun has most things you’d get in any small city.

The flying is also something else (obviously, going from instruction to charter). It’s quite a big leap, especially when operating from muddy strips, in hot conditions, fully loaded and at altitude. It’s an eye opener of note. But the view is something to behold. Stark contrasts between brown desert, blue waters and green swamps teeming with wildlife.

The skies are bright blue with unlimited visibility on some days, and on others the smoke and dust means that seeing more than a kilometre or two is the best you’re going to get. And the storms show the true power of nature. Slow build ups during the day, with rumbling thunder and cracks of lightning announcing the arrival of a torrential downpour. The next morning the air is fresh, and the roads have a clean look about them. A few days later the trees get greener and grass sprouts from the sand on the side of the road.

The road has been a winding one, but not particularly long (unless you count that fact that, technically, I have waited some two years for this opportunity).
Since arriving in Maun (start of October), I spent about 1 month doing a lot of nothing. Once the paperwork was done for the work permit, it was very much a game of Hurry Up And Wait. Every day, from 8am to 5pm, spent alternating between helping in the office, and taking a break in the pilot room, made me realise I am not cut out for a desk job.

Trips to the terminal to file flight plans were welcomed, as were any other errands; basically anything that kept me moving, and got me out of the office, improved my mood. And then of course, I was able to jump on some flights and get familiar with the Okavango Delta. I was doing so many flights observing from the right seat of the Caravan that I was starting to become quite proficient at the procedures required to operate it.

Days blur into one out here; there are no longer different days of the week, every day is the same, just a different date. Everyone’s weekend is different, and soon the whole concept of a Saturday-Sunday weekend falls away completely. Really messes with the mind in the beginning.

A lot of patience is required. The work permit application can take anything from two weeks to several months. And if it is rejected, well, sorry for you. Public holidays and the build up to Christmas threaten to slow things down even more. It becomes stressful, and it’s easy to start thinking about the “What If’s”. But, you need to stay positive; rock up in the office every morning with a smile on your face, and display some enthusiasm.

Because the normal days of the week cease to exist, days feel like weeks, and weeks feel like months. “Was my work permit in its second or third week?” were normal thoughts for me. “Oh well, I’ll go check on the progress anyway”.

Good thing too. A decision had been made! But, they weren’t going to tell me, and I would have to wait another day or two.

Long story short (not really), I was granted a temporary work permit! I may now legally work in Botswana! Woohoo!

Relief, joy, happiness, and yet, I’m still too scared to accept that all of this has really happened; in the past things would always tend to take a turn for the worst as soon as I acknowledged them. Ever since being offered the job, I have been too scared to share the news, or accept that it has happened, lest it all turn out to be a dream. Reality still hasn’t sunk in.

Which is a little bit disconcerting. However, all of it feels right. It feels like I have been living here for years. I am settled, I have a routine, and while I do miss home (the South African one), I am happy out here.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on December 28, 2014, 03:47:55 pm
Keep it coming   :thumleft:
most enjoyable read
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: adamktm on December 28, 2014, 04:30:10 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Herklaas on December 28, 2014, 06:21:20 pm
 :sip: Gooi, ek lees lekker :3some:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: subie on December 28, 2014, 06:48:54 pm
Lekker om jou storie te lees. Hou aan ons lees graag van jou interresante ervarings  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Draadwerk on December 28, 2014, 07:19:39 pm
Sub
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: nielvn on December 28, 2014, 07:30:59 pm
Nice, give us more please.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: trevorwb on December 28, 2014, 08:12:28 pm
  :sip:.keep it coming.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: B3 on December 29, 2014, 09:49:20 am
What a fantastic adventure!
I lived in Maun for a couple of years, was truely amazing, I would go back any day!
 ;D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on December 29, 2014, 09:50:12 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: mtbbiker on December 29, 2014, 04:05:07 pm
sub
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: frankmac on December 29, 2014, 07:14:05 pm
The first and last time I was in Maun and Shakawe was when I went there for school holidays in 1971 with a friend whose dad flew for Wenela, transporting miners from outlying areas back to Francistown and then down to SA. His dad took us with on his flights, firstly in a Dakota DC3 and then Skymaster DC4. Exciting stuff flying low over the Okavango.
Very few tourists in those days, more hunters
Sadly, the dad, Bill Strike, died in 1974 when the ground crew filled a DC4 with the incorrect fuel and the plane crashed shortly after take-off.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: MegaPix on December 29, 2014, 08:08:56 pm
Subscribed
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on December 29, 2014, 08:16:06 pm
 :biggrin: lekker man gooi nog peeckhars
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 06, 2015, 08:47:14 am
Glorified Taxi Driver

If one says “Bush Pilot” what do you think of? Flying in Alaska, or Namibia, or Indonesia, or Botswana? Tundra tires, and landing on sand banks, and hopelessly short, muddy runways? Taking off from cliffs and flying 10ft above the ground?

Well, it’s sort of like that out here. We don’t have tundra tires, or sandbanks, or cliffs (it’s scary to see how flat Botswana is). Most of the runways we operate from are calcrete, and in fairly good condition, though when the rains come, it does get interesting. The shortest strip we fly to is 600m, but most of the others are 900-1100m; ample room. And we don’t get to fly 10ft above the ground (you can, but you’ll lose your job before you can say “Cessna”).

At the end of the day, we are, quite simply, glorified taxi drivers. We go from strip to strip, transporting clients around the Okavango Delta, doing our best to offer them top-notch service and give them the full-on African Experience. Every day is different, and take-off times can be as early as sunrise. It is not uncommon to land just before sunset, and have to tie your aircraft down in the dark. Some days are short, with only 4 or 5 movements. Other days can have 10 sectors, some as short as a 2 minute hop.

We land, unload the clients and their luggage, wish them well, greet the new clients, load them and their luggage, check the fuel, give them a safety briefing, and go. From wheels down to wheels up, we have 10 minutes to get everything done. It is fast-paced and hard work. And as such, it is easy to take the wrong bag, or even the wrong passengers; so we are always double checking everything.

But despite the pace and responsibility, it isn’t particularly stressful. Sure, there are a few “Oh snap” moments on some of the take-offs with a fully-loaded aircraft on a 38degC day, at 3100ft, from a strip that has had a bit of rain. Typically during those sort of take-offs, the mantra in my head is “It will fly, it will fly, it will fly, it will fly”. And it does, though sometimes not very well.

Interesting moments aren’t only limited to the bush. It’s not uncommon to be pre-flighting the aircraft in Maun at the start of the day, and have the CAAB (Civil Aviation of Botswana) ambulance and fire engine dice each other down the taxi-way, piloted by suit-clad drivers.

Odd place this.

It can get a bit hectic when you have 3 or 4 days in a row of early starts and late landings. But, after tying the aircraft down after over 5hrs of flying, and walking back to the terminal, body aching and covered in sand and mud, all you have to do is look back across the apron and see the sunset, and it makes absolutely everything worth it.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on January 06, 2015, 08:44:48 pm
 :biggrin: Nice hoe lank gan jy daar werk en wat van jou Dr?
beplan  jy om jou bike soontoe te vat of werk jy heeltyd geen speeltyd
love jou fly report  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 07, 2015, 09:02:42 am
:biggrin: Nice hoe lank gan jy daar werk en wat van jou Dr?
beplan  jy om jou bike soontoe te vat of werk jy heeltyd geen speeltyd
love jou fly report  :ricky:

Zetman,

We work 6 days a week. So there is some time for speeltyd.   O0
I'm going to try get the DR up this year. It's a question of time and money, as the ride up will need to be done over at least 3 days.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: halfjob on January 07, 2015, 10:14:09 am
Well done Heather  :thumleft: glad to see you are living your dream, might see you in june  :deal:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 16, 2015, 10:10:08 am
Well done Heather  :thumleft: glad to see you are living your dream, might see you in june  :deal:

Lekker, that will be great!  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 16, 2015, 10:14:54 am
How Many People Get To...

... Sit at a table, overlooking the Khwai River, and enjoy breakfast while listening to the calls of fish eagles, and the gentle patter of rain. While I was tucking into my eggs and mushrooms, the grunt of a hippo from somewhere down in the river made my look up from my plate of food and across the river, where I saw a lone wild dog slinking through the grass, ears perked and on the alert. He disappeared from view, and the rest of the pack could be heard calling from the trees. A beautiful sound, and a bark not unlike that of a domestic dog.

Stomach full and another cup of coffee gulped down, it’s easy to just and listen, and completely forget about all of the problems and complications that the modern world has to offer.

Truly breakfast with a view. What bliss.

And how many people have an interesting drive to work? It normally gets mundane very quickly. Back home, the only thing that made the 12km trip to work bearable was the fact that I was on my motorbike. But out here...

Morning flights done, I was tasked to wait at Savute Elephant Camp before doing my afternoon flights. Here I was able to relax and get away from the heat of the sun. I sat on the deck, sipping my coffee, while watching elephants cool off in the river not 50m away.

And while on the drive back to the airstrip, we came across a large herd of elephant, and were forced to stop and wait for them to pass.
Here are these massive creatures which could easily destroy the Land Cruiser we were in, and they couldn’t care less. Even a mother and baby weren’t phased by our presence.

The next day, while on the way from Machaba Camp to Khwai River strip, I say wild dog and zebra. And once I had pre-flighted my aircraft, I sat under the wing and watched zebra graze in the rain, thunder rumbling in the distance.

Glorified taxi driver I might be, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: subie on January 16, 2015, 10:15:10 am
Enjoy reading your adventures  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: silvrav on January 16, 2015, 10:29:24 am
 :sip: :sip: :sip: :sip: more more more!!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 16, 2015, 10:48:40 am
Iron Butt

Christmas Eve dawned like any other day; warm with a few puffs of cloud.

Today I was going to fly to Limpopo Valley, in South Eastern Botswana, in the corner between Zimbabwe and South Africa.

My steed, the GA8 Airvan... and of course, it was the one that never flies straight due to an incident involving a zebra a few years ago.
Snacks packed, water in the cooler box, phone charged, earphones packed, and I set off around 0730. And settled in for the 3 hour leg.

Now, flying in an Airvan for anything more than 20 minutes at a time is a bit like sitting on a mx-bike for any amount of time; you will lose feeling from the waist down before you know it.

Normally I detest any flight longer than 30 minutes, as I get bored and sleepy. So doing a Maun – Kasane run of just over an hour is agony. These flights are normally made worse by being dead legs (no passengers); at least with passengers you have something else to focus on every few minutes. Naturally, I was quite worried about nodding off during this 3 hour stretch. But luckily for me, there were lots of puffs of clouds to dodge, and as this was my first time flying down that way, I kept myself entertained by taking photos of the scenery.

There were sections of the pans that reminded me of the Atlantis Dunes. Cue daydreams of home and the DR.

And what beautiful scenery it was. Complete contrast to the swamps I had grown used to; desert and pans, with the odd patch of green.

Approaching Limpopo Valley, the scenery changed again. When I was there (by car) last year, it was very brown. Now it was beautiful and green. Approaching the strip, I looked to my right and realised that the South African border was RIGHT there! I was so close to home, and sorely tempted to just keep flying.

I picked up 4 passengers at Limpopo Valley, and we set off for Francistown to refuel (1 hour). After some fuel and a stretch of the legs, we all psyched ourselves up for the next leg - 2 hours to Khwai River.
Luckily for me, despite the uncomfortable seats, my pax settled in quickly and soon drifted off to sleep, and I was left to gaze out of the window.

This leg was considerably worse than the 3 hours from Maun to Limpopo Valley, as there was nothing to look at except forest. At least I had a thunderstorm to dodge along the way.

Pax safe at Khwai, it was back to Maun empty.

I landed back in Maun around 1530, fuelled the aircraft for the next day, did the paperwork, and dragged myself back to the office, the feeling slowly returning to my lower body.

While filing my paperwork, I realised I had flown 7.5hrs, a first for me (the most I’ve done in one day was probably just under 6hrs). Normally we do 3-6hrs a day, and have 6-12 stops. So 7.5hrs with a total of 4 landings is quite something. I felt like an airline pilot, only, I hand-flew ALL of it; no autopilot for us out here.

Work done, it was time to get into the festive mood (but all I really wanted was to go home and sleep!)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 16, 2015, 10:50:35 am
The flight was good prep for a possible DR roadtrip  :ricky:

Some more peekcha's.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 16, 2015, 10:52:41 am
Nearing Limpopo Valley
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 16, 2015, 10:54:37 am
On the way back to Maun from Khwai River
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Dustman on January 16, 2015, 12:25:04 pm
Awesome story and excellent pictures. You are a star! This is story book stuff.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Offshore on January 16, 2015, 12:30:48 pm
Keep it coming. Makes good reading. :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oupa Foe-rie on January 16, 2015, 12:58:25 pm
Whow ................... this is excellent stuff Sardine ............  :thumleft:
Please keep on reporting ..................  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cruizaman on January 16, 2015, 01:35:23 pm
Is the Limpopo Valley the same as the Thuli Block?

Excellent read this, I followed the "Bush Pilots" series on DSTV and this reminds me a lot thereof. At least you didn't have to wait for months to land a job! Enjoy every moment. 
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ROOI on January 16, 2015, 02:21:28 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on January 17, 2015, 07:33:53 am
Awesome, Thanks.  :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 17, 2015, 12:45:25 pm
Is the Limpopo Valley the same as the Thuli Block?

Excellent read this, I followed the "Bush Pilots" series on DSTV and this reminds me a lot thereof. At least you didn't have to wait for months to land a job! Enjoy every moment. 

Hi Cruizaman,
Yes, Limpopo Valley is in the Thuli Block area.

I didn't have to camp for months, but it did take 2 years before I got the job.

Thanks for all the feedback so far!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Herklaas on January 17, 2015, 06:41:30 pm
 :sip: Geez, thanks Sardine, nice pics, can only imagine the good fishing to be done in that lot of water, done a bit of microlight flying, so I can relate, slightly. :3some:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on January 20, 2015, 09:09:44 am
Hey hoor jy gan een van die dae n IRON BUTT run doen met jou DR  :ricky:

hoeveel kilometer het jy gevlieg ?

Love die peekchars en FlightReport  gooi nog as jy kan
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 20, 2015, 12:12:58 pm
DragonFly, I'm not big into the fishing, but a colleague is, and yip, apparently it's pretty darn good out here!

Zetman, ja, hopefully the DR trip will work out  :biggrin:
Kilometer's for the Limpopo Valley flight? 1400km
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Knucklhead on January 20, 2015, 02:41:37 pm
 :sip:

verry kewl stuff, thanks.. :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Dusty on January 20, 2015, 03:21:06 pm
Am enjoying this thread, keep us updated  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mev Vis Arend on January 20, 2015, 04:08:39 pm
Fantastic thread and pictures. 

We are going to make a quick turn in Botswana during April/May.  It is such a beautiful country.   
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Morokai on January 20, 2015, 07:07:18 pm
Awesome Heather!

Lekker gelees en gaan hopenlik lekker kan aanhou lees  :sip:

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: troos on January 21, 2015, 09:35:34 am
 :thumleft: sub'ed
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: lj111 on January 22, 2015, 02:53:35 pm
Excellent stuff Sardine :ricky:
 :sip: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: arno on January 25, 2015, 06:17:24 pm
Respect for living your dream .
Well written .
Bots is great and exactly like you describe it .
Wish I had the time to ride my DR up with you .
But must get back .
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on January 27, 2015, 05:54:00 pm
Please do not stop your story now, wonderful photo's and the writing style makes for pleasurable reading, thank you.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on January 27, 2015, 06:28:57 pm
Respect for living your dream .
Well written .
Bots is great and exactly like you describe it .
Wish I had the time to ride my DR up with you .
But must get back .

Wou nou net vir Pa die link stuur en check of Pa die gesien het.

Respek......dit lees soos fiksie en jou fotos is top notch.

Ek volg jou journey met alle erns. Dit sit nie in enige man/vrou se broek om so 'n droom te volg nie.

Gooi mielies.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 4 Kays on January 27, 2015, 07:15:00 pm

Sardine, I stand at attention and salute you  :thumleft:  Excuse the pun but "you have the balls" to challenge and do something you have dreamt about and that you can at least tick off this dream on your bucket list.

Really enjoy reading your story and you make the rest of us feel like dreamers  :peepwall:

Please keep it coming  :sip:

Safe flying  :thumleft:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 28, 2015, 12:24:47 pm
A very big thanks for all of the positive feedback!  :thumleft:

Right, so where was I...

An African Christmas

Christmas time is meant to be all about family and celebration. This was the first time I would be spending Christmas away from home, so it took a bit of getting used to. Most of the shops got into the swing of things and broke out the Christmas decorations. But unlike back home, there wasn’t any Christmas music, no lights lining the streets, and no smell of Christmas wafting out of the kitchen at home (man, I miss our Christmas cookies).

Because most people don’t get to take leave over Christmas, there were a lot of us around. So while we couldn’t spend Christmas with our families, at least we’d be with friends.

Christmas Eve was spent at the Samedupe Pan, about a 30 minute drive from Maun. A storm was rolling past in the distance, so we were presented with a spectacular light show as the sun set, casting a dramatic glow on the horizon.

With the fire going and drinks flowing, it was an evening spent in good company, with good food. Not quite a Christmas spread, but a braai is almost as good.

The next morning it was off to work as usual.
I would be spending Christmas Day doing a bit of flying, and then relaxing in camp on a night stop. It would be my first time at Chief’s Camp, which is located on Chief’s Island.
I had heard a lot about this camp, and was looking forward to it. Maybe now I would get to dine on a more traditional Christmas dinner. Wishful thinking...

The camp was spectacular. A beautiful viewing deck-cum-lounge-cum-pool-cum-dining area, and chalets raised on stilts. It was beautifully decorated with Christmas decorations, and a tree.
Like most camps, the chalets have both an indoor and outdoor shower. I decided to use the outdoor shower as it offered a good view. As a result, when I had finished I didn’t close the door, and a troop of baboons came past. I have a huge fear of baboons (I was jumped by one when I was 5), and as I ran to the bathroom to close the shower door, a mother and baby jumped across the outside shower and on to the roof. Close call.

The camp was quite busy, and the guests were treated to traditional African dances before dinner (but instead of traditional African dress, everyone wore Christmas hats). And then it was time for dinner; a buffet.

Vegetable lasagne, potato bake, roast vegetables, impala stew, and some sort of poultry served with cranberry sauce (tasted like chicken). Okay, so not quite the roast beef, chicken and gammon that I was hoping for, but delicious nonetheless. Dessert was panacotta. Mmmmmm!

While it’s difficult not being able to spend time with family, and having to let go of some of the usual traditions, staying in a top-notch camp definitely made things easier.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 28, 2015, 12:25:58 pm
Playing with lights (and fire)...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 4 Kays on January 28, 2015, 06:04:43 pm
Great photography Sardine  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Rodlau on January 29, 2015, 10:43:08 pm
Great report. You doing what everyone should one day say. I have no regrets.  Mine are all "........ If only I had ..... ". Keep it up and live you dream. One day you will look at these fantastic photos and smile.  Now all you have to do is a post a day. That way I, and a lot more braks, are happy.  Thanks.   BTW this report makes you a streamlined dolphin, not bottom of the food chain Sardine.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 30, 2015, 03:14:30 pm
Great report. You doing what everyone should one day say. I have no regrets.  Mine are all "........ If only I had ..... ". Keep it up and live you dream. One day you will look at these fantastic photos and smile.  Now all you have to do is a post a day. That way I, and a lot more braks, are happy.  Thanks.   BTW this report makes you a streamlined dolphin, not bottom of the food chain Sardine.   :thumleft:

Rodlau, that is exactly it. I was tired of thinking "The right time will come to do..." Live each day as if it's your last.

As for being a dolphin... the Sardine nickname comes from being crammed into a tin can, like a sardine ;) But thank you!

Today is...
Friday Freight Run Fun

4 freight runs in the Airvan, equating to just under 2000kg of freight transported to 5 different camps throughout the southern regions of the Delta. We can carry an average of 500kg of freight at a time (though loads vary depending on where we're going).

You get some interesting things on freight runs. My "favourite" so far was a goat wrapped up in a black bag.  :patch:



Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on January 30, 2015, 03:16:58 pm
Enjoy....safe flying. Looking forward to some more excellent peekchas!!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 26, 2015, 03:17:52 pm
Eish, I have fallen behind...  :peepwall:

An African New Year’s

Deck the halls with bells of... oh wait, wrong thing, that has happened already.

Right, New Year’s.
I was scheduled to fly my favourite Airvan, A2-FTW, and had quite the day ahead of me. 8 sectors, ending at Savuti for the night (one of my favourite camps). The day went by quickly, and I was tucking the aircraft in at the strip, dreaming about Champagne and fireworks.

A colleague would also be spending the night at Savute Elephant Camp, so at least I would have some company this time.

We got to camp, eager to put our feet up and relax, when he got a call from the boss. He had been at Selinda, and as it was pouring with rain, there was chaos and confusion, and one of the Caravan's pods hadn’t been unloaded. So here he was at Savute with his passenger’s bags, and his passengers were in Selinda sans bags.

Luckily for us, bags being forgotten in pods or left behind doesn’t happen often, and when it does, arrangements are made to get them to their rightful owners asap. Unfortunately, this meant my colleague had to fly back to Selinda, and would be spending the night there.

So I ate a candle-lit dinner alone that night (holy cow, what a good dinner. And dessert, deconstructed banoffee pie, mmmmmm!)

I was in bed by 21:30, and asleep shortly thereafter. I woke up at 01:30, wished myself a Happy New Year, and promptly fell asleep again.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 26, 2015, 03:46:29 pm
Veggie Burger Incident...

I think it was around the end of January when we had a braai, and someone left their veggie burgers in our freezer. My rule is: if it's in my fridge/freezer, it's mine. So when I was making homemade taco's (mmmm), and looking for something to add, I saw the veggie burgers, and figured "Why not?".

Apparently my body loved them so much, it wanted to taste them a further 4 or 5 times... over the next two days... if you catch my drift.
I was hellishly sick the next morning. And I had a full day of flying ahead, finishing with a night stop in Kasane.

I called the boss and told him about my predicament. We decided to wait an hour and see how I felt, and make a call.

An hour later, and feeling better, I said I would be ok to fly.
I think I had to do Maun - Khwai - Savute - Kasane (about 1.5hrs). Kasane - Kwara - Kasane (2h20).
Halfway to Kasane from Savute I was struggling. I kept thinking positive thoughts and got on the radio to the office to say I might not be able to do the afternoon flights.
We landed in Kasane without incident, and I hoped to refuel the aircraft quickly. Murphy, cruel bugger that he is, presented me with the slowest, disorganized attendant there was. It was an agonizing 15minute wait before I could run into the terminal and I swear angels were singing when I made it to the porcelain throne.

There was no way I would be able to handle almost 2.5hrs with no facilities. I called the office, and luckily for me, my colleague who was also in Kasane, was able to take over my flying for the afternoon, while I bought as much immodium and Rehydrat as I could afford, and rested in a lodge.

The next day I was feeling better, but still not 100%. Luckily I was able to make it back to Maun.

So, moral of the story: veggie burgers are BAD (and I was vegetarian for 2yrs without a problem). And don't fly when you have a stomach bug  :xxbah:

But on the bright side, I went on leave 2 days later  :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: evansv on February 26, 2015, 04:04:05 pm
Great story!!

I love Bots! I like the fact that it's clean & the locals are very friendly!

I've worked there a few times, mostly in the south. The best experience I had was working through the middle of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. We ran out of food, fuel & water on more than one occasion, but we never ran out of beer!!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: subie on February 26, 2015, 04:18:41 pm
 :laughing4:
 I swear angels were singing when I made it to the porcelain throne.   :spitcoffee:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: brettp on March 13, 2015, 02:47:51 pm
loving this...well written Sardine, u r an inspiration to us all.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on March 13, 2015, 02:51:30 pm
I have been looking and looking but do not see you on Bush Pilots on Discovery. :peepwall:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 05, 2015, 08:42:18 am
I have been looking and looking but do not see you on Bush Pilots on Discovery. :peepwall:

 ;)
That was filmed in 2011.

Okay, so a bit behind here.

In the past month, I've had the wonderful opportunity to visit new strips:
Xai Xai, near Namibia.
Vumbura (a Wilderness Safari's strip in the Delta)
Saile (way north near the Caprivi)

I've also stayed at some new lodges (new in the sense that it's my first time visiting them).

Below are some photos from Nxabega...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 05, 2015, 08:46:18 am
Vumbura

It's a long drive to the camp, but we were lucky enough to stumble across a pride of about 8 lion along the way.

That night when I went to the dining area, I was in my own little world, when I looked up and saw an elephant in the room. Literally. I almost walked straight past without realising it!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 05, 2015, 08:50:31 am
I have stayed at Chilwero many times, but this time, with an almost-empty camp, there was room for me to go with on the boat on the Chobe. Wow!

If you're ever stuck wondering what to do in Kasane, take a boat trip!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 05, 2015, 08:58:02 am
Camp Moremi

What a beautiful camp! It was like being transported to a completely different world!

On the drive, we came across a huge herd of buffalo, and it wasn't long before we were surrounded. Of all the animals I have come close to, buffalo worry me the most; there's just no knowing what they're thinking.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 05, 2015, 09:01:15 am
Some action shots...

Xakanaka
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 05, 2015, 09:02:48 am
Savuti
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 05, 2015, 09:06:21 am
Khwai River Lodge

Messing around with the bino's

That night the rain started, and didn't stop for about 4 days. So everything had a fresh look about it.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on April 05, 2015, 09:55:05 am
Don't you feel guilty taking your paycheck every month ;) :peepwall:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on April 05, 2015, 11:03:55 am
Ah man, those pics are just stunning Heather!!!  :drif:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Xpat on April 05, 2015, 11:27:13 am
Great pictures!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: trevorwb on April 06, 2015, 06:44:34 am
Great reading and pics are fantastic
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on April 06, 2015, 08:54:09 am
Stunning pics.  :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: MegaPix on April 08, 2015, 02:51:52 pm
Get your shutter much slower when you take shots of the plane in flight.  Will make the propellor spin more.
Nice pics  :laughing4:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 02, 2015, 01:13:01 pm
Busy sorting through over 500 photos from the last couple of night stops. Eish.

I can't resist sharing this one now.

A female leopard takes a break in the shade, near Shinde Camp.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on May 03, 2015, 10:36:46 am
Great pic. Van al die "katte" is hulle my favourites.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on May 03, 2015, 08:39:18 pm
Phew at long last, I was in the throws of depression for lack of activity. This is my favourite post please keep it alive with reports and photos of cats and elephants :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 04, 2015, 08:32:35 am
Ag dankie.

Leopards are beautiful.

A quick report...
Yesterday I decided to do a good deed and help out a colleague who was feeling sick. I took over his flying, which included a nightstop in Selinda. Not realising he had 0630 take off the next day (today). Eish.

To get to Selinda camp from the airfield, it's a 15min drive followed by a 10min boat trip, in the Selinda Spillway, which I like to call "Hippo Country". Unfortunately, since I had to leave camp at 0500 (which meant waking up at 0400  :bueller: ) to be at the airfield in time to preflight before my guests arrived, we couldn't take the boat as it was too dark and not safe.

So we took the long way around in the car. Well, not as long as I thought because the guide decided to take a short cut. Through a river. In the dark. With hippos around. The Land Cruiser was floating!

I preflighted in the dark, and was treated to a beautiful sunrise.

Later I'm off to Vic Falls! :D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: mtbbiker on May 04, 2015, 11:28:57 am
Ag dankie.

Leopards are beautiful.

A quick report...
Yesterday I decided to do a good deed and help out a colleague who was feeling sick. I took over his flying, which included a nightstop in Selinda. Not realising he had 0630 take off the next day (today). Eish.

To get to Selinda camp from the airfield, it's a 15min drive followed by a 10min boat trip, in the Selinda Spillway, which I like to call "Hippo Country". Unfortunately, since I had to leave camp at 0500 (which meant waking up at 0400  :bueller: ) to be at the airfield in time to preflight before my guests arrived, we couldn't take the boat as it was too dark and not safe.

So we took the long way around in the car. Well, not as long as I thought because the guide decided to take a short cut. Through a river. In the dark. With hippos around. The Land Cruiser was floating!

I preflighted in the dark, and was treated to a beautiful sunrise.

Later I'm off to Vic Falls! :D
If there is no Photos it didn't happen  :pot:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Xpat on May 04, 2015, 08:42:44 pm
Sardine - one question if you don't mind. One of the tracks high on my to-do list is circumventing Okavango delta from the north (Maun to North Gate to Seronga and up to Nam border for the ferry crossing). I've tracked on Goole Earth cutlines from the Moremi North Gate all the way to to Seronga, passing the Selinda camp (I think). The only problem is crossing Selinda river (on the bike). Seeing you travel there, could you please ask around when is the river at it's lowest and if it would be passable on the bike?

I know that the area are private concessions, but my understanding is that cutline is a public road in Botswana and as long as I stay on one I'm not trespassing.

Thanks a mil.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 05, 2015, 08:13:26 am
Mtbbiker, it was dark!  :peepwall:

Xpat, my guess would be the change from winter to summer, but I will find out.
Looking at those cutlines from the air, they look rough; very very thick sand.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: mtbbiker on May 05, 2015, 06:37:57 pm
Mtbbiker, it was dark!  :peepwall:

Xpat, my guess would be the change from winter to summer, but I will find out.
Looking at those cutlines from the air, they look rough; very very thick sand.
Sardine, good excuse  ;)

XPat, if I understand you correctly from North Gate going North on the cut line, you will have to cross Chobe NP - I am not sure they will allow a bike, (its Lion and Elephant country) But I agree it will be a fantastic Adventure :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Xpat on May 05, 2015, 07:17:46 pm
Thank you Sardine, please let me know if you find out more about the Selinda river crossing. It is a bit of a balancing act - I need to get there when the river is as low as possible (and still not sure I would be able to make it on the bike, especially with all the crocs and hippos there), so the end of the dry season is probably best - however the sand will be much more brutal, than in the wet season (as you probably know I have done cutlines south and east of Chobe two years ago in the wet, and they were manageable).

@mtbbiker: they would not let me go to the parks on the bike there. What I'm looking at is going north from the North Gate on a cutline to the west of the western border of Chobe and turn and head west for about 100 km or more to Seronga, which is on the northern shore of Okavango. If you lookup the Christmas Safari RR in my sigline (the first one from December 2013, not the one I did on Namibia this year), I describe the planned route in the introduction.

And yes, I expect to see some elephants and lions - obviously from the safe distance. In that first Christmas Safari trip I've mentioned above I have done the cutlines from Mababe village east to the main tar road between Nata and Kasane about 200 km away and then some more along the eastern Chobe boundary from Pandamatenga to Kasane. And yes I have bumped into quite a few elephants and even flushed out two lionesses - luckily they ran away from me (you can see them running away in low quality in one of the videos in that RR).
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 15, 2015, 05:00:16 pm
Hi Xpat,

Apparently the cut line (teste fly control line) crosses the Selinda Spillway, and there's a little bridge or something there.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Xpat on May 15, 2015, 06:20:58 pm
Thank you very much Sardine, much appreciated!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 20, 2015, 09:03:55 am
Today I was awake at 0445, and in the office long before I had to be. Quite fortunate, because this is the view that awaited me on my walk to the aircraft...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 29, 2015, 11:54:00 am
I know, I know, my lack of updates is astonishing.

New blog posts are up...

http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/ (http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on May 29, 2015, 12:30:48 pm
Awesome pics

Thanks
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: mtbbiker on May 31, 2015, 09:18:51 am
I know, I know, my lack of updates is astonishing.

New blog posts are up...

http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/ (http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/)

Wow, Just looked at your blog, I have no words...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 02, 2015, 01:07:20 pm
Thank you.

Scenic flight, the Mack Air way. 46 people, 9 aircraft. It was fun!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 02, 2015, 05:01:46 pm
Khwai River Lodge, 2 June 2015

 It's always great to be able to go on a game drive. But sometimes sitting in camp is just as good.

Once the guests leave on their drive, the generators are switched off and calm descends over the camp. Squirrels flit around and elephant drink from the river while the staff begin their daily routine of setting up for dinner. Once they finish, the only sounds are that of nature.

As the sun descends the temperature drops and the hippos start to wake, their laugh-like calls echoing over the water as a fish eagle calls from the nearby treeline.

It's impossible not to fall in love with Africa.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mev Vis Arend on June 02, 2015, 08:12:38 pm
I love your pics.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: I&horse on June 02, 2015, 08:58:31 pm
Sub!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on June 03, 2015, 09:08:10 am
Absolutely loving this!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on June 03, 2015, 08:27:15 pm
The T tailed twin and the female leopard are THE best photographs I have ever seen on this forum, Thank you Heather.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 04, 2015, 01:20:05 pm
Cheesy, no, thank YOU!
I really appreciate it.

The twin is a King Air.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Warren Ellwood on June 04, 2015, 03:26:22 pm
I've really enjoyed reading this so far, and am also a little envious.

Not too many people get to do what they want in life.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on June 05, 2015, 08:37:33 am
 :sip: Thanks
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 22, 2015, 09:10:54 am
Slowly but surely catching up with photos...

http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/2015/06/shinde-hyena-and-leopard.html (http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/2015/06/shinde-hyena-and-leopard.html)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on June 23, 2015, 01:43:40 pm
 :biggrin: Love dit sit nog op as jy kans kry ek is te armgat vir n Regte Botswana trip
nou geniet ek jou fotos  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on July 21, 2015, 02:16:13 pm
it's been two months since last update... ping Sardine


 :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 21, 2015, 07:22:55 pm
Been working long hours lately. Up before 5am, and fast asleep by 8.30pm. Will try find some energy for an update soonish.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: windswept on October 08, 2015, 10:17:15 am
Sardine, we be missing your interesting reports. If you ever go to Xaranna lodge, my nephew Paul and his fiancé run it, get him to take you out on a game drive.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 15, 2015, 06:29:03 pm
Hi Windswept,

Sorry, been hectic. I am slowly catching up with my writing.

Unfortunately we don't  get to stay at Xaranna as part of the job, but I am hoping to take a few days leave and go there. So I will defintely have a chat with Paul. Thanks for the heads up!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: windswept on October 16, 2015, 09:14:41 pm
 :thumleft: Maybe if you win the Lotto.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 17, 2015, 06:03:54 am
:thumleft: Maybe if you win the Lotto.

Despite mann 5am wake-ups, 12 hour days and dealing with some rude tourists, the job has its perks. One of them being more affordable rates at some camps :)

But I wouldn't  mind winning the Lotto anyway :D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: windswept on October 19, 2015, 07:28:59 pm
When I see what some lodges charge makes my eyes water! Enjoy :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 27, 2015, 06:19:04 am
So, I am sitting in Khwai River Lodge, I have an 11:15 take-off, which means it's  one of the rare days where I can sleep late. Naturally, I am wide awake at 05:50. Okay, maybe not wide awake, but my eyes are open. Sort of.

Instead of crawling back into my super comfortable bed, I figured I should post an update.
Plus, the wind is howling and there are clouds around... we might just get pula (rain) today, so I am excited.

Okay, updates...
I can barely remember what I did two days ago, so I don't  have tok much to say about the happenings over the past few months. 3 things do stand out though.

In August I went back to South Africa for a week (yay!). I had to go to Wonderboom to complete my Initial Turbine Type Rating. Ugh, Gauteng, right. That's  what I thought in the beginning. But it was so nice to be back in civilisation  (a Capetonian calling Gautengers civilised?!). And well, hello, turbine rating, how cool is that!

I flew to ORT on Air Botswana which was a really pleasant flight. Despite taking 30min longer than Airlink as they operate ATR's vs Airlink's RJ85 jets, the seats were comfy, legroom good, food yummy (unlimited biltong), and the aircraft is about as quiet  as the Dash 8 (which is what Express uses).

As for the turbine rating, I did that on the Quest Kodiak, which is a bit like a Cessna Caravan. It's  a single engine turboprop built to take on the most remote places you can think of. Originally designed for missionaries who needed to get to remote locations, it's  a modern, solid bush plane. While smaller than the Caravan, it is faster and comes standard with the Carmin G1000 avionics suite. It can seat 1+8, but its centre of gravity is quite far aft and it falls on its tail easily. Which means we need to be careful.

The rating was intense. It was my second time flying in Gauteng airspace, and the first  time since January that I saw hills, so I was over the moon (yes, Botswana is that flat). Before I knew it I was endorsed with a shiney turbine rating, a huge milestone. And now, I had time to relax.

It was so weird being able to cover big (ish) distances in very little time. And driving at 120km/h on a good highway in a car with powersteering had me all over the place (i wasn't  used to the good response time... in Maun you rarely go over 40km/h, and my trusty skadonk doesn't  have power steering).

So, that was the first highlight.

The second was hitting 1500hrs total time (with over 500hrs in the Airvan alone). I have all sorts of stats on the flying I have done, which I will post when I get home.

And the third is the realisation that I have been living in Botswana for a year. Time has flown! I have had some good and bad experiences, learnt a lot, met hundreds of people, and overall I am still having a jol.

But I can't  wait to go home for a few days!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on October 27, 2015, 09:04:31 am
Well done.
Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on October 30, 2015, 06:13:08 pm
Well done on your turbine rating!  :thumleft:

Next time you are in P-Town let us know. We can sort you with chats and food and stuff  :3some:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 02, 2015, 10:25:23 pm
Well done on your turbine rating!  :thumleft:

Next time you are in P-Town let us know. We can sort you with chats and food and stuff  :3some:

I might just take you up on that offer. Depending on what the "stuff" is.
 :peepwall:
 :patch:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 1ougat on November 02, 2015, 11:39:10 pm
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on November 03, 2015, 09:15:09 am
Well done on your turbine rating!  :thumleft:

Next time you are in P-Town let us know. We can sort you with chats and food and stuff  :3some:

I might just take you up on that offer. Depending on what the "stuff" is.
 :peepwall:
 :patch:

get outta my gutter!!!  :eek7:

stuff = meet other dawgs, go for a ride, have a few drinks, etc.  :thumleft:  :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 03, 2015, 09:46:34 am
Well done on your turbine rating!  :thumleft:

Next time you are in P-Town let us know. We can sort you with chats and food and stuff  :3some:

I might just take you up on that offer. Depending on what the "stuff" is.
 :peepwall:
 :patch:

get outta my gutter!!!  :eek7:

stuff = meet other dawgs, go for a ride, have a few drinks, etc.  :thumleft:  :imaposer:

 :ricky:
Can never be too careful with you okes!
Sounds good. I should be that side in February :D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Harry the Buffalo on November 03, 2015, 09:48:57 am
 :happy1:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 05, 2015, 12:55:23 pm
Savute Elephant


Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Dustman on November 05, 2015, 06:19:42 pm
Awesome....... that skin looks like an old leather jacket.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 06, 2015, 04:35:10 pm
So, you want to know what it's  like flying in the Okavango Delta?
Here is some footage, mostly of storms, from my year here.

Flying the Delta
http://www.youtube.com/v/PrEgKU_MUdM
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: windswept on November 06, 2015, 05:12:40 pm
Cool video :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on November 06, 2015, 05:16:06 pm
 :biggrin: When you going on holiday?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 07, 2015, 09:23:35 am
Thanks :)

:biggrin: When you going on holiday?


February O0
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 17, 2015, 05:19:29 pm
Very proud to say I have been signed out on the Kodiak as a Line Pilot.

Whilst I got rated on the machine in August, insurance requires that I get 50hrs on type before being let loose. This involves flying it from the left seat, as PIC (Pilot in Command), with a training captain keeping an eye on me from the right seat.

I did my first solo flight on Friday the 13th, nogals.

Today we had our first proper rain for the season, and whilst I didn't get to dodge storms (which were apparently intense), I did splash around in the puddles and got some mud on the Kodi  :ricky:

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BlueBull2007 on November 18, 2015, 12:03:40 pm
Amazing to see how you are progressing! :thumleft:

Please keep the posts coming when you can.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BlueBull2007 on November 18, 2015, 12:04:48 pm
Quote
As for the turbine rating, I did that on the Quest Kodiak, which is a bit like a Cessna Caravan. It's  a single engine turboprop built to take on the most remote places you can think of. Originally designed for missionaries who needed to get to remote locations, it's  a modern, solid bush plane. While smaller than the Caravan, it is faster and comes standard with the Carmin G1000 avionics suite. It can seat 1+8, but its centre of gravity is quite far aft and it falls on its tail easily. Which means we need to be careful.

What does fall on its tail mean?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on November 18, 2015, 12:04:49 pm
Congrats  :ricky:
Share some pictures of the pans must be dry there with the Drought?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 18, 2015, 03:53:57 pm
Quote
As for the turbine rating, I did that on the Quest Kodiak, which is a bit like a Cessna Caravan. It's  a single engine turboprop built to take on the most remote places you can think of. Originally designed for missionaries who needed to get to remote locations, it's  a modern, solid bush plane. While smaller than the Caravan, it is faster and comes standard with the Carmin G1000 avionics suite. It can seat 1+8, but its centre of gravity is quite far aft and it falls on its tail easily. Which means we need to be careful.

What does fall on its tail mean?

When we load passengers, they board from the back. So it is possible for the weight of a few people at the back to tip the centre of gravity, and have it "sit" on its tail. So you'll see we have red 'tail-stands' (just a metal pole with a foot at the bottom) fitted right at the back whenever we load/offload people/freight.

Now the trick is to remember to remove the tail-stand before you taxi and take-off  ;)

Zetman, some photos below.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on November 18, 2015, 04:11:09 pm
stunning, thanks
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BlueBull2007 on November 19, 2015, 02:34:29 pm
Thanks for your reply H :thumleft:

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on November 19, 2015, 05:36:33 pm
Wow its Dry thanx H
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: westfrogger on November 19, 2015, 06:20:37 pm
That Kodiak is a beaut. Thanks Sardine.

And a big old pat on the back to you!

 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 23, 2015, 06:38:36 pm
A big thank you to all of you!

I have given in and gone the Instagram route... https://www.instagram.com/tincanphotography/ (https://www.instagram.com/tincanphotography/)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 16, 2015, 12:42:15 pm
What does inner peace mean to you?

Find out what it means to me (pictures are there):

http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/2015/12/finding-inner-peace.html (http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/2015/12/finding-inner-peace.html)

For the no-pictures version:




What does peace mean to you, and where do you find it?

Is it lying in a hot bath with a good book and a glass of wine, or doing yoga? Losing yourself in your favourite music, or going for a walk in a park. Climbing a mountain, going to the beach, or perhaps taking a drive. Or is it the wind in your hair as you explore tar and gravel on a motorbike?

For me, I am at peace when I am in the air. It doesn’t matter what I’m flying; all that’s important is that I am flying. The problems of the world just disappear as soon as the wheels leave the ground. It’s invigorating.

But today I found a different kind of peace. It was a sense of peace with the world, a sort of serenity, beauty, and complete relaxation. I didn’t have to be in the air to find this peace, no, I found it whilst in a mokoro, navigating one of the many thousands of water ways of the Okavango Delta.
Upon arriving at Nxabega Tented Camp for a night stop, I asked if there was any space on the game drive. There wasn’t, but they did have room on a mokoro. I had never been on a mokoro before, so this was going to be great! I imagined it would be similar to the boat, but it was so much better.



In the year that I have been living and working in Botswana, I have had the opportunity to go on a few game drives, and a couple of boat trips. Every now and then, it’s a welcoming experience to go on the boat – as opposed to on a game drive – as it gives you a different perspective of nature; it’s quieter for one, and you get to see all sorts of little bugs and critters and birdlife that lives in or near the water, that you wouldn’t be able to see from a vehicle.


A Pied Kingfisher hovers above the water, hunting for its next snack


Going on a mokoro just adds a whole new dimension to that. It’s SO quiet; there’s no engine noise, you can barely hear the water lapping against the hull. It’s just you and nature. And even though we didn’t say any big game, we saw so much more than what you would on a game drive.
Like, fish darting beneath the water (and coming to an abrupt halt as the went head-first into a clump of reeds), insects balancing on spindly legs as they make their way from lily pad to lily pad, having dragon flies follow us, almost as if in formation with the mokoro. Seeing the clouds reflected in the water. It’s truly phenomenal, and relaxing.  Even the thought of knowing that if there is a hippo nearby  it could easily tip us over wasn’t enough to destroy the peace.
I was happy to sit back, relax, and take it all in, so much so that I almost dozed off a few times.






When you’re in a tiny floating vessel, looking up at this great big blue sky, it makes you feel so small and insignificant, and you realise that there is this whole huge world out there, just waiting to be explored. But we’re so caught up in our urban lives where it’s a cycle of working and sleeping, and focusing on technology and social media, and running around trying to earn enough to put food on the table, while staying up to date with the latest gossip and political drama.

But is that really living? There’s no beauty in that. We are so caught up in this routine that we forget to stop and look around us, and see what we have. See what we’re missing.



On the drive back to camp from the mokoro station, we stopped in a clearing. The sun had just about set and the horizon was only just visible in the distance. The guide switched off the engine and lights, and said “We are going to listen.”
For a nanosecond there was complete silence. And then all of a sudden there was a cacophony of noise, like being at a rock concert, deafening, but different. Nature was all around us, and our ears were assaulted. Crickets chirped from every direction, frogs croaked at one another, bats squeaked and the whizzed across the air like ghosts. It felt as if the entire earth, the entire universe, was bearing down on us. And it was almost overwhelming- the sounds of nature, raw, untouched wilderness. That is beauty, and freedom, and serenity.


Being able to experience just a minute of that is living. That is what I love so much about being able to live and work in a place where I am afforded the opportunity to experience the simple things in life.


Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: halfjob on December 16, 2015, 02:57:20 pm
absolutely spot on H, one of the reasons we go there every year. enjoy it and one day if and when the kids come then take them to experience it as well. my kids love it there.
take care
M
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on December 29, 2015, 06:50:10 am
beautiful. the rat race is for the birds.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 29, 2015, 07:28:46 am
This past week has been insane. A comedy of errors and terrors.

I will post the details later  :snorting:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 29, 2015, 04:54:10 pm
When I still flew a Cubby (a 75% replica of the mighty Piper J3 Cub), I was a magnet for thorns. Flat tyre after flat tyre. It was infuriating. But, I become very proficient at using a jack and taking off tyres.
When I moved to Botswana, I thought I had left my bad luck behind me.

Turns out it was just lurking in a dark corner, waiting to bite me.
The first was a slow puncture in a C206. Luckily it was at a strip close to Maun, and we were able to put my clients on other flights without too many delays, and I flew back without incident.

The second was in Savute in an Airvan. Savute is about 45mins from Maun. This is a mission as it takes a while to get a back-up plane in the air... if you can get hold of the office to begin with. Often it as a case of waiting for a passing plane, getting them on the radio, and asking them to relay to the office that there is a problem.

A plane with an engineer and new tyre had to be flown out, which took over an hour. So my clients went back to camp, and I slept under the wing. Once the back-up plane arrived, they took over my flying while the engineer sorted out the tyre, and we flew back to Maun.

They say that things happen in three's...

It was quiet for a while. Too quiet. I should have known Murphy was busy plotting.

He struck again. Another puncture. This time in Selinda, also about 40-45min from Maun.


Fortunately all of these were minor with no damage to the aircraft.

But, the day after the third puncture, 23 December, I was off to Victoria Falls to drop off some clients, and then pick up a new group.
In Victoria Falls, you need to call ATC (Air Traffic Control) for a start clearance. So I called. Silence. Wait 30 seconds. Try again. Nope. I tried a third time, and then decided to start up anyway, so that I can get the fans going and get fresh air circulating through the cabin (the temperature inside the aircraft was nearing 40degC).

I tried calling ATC again and again, and South African Airways (who were also waiting for start) tried multiple times. Eventually SAA found out that there was a power failure and that the new control tower's back-up wasn't working. They have just upgraded the terminal and tower, and my guess is that they were still transferring the back-up systems (i.e. a big generator!)
Right.

So, I shut down, got my clients off the plane into the somewhat-cooler air, and explained the situation. It took over an hour before we could go. SAA and Comair were also delayed by an hour.

This was the beginning of the next set of three's.

From Victoria Falls, we flew to Kasane to clear customs, and then I would fly this family to Vumbura in Botswana.
There was a storm passing Kasane, nothing major, a bit of rain and lightning. It was moving clear of the field quite quickly and I continued with my approach. About 1nm from the runway, the gusts hit, and I decided No. I broke off the approach, waited to the west of the field and tried again a few minutes later. I landed without incident.

That was 2.

The flight to Vumbura was uneventful. There were isolated cells and rain, and routing around them was no problem.
Preparing to backtrack the runway at Vumbura, I saw a wall of rain to the east, roughly where I need to go. It looked pretty cool.

Once airborne and closer to the rain, I realized it wasn't rain, but a wall of sand over 5000ft high. I've only ever seen small sandstorms, and this thing scared me!
Once I realized it was sand, I turned away and put some distance between it and the plane, before looping around the side of it to get back on track to Maun.
It was amazing watching this wall move across the ground at a rapid pace, picking up whatever was in its path!

I thought I had given it a wide enough bearth, but I was sorely mistaken. What I can only describe as CAT (clear air turbulence) whacked me out of, well, nowhere. Thank goodness it was just me in the plane, and I was strapped in properly. Over 5000lbs of aircraft gained over 1000ft of altitude and 40kts airspeed in a second. And two seconds later, it was as if nothing had happened.

3 for 3. Are you done now, Murphy?

Probably the scariest Delta experience so far!

Just goes to show how easy it is to underestimate Mother Nature.
One of the things I love about working here is watching the storms. So I have a healthy respect for them and the havoc they can wreak. But every now and then a gust or rain or lightning pops out of nowhere, and reminds you that it's very easy to become complacent.

Photos:
1 - the view of the 'rain'
2 - still looks a bit like rain
3 + 4 - that's not rain!
5 + 6 - getting into the Christmas spirit. I love my office
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on December 29, 2015, 08:53:10 pm
We have a runway on the mine in Lesotho.

It is 1270 meters long (we lengthened it by over 200 meters last year. However. Herein lies the rub.

Both ends of the runway start/end in nearly vertical drop-offs. One end is about 200 feet, the other is about 500ft. And the runway is compacted dirt. Altitude is 10350 feet.  ;D

Its quite a challenging landing. The last plane in was a Pilatus PC 12. It burst a tyre on landing, left main. Slewed to the left as it slowed, and came to rest just short of the left side berm. Behind this berm is one of the pits, also a massive drop of about 1000ft. But luckily no other damage to A/C or any injuries to crew or pax. The right side main wheel was also badly worn and also needed replacement.

Took 24 hours to get a wheel and a tech crew driven in, and about an hour to swap both wheels out.

Then I had to tow the plane out of the hole it created when the flat wheel dug in. I used the 4x4 ambo to do that. The plane could not just power out as the draft from the prop would have kicked up stones that could have damaged the prop or the skin.

After it was out of the hole it was fine, started up, taxied to threshold and away it went.   ;D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 30, 2015, 05:48:58 am
As I was reading that, I thought "Pffft, 1200m. Try 600m at 3000ft elevation when it's 35-40degC outside!". Then I read and remembered you're at 10 000ft  :(

The PC-12's are incredibly strong aircraft. I have heard a few stories about blown tyres though. And their brakes are very sensitive.
On my list of "Planes I want to command one day"  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on December 30, 2015, 07:11:15 am
wow! uncle Murphy had it in for you big time Sardine  :o

I think that CAT event was what would shock me the most!!!  Well, that and the fact that they use engineers to change tyres in Bots  :lol8:

Lovely pics, and dig the Christmas decorations  :biggrin:    :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on December 30, 2015, 07:47:50 am
What I love most about these reports is that you are living the dream I always wanted to and never did. Regrets are very few in my life but not pursuing a flying career is most certainly one of them.  I also did ppl in Cape Town, in fact at Fisantekraal in 1987 and then did 3/4 com at Avex at Grand Central, which I never finished due to a family crisis in 1990.  I was working full time trying to juggle flying time and cash, and eventually cash won the war back then.

I had one very memorable flight after that with a "friend" who was pursuing a Career in flying, in earnest. He had just over 50 hours, and was looking to build hours. I needed to go to Aliwal North, over a weekend (I didn't lose a bet). We set off from Wonderboom. By the time we had passed Grasmere I noticed a puzzled look on his face. I enquired what the concern was, to be told "I'm not sure where we are" NICE.  So my training took over and I sitting in the right seat, asked for control, and descended to read the road signs. Now I knew where we were, and the helped him dead reckon to Bloem.  

On landing at Bloem he went in hot, and started a porpoise. I again grabbed control and went around.  Gave him time to compose himself and spoke him through a foreign field landing. After a successful second attempt ATC asked if it was one landing fee or 10, with much background laughter in the tower.

We refueled and had a munchy. Where I went through the flight plan with him again and the potted route in detail. Specifying landmarks etc. on the map. We set off smoothly. Until thirty minutes later he starts calling ATC to give him our location, and a passing (overhead, "springbok") to give him a location. He was lost again. SJOE. So he tries all he was taught and again I tell him to go and read the road signs. Again problem solved.

The return trip was uneventful. With a stop in Welkom for lunch.

In discussing the trip with him. He had been given a ppl after one solo cross country run, on a familiar route and instructed to use VOR, and other instruments instead of old fashioned dead reckoning VFR techniques. This could have had a very different result as a trip.

However if you have read this entire story the moral of it is to give you hope, as a young pilot.

Today the same pilot whom I was with and helped with my (minor) level of experience, is today the training captain of one of the worlds largest airlines on 340's and 380's. He has now got nearly 30k hours, and is highly respected.

So follow your dream albeit an African one, but make it a World one, and see where you go. I envy you immensely for your tenacity and guts.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 30, 2015, 09:50:15 am
Thanks, 0012!  :thumleft:

Hedleyj, it is amazing how people are able to grow and develop as pilots.
I almost gave up before I even had my PPL. I was struggling to pass one of the subjects (Principles of Flight). I studied my backside off, asked for help from instructors and my dad (also a pilot), but just couldn't crack it. I started to think that this flying thing wasn't for me. I gave it one more go, passed by the skin of my teeth, and am so glad I pushed through!

So few people realize how much hard work it is to get a PPL, nevermind a CPL, and as a result, end up quitting halfway.
I only had one student who realized that he had underestimated the amount of studying involved, and admitted that he wasn't prepared to put in the effort.
Another stopped due to family issues. Really sad, he had just gone solo and was a natural!

As for dead reckoning. IFR - I Follow Roads! I did that from Cape Town to Wonderboom a few years ago. It was fun.
Out in the Delta, it's a case of I Follow Rivers... but now they have all dried up  :eek7:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on December 30, 2015, 04:24:18 pm
Navigation...

In the good old days of the SAAF I was F/E on Alouette III helicopters. Standard operating procedure was to bat along at around 200 ft AGL, with the 1:50 000 map on your lap. Using the compass on top of the instrument panel, and watching the KIAS we would plot out route and stay aware of our position. Using roads, fences, windmills, farm dams and resevoirs, trees, marshes, whatever we could see on the maps.

It was a bit more difficult identifying landmarks at 50 ft AGL, but it was a lot more fun. But not as much fun as brushing the tops of the mielie stalks with the belly  ;D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 13, 2016, 11:17:43 am
Things have been getting interesting as the water dries up more and more. I can no longer follow rivers as they have ceased to exist!

Yesterday was fun. We had some decent thunderstorms, and of course, there was a storm right over the airstrip I had to land at. I slowed down from about 20nm away in order to see what the storm was doing, and also to save some fuel.
You know they say lightning never strikes twice in the same place? Yeah well, yesterday it struck three times, in quick succession, causing bush fires to rage across the landscape.

The unwritten guideline here when it comes to rain is; If you can see through it, you can fly through it. Well, I couldn't see through this stuff. Nope, time to make a decision. Hold away from the storm or divert to another airstrip. Holding means burning fuel, and I had already burnt a lot, so I decided to divert. My first choice was an airstrip less than 5 minutes away, but due to the smoke from the fires, and the wind from the storm, it was shrouded in smoke and dust and sand. I didn't fancy subjecting a multi-million rand engine to that, so I opted for a strip 10min away.

We landed, stood around for 15 minutes, and then tried again. By this time the storm had shifted to the west, leaving me with a very wet runway. Jumping in puddles is fun. Splashing through them on a muddy runway in an aircraft worth millions, with a weight of over 6000lbs is downright scary!

Just another day in the Delta.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on January 13, 2016, 11:27:02 am
Things have been getting interesting as the water dries up more and more. I can no longer follow rivers as they have ceased to exist!

Yesterday was fun. We had some decent thunderstorms, and of course, there was a storm right over the airstrip I had to land at. I slowed down from about 20nm away in order to see what the storm was doing, and also to save some fuel.
You know they say lightning never strikes twice in the same place? Yeah well, yesterday it struck three times, in quick succession, causing bush fires to rage across the landscape.

The unwritten guideline here when it comes to rain is; If you can see through it, you can fly through it. Well, I couldn't see through this stuff. Nope, time to make a decision. Hold away from the storm or divert to another airstrip. Holding means burning fuel, and I had already burnt a lot, so I decided to divert. My first choice was an airstrip less than 5 minutes away, but due to the smoke from the fires, and the wind from the storm, it was shrouded in smoke and dust and sand. I didn't fancy subjecting a multi-million rand engine to that, so I opted for a strip 10min away.

We landed, stood around for 15 minutes, and then tried again. By this time the storm had shifted to the west, leaving me with a very wet runway. Jumping in puddles is fun. Splashing through them on a muddy in an aircraft worth millions, with a weight of over 6000lbs is downright scary!

Just another day in the Delta.

Onverskrokke!! Much respect  :notworthy:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 18, 2016, 07:58:22 pm
The Circle of Life

I saw my first kill today. Over 12 months living here and I have finally seen what people pay big money for.
It was not what I was expecting.

I have seen a dead animal twice. The first time was a hippo that was being eaten by hyena and vultures. It's stomach torn open, the other animals had a feast. It stank. The hyena that had been inside it stank even more. But it didn't bother me much, maybe becausebI couldn't see its face.

The second animal I saw was an elephant. This shook me as I love elephant and could happily spend hours watching them. The guide thinks it died of old age. Looking at that once-mighty grey giant, trunk sprawled out in front of it and legs folded beneath it, I wanted to cry. And for days I felt as if I had lost a friend. I can't even begin to imagine how the rest of the herd felt.

But today was different. Today I watched the kill. I heard the pain. I wanted nothing more than to end the suffering.
With the lack of run, water levels have dropped to the point where rivers have simply ceased to exist. This means hippos are running out of water and fighting for territory.
At first I thought they were lion calls, but when I went to investigate I saw that there were nothing but hippo.
About 30 minutes later there was still commotion. With the guests out on a game drive, I walked to the other side of the camp to see what had the hippo worked up.

About 100m, across the river, a hippo seemed to be fighting with a tree. It took me a while before I saw there was another hippo at the base of the tree, covered in blood. It was as if the other hippo was trying to get the injured one back on its feet. But alas, this was not the case.

It was attacking it. Pushing it, digging a tusk into it, charging it, almost taunting it. Dragging out the death. You would think such a powerful animal, one that can open its jaw incrediy wide, would just go for the neck. But it didn't. It was heartbreaking and almost sickening.

After about half an hour, the other hippo eventually succumbed to its wounds and collapsed under the tree.
The victorious  hippo, its job done, walked to the water slowly, looking as if it had run a marathon, and slipped in with little more than a splash.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on January 19, 2016, 09:09:31 am
As you said, "the circle of life".

I feed the birdies outside my room in Lesotho, breakfast and dinner every day. The little field mice and the ice rats also come and get their share too. Its awesome, settles my head sitting on the door step watching them eat. I am quite attached to the little buggers...

The other morning a hawk came down and took a little mouse from right in front of me.

It wasn't nice. But that's life in the wild. Still not nice though.  :'(
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 24, 2016, 08:52:57 am
It's 8.30am on a Sunday.
I am only flying at 14.00, but I was in the office at 7.00am. Crazy, right?

I am car-less. The bike is parked as, thanks to a lot of rain, the roads are just mudbaths.

In less than two weeks, I will be back in South Africa. And just a few days after that, on my way to Tanzania.

I have been reading one of Nelson DeMille's excellent novels; Up Country. And I came across a line which perfectly described how I feel. Typically, I didn't note the page, so I might be a little off with my quote...

"When the place you're in starts to look like home, it's time to go home."

For the past couple of weeks, the Okavango Delta has been looking more and more like the Western Cape. The other day, we were cruising below some clouds. There were patches of rain and the sunlight filtering through lit up the ground in an explosion of greens. It looked just like the Stellenbosch vineyards after some winter rain. All that was missing were the mountains. And the vineyards.

And today, whilst pre-flighting, low cloud rolled past the airport, and it looked just like the fog that rolls in off the sea. If there had been that salty-sea smell, it would have been perfect.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on January 24, 2016, 04:35:51 pm
Home is where your heart is.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Carnivore on January 24, 2016, 09:29:07 pm
Thank you for your sensitive writing. I can feel the air and bush and the heat and smell the rain on the earth. You have reawakened my love of the bush. And you inspire me to keep on keeping on. Watching you move from schoolgirl to professional adult has been a treat and as a Dad of 3 beautiful and successful girls, I can feel how proud your parents must be of you and who you have become.

Well done!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on January 25, 2016, 09:23:29 am
well said carnivore
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on February 04, 2016, 08:20:55 am
Heather you are one very special person, God Bless.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 04, 2016, 09:42:40 am
Thank you everyone.

The African Dream is on hold. Well, the work side of it. For the first time in abyear, I am on leave.

We left Maun after work on Tuesday afternoon and got on the not-so-open road. Everytime you reach 120kmh you have to slow down for potholes or donkeys or cows or goats, or a combination of all of them.

Then it got dark. Very dark. No moon. But the beautyof Botswana is that you can safely pull over and sleep on the side of the road.  So we did just that. Come 0400 on Wednesday we were up and driving again, this time with a sliver of moon.

Once through the border, the drive to JHB felt longer than the rest of the drive. But we made it one piece, and even got to meet Mr Zog and Zaskar. Two people who have helped me immensely!

Tomorrow I fly to Dar Es Salaam!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on February 04, 2016, 03:27:16 pm
Enjoy
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Xpat on February 04, 2016, 04:59:00 pm
Good luck and enjoy!

Are you going to be piloting up there?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 04, 2016, 09:03:06 pm
Thanks.

I will be paxing in a FastJet scarebus.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on February 04, 2016, 10:12:48 pm
Go, and have fun Sardine. Enjoy your adventure, and come back safely and tell us all about it.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Dustbiter on February 05, 2016, 12:23:01 pm
What a trip - thanks for the report :headbang:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 06, 2016, 08:50:02 am
So, I'm in Tanzania.
Dar Es Salaam is something else.
So good to smell the sea and eat decent food. The humidity is killing me though.
Off to Kilimanjaro in a bit.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on February 08, 2016, 12:47:29 pm
 :deal: We need a Walk Report and some Peecjtars  :spitcoffee:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on February 08, 2016, 03:03:15 pm
:deal: We need a Walk Report and some Peecjtars  :spitcoffee:
a step by step report ;)
Good luck :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on February 08, 2016, 07:38:38 pm
I think by now she should be at a good altitude  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on February 08, 2016, 10:34:20 pm
Pole pole

Pronounced

Poleee poleee

Means slowly slowly up the hill
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 14, 2016, 04:49:36 pm
Yesterday at around 0800, I stood at 19 341ft.
I have earned the right to call the mountain Kili.

Report and peekcha's in due course.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on February 14, 2016, 05:09:57 pm
Well done Heather!!!!! :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on February 14, 2016, 09:07:43 pm
Woop woop woop!!!!

Baie baie geluk!!!!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: windswept on February 24, 2016, 08:46:02 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: FrancoisTz on February 24, 2016, 08:55:11 am
Great stuff!!!!! Proud of you.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on February 26, 2016, 12:56:22 pm
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:

So wonderful! Well done and looking forward  :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 20, 2016, 08:05:09 am
I finally have wifi at home!
Hopefully now I will update this thread a little more often  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on April 21, 2016, 11:35:27 am
I finally have wifi at home!
Hopefully now I will update this thread a little more often  :ricky:


Geez thanks, it's been dead on here  :(

 :lol8:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on April 21, 2016, 04:46:22 pm
You have no idea how much I need an all-in-one African story today, this was just perfect!

Thanks for sharing and inspiring so effortlessly and all at the same time too.

 8)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 21, 2016, 08:17:33 pm
My apologies 0012.

And thank you, Ian  O0

Since I got back from leave in March, I kind of had to hit the ground running. My colleague was going on leave, so I had to take over his role as Safety Officer. And fly. And sort out training stuff. Needless to say I was working very long hours. But I enjoyed it. I like days that start off with a clear goal (or goals) in mind, and I can work through them. Kind of like ticking off a checklist (hehehe, when I told my sister I work best with a To Do list, she said "You pilots, always need a checklist!").

I can't stand stop-start days; do a flight at 08:00, back by 09:00, wait around until 14:00 for the next flight. That's when I get lazy.

The really cool thing was that I have pretty much only been flying the Quest Kodiak (my colleague and I are the only two rated on it). So, it's almost like having my own, personal plane. Which is great because then I know it is cleaned properly and looked after properly (not that the other guy doesn't look after it). And I don't have to pay the bills. And man on man, is that thing expensive to operate and maintain! Rubber stops for a door handle - $600. That's USD, not Zimbabwean!
Flying that beast 6 days a week, I capped 200hrs on it. It's an amazing feeling.

A lot of the clients we fly ask how often we get to go home. They think we work on a contract basis; two months on, one month off. I wish!
"We get 30 days paid leave per annum."
"Oh ok, that's not too bad. Wait, per annum?!"

Then talking to South African friends, they say that a month leave per year isn't too bad.
And, frankly, it isn't. BUT!
We work 6 days on, 1 day off (it is a legal requirement that we get 1 day off per 7 days). We don't get public holidays. We don't get a pension. We don't get paid nearly as well as everyone thinks we do (folks, only airline pilots earn R100k per month. And that is only with certain airlines. Wake up!). When we do take leave, it is generally only allowed during the Low Season (January - April). So we all put in our preferred dates, then the higher ups decide who gets to go when (with over 20 pilots, it can be a logistical nightmare, as not every pilot is allowed to fly every aircraft in the fleet. So you always need at least one pilot for each aircraft type. We operate 5 different types of aircraft).

But, I am not complaining. I get a month to myself once a year. Because a lot of our crew are from overseas, they will take the entire 30 days leave in one go. Most South Africans do the same; flying between Maun and JHB (and now CT) is expensive! Apparently it is one of the most expensive routes per kilometer in Africa (or was it the world).

To be honest, after about 6 months, I start getting a little loopy and need to get away. While I can't go back to SA, just going camping for a night is normally enough to chill out for another month. It is amazing how something has minor as driving 20km out of Maun can change your perspective.

So, I am rambling a little bit. Today was a bit of a tough one. Not much flying, just working on stuff in the office. Flying isn't for sissies, not because of the flying, but because of all the paperwork and politics, and time spent behind a desk.

But, tomorrow is another day.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on April 22, 2016, 03:21:12 am
Keep the BIG PICTURE in sight. Building hours for the day you apply for that R100k job.

And in building those hours you get to do some of the best comm flying around, if you goitta drive a bus, it may as well be the bus in the best zoo in the world.

Look on the bright side, you get to stay in some of the most exclusive lodges in Africa, free! Ba-liksem bokkie!!! Lap that shit up man!!! Becos when you don't do the bush-pilot thing anymore you gonna miss it BIG TIME, mark my words.

Some days will be harsh, but they build character. If it was easy, everyone would do it.

Keep your chin up! At least you still got a bike  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on April 22, 2016, 12:32:56 pm
hahahaha nice pic of the writing in the exhaust  :thumleft:

Thanks for the update, and I agree with mr Zog.

Hard work pays off, luckily you are someone that loves the outdoors and there are hundreds of places to go camping in bots when you need a break from work just to reset.

or..... steal the kodiak and take it for a flight over the falls      :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 23, 2016, 09:08:06 am
I'm not complaining. I'm quite happy here. Sure, some days are tough, but overall, I consider myself lucky.

100k job, flying a computer, not for me at this stage of my life.

Yesterday was an easy day.
Just over 3 hours in the Kodiak (which I consider to be a long day... the Kodiak is so fast, we covered over 380nm/715km).
I had a total of 7 stops. And most of them just involved dropping people off. So the turn-arounds (from the time I landed, to the time I got airborne) were pretty quick; 7 minutes on average.

I did have a little kid throw up everywhere... Thank goodness for JetA1- it's good for cleaning up puke  :headbang:

My routing took me along the Chobe river up to Kasane, and it was fantastic to see that the flood is coming; water everywhere! No photos unfortunately, the light was rubbish and there were reflections everywhere.

Today I am on home standby. Which is almost like having a day off, only I need to be at the office in 30 minutes if I get called in to do a flight.
So, my goal is try and focus on studying the systems of the Cessna 208B, aka Cessna Grand Caravan.

A lot of people get confused about how pilot licences work, and what aircraft we may fly, and what a 'commercial pilot' is.

I get asked if I am a "commercial pilot" at least once a week (normally by Americans). And they normally ask it in a patronising way. You have to be very patient with these people.

You get 3 types of licences...

PPL - Private Pilots Licence
First stage. Requires a minimum of 45hrs flying to get the licence.
If I wanted to, I could fly a 747 with a PPL, if I could pay for the rating (more on ratings just now).
In fact, Mike Beechyhead of ThunderCity flies his jets with a PPL.

CPL - Commerical Pilots Licence
Second stage. Requires a minimum of 200hrs, of which a certain number must be solo (or Pilot In Command), Night, and Instrument.
Again, I can fly what I want. IF I get the rating.
With a CPL, I may now get paid to fly. This doesn't mean I can take a mate flying and charge them. No, all charter flights must be conducted through an AOC (or Charter Company), all training flights must be conducted through an ATO (Approved Training Organisation) and so on.

ATPL - Airline Transport Pilots Licence
Third stage, and the highest you can go if you exclude things like being a Designated Examiner or a Test Pilot.
With this, I may be a captain on an aircraft exceeding a certain weight (I think its 5700kg).
Requires a minimum of 1500hrs total time, of which 100hrs need to be night, and 70 or 80hrs must be Instrument.
Which is a pain, because I have the Total Time, but only 10hrs night and 40hrs instrument.  :patch:

So, because I am working for a charter company, and getting paid, I am a Commercial Pilot. But most people think that you are only a commercial pilot if you fly for an airline  :o

Right, now, Ratings.
Flying an aircraft isn't like going from driving a VW Golf to driving a Ferrari.
Each aircraft has different weights, speeds, systems, limitations, and quirks.

So for each aircraft 'type', we have to do training in order to get signed out. For light aircraft, it involves a briefing, a technical exam, and sometimes a flight.
However, if I already have an aircraft with, for example, a Constant Speed Propeller and Retractable Undercarriage, and I want to fly another aircraft with the same systems, I am not legally required to go do a flight. Scary, hey. We call that "Familiarisation Training".
But, if that aircraft had a turbocharger, I would need to do "Differences Training" as I don't yet have the turbocharger system. And that would involve a flight.

For bigger aircraft, like a Turboprop, it requires more groundwork and more flying. And for every Type, you have to go through a whole training course.
While I have Quest Kodiak, which is fairly similar to the Caravan, I must still do a full training course to get the next rating.

There's a whole lot more to it, but I think you get the idea. Right?

 :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on April 23, 2016, 02:25:24 pm
Perfectly put for the layman, thanks!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on April 24, 2016, 04:20:15 am
So...

How many times do you get called the "driver"?  :peepwall:  :imaposer:  :imaposer:  :imaposer:


Many many years ago I flew the left seat in helicopters.

For the layman, that means I was the flight engineer.

For the guys that served in the bush, I was the dude behind the 20mil.

But for the guys that are pilots, I was just the other Cnut in frunt  :lol8:  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:


I'm glad that you got your house wifi sorted out. Now you can keep us entertained, and educated and informed, through this thread  :thumleft:

Keep the rubber down!  :ricky:

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 24, 2016, 07:24:13 am
So...

How many times do you get called the "driver"?  :peepwall:  :imaposer:  :imaposer:  :imaposer:


Many many years ago I flew the left seat in helicopters.

For the layman, that means I was the flight engineer.

For the guys that served in the bush, I was the dude behind the 20mil.

But for the guys that are pilots, I was just the other Cnut in frunt  :lol8:  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:


I'm glad that you got your house wifi sorted out. Now you can keep us entertained, and educated and informed, through this thread  :thumleft:

Keep the rubber down!  :ricky:



Not that often. I used to refer to myself as a glorified taxi driver purely because of the work; we pick up at one spot, drop them off at the next,ncollect more people.
But now with Zooma and his crowd saying a taxi driver could do my job, I have stopped saying that. No disrespect to taxi drivers. I would get hopeless lost. But getting a drivers licence is nothing like getting an aircraft licence. Oh wait, half the taxi drivers in SA don't even have drivers licences....

As part of our service, we (the pilot) meet and greet our clients from zthe moment they arrive off the airlines in Maun.
Me: "Good afternoon, folks! Welcome to Maun. My name is Heather and I will be your pilot to ABC."

30 min later when we get to the plane.
Client: "Are you our pilot?"

 :lamer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on April 24, 2016, 08:11:38 am
I understand the connotations of who may be called a Captain and who not. But the merikans only understand the term Captain, they have a Captain for everything even a ski boat. So perhaps Pilot is lost in translation on them, and could bleed over onto the juropeens too...

I personally hate titles, I find them often misleading. To me Pilot is the correct one for the job. It finally boils down to interpretation. My sarcastic nature usually takes over when asked a stupid question like "are you the Pilot". My answer would be something like "not actually but he's in the loo, so he asked me to load your bags as usual and quickly deliver you to the lodge for him, as it's not too far from here, but not to worry I've been there by car before, so I know how to get there".

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 25, 2016, 05:45:19 pm
I understand the connotations of who may be called a Captain and who not. But the merikans only understand the term Captain, they have a Captain for everything even a ski boat. So perhaps Pilot is lost in translation on them, and could bleed over onto the juropeens too...

I personally hate titles, I find them often misleading. To me Pilot is the correct one for the job. It finally boils down to interpretation. My sarcastic nature usually takes over when asked a stupid question like "are you the Pilot". My answer would be something like "not actually but he's in the loo, so he asked me to load your bags as usual and quickly deliver you to the lodge for him, as it's not too far from here, but not to worry I've been there by car before, so I know how to get there".



Hedley, unfortunately I am often too doff to think of come-backs like that on the spot. But I might just borrow yours.
We do have to be very careful. Many of our clients are owners of international businesses, and could also be agents from international travel companies/agencies, scouting out the next top holiday destination, and I have even had the pleasure of flying CEO's and VP's of companies like Abercrombie and Kent!

All it takes is to misread someone, and before you know it a harmless joke will result in heaps of paperwork and a bad name for the company.

---

So, Saturday I was on home standby. But I didn't get called in, so it was almost as good as being off. I can't remember what I did during the day, which means I loafed around playing XBox and watching series. That evening some friends and I went 4x4-ing at a place called Sitatunga, which is about 25min out of Maun. We had a Toyota Hilux, old SWB Landy, a Toyota Prado, and a Suzuki Jimny. Guess which one performed the best (with a woman at the wheel no less!).

Sunday was my proper day off. So I got up at 06:30 to get some washing done before the power got switched off. We also have loadshedding here, only it's 1 day every 2 months. So, from 8am to 4pm yesterday, there was no power.
Of course, it switched off just as the washing machine started its spin cycle.

Oh well, forced me to get out the house. I cycled to the airport (a whole 2km away) to say hi to a friend from Cape Town who had flown up in a PC12 (the new 5-bladed one!).
Then I decided to cycling for another hour. Almost 2hrs and 25km later, I made it home. I couldn't feel my backside. In fact, I still can't!
Along with the usual donkeys, cows and goats, I got to chase some warthog and baboons. I haven't seen warthog in Maun often, but there is definitely a few families (what is the collective noun for warthog?) Apparently there is even a small reserve in the centre of Maun, on the Thamalakane River, with a giraffe living there.

It was around lunch time, so I ate left over pizza, slept on the couch, and actually did some studying.
The drawback to having wifi at home is that whenever I sit down to study, I get distracted by YouTube, and this forum.

Today was long, but I didn't realise it until I tallied up the flying hours. 4.5hrs. Phew, no wonder I feel tired. Plus, I am coming down with a cold which doesn't help.
My colleague managed to get a peekcha of me flying past, which is really cool; I hardly have any photos of me flying the Kodiak.

Tomorrow I am office standby, so I am going to take this evening lekka rustig in the hopes that I will get over this cold by tomorrow evening.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on April 25, 2016, 09:04:08 pm
Always err on the side of caution with sarcasm. It may be the lowest form of wit, however definitely the most intelligent.

For goodness sake never follow the wrong advice. Mine often is that's why I don't fly any more.  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: mtbbiker on April 26, 2016, 08:53:16 am
or..... steal the kodiak and take it for a flight over the falls      :ricky:
In June I will be in Maun - I'll help for a flip over the falls  >:D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 26, 2016, 10:09:18 am
or..... steal the kodiak and take it for a flight over the falls      :ricky:
In June I will be in Maun - I'll help for a flip over the falls  >:D

Convince another 7 people to join you, get yourselves to Kasane, and we might just be able to make a plan. The only drawback is that Zambia will only let us enter their airspace if we land in Livingstone. Then you pay all sorts of landing fees and passenger handling fees.

A scenic flight over the Delta, however, is very doable. Though, that will be in an Airvan or Cessna 206.  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 27, 2016, 07:08:33 am
Vomit Comet

*Not the most pleasant of topics...*

A couple of days ago I had a few hops up to Kasane. First stop was Khwai River, which is about a 25min flight (58nm) from Maun, and from there to Saile, which is 117nm from Maun. A young boy was flying with, on his way to Kasane.
The first leg was smooth. Sitting at FL075 (roughly 4000ft above ground level "AGL") as was as happy as a warthog in mud. Bad move. Never think "Wow, the air is so smooth today!". The leg from Khwai to Saile got choppy, and this poor kid (who has probably never flown before) threw up. All of the seat, himself, and dribbled a bit on the floor. Gross.

Luckily the lady I was flying from Khwai to Saile had a spare t-shirt, and she managed to help the kid out, while trying to chunder herself. The boy's guardian was in the co-pilot seat.
When we landed in Saile I chose to shut down (we can do hot-turnarounds, where we keep the engine running as we load and offload people. We feather the propeller so there is so wind or sand being blasted into people's faces. Most times) so I could clean up the mess, and so that the boy could get some fresh air. Shame, he was quite brave. I would have been in tears.

I got some of it cleaned up, but as it was just the two (the boy and his guardian) to Kasane, I said they must sit in different seats (together), and I would have the porters in Kasane clean up the rest. Yum.
We made it to Kasane without further incident. Call in the rubber gloves, soapy water, and JetA1! Yes, JetA1 cleans pretty well. Not as good as AvGas, but it did the trick!

Then the next day, I had to do a scenic flight with 8 people from Seronga to Maun. Seronga is 45minutes from Maun, about 90nm, up near the pan handle of the Okavango Delta. Really beautiful area. The airfield is on the edge of the village, with an approach over water and then trees. The runway was once concrete, but not it's mostly compacted sand.

Anyhow, for scenic flights, we may fly as low as 500ft AGL- this is due to the law, and safety. Because we are in a delta, most of what you see is water. Even if it looks like land, there is a good chance it's water. Especially up to the north where about 1ft of water covers everything. You could almost operate a C206 on floats out there...

Right, so everyone is excited. The group is from Germany and Austria I think. But they all know english. My German however... I really need to start learning the language!

We get cracking, and I sit at 3800ft altitude, which is 700ft AGL. Why 700 and not 500? Well, that extra 200ft might give me an extra second should something go wrong.

And we're off. As it is a scenic, they get 10minutes' extra flying time. Which is a pain in the Kodiak, because we're normally sitting at close to 150kts, which means you have to get creative with the route. If I took the same route as a piston would, I would be back in Maun within 40 minutes.
So we bounced along towards an area called Omdop, and then Vumbura, and then Camp Okavango, south westi-ish to Chief's Island, then east to Xakanaka, then back towards Chief's Island, then a place called "the Square".

On the Omdop - Vumbura leg, not 15 minutes in, a guy in the first row looses it. Clearly flying isn't his thing. His wife is in the co-pilot seat, handing him bags and tissues, and still managing to take photos of the scenery outside. After another 20 minutes this oke has filled 3 bags, and other people are starting to chunder. Whether in sympathy or from the minor turbulence, I don't know. But by now, the smell had reached me, and I was trying my best to keep my breakfast down.

At "the Square" I decided enough was enough, the oke was as white as a sheet, I cut the flight a little short and headed straight for Maun. I doubt they noticed that the didn't get their 55 minutes flying time.

After we shut down, he was very apologetic, and took his dripping bags without asking "Where can I leave these?"
Yes, people will throw up in my plane, and then still have the audacity to leave the bag ON THEIR SEAT after I specifically say during my safety briefing that all sickbags are to go with them- there is a bin in camp, but not in my plane. I could have another 2-3hrs of flying, I don't want that festering in my plane.

Hehe, which reminds me of a story last year; I landed in Pompom in the Airvan, and a client was sick. She got out the plane with her bag, apologised, and plonked the bag by the door. Nuh-uh! The guide came over and I said "Ra, please take this to camp and throw it away. I can't keep it on my plane."
The guide, a tall, older guy, very mellow, crossed his arms and said "No way! You know what that is? That is ebola! I am not touching it!"
I couldn't help but laugh.
He did eventually take it and discard it in camp.

----

On a positive note, I might be doing a charter to Windhoek tomorrow! First time flying a plane to Namibia. Woohoo!  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 27, 2016, 08:27:31 pm
Windhoek charter confirmed!
Unfortunately I won't get to spend the night. It would have been cool to visit Joe's Beer House.

Attached, a photo of some of the paperwork that goes into a roundtrip of about 5hrs.

Sat phone, handheld radio, (also have a handheld VHF radio not in the photo), flight plans, map of the route with waypoints and distances, general declarations, nav logs including nav logs for if I have to divert to Walvis Bay, info pack on Windhoek International, NOTAMs (Notice To Airmen, important navigational, communication and safety info), instrument flying stuff, and yep. I think that's it.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on April 27, 2016, 10:34:22 pm
I know it's hard work but I think you sometimes have to do a flight for free, one cannot only have so much fun and be paid for it ;) :P
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 29, 2016, 06:10:46 am
It's a tough job, but somebody's gotta do it! :thumleft:

Two days ago I got home from work and walked into my room to find a nice big spider on my wall (harmless, we call them "flatties". Because they're flat.)
Now, not only am I afraid of heights, but I am petrified of spiders. So a bush pilot was an excellent career choice :P
I am so scared of spiders, I won't even go near them with a broom and dustpan to relocate them. But I quite simply cannot bring myself to kill it; I used to feel guilty when I killed ants and mosquito's!
That evening this guy disappeared. The only thing worse than a spider in my room is a spider that I can't see. So I moved my bed away from the wall and passed out. In the morning he was still MIA. When I got home from work today, I found him peeking out from behind some photos on my wall, guarding my keys. Fantastic.

Today is Friday! And after my 5hr Maun - Windhoek - Maun flight yesterday, they have put me on the Airvan today. I haven't flown an Airvan in AGES! Which means I get to do a freight run for the first time since February. :)

I call today "Friday Freight Fun". Freight doesn't talk, it doesn't complain, it doesn't throw up all over your plane. Winning.
But on Fridays, we also do a cowling check of the aircraft we are flying. That involves removing the engine cowlings to check for loose wires, oil leaks, birds, and anything that looks out of the ordinary.

And we must still do a full preflight, and supervise the loading of 500kg of freight. So while we are only required to be at our plane 1hr before take off, on freight days I prefer to be there 1.5hrs before, otherwise it is chaos with them trying to load freight while I preflight. My rule is that nothing gets loaded until I have checked and started up the plane to make sure everything works. It has happened to a colleague where they loaded all the freight, he went to start up 10min before take off... Flat battery. Now you have to offload all the freight, move it to another aircraft (which could be parked 50m away), preflight that aircraft and make sure it starts, load the freight, have all the paperwork changed and go. It can cause massive delays.

The freight we fly can be anything from fresh or frozen or tinned food, to toiletries. My best freight run so far was about 300kg of wine and beer. I have also flown a whole goat (dead of course). The Airvans normally deliever freight to the strips that are 10-25min flying time from Maun, and the Caravans will haul 1000kg of freight to places further afield. This is because the Caravans can take the extra fuel without compromising by reducing the weight of the freight.

If they were to drive all freight in, it could take them as long as a day, provided the roads are in good condition. So they normally only drive the dangerous goods we aren't permitted to carry.

Righto, I must be at work in 20min!

Cheerio
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on April 29, 2016, 08:27:01 am
 :sip: Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 29, 2016, 04:37:51 pm
Windhoek Peekcha's.

1 - Full tanks! 315 USG of sweet JetA1
2 - Bottom left is a map, and the green circle represents the range at the current speed and fuel burn. Cape Town was within reach!
3 - Welcome!
4 - Condor
5 + 6 - Air Namibia
7 - Hills!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 29, 2016, 04:39:58 pm
Two more.

The line is the border. Namibia on the right, Botswana on the left.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 29, 2016, 04:44:03 pm
So, the Airvan was fun. A good change of scenery, and pace; from 150kts to 115kts.
2 +3 - Photos of the Kodiak cockpit vs the Airvan

4 - One of our reporting points is called The Map Of Africa- a lagoon resembling Africa.

5 - And my cold, which has been lurking in the background for the past two weeks, has hit. So, I went on a shopping spree... hello comfort food!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: windswept on April 29, 2016, 05:09:40 pm
Enjoying this. It was quite funny reading about all the pax chundering. I learnt a new word. Back when I was in the SA Navy on board a boat off the Transkei with a stern sea in a gale, just about the whole crew, including the captain, were sea sick. Myself and a bud were not, but we did partake of the weed, so maybe offer the pax a joint if you see them changing colour.  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 02, 2016, 09:14:11 pm
Enjoying this. It was quite funny reading about all the pax chundering. I learnt a new word. Back when I was in the SA Navy on board a boat off the Transkei with a stern sea in a gale, just about the whole crew, including the captain, were sea sick. Myself and a bud were not, but we did partake of the weed, so maybe offer the pax a joint if you see them changing colour.  :ricky:

 :thumleft:

For the past couple of days I have been feeling a little under the weather. The flu buggered off after I finally gave in and hit the Corenza C and orange juice, but on Saturday around brunch time, a stomach bug hit. I think it was the minute steaks I bought from Spar, which is a real bummer cause I bought two packs and made a lekker steak and pasta salad, which I have now tossed the rubbish bin.
Anyway, luckily I was on office standby, so I slept until I realised that everything hurt. Even picking up my handheld radio was painful. I went to one of our senior pilots, asked if they needed me in the office, "Nope", ok cheers I'm going home! I left at about 13:30, and was curled up in bed by 13:45. I pretty much stayed there until the next morning, when I crawled to the couch and crashed there (my day off, phew!).

Today I was feeling a little better, but not 100%. I didn't have a big day, but there were a couple of stops and I wasn't up to doing the turnarounds, so I took a loadmaster with.
In the turbine aircraft (Caravan's and Kodiak), we do what are called "Hot turnarounds", which means we keep the engine running while we load and offload the clients and their luggage. The pilot stays in the cockpit to monitor the engine parameters, make sure the brakes are holding, and to be ready to cut the fuel to the engine should anyone so much as look like they want to walk towards the spinning propeller.

The loadmaster hops out, puts the tail-stand in (stops the aircraft from sitting on its bum when all 7-10 people move to the back at once, even when you've told them to go one at a time), puts the barrier in place (in an effort to discourage people from walking towards the propeller), and puts the stairs at the door (in the case of the Caravan).

With a good loadmaster and a guide who has his guests organised and their luggage ready, I have been able to do a full-load turn around in less than 8 minutes; that's 10 minutes from touch down, offloading 7 people, loading 7 people, briefing them, and getting airborne again.

The reasons for doing hot turnarounds are mostly because they save time. And they save on time because when you shut down, you need to wait for a section of the engine to cool down to below 300degC before you may even attempt a start. And you may not introduce fuel during the start unless the temperature has dropped below 150degC. In winter, you need to give it about 8 minutes. In summer, you could wind up waiting 10, 15, 20 minutes. And as per our schedule, almost every stop has 10-minute turnarounds.

So, my loadmaster did all the manual work, and I just had to focus on flying the plane. We flew a group of Asian tourists. You know that stereotype about Asians and their cameras and taking photos of everthing... well, I had about 100 photos taken of me today. They were clambering over one another to pose with the pilot. Now, I am a very introverted person, and when I am feeling ill, I withdraw even more. But I managed to crack a smile and even give them a thumbs up for their photos.

All in all, not a bad day.

I will be on office standby the next few days while the Kodiak goes in for its 100-hour inspection (more about that tomorrow).

 :peepwall:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on May 02, 2016, 09:21:22 pm
 :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on May 02, 2016, 11:28:17 pm
Goeie werk H
Hoop jy voel gou beter
Update jou blog vir n slag
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on May 03, 2016, 02:44:04 am
Get better soon Heather.

Here is my secret to avoiding the dreaded bug;

1 x Omega 3&6 gel capsule
1 x 500mg Vit C tab
1 x Vit B-co tab

I take these every single day, with my first coffee of the day. I also take some other tabs, Calcium & Magnesium (Dolomite) for strong teeth & bones, low dose Aspirin (at my age a good idea for heart attacks etc).

Working with sick people every single day I was constantly exposed to sickness and disease. But I literally never got the flu for years, and I believe that the pills helped to keep my immunity high. The other way to avoid illness is to use hand-gel (the waterless stuff to kill germs) every day, all day. Shaking hands with a person carrying the flu bug is a way to get it. You unfortunately have to shake hands with people all day. Use the germ-gel  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 03, 2016, 04:59:07 pm
Thank you Zetman, and Mr. Zog!

Get better soon Heather.

Here is my secret to avoiding the dreaded bug;

1 x Omega 3&6 gel capsule
1 x 500mg Vit C tab
1 x Vit B-co tab

I take these every single day, with my first coffee of the day. I also take some other tabs, Calcium & Magnesium (Dolomite) for strong teeth & bones, low dose Aspirin (at my age a good idea for heart attacks etc).

Working with sick people every single day I was constantly exposed to sickness and disease. But I literally never got the flu for years, and I believe that the pills helped to keep my immunity high. The other way to avoid illness is to use hand-gel (the waterless stuff to kill germs) every day, all day. Shaking hands with a person carrying the flu bug is a way to get it. You unfortunately have to shake hands with people all day. Use the germ-gel  :thumleft:

I got into the habit of taking a vitamin C fizzy thing or similar every second day, or at worst, once a week. Then that sort of fizzled out (ha, ha, get it).

But I am pedantic about my waterless hand sanitizer, and I have cut back on shaking hands.

----

Don't Assume

It makes an ASS out of U and ME

I was having a rustig morning, treated myself to a very weak cup of coffee and marie biscuits for breakfast, when I got the call from our Ops Manager "Are you up to doing some training today?"
Our Ops Manager also does the Caravan training, so I assumed I would be the one undergoing the training. This is a tough industry, and you don't turn down time on a turboprop, even if it's just 10 minutes, so I said: Sure, let's give it a bash!
"Okay great, you have a freight run with C at 11:00, bye."
Wait, what? Great, I'm on the Airvan.

So my office standby day turned into a flying day. All the paperwork I had planned on catching up on is still sitting there, waiting for me...

Fortunately I didn't have to do any flying; I just made sure C didn't crash. He is our newest pilot and requires a certain amount of flying before we let him loose on the world.
It went okay, he's a good pilot, but by the end of our second flight, my headache had come back and my sinuses were stuffy, never mind my stomach that wasn't feeling too grand (not surprising considering the amount of Energade I have been drinking).

I got to the office, did the paperwork, and raced home.

Anyway, I said I would talk about 100hr inspections.
First, remember, I'm not an engineer. I are e-pilooot. But I used to help my Dad maintain our little J3 Cub replica (sporting a VW 100hp engine), and I am capable of doing an oil and sparkplug change.
Piston engines are like car engines, only they're serviced more regularly.

Every 50hrs the aircraft is sent in for an oil change, filters will also be changed, and any other snags (problems) are addressed.
Every 100hrs, a major inspection is carried out, involving checking control cables and pulleys (which means lifting floor panels and all sorts of stuff) and if necessary, taking parts of the engine apart.
Then every few 1000 hours (I forget the exact amount), the engines are overhauled.

Service Bulletin's are also normally addressed during the 50 - and 100 - hour inspections. Other snags at other times are sorted out if they affect the safety of the flight (no-go items, eg, canvas on the tyre showing... we go through a lot of tyres!).
"A Service Bulletin (S.B.) is a notice to an aircraft operator from a manufacturer informing him/her of a product improvement. An alert service bulletin is issued when an unsafe condition shows up that the manufacturer believes to be a safety related as opposed to a mere improvement of a product."

With 9 companies and only two maintenance facilities in Maun, you can be sure they're busy all the time (the one has stayed open all night before. When busy season hits, aircraft can do 50hrs in a week!)

Now, turbine engines work a little differently to piston engines. More reliable and efficient, and in a way, a lot simpler. But I still stand by the theory that they operate on magic and money!

They operate at high speeds and high temperatures. With portions of the engine rotating at over 30 000rpm with fractions of a millimeter between a blade and the surrounding wall, you want only the best to make, and work, on these engines. And, you get what you pay for; an engine for the Kodiak could set you back a couple of million Rand. A base model Kodiak is about $1.95 million. So the engine is quite a big portion of that cost.

As the pilot, we monitor the ITT (Inter Turbine Temperature) which normally sits around 600 - 780 deg C, depending on the phase of flight, but may go up to 1000degC (limited to 2 seconds, otherwise poof! Engine out for inspection), but that isn't even the hottest part of the engine!
So this is why it is so important to make sure the engine has cooled down before attempting any starts.

Back to inspections... turbine aircraft are also inspected at 50 - and 100 - hour intervals. They also do the general items, cables and pulleys, SB's, etc. But, the engine is the heart of the aircraft, and with such small margins for error, these engines are inspected religiously. A boroscope is done (camera fed through the engine to inspect the various components and the conditions of the blades within the engine {shaped like an aerofoil, they do the same thing, generate "lift"}), which is really amazing to watch, especially the guy up here; he is brilliant at his job and knows these engines better than the back of his hand.

If cracks are found, they check if they are within the manufacturers limits. Corrosion, a compressor wash is done, and the engineers suggest we try things differently-
On the Kodiak they said we must use less BETA. BETA is basically minimum thrust (the propeller blades rotate in such a way to stop producing thrust, or "lift"- they are also aerofoils/wings). We use it on taxi to slow down instead of using breaks, and you can use it after landing in conjunction with the brakes to stop in very short distances. But there is a reduced amount of air being pushed back by the propeller, so the engine can ingest sand and other small solid particles, which will damage the blades within the engine over time.
Oh, and it sounds really cool putting it in BETA on the taxi... one of the reasons I love flying turboprops  :pot:

NEVER gooi it in BETA while in the air! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpNOXRTFXmM (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YpNOXRTFXmM)
^ South African aerie, too  :peepwall:

It's quite cool seeing the aircraft stripped down. I will stop rambling and post some photos :)

Photos:
1 - What the pilot sees during a pre-flight inspection
2 - Cowlings and exhausts removed
3 - The heart of the best, propeller removed, this would be the turbine section. Each little blade can easily set you back $100.
When cold, the blades have a tiny bit of play and you can hear them making a tinkling noise
4 - Kodiak stripped to its bare bones. Looking towards the cockpit from the rear door.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on May 04, 2016, 07:30:21 am
turbines  :drif:    :drif:    :drif:    :drif:    :drif:

Thanks Sardine, that is a beautiful machine!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 04, 2016, 07:38:16 am
turbines  :drif:    :drif:    :drif:    :drif:    :drif:

Thanks Sardine, that is a beautiful machine!

They are quite something, hey.

Every aircraft has a different sound, feel and smell.
And I find comfort in those things. The Cessna 206 has quite a chunky sound, like you know it means business, and gives a sense of solid reliability.
The Airvan... uhm, well, as long as the engine is making a sound, I'm happy! (Kidding, they aren't THAT bad).
The Caravan has a deep growl during the start when you introduce the fuel, as if to say it's ready to do the work it was designed to do.
And the Kodiak has a beautiful whine, but is relatively quiet inside.

 :3some:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oupa Foe-rie on May 04, 2016, 08:52:58 am
I love your reports Heather ................. very interesting...........  :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tony the Boney on May 04, 2016, 08:59:18 am
Thanks Heather!......"They operate at high speeds and high temperatures. With portions of the engine rotating at over 30 000rpm with fractions of a millimeter between a blade and the surrounding wall, you want only the best to make, and work, on these engines. And, you get what you pay for; an engine for the Kodiak could set you back a couple of million Rand. A base model Kodiak is about $1.95 million. So the engine is quite a big portion of that cost."   ...good grief, amazing!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on May 04, 2016, 09:07:24 am
I love your reports Heather ................. very interesting...........  :thumleft: :thumleft:
Second that.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 04, 2016, 12:16:06 pm
Thank you Oupa Foe-rie and oldmannorman!

Thanks Heather!......"They operate at high speeds and high temperatures. With portions of the engine rotating at over 30 000rpm with fractions of a millimeter between a blade and the surrounding wall, you want only the best to make, and work, on these engines. And, you get what you pay for; an engine for the Kodiak could set you back a couple of million Rand. A base model Kodiak is about $1.95 million. So the engine is quite a big portion of that cost."   ...good grief, amazing!


I looked it up. The compressor section rotates at 36 000-39 000rpm, depending on the engine model.

This morning I watched them carry out the borescope inspection on the Kodiak. It's really cool. A super duper little camera at the end of the tube, and the camera portion can be moved up, down, left and right.

After that I went home to rest.

In SA we had dogs, lots of them. My Mom has 2 Basset Hounds and my sister has 2 mixes (Labrador cross everything else). So I am very much a dog person, and one of the biggest adjustments out here was not having dogs. I did have a cat for a short time, but she ran away  :-\
My neighbour has a dog though, a Maun Special, medium sized brown job. He is still young so full of mischief, but he can be oh so cuddly. He likes sneaking inside our house and lying on the tiled floor below the aircon. Today I called him in and sat on the floor to talk to him; I miss the comfort that only a dog can provide. He got an ear scratch and then flopped on the floor with his head on my leg for a quick power nap.
Why don't I get a dog?
Time, money, and it would be unfair on the dog. I normally work all day, some weeks I'm away for 4 out of 7 days, and as we live in a complex, the dog would need to be trained to stay inside the gate. I did almost adopt a street dog; she lived outside my office and we became good friends. Every morning she would come over to say hello, I would give her some of my water, go do my planning for the day, then we would walk to the terminal together. I waited a while to see if she belonged to anyone, and when I decided I was going to take her, I discovered my friends (whose office is next door to ours) had the same idea and had already taken her home. At least she has a place to live now.  :)

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 04, 2016, 03:33:08 pm
I made a video.


https://www.youtube.com/v/ZOy-g73xqk4

Is it working?

Direct link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOy-g73xqk4 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZOy-g73xqk4)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on May 04, 2016, 03:34:54 pm
Jip its working
very nice H

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 06, 2016, 06:27:15 am
Dannie.

It has become my morning routine to sit down with a cup of coffee and browse through the Wilddogs forums. It is almost as satisfying as paging through a newspaper... I don't read newspapers, I don't even look at the pictures anymore, but I do love the sound and feel and smell of the pages as you turn them.

Considering I am still half asleep and need to be at work in 10 minutes, I'm not going to post any updates just yet.

Have a lekker Friday, folks!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sandban(g)k on May 06, 2016, 07:27:24 am
Subscribed!

You are a lucky girl! Getting paid to play with some of the nicest toys in some of the most beautiful areas!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 06, 2016, 06:26:06 pm
Thank you, Sandban(g)k!

***
Not too long ago, when I was a little less old and a little less wise, my friends and I were at that stage of schooling where you had to start thinking about career choices. By that stage I already had my PPL; I was one of those lucky few who could pilot a plane solo before being allowed to drive a car solo.

My friends would ask what I was going to do after school, and every time I replied without hesitation “Fly for the South African Air Force”. It was just that simple. My dream lay with jets; I wanted to be the first female SAAF jet pilot. Then Catherine Labuschagne beat me to it. So I said to myself, no worries, I will be the second female SAAF jet pilot.

Then I started to realise that while poling a Gripen would be out of this world, I wanted to fly more (jet jocks don't fly often). And I wanted to fly helicopters. Doing a helicopter licence is expensive, so why not have the air force pay for it. Brilliant! My mind was made up. First choice helicopters, second transport (the C130 “Hercules” is on my bucket list), and last fighters.

I applied. Nothing happened.
By then, the SAAF was going downhill quickly. I started to look at other services. The Royal Air Force and Navy, and British Army. I didn’t have the paperwork, but I would try. The Royal Navy was super helpful. I subscribed to a thing on their website thinking it was an emailing list. A month later I received an info pack via post, with a number to call if there were eligibility issues. I called, they gave me all the options, and a few weeks later I received another letter by post with the options and solutions etc. Basically, I had to become a British resident, which meant living there for a minimum of 5 years, before I would be eligible to apply.

I would have to move there straight after high school so as to make the age cut.
Pilots also generally needed a degree or tertiary education. Uh oh.

Well, it didn’t happen.

By now I had matriculated and had gone on to get my CPL. But the draw of the military was still there. So, I reapplied to the SAAF, this time making sure my application went directly to the right people. I got called to Selections!
But, the date of the selections was the same date as my test to obtain my Instructors Rating. I chose the Instructors Rating. And here I am, 3 years later...

I still have a burning desire to fly in the military, or at least experience a taste of it. I don't know what it is about it, but I am drawn like a moth to a flame. Going on contract to a place like Afghanistan is one way to do it. Only, the civvie companies are starting to pull out of those places, and the entry requirements, eish.

Going to airshows is painful, as I am reminded of what could have been. Do I regret my choices? Not one bit! I have friends who are in the air force who are being messed around big time. But I still think “What if”...

At one point during my research of foreign militaries, I thought of the US Navy, but not to become a pilot. I wanted to be a “yellow shirt”, a “Shooter”. It is still something I would very much love to try!

https://www.youtube.com/v/unbmRg6t4p8

https://www.youtube.com/v/GFqlwAWuMTg
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sandban(g)k on May 06, 2016, 07:21:59 pm
Wow, amazing story!

I had family in the Air Force and some friends with family there. Dont be too hard with the what ifs...

What of you were there and barely flew enough to keep your license... What of you love flying only to sit on the ground due to the financial situation of the SAAF?

What if you loved flying, get to do it almost everyday? What if you can appreciate nature and get to see the best of Africa every day?

Maybe your time will come to captain one of those beasts, but what you do now will surely make you better at that?!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 06, 2016, 07:58:40 pm
Wow, amazing story!

I had family in the Air Force and some friends with family there. Dont be too hard with the what ifs...

What of you were there and barely flew enough to keep your license... What of you love flying only to sit on the ground due to the financial situation of the SAAF?

What if you loved flying, get to do it almost everyday? What if you can appreciate nature and get to see the best of Africa every day?

Maybe your time will come to captain one of those beasts, but what you do now will surely make you better at that?!

Exactly.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 09, 2016, 05:49:29 pm
Today has been a long one.

I was up at 5am to be at work at 6am. I took the motorbike as I was going to drop it off at the trucking company, but my schedule changed and I ran out of time.
For the first time, I said I won't ride with my MX pants over my work shorts- I will just wear shorts, boots,kneeguards and my impact rig. Wow, I felt naked! Not only was it chilly, but I realised just how much skin was exposed. And on my way home just now I singed my leg on the exhaust. ATGATT!

I flew the Caravan this morning. My training has finally started! Wow, what a machine. A very different beast to the Kodiak. I called it a lumbering cow because the take off feels so slow and it has this deep drone. But sjoe, so light on the controls and such a stable platform! The Kodiak really has to be manhandled, but the 'Van just needs gentle inputs. And it lands beautifully!

After an hour in the Caravan I hopped into the Kodiak and flew that for the rest of the day. The wind was pumping and every landing was with at least 15kts x-wind. The Kodiak is a pig in x-winds! But, I had fun :)

A day with mixed emotions. Stoked about the Caravan, but sad knowing that tomorrow I saw good bye to my motorbike  :'(
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 10, 2016, 08:00:39 pm
Today was very sad -  I dropped my motorbike off at the place that will truck it to South Africa.
James has given me many smiles and scares. During the 10km ride to the depot, I savoured the roar of the exhaust, and the feeling of the rumble deep within that mighty single cylinder. I almost got back on the bike and rode it home. And I almost shed a tear. Almost.

On a happier note, I flew the Caravan today. The first flight was a staff run to Stanleys airstrip, which is only 10 minutes' flight from Maun. As I am not yet rated on the machine, I just observed from the right hand seat.

Then after lunch, we went out for a dedicated training sortie. Here we focused on emergencies. From engine failures and fires, to the cargo door opening in flight (I got to climb to the back of the plane and pop it open, so cool!), to emergency spiral descents that had me feeling dizzy and sick.
Then we headed back to the airfield to do a few circuits before calling it a day.
As you can see from the photos, the Caravan's cockpit is a little less computer-ish than the Kodiak's.
And Maun is getting all brown and meh again. Winter is upon us!

Tomorrow morning I do another training flight, and hopefully on Thursday I will do my final test. After that, I have to do 50hrs under supervision, and then they let me loose on the best!

 :ricky: :3some: :drif:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on May 10, 2016, 09:16:30 pm
most enjoyable thread this  :thumleft:
keep it coming

all the best for Thursday  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on May 11, 2016, 02:39:23 am
I remember flying in the chopper a lifetime ago. In places that were very hot and dry... sweaty.

A quick, albeit temporary respite could be found by flying up to 10 000 feet. Its amazing how much cooler it can be up there.

The pics you posted of the open cargo door and the cut-lines took me right back 25-odd years... Thanks!  ;D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 11, 2016, 05:21:10 am
Thank you, BMWPE!  :thumleft:

Mr. Zog, was that an Alouette? Not many fling-wings enjoy altitude, and their pilots get hypoxic  :laughing4:
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 11, 2016, 07:19:42 pm
Tomorrow is D-Day! Testing on the Caravan.
And then going on a double night-stop in the Kodiak  :3some:

Today I realised just how lucky I am; not many pilots get to fly two different turboprops in one day!

Winter is here, with night-time temps dropping to about 11degC, and daytime temps up to around 30degC. I like summer because of the rain; Maun is transformed from this drab, brown, sandy village to a place that actually looks pleasant. Big green trees, grass everywhere.
Attached is a photo from the flight today. The runway is Maun airport. And all the brown is sand and dead grass.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on May 11, 2016, 09:37:12 pm
Interesting.
I always thought Bots was just dry sand
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on May 12, 2016, 10:21:25 am
Sterkte H
hoop jy kry jou rating sommer maklik
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 14, 2016, 07:57:48 pm
As of Thursday, I am a rated Caravan pilot  8)

The test was pretty straight-forward. We did some cool stuff, including "tactical approaches"; on short final (about 1km) we are 1000ft above ground, with full flaps, you bring the power to idle and shove the nose straight down. And the speeds sits just a little over 100kts. Amazing  :3some:

After the flight, I had the Caravan fuelled for the next pilot, pre-flighted the Kodiak, then dashed to the office to debrief on the Caravan flight (and drink coffee with romany creams. Yum).

Then into the Kodiak to fly for the morning, a quick lunch break, and back out for the afternoon. Spent the night in Linyanti Bush Camp, which is way up north by the Caprivi Strip. Poaching is on the increase there, and there are regular military patrols. Very sad to hear.

Yesterday evening I was in Kasane, at Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero. I was looking forward to relaxing in a hot bath with a cup of filter coffee, but I got the pilot room which doesn't have a bath. So I settled for coffee and bed.

Today was a short one, less than 3hrs of flying. In the afternoon a lot of fires flared up, which had us descending to maintain visual with the ground. It's not fun trying to pick your way through thick smoke while dodging birds (okay, it was a little fun)  :peepwall:

Back home tonight, and we don't have clean water. I need to do a lot of washing. Great.  :-\
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 15, 2016, 07:49:38 am
When I first set my sights on Botswana, it was mainly for two reasons; to fly the Cessna 206 (C206), and the Cessna Grand Caravan (C208). Being able to stay in 5-star lodges wasn't even a factor.

I first came to Maun in 2011; my Dad was a corporate pilot, and he had a charter up here in a Cessna Citation Mustang. They needed two crew, so I went along for the ride. I was expecting everything to be green and lush, like on the photos. So I was quite surprised to see how drab Maun was. I didn't realise that the Okavango Delta (read, green part) was about 20km to the north of Maun. Oops.

It was only in September/October of 2012 that I saw the Delta in the flesh for the first time. I was blown away. I still am.

But anyway, planes. The C206 and C208 are bucket list aircraft, along with many others. They are workhorses, and do their job very well.
We call the Cessna 210 (which is used more in Namibia) the "Kalahari Ferrari", because it is as fast as a Cessna Caravan. The C206 is like an old Hilux; built tough, not pretty to everyone, but fairly comfortable and if you put foot, it goes! The C208 is like a Land Cruiser. Huge, loads of space, goes everywhere and can haul about 1ton of stuff.

So, when I got the job, the company stuck me on the Airvan. Wait, I came here to fly the C206! Darn...
I did eventually get to fly the C206, and loved every minute of it. It is a physically demanding aircraft, and you have to be quite assertive when you throw it around the sky. But, they are being phased out and the Airvan is taking over.

The Airvan has more space for freight, an extra seat, and is a fraction of the cost to maintain. It is very sad though. For a lot of pilots, flying a C206 in Africa is a dream.
But, at least I can say I have 100hrs on the C206  :3some: And over 600hrs on the Airvan  :xxbah:

Then, you get the C208. The mighty Grand Caravan.
So, the company put on the Kodiak.  :dousing: Do you see the pattern?  :lol8:
I am not complaining about the Kodiak. Not one bit. I hadn't even been with the company for 1 year when I got upgraded (normally you only get a turbine after 18-24 months). But I made it clear that I wasn't going to leave until I had flown the Caravan, even if it meant staying an extra 6 months.

So, after a lot of hurry up and wait, it happened. Good things come to those who wait... and work flippen' hard!
And wow, what a contrast between the Kodiak and the Caravan.
The Kodiak is very similar to the C206; built tough, not particularly pretty, very heavy controls, tricky to land especially in a x-wind. But it goes- it's about 10-15kts faster than the Caravan, and uses 20-50lbs less fuel in the cruise.

The Caravan can be flown with two fingers on the yoke. You can throw it around and it is well balanced. The controls have a very positive feel (the Kodiak has electric trimmers which are a pain to use because there is very little feel). You can throw 11 people and all their over-sized samonsite cases in, and get out of a 1000m dirt strip with room to spare.

I think I'm in love...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 15, 2016, 07:59:39 am
Now what good is aircraft porn with no peekcha's...

1 - ZS-HJV, a Bell 230 that was passing through
2 - Even though it is winter(ish), daytime temps are still hot enough to make the tar melt... in the background is the new control tower (left), and the little old one (right)
3 - Some very nice jets. The one in the foreground is M-AYBE, a Gulstream G280, and behind it is its big brother N650AF, a Gulstream G650
4 - Yours truly, with the Caravan behind me
5 - Not a bad ground speed in the Kodiak... over 3nm/min
6 - There were a lot of fires yesterday. I snapped this shot on a turnaround at Stanleys airstrip, which is 10minutes' flying time from Maun. Operation Delta Storm
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on May 15, 2016, 08:09:36 am
 :sip: Interesting post and stunning pics.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tony the Boney on May 16, 2016, 08:59:41 am
Second that Norm.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on May 16, 2016, 09:18:23 pm
 :dousing:Congrats on yet another rating
Love the peekchars
Cheerio
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 18, 2016, 08:56:12 pm
A Hop, Skip, and Jump

When I was looking for work, I considered going to Namibia. Flying the "Kalahari Ferrari" Cessna 210 along the coast and over dunes did sound appealing. But I get bored easily. And in Namibia, the sectors are normally an hour or more. But in the Okavango Delta, our shortest sector is 5 minutes from take-off to landing (the airstrips are about 4km apart). I fell in love with the idea of short, 5 - 20 minute flights, hopping all over the Delta.

Yesterday was an unusual one for the Kodiak. We try to give the turbine aircraft longer sectors (20min +) so we can climb a little higher for fuel efficiency. But yesterday I had an 8-sector day, which involved hopping around the Delta, then up towards Namibia, and back down to Maun. Luckily I could take a loadmaster with, so he did all the turnarounds, and I could focus on the flying.

Our routing was:
Maun - Kanana - Xugana - Shinde - Saile - Khwai River - Shinde - Xaxaba - Maun

I love the Kodiak. I desperately want to fly the Caravan, but the Kodiak just never ceases to amaze me.
Lately I have been doing a lot of flights out of a little airstrip called Kanana.
It is the 3rd shortest one in the area, and the 2nd shortest one we operate to.
Ntswi - 600m
Delta - 500m (we don't fly there)
Kanana - 800m

Now, when I was working in the Cape, I flew out of Stellenbosch Airfield, which has a +-760m-long runway. So 800m sounds like a lot.
But, it's calcrete with a layer of sand on top, we're at an elevation of 3100ft, and the temperature is normally a minimum of 28deg. All those things work against you and decrease both engine performance, and aerodynamic performance (the hotter the air, the less dense it is, the less lift we get).

So I get a kick out of getting the Kodiak airborne out of that 800m strip, with no wind, at MTOW (Maximum Take-Off Weight), which is 7200lbs.
And yesterday, going in to Kanana with only the loadmaster and a lot of fuel on board, I greased the landing. And the take-off was a rush.  :ricky:

Regardless of the take-off weight, the wind, the temperature, the Kodiak unsticks itself from Mother Earth at 71kts. The book says 60-65kts, but it only really wants to fly from 70kts. And once the wheels leave the ground, you know it will keep flying.

Oh, Saile is a very sandy strip. When it rains, it floods, and in the dry season it turns into a sandpit. We have been doing quite a few flights there lately, I have been wishing that I could get photos of the planes taking off or landing, as the cloud of sand that gets kicked up by the prop-wash is spectacular. Well, yesterday was my lucky day. A helicopter pilot friend who has been based at the camp for the past week accompanied the guests to the airstrip, and he had his camera with him. So he got some great shots of the Kodiak in action. I will post them tomorrow  :drif:

Photos:
1 - Fire! The reeds are very oily and burn well, despite the fact that below them it is just water
2 - Our routing for yesterday. The white lines show each sector programmed into the computer, and the magenta one shows the sector being flown
3 - More fire!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on May 18, 2016, 10:20:41 pm
👍
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on May 19, 2016, 03:56:55 pm

So he got some great shots of the Kodiak in action. I will post them tomorrow  :drif:



It is tomorrow  ;D

Thanks for the updates  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 19, 2016, 05:45:30 pm

So he got some great shots of the Kodiak in action. I will post them tomorrow  :drif:


It is tomorrow  ;D

Thanks for the updates  :thumleft:

Oh snap, you're right!

Credit goes to my friend, Richard, who as I said, is a helicopter pilot and works for Helicopter Horizons up here.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tony the Boney on May 19, 2016, 06:00:40 pm
Nice Heather!!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 19, 2016, 06:10:12 pm
I Follow Rivers

There are a lot of acronyms, mnemonics and abbreviations in aviation.

IFR - Instrument Flight Rules. But out here, it's "I Follow Rivers". And in South Africa, "I Follow Roads". I actually did that; followed roads while flying from Cape Town to Wonderboom. I even blogged about it. Amazing flight! http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/2013/03/i-follow-roads.html (http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/2013/03/i-follow-roads.html)

VFR- Visual Flight Rules
GPS - Gert Piet and Sarel  :biggrin:

KIAS - Knots Indicated Airspeed
GS - Ground Speed
TAS - True Airspeed

Speaking of rivers, the flood water has arrived in Maun! Unfortunately I don't have any before and after photos, but a nearby river (the "Boro") was bone dry until about a week ago. As of today, the water is deep enough that you can't see the bottom of the riverbed (so in otherwords, about 3-7ft deep). Woohoo!

Today, like Tuesday, was an 8-sector one, only we flew longer sectors (shortest was 15min, longest 35min).
Maun - Shinde - Khwai River - Savute - Kasane - Savute - Khwai River - Xakanaka - Maun

On the way to Shinde we went past Stanleys and I snapped a photo showing the fire damage. Also note how ridiculously flat it is out here!
Then near Shinde, a fire was burning in full force. Makes for a cool photo, with a contrast between the blues, greens and white-grey smoke.

On the way from Kasane to Savute, we had a little 11kt tailwind, which bumped our GS (ground speed, not "Geen Sand") up to a nice 160kts. It is amazing to think that the little 6-seat (though really only a 5-seat) 300hp Cessna 210 will do the same speed in the cruise as the Kodiak... which has 750hp. But, then again, the C210 hauls a lot less weight, and is much more streamlined (retractable landing gear, small surface area, thin wings, and no wing struts to keep the wings up - you can see them flap in turbulence!  :pot:)

I have also included a photo of the map we provide to our passengers on board the aircraft. You can kind of see the lines I drew in from today's flight. Unfortunately Kasane isn't on the map. All the names on the map are the airstrips we fly to; there are more out there!

Tomorrow we will talk about annunciation and pronunciation of words used in Botswana.

Oh yes, as of yesterday, I have flown 1000hrs in the Okavango Delta  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on May 19, 2016, 06:16:43 pm
GPS - Gert Piet and Sarel 

Sorely the other pilots from across the globe do not use that one? :P
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on May 19, 2016, 08:05:43 pm
Only discovered  this thread today, what a read and great photos!!
Subscribe

Sent from my SM-T231 using Tapatalk
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 19, 2016, 08:58:10 pm
GPS - Gert Piet and Sarel 

Sorely the other pilots from across the globe do not use that one? :P

The Americans use Goulash Pudding and Sweets.

And those in the UK, Guinness Pint and Stout.

-

Thank you, Tom!

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on May 20, 2016, 02:58:24 am
I think that Kodiak is one sexy bird!  ;D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on May 20, 2016, 10:31:27 am
 :spitcoffee: GPS
Global positioning system  Is American System
You also get Glonas system
 GLONASS or "GLObal NAvigation Satellite System", is a space-based .... The Russian Federation took over control of the constellation , This brought the precision of GLONASS on a par with the USA GPS system
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on May 20, 2016, 07:26:47 pm
Many congrats on the 1000+ flying hours   :biggrin: :thumleft:

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BlueBull2007 on May 21, 2016, 10:56:51 am
Yes, congrats on the Caravan and the 1000 hrs. :thumleft:

Why did you send your bike away?

Here is a video of a landing I did in the mountains of Peru. We spiralled down after crossing the Andes from Lima into this little runway which services a nearby gold mine in La Libertad province. Awesome. But a little terrifying as well. For the three days we were there we were nipping about how the hell we would take off from there.

Thanks to the lift, it was not as bad, but regardless there is only one way in, one shot at it or youre a goner, and its the reverse on the way out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCEXaYsjSdw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCEXaYsjSdw)

EDIT: I was just a pax BTW. ::) :P
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on May 21, 2016, 01:18:14 pm
Yes, congrats on the Caravan and the 1000 hrs. :thumleft:

Why did you send your bike away?

Here is a video of a landing I did in the mountains of Peru. We spiralled down after crossing the Andes from Lima into this little runway which services a nearby gold mine in La Libertad province. Awesome. But a little terrifying as well. For the three days we were there we were nipping about how the hell we would take off from there.

Thanks to the lift, it was not as bad, but regardless there is only one way in, one shot at it or youre a goner, and its the reverse on the way out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCEXaYsjSdw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCEXaYsjSdw)

EDIT: I was just a pax BTW. ::) :P

 :o
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 22, 2016, 06:43:33 am
Thank you, Ri,

Yes, congrats on the Caravan and the 1000 hrs. :thumleft:

Why did you send your bike away?

Here is a video of a landing I did in the mountains of Peru. We spiralled down after crossing the Andes from Lima into this little runway which services a nearby gold mine in La Libertad province. Awesome. But a little terrifying as well. For the three days we were there we were nipping about how the hell we would take off from there.

Thanks to the lift, it was not as bad, but regardless there is only one way in, one shot at it or youre a goner, and its the reverse on the way out.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCEXaYsjSdw (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pCEXaYsjSdw)

EDIT: I was just a pax BTW. ::) :P

Thank you, BB!
Great video. I probably would have been having a fit- I'm very selective about who I fly with as a passenger.

As for the bike... I hardly rode it, and I was worried they would try make me import it Herr (they have done that with my car).
I am looking to replace with a smaller one that I can throw around and not worry too much if it falls on me (TTR230 or CRF230).
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 22, 2016, 07:17:13 am
I know I said I would post yesterday (or was it the day before? I have lost track of time). The workload has been cranked up because we have an audit at the end of the month, and I need to check that over 20 pilot training files are up to date. Yesterday I flew a 4hr day, then sat in the office from 16:00 to 19:30 doing work. It's my day off today and I am already doing work (fortunately from the comfort of my home, with a steaming cup of coffee).

Aviation, not always glamorous.

 :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ama ride ride on May 22, 2016, 11:40:09 am
and to be ready to cut the fuel to the engine should anyone so much as look like they want to walk towards the spinning propeller.

Thanks for this lekker read.

Years ago circa 1986 at Citrusdal DZ while I was skydiving with WPSPC, a lady pax walked into the prop after a flight. She survived but it was not a pretty sign. They transported her on the back of my dad's bakkie to the local hospital.

On the plus side I got a free increase in altitude as we had to hold while the red cross plane come in to pick her up. So the pilot used the hold to increase altitude. Jumped from around 10 000ft instead of the normal 7500ft.
 
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on May 22, 2016, 06:14:33 pm
Citrusdal. On a trip up the west coast on business, ( the year escapes me ) going down the pass to Citrusdal, a Harvard appeared from the bottom no further than 50 metres from the outer bend I was on. I nearly **** myself.
Sorry for the hijack.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on May 22, 2016, 06:47:54 pm
I remember back in about 1985 ish there was a big Easter jump arranged at Citrusdal. An air force c130 had been arranged.

The pilot landed and during the turn around on the ground the pilot ran into some soft turf and sank in. We had to use a bunch of Isuzu bakkies and a tractor to pull it out it took a number of hours to get it right.

That pilot was suitably embarrassed at the time, but our only concern was to get the jump in the air. I can't remember what the jump was supposed to be, it was a record attempt of some description though
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ama ride ride on May 22, 2016, 07:28:48 pm
I remember back in about 1985 ish there was a big Easter jump arranged at Citrusdal. An air force c130 had been arranged.

The pilot landed and during the turn around on the ground the pilot ran into some soft turf and sank in. We had to use a bunch of Isuzu bakkies and a tractor to pull it out it took a number of hours to get it right.

That pilot was suitably embarrassed at the time, but our only concern was to get the jump in the air. I can't remember what the jump was supposed to be, it was a record attempt of some description though

Yes I remember it. Was the Swiss boogie. Did not jump though.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 22, 2016, 08:46:07 pm
Ama Ride Ride, it is something I hope I never witness. I have come close to doing it myself. You get so used to the noise and the feel of the wind, it's easy to forget there are 2, or 3, or 4 metal blades waiting to chop you up. It is even worse when in an aircraft that doesn't have a wing-strut; on the smaller aircraft, the strut is normally in front of the door, so you would have to walk through the strut to get to the propeller. My rule was that I would keep my hand on the strut or wing until I reached the wing tip, then I would walk back and away from the aircraft at a 45 degree angle.

Accidentally getting an aircraft stuck is a question of when, not if  :P

Oldmannorman, that must have been a spectacular sight and sound!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 22, 2016, 09:16:52 pm
Khwai Lappies

Before you get the little brown book stating that you are a Private Pilot Licence holder, you must first pass a Language Proficiency Rating (LPR) exam. This is an expensive test to determine how well you understand and speak the English language. You sit in a room with two people (one of them has a degree in language sciences or something similarly fancy) and the other... well, I'm not too sure to be honest.
Anyway. There is also a tape recorder, and everything is recorded and filed away.
They ask you about your childhood, your family, why you became a pilot, and your goals. Then they ask some aviation-related questions based on emergency and abnormal scenarios. This 15-20min chat cost around R600 when I did it 7 years ago. So you can imagine what it costs now.

Afterwards they give you a level out of 6. 1 being you don't speak or understand a word of English. 6 being you have a good grasp of the language, and you are articulate (big word) and so on and so forth.
I think the minimum for a pilots licence is Level 4. So, you would think all pilots are able to speak passable English. Nope..

Okay, so why all the background? Well, the other day I said I was going to talk about pronouncing some of the words out here.
Firstly, Botswana English is different to South African English. Just like how Western Cape Afrikaans is different to Gauteng Afrikaans. It took me about 2 weeks here before I could make out what people were saying with relative ease. And to this day there are still times when ATC (Air Traffic Control) jabbers away and I just think "Huh?!"

Reading the words is also different (probably because a lot of the airstrip names are in Setswana or some derivative of it).
So it is always funny listening to the guests trying to pronounce some of the words.

Good thing to remember is that "X" sounds like "K", and you normally make a clicking sound as you say the "X"(K).

Maun - I believe is meant to be pronounced "Ma-oon". However almost all the tourists pronounce it "Mourn". Not sure how to describe how we generally say it... maybe... hmmm. Something like "Mown" but with an A sound instead of an O....
Kasane - just think Ford Ka! "Ka - sar - nie", but the r in "sar" is silent. Tourists pronounce it "Ka-sane". So we joke that we're going to get "Insane in the ka-sane" when we night stop there
Khwai - like the Afrikaans "Kwaai"
Xakanaka - "Ka-ka-nie-ka", but the locals (correct way) say "Kak-a-naa-ka", clicking on the "k" sounds
Nxabega - this is a tricky one to describe. The "Nxa" is just sort of a 'click' sound that rolls of the tongue as you go from the N to the A. The rest is "bear-ga" with a silent r, and a lekker Afrikaans 'gggg' on the G like if you say "gees".
Xigera - "Ki-jer-a", again, click on the K.

And so on and so forth. So far I can only get the clicking right for Nxabega, Xigera and Xaranna.

When living in another country, it isn't only important to know how to speak their language (i.e. their version of English, though I have tried to learn some Setswana), but you must also realise that words that might be offensive to you back home are perfectly acceptable up here. See "Xakanaka" pronunciation above.

Alright, so the real reason for all of the above is to lead up to one of my more memorable memories from flying here...

A while back I flew some guests... well, that's not surprising now is it.
I can't remember where I flew them from, or where we wound up... it might have been Motswiri. Anyway, I had to night stop and I think it was the next morning at breakfast where we were chatting and they were telling me that they were sad to end their holiday, but that it had been a great experience.
In fact, in order to remember it, they had decided to name one of their dogs after something that would remind them of Botswana (these folks came from the UK).
They had had a really good stay at a place to the south of Maun called Nxai Pan.
Which has a click on the "Nx" and is pronounced like the Afrikaans (slang?) for "sew".
Yip, they wanted to call their dog Naai.  :patch:

After I managed to snort hot coffee out of my nose and contain my laughter, I advised them that that might not be such a good idea as in South Africa, it is a word with two meanings.
I suggested that they rather name their dog "Tau" which is "lion" in Setswana.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 22, 2016, 09:45:08 pm
As the season has changed, the upper winds have also started to change. Normally when flying to Kasane, we have a headwind of 5-20kts. Lately that has increased to over 30kts when flying above 6500ft (remember that the ground here is 3100ft, so we're not that high above the ground when we're flying at 6500ft altitude).

A few days ago I had a long sector to Kasane and decided to climb to FL095. FL stands for Flight Level, and is based on the ISA (International Standard Atmosphere) pressure of 1013hPa. Depending on the pressure on the ground that day (QNH), it puts you at about 10 000ft altitude (these days the ambient pressure has been around 1028hPa!). We use ISA above a certain altitude (called the Transition Altitude) so that everyone is on the same standard setting.

Anyway, at FL095 I found the headwind. See the photo attached. Our groundspeed was low, but we were still estimating Kasane on time, so I decided to stay up there.
I was looking forward to the flight back. At FL105 we hit 190kts ground speed; the fastest I have been in the Kodiak!  :biggrin:

Then yesterday morning when I was walking out to the apron to pre-flight, I walked past this little beauty; a Phenom 100, made by Embraer.

Yesterday was a tough day. When I am not flying, I am working in the office, and yesterday I was making a mental list of everything I had to do that afternoon in order to stay on top of things for the audit. I also decided to take one of our training pilots with instead of a loadmaster. This meant that I would be the one jumping out and doing the turn-around, and the training pilot would stay inside the aircraft to ensure the brakes held and monitor the engine temperatures and pressure's. (When I say training pilot, they are already qualified commercial pilots, and are now doing 'Delta Orientation' in order to learn the flying and company procedures).

Sometimes I love doing the turnarounds myself. It's a rush jumping out the plane, feeling the prop blasting the air back, and smelling the JetA1.
But then you get blasted by the heat from the exhaust, which is enough to make you cry. Literally. And the combination of the smell and heat burns your eyes. And sand is being blasted into your face. And you are checking you have the right passengers and that all of their luggage is loaded onto the aircraft and that no one goes near the big fan spinning at the front...

By the third turnaround I was over it. At every stop the wind had been just wrong and blew all the hot exhaust gases into my face. I was pouring water over my eyes to try and get rid of the burning (outside the aircraft and out of view of the clients). And then at one stop when I went to greet a couple, the lady was in tears. I asked her what was wrong and she said she wasn't feeling well and wanted to go home. I had briefly checked their tickets and seen they were going to Kasane, so I assured her that there were doctors in Kasane that could look after her if she still wasn't feeling well after the flight, and if it was really bad, she could get a direct flight to JHB and then home.

We had one more stop before Kasane and as I turned on to final approach my heart plummeted as my mind caught up; I was picking up two guests at that stop, and I only had one empty seat left... I had misread the tickets and didn't realise the couple were only going to Kasane the next day, and that the stop I was about to land at was where they had to jump off. When we parked I apologised profusely to the couple. The husband was understanding, and his wife took it very well. I explained everything to their guide and he assured me that if one of the medical staff in camp couldn't help, they would either fly medication in, or fly the couple out.

I felt like such an idiot!

Fortunately the two people I picked up where lovely old ladies and they managed to cheer me up (as soon as we took off I heard them saying to one another "Oh, I'm SO hungry" and they dug into their packed lunches... I had to laugh - on safari, all you do is eat and experience the wilderness. Breakfast is normally a buffet (Continental) plus hot breakfast ordered off the menu. On the morning game drive you stop of for coffee and snacks. Lunch is often a buffet of salads followed by a 3-course meal, then at around 15:30 it is tea time (normally an assorment of fresh fruit, scones with cream and jam, finger sandwiches and an assortment of cakes or pastries). On the evening game drive you get snacks with sundowners, and then you get a 3-course meal for dinner... and they were still hungry!)

On the long flight (1hr+ to Kasane) I was feeling a little better, but still kicking myself for not reading the tickets and my schedule properly. But on the positive side, I parked bang on the centreline in Kasane!  :ricky:

Last pic is of the water in the Chobe area, about 10min out of Kasane routing near the border between Botswana and Namibia. That was bone-dry a few weeks ago!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 24, 2016, 07:24:27 am
Impressions of a Pilot

Flight is freedom in its purest form,
To dance with the clouds which follow a storm;

To roll and glide, to wheel and spin,
To feel the joy that swells within;

To leave the earth with its troubles and fly,
And know the warmth of a clear spring sky;

Then back to earth at the end of a day,
Released from the tensions which melted away.

Should my end come while I am in flight,
Whether brightest day or darkest night;

Spare me your pity and shrug off the pain,
Secure in the knowledge that I'd do it again;

For each of us is created to die,
And within me I know,
I was born to fly.

— Gary Claud Stokor
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on May 26, 2016, 08:46:57 pm
Excellent,
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 27, 2016, 06:04:58 am
I was making braai broodjies yesterday evening, and discovered the perfect way to describe what it feels like doing a hot turnaround  in the Kodiak, with exhaust gases burning your eyes...

It is a combination of the burning sensation from cutting an onion, and the uncontrollable crying that follows, coupled with sitting close to a fire with smoke blowing in your face.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on May 27, 2016, 08:48:37 am
 :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on May 28, 2016, 12:30:15 am
I was making braai broodjies yesterday evening, and discovered the perfect way to describe what it feels like doing a hot turnaround  in the Kodiak, with exhaust gases burning your eyes...

It is a combination of the burning sensation from cutting an onion, and the uncontrollable crying that follows, coupled with sitting close to a fire with smoke blowing in your face.

So maybe christen the Kodiac the Cadac  :peepwall: :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 28, 2016, 06:14:16 am
I was making braai broodjies yesterday evening, and discovered the perfect way to describe what it feels like doing a hot turnaround  in the Kodiak, with exhaust gases burning your eyes...

It is a combination of the burning sensation from cutting an onion, and the uncontrollable crying that follows, coupled with sitting close to a fire with smoke blowing in your face.

So maybe christen the Kodiac the Cadac  :peepwall: :imaposer:
:spitcoffee:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 29, 2016, 10:00:41 am
Been having a bit of hectic time at work, hence no updates.
I think I will use this time to reflect a little...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Carnivore on May 30, 2016, 11:20:44 am
A polished and riveting presentation...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 30, 2016, 05:43:53 pm
A polished and riveting presentation...

Touche.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on June 02, 2016, 08:37:59 am
Awesome thread this, please keep it coming

 :sip:

Its my morning fix......
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 02, 2016, 07:05:29 pm
Awesome thread this, please keep it coming

 :sip:

Its my morning fix......

Thank you, Big-G.

Today was quite rustig. 3 sectors in the morning, and 2 in the afternoon.
A colleague went solo on the Caravan, so after I took a few pics of him and the aerie, I got a few of me; I haven't had a photo with the beast since my rating. You don't realise how big it is, until you're standing next to it.

I had a brilliant idea for a story, but I have forgotten what it was  :-\
Here are some photos instead.
Flowers at my accommodation in Kasane the other day.
Cool Kodiak.
The 'Van
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Would I? on June 02, 2016, 07:36:07 pm
That is quite a beast....... the plane that is  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:

Thanks for sharing this great adventure. :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on June 03, 2016, 09:07:22 am
Hahaha cool shades!  O0
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EtienneXplore on June 03, 2016, 09:40:43 am
Great thread!!

I have made good friends with some of the pilots here in Zambia, some of the stories they tell are hilarious, and also a bit SCARY!

Keep it up, loving it!

 :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 04, 2016, 07:43:37 am
Thank you for the responses  :thumleft:

KnopKop, ja nee. We are a slightly different (weird) breed.

----

Guess who's sick, sick again.
Yup.
The cold is back, so I have stocked up on the orange juice and vit C! I think it's because my room gets cold at night. Very cold. Which, as I recently discovered, is a result of the giant gaps between the window frame, and the wall. I have lived here for 1.5yrs, and only just discovered how bad the build quality is. So yesterday after work (longish, 3hr day in the Kodiak), I dashed off to pay rent, then dashed off to buy water (you can't drink our tap water. Well, no, actually you can. But it will cleanse your system VERY thoroughly. Who needs brooklax!), dashed off to the offices of one of the lodges to try get an idea of staff rates for a night in camp, then dashed off to Shoprite to buy silicone sealer for my holey wall.

Quite proud, I managed all of that in less than an hour.
Then I went home and sealed up the holes. I will give it another coat today, just be sure. I think it was a little warmer last night. But this morning I discovered that the windows themselves don't close properly, so there are more gaps.
We are looking at moving into another place, which reminds me, I must call the dude today!

I remembered my good story idea, and then I remembered why I forgot it. You know, sometimes I forget how forgetful I am.
It's a story of a rather sensitive nature, and as it involves people, I will hold off on telling it; you never know who might be reading this.  :patch:

Today I am on office standby today. So after putting the washing in, I decided to treat myself and make a cheese omelette. One out of four omelettes that I make turn out nicely. This was one of them. Mmmmm.
After I finish my coffee and hang up the washing, I will head in to work. I have downloaded the trial version of Lightroom, so I am looking forward to figuring out how it works.

Lekker dag.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: MegaPix on June 05, 2016, 08:50:31 am
PM me if you need help with Lightroom

All I use
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: landieman on June 06, 2016, 08:38:21 pm
Brilliant,living the dream.very well written
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Jovan on June 06, 2016, 08:50:33 pm
 :happy1:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 06, 2016, 10:16:44 pm
Perspective

"1. the art of representing three-dimensional objects on a two-dimensional surface so as to give the right impression of their height, width, depth, and position in relation to each other.
2. a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view.
synonyms:   outlook, view, viewpoint, point of view, standpoint, position, stand, stance, angle, slant, attitude, frame of mind, frame of reference, approach, way of looking/thinking, vantage point, interpretation"

But before we get to that... I had one of the best landings of my life today  :3some: :biggrin:
In aviation, we call a good landing a "greaser". The ones where you put it down in such a way that the wheel just kiss Mother Earth.
Well, today I was on final approach into Khwai River (about 90km from Maun as the crow flies). There was a pretty decent x-wind. The approach felt alright, but I felt that during the flare, it was going to be a positive touchdown. I didn't feel anything, I didn't hear the squeak of rubber on calcrete, or the thud from dropping out of the sky. I applied a handful of aileron into the wind and nothing happened. Hang on, am I already on the ground?!  :patch:

Holy dungbeetles, I was! The landing was so good that I didn't even realise I was on the ground! Woohoo!!!  :thumleft: 8) :o

Okay, sorry, I just had to get that out the way  ;D

Right, so at Khwai River I was picking up some people from a large group. The rest of the group would be going in a Caravan. We were making our merry way to Kasane. At Khwai you have to backtrack the runway, and we only go one at a time (you don't want an aircraft blowing dust and sand into your engine as you follow behind them). The Caravan went first. I took off a few minutes behind him (maybe 2 or 3 minutes, so he was 4 miles ahead).

Once airborne, I felt like I was in a rocketship. The Kodiak normally feels like that, but today it was different. I did notice that they had cleaned almost the entire upper surface of the wings this morning. Maybe all the dust had caused more drag than I realised.
Now, the Caravan packs a bit of grunt, and cruises only a few knots slower than the Kodiak. But about 20 minutes into the 50 minute flight, I saw a speck on the horizon. I was catching up  :peepwall:

There were a lot of clouds today; quite unusual for winter. Must be all the water that has reached the Delta (finally!) I was hoping the Caravan would fly through some little puffs of cloud because I wanted to see if it would make any vortices. The little puff of cloud actually turned out to be huge. And I realised; we are tiny. Humans are such insignificant pieces of a massive puddle. I looked at the clouds to my left, and they didn't seem that big. But the ones behind that Caravan were massive.

And I just got thinking. May was a very tough month for me. I was under a lot of pressure, working long hours (doing paperwork more than anything else), getting a lot of flak from colleagues, and in general, I was miserable.
But days like today make me realise that sometimes you just have to take a step back from it all. Change your point of view slightly. Look at things from a different angle. Literally and figuratively. And more often than not, you will realise that whatever issues are going on at work, they're just such a small piece of the bigger picture. And it's important that you don't let the small piece cloud the bigger picture.

My philosophical thoughts for the night.

Photos:
1-3, different day, but same concept.
1. Up close, with some focus, the Caravan looks like a big aircraft. Those cute puffy white clouds are nothing.
2+3. But start to pull back and take in the bigger picture, and you realise that tunnel vision is not always a good thing
4. A day on Kilimanjaro. It's just a little mountain...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on June 07, 2016, 04:07:43 am
Any landing you can walk away from is a good landing...  8)


But the feeling when you have "greaser" is just something else  :thumleft:  Well done.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oupa Foe-rie on June 07, 2016, 07:52:46 am
Sardine .............. I like your philosophy in life ............. the description of your day to day job ............ the "fly" reports ............... and the beautiful photos .............. oh ........ and well done on the greaser ................. :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 08, 2016, 08:54:49 am
To take it a little further, Mr. Zog; "And any landing where you can use the plane again is a great landing!"

Thank you, Oupa Foe-rie!

I have spent most of this morning watching Youtube. You know, the Alaska backcountry bush flying videos, filmed in super HD, with beautifully smooth lakes, and snow-capped mountains, and of course, planes.
A few of them featured the Piper Super Cub, and it made me realise how much I miss flying the Super Cub.

I did my PPL on a taildragger, so I have a soft spot for them. If I had to fly one now, it wouldn't be pretty; they require a little more co-ordination than tricycle gear aircraft (little wheel at the front. Also known as the "training wheel").

Anyhow, way back when I used to be a 'tuggie'- I towed gliders at Worcester airfield. That was some of the most challenging, intense and fun flying I have done, and I only flew about 20hrs with them! Unfortunately another pilot had had a prop-strike in the tug, and it took them almost a year to fix it, and by then I had started instructing and couldn't devote my weekends to tugging for them. This was a while ago, 2011 I think, so the memory is a little foggy.

So, how it works... you have a long cable on a reel at the back of the tug (Super Cub in this case. But all sorts of aircraft have been used to tow gliders. There is a cool video I must find and show you from a gliding competition overseas). There is a little motor/winch that winds up the cable after the glider has released. If the motor fails or there is a jam, you have to land with the cable hanging down. I can't remember the exact length, but I think it was around 15-20m. With a great big piece of metal at the end- perfect for snagging a fence or powerline. I don't think I ever had to land with the cable out, but it was always on the back of my mind.

The metal end of the cable hooks into the glider. It's a fairly simple catch mechanism, which will release the cable from the glider when the glider pilot pulls a lever. If, for some reason they are unable to release the cable, the tug pilot has the ability to cut the cable from their side (pull a lever and a nice sharp blade slices the cable). The glider must then land with the cable hanging down.

The first time I flew with a glider attached to my aircraft was weird. For the take-off, you taxi forward slowly to take up the slack in the cable, then as it pulls taut you need to time it so that you smoothly apply power and get both aircraft moving without any shudders and jerks. I didn't always get it right. The tug+glider is called a "Combination".

Once moving, you get the tailwheel up as soon as possible- better directional control. By the time your tail is up (I forget the speed, but it's low... ) the glider is normally airborne already. Once the combination is airborne, you can easily tell if an experienced glider pilot is at the controls, or if a student is doing the flying. If it is a student, you can expect the tail of your aircraft to be yanked all over the sky.
They also do this on purpose sometimes, and fly what is called "The Box". Basically they show the student various positions relative to the tug during the tow, and also show them the danger areas.
While all of that is happening, the tuggie is focusing on the climb, finding areas of lift, monitoring the engine (150/180hp engine, hot day, in Worcester, climbing with a glider behind you = temps and pressures near the red). The tuggie is also looking out for birds and other aircraft, doing the radio work for the combination, and keeping an eye on the glider (there is a mirror fitted to the tug).

If the glider gets high above the tug, it will pull your tail up. If it gets low below the tug, it will pull your tail down. Neither situation is fun or safe. And depending on the angle of the cable, it can be difficult for the glider to release in an emergency. So as the tuggie, you need to know when to make the call to abort, and cut the cable. It has happened where a tug has crashed as a result of one of those situations.

Once you get to altitude (I think we climbed to about 6000ft AMSL - above mean sea level), and get to the spot the glider pilot wants, the real fun begins.
I can't remember the exact procedure, but I think it went something like this:
Normally there is no verbal communication between tuggie and glider, unless in an emergency. So once you're in the right spot, you watch the glider a little more carefully, and wait. When they release, you feel a thud as the tension on the cable disappears, and you feel a surge as your aircraft loses the burden of a few hundred kg's. Then you watch to see where the glider goes- left or right. You keep going straight, and count 1, 2, 3 from the time of release, then you pull up and turn in the opposite direction to the glider.

After confirm you are clear of the glider, you hit the button to winch the cable in, and reduce the power a little. Now for the good stuff. You need to get back on the ground in the shortest time possible, without shock-cooling the engine. The glider pilots pay for the tug per minute, so the faster you get on the ground, the happier they are. But you can't just pull the power back and dive down to the runway (normally we end up about 5-10nm from the runway when we leave the glider). After the engine has been operating at full power for 10-15minutes, the change in temperature if you were to take all the power off would cause some serious damage.

So you have to manage it properly. I think we reduced the power by 100rpm every minute or so, and after 5 minutes could fly it pretty much how we pleased with little to no risk of shock-cooling.

Then you land, and while you are backtracking the runway the ground crew are getting the next glider lined up. Within minutes of touching down, you're airborne again. On a busy day, the only time you shut down is to refuel. I would keep my camelbak with me, and a little tuppawear with snacks. And while they were hooking up the next glider I would grab a sip of water and gobble down a breakfast bar.
I think my biggest day was 18 tows; over 4 hours of flying. In summer. It was great!

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on June 08, 2016, 09:42:38 am
We need a flying  :ricky: Thingy

I used to Fly gliders from Parys Airfield many moons ago what a nice feeling gliding silently around and then hitting a thermal and whoops up you go

Thanx for the nice story about the Gliders good memories

Cheerio
Z
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 11, 2016, 10:38:13 am
Turn 'n Burn

There are few things as beautiful as pre-flighting as the sun rises on a cool, crisp morning, smelling the JetA1 and oil, and hearing aircraft starting up around you.

I might have mentioned it before, but the Cessna Caravan has quite a deep sound. Hearing it start, you know it means business.
The Kodiak, however, has more of a whistle.
While they have similar engines (675hp for the Caravan and 750hp for the Kodiak), their exhausts are completely different.

I never really had the opportunity to film the Kodiak start sequence, but the other day the Boss-man decided he wanted to fly (after I had rocked up at 8am to pre-flight, even though the flight was only at 14:30 :dousing:), so I used the opportunity to film the start. Unfortunately there was an Air Botswana ATR behind me, so you lose some of the pure awesome that is the Kodiak!  :ricky:

I will also post a Caravan start. The cool thing in both is that you can see how the prop un-feathers.

Some turbine terminology...
ITT - Inter(stage) Turbine Temperature.
"...the temperature of the exhaust gases between the high pressure and the low pressure turbines..."
Not the hottest part of the engine, but we use it to monitor engine health. There is maximum ITT for different phases of flight...
During the start, it is 1090C. A normal start in winter gets around 670C, and in summer it will be around 700-720C.
For ground operations, it is 685C.
So, during the start, we monitor the Ng, ITT and Fuel Flow.

Fuel Flow
Self-explanatory. If the fuel going in during the start is excessive (100-110lbs) we abort the start. If you continue, you could cook the engine.
If the fuel going in isn't sufficient, we also abort the start.

Ng
"...N1 = NG. % rotation speed of the 1st (compression) stage N2 = NF. % rotation speed of power turbine stage..."
If you have sat up front in an airliner, you will see they have N1 and N2.
We just have N1, which is Ng.
Like the ITT, you have limits for different phases of flight.
For the start sequence, you may only put fuel in once the Ng has stabilised at or above 12% (you may add the fuel as soon as it reaches 12%, but we wait for it to stabilise- normally around 20%
The engine is pretty much self-sustaining from about 46%, and once everything is up and running, it will sit at around 52.5%.

Depending on the day, on take-off the engine is about 96-97.5% depending on the torque setting, and we can take it up to 101.6% if we absolutely have to. And if we are really deep in the poo, we can 'gooi passion' at 102.6% for a maximum of 2 seconds.

Okay, here is the Kodiak start. I will include the sequence of events below.

https://www.youtube.com/v/4n2DfRrqE88

The ticking is the igniters.
Then the whiiirrrrrr is the starter generator, which turns the compressor section. The propeller doesn't have a physical connection to the compressor. I think it is called a "fluidic coupling" but the more common term is "free turbine". So you can spin the propeller without turning the engine.
At 16 seconds the fuel is added. There is a total of 14 (10 primary, 4 secondary) fuel nozzles. Right now, 10 are working.
At 25 seconds the 4 secondary nozzles kick in. The Ng is about 36% at this point.
And around 30 seconds is when he releases the starter-generator switch, and switches off the igniters.
The engine is now self-sustaining, and will carry on going as long as it gets fuel and air.
The Ng stabilises at about 52.5%.

The Caravan is pretty much the same. There are a few small differences in the Ng, but that's it.
Unfortunately I didn't get the ticking of the igniters, but most of the Caravans I have heard have a much slower tick compared to the Kodiak.

https://www.youtube.com/v/HC15zAxq0jw
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 11, 2016, 08:04:14 pm
I'm on a roll.

Today was another home standby day. Naturally, I spent the whole day in bed. But I did manage to put this video together.

https://www.youtube.com/v/8RQt_Of6dlA
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Scribble on June 11, 2016, 08:24:25 pm
Wow those Sound amazing
thanks a stack for sharing your journey
Here
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on June 12, 2016, 04:19:25 pm
Great thread Sardine, if I may, a quick hi- jack for an 8 second landing in a Twin Otter into St. Barths airport.

https://youtu.be/WtLRHNABAlE

Thanks for the fly along with you.

 8)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 14, 2016, 04:38:48 pm
Hi Ian, thank you, and thanks for the video. Twin Otter? Bit of a freaky approach near that traffic circle!

The Hills Have Eyes

Wait... there are hills?!
I have been living in Maun since October 2014. I have been flying here since November 2014, and have probably flown up to Kasane at least 100 times.
Yesterday I was in the mighty GippsAero Airvan 8, aka SquareVan, to do some line training* with one of our new pilots while the Kodiak is in for its 100hr service.

*I think I mentioned in a previous post that all of our pilots are qualified commercial pilots. Once hired, they do 50hrs of observation- sitting in the co-pilot seat, and generally don't fly (especially don't fly if there are other people on board). Once they get their work permits and licence validations, they start line training, which is a minimum of 10hrs flying, where they now sit left-seat and do the flying while under supervision of a Training Captain. We fine-tune everything from time-management to client interaction to GPS failures to aircraft emergencies to dealing with a fully-loading aircraft on a hot day. Once we feel they are ready, they do a Route Check with a senior Training Captain (normally the Chief Pilot) and are sent solo.

I haven't flown in the Airvan in a looong time, so I was actually kind of excited to be in something 'new'. That is, until I saw our routing. Maun - Cement - Kasane - Chitabe - Maun.
Maun - Cement is about 30 minutes.
Cement - Kasane is about 1hr35min!
Kasane - Chitabe is about 1hr20min
Chitabe - Maun is about 15 minutes.

Eina! I didn't bring a pillow. Oh well, suck it up and deal with it. I enjoyed the view, and was pleased to see that the new recruit was progressing well. As we approached Kasane, I suggested we start the descent a little earlier than normal, so that we had time to get established on final approach with room to spare. The biggest mistake people make in the Airvan, especially when going in to Kasane, is arriving on final approach way too fast and too high. This could result in what I like to call a "Tactical Approach" where you end up with your nose pointed at the ground while descending at 1000fpm (feet per minute) with terrified passengers in the back. We are limited to a rate of descent of no more than 500fpm with passengers on board, unless safety dictates otherwise.
 Apart from saying we must start the descent earlier, I kept quiet; I wanted to see what the pilot would think was 'early enough'.

Well, we started a little too early for the rate of descent we had set up, and wound up at about 1200ft AGL (above ground level) while still about 10nm from the runway. It was then that I noticed the hills. Lots of them. With valleys maybe 50-100ft deep. Whaaaaattttt?! I had never noticed them before. I mean, I know that there is a hill in Kasane town, and on the western end of the airport, but not on the eastern side. Wow!

Not only was it amazing seeing terrain with a change in elevation (yes, flying over flat terrain 6-days a week really gets to you that much!) but the colours of the trees was the icing on the cake. Some were a deep green, others orangey-yellow, and some red. Some had lost leaves while others were still full. It was absolutely beautiful!

It reminded me again just how lucky I am to be here.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Crab on June 14, 2016, 05:51:14 pm
Thanks Sardine, I really enjoy your posts.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on June 15, 2016, 08:39:02 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 16, 2016, 05:55:13 pm
I got my baby back today. It's quite satisfying when the engineer says it is looking good and that they didn't find any issues with it during the 100hr inspection (issues could be corrosion on the engine compressor blades, for example, which is a fact of life, but can also be reduced through preventative measures).

And was tasked with flying to Seronga to collect 7 clients and bring them back to Maun.
The Maun-Seronga flight is one of the most beautiful, especially when the Delta is in flood. It was a smooth 1hr30 return trip.

I am struggling a little bit with writer's block. Last year I wrote an article on flying the Airvan for Global Aviator magazine. It went well and I thought "perfect,if I submit an article a month I can make a bit of pocket money". Well, it has been a year.  Every time I try to put pen to paper, I get stuck. Then I realised that I was being too hard on myself- the Airvan article was long, and I was telling myself the next one had go be bigger and better, and every time I failed, I lost the will to write.

I have about 5 drafts saved, but none of them feel "right". I was going to do an article on the Kodiak, but SA Flyer grabbed that one. Though, theirs was more initial impressions, whereas mine would be a more detailed operational point of view.
"A day in the life of a bush pilot"? Every day is different, which one do I pick? Or would a week-long diary work?
I could try do a short piece on a particular event/memorable flight, but one has to be so careful because of the people we fly. I have met one celebrity who I knew was a celebrity, but we also get the hotshot businessmen types here, and they don't really want everyone to know when they are here. Though with the machinery they arrive in, pilots will plaster photos of their jets on Facebook.

I turned to the magazines to see what other people write about. I enjoy the bush pilot series in SA Flyer. But I don't have stories like that to tell. Yet.

Anyway, just thinking out loud.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Would I? on June 16, 2016, 07:15:13 pm
You too hard on yourself.
Love the thread you have going here.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on June 16, 2016, 10:24:19 pm
Wow, you've got so much material right here on your thread, I'm amazed you're having problems. And so much variety!

Browse around here, there are very likely many good stories here waiting to be expanded on and sent into the world.   :thumleft:

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Carnivore on June 17, 2016, 12:56:04 pm
It doesn't have to be anecdotal or epic or funny to be a good read. Just tell your story.
Sometimes, though, a punch line will just drop into your lap.

I love reading your story, and admiring your pluck and spirit. THAT's all that's needed for a good column.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on June 17, 2016, 01:14:30 pm
It doesn't have to be anecdotal or epic or funny to be a good read. Just tell your story.
Sometimes, though, a punch line will just drop into your lap.

I love reading your story, and admiring your pluck and spirit. THAT's all that's needed for a good column.

Indeed and a title like
"The Acrophobian, Arachnophobian Bushpilot, who is more of a Dude than most men"
Could be a start, LOL.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 1ougat on June 17, 2016, 01:44:04 pm
I got my baby back today. It's quite satisfying when the engineer says it is looking good and that they didn't find any issues with it during the 100hr inspection (issues could be corrosion on the engine compressor blades, for example, which is a fact of life, but can also be reduced through preventative measures).

And was tasked with flying to Seronga to collect 7 clients and bring them back to Maun.
The Maun-Seronga flight is one of the most beautiful, especially when the Delta is in flood. It was a smooth 1hr30 return trip.

I am struggling a little bit with writer's block. Last year I wrote an article on flying the Airvan for Global Aviator magazine. It went well and I thought "perfect,if I submit an article a month I can make a bit of pocket money". Well, it has been a year.  Every time I try to put pen to paper, I get stuck. Then I realised that I was being too hard on myself- the Airvan article was long, and I was telling myself the next one had go be bigger and better, and every time I failed, I lost the will to write.

I have about 5 drafts saved, but none of them feel "right". I was going to do an article on the Kodiak, but SA Flyer grabbed that one. Though, theirs was more initial impressions, whereas mine would be a more detailed operational point of view.
"A day in the life of a bush pilot"? Every day is different, which one do I pick? Or would a week-long diary work?
I could try do a short piece on a particular event/memorable flight, but one has to be so careful because of the people we fly. I have met one celebrity who I knew was a celebrity, but we also get the hotshot businessmen types here, and they don't really want everyone to know when they are here. Though with the machinery they arrive in, pilots will plaster photos of their jets on Facebook.

I turned to the magazines to see what other people write about. I enjoy the bush pilot series in SA Flyer. But I don't have stories like that to tell. Yet.

Anyway, just thinking out loud.

Well then make some up ... dont let a good story be spoiled by the facts :thumleft: :thumleft: :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 17, 2016, 09:10:37 pm
Thank you for the wordsnof encouragement! I appreciate it!

Elephant Rumbles

Being back in my little blue rocket means I am back in my happy place. Whenever I am in the air, I am in my happy place, but after 300hrs on one specific machine, seeing it and flying it becomes a welcome routine.

I did a few flights in the morning, then took guests to Stanleys and Savute. I had 4 going to Savute, and they are South African. Baie welkom!
One of the gentleman sat in the co-pilot seat, and his wife was asking him all sorts of questions. What is our speed? How high are we?Well, we were apparently at 1300ft, travelling at 600km/h. Almost.
Reading the "ticker tape" on the Kodiak can be confusing (altitude and speed are displayed vertically). We were at 130kts at 7500ft.

Anyway, I am spending the night at Savute Elephant Lodge, so after we arrived at the airstrip they got briefed by the guide while I tucked the Kodiak in for the night. Normally the drive from the airstrip to the camp is about 20-25 minutes, but we had some traffic along the way; a massive elephant breeding herd.

I love elephant. I have spent hours hanging over the railing at Savute, watching them at the water hole below me. Watch for long enough, and you start to learn who is who; who has power, who isn't liked much, which calf belongs to which mother. They will take turns drinking the water, young ones will move out of the way for older ones. When new ones join, they acknowledge one another with the tip of their trunk making contact with a head, ear, or another trunk. Sometimes they stand there, motionless, trunk to trunk, other times they stand alone with their trunk hanging over a tusk, or resting on the ground (you know an elephant is big when almost a foot of trunk is flat on the ground while the elephant is standing up straight!). It is so peaceful, and humbling, watching these massive creatures.

The breeding herd we came across had some young'uns ranging from 1 month to a few years old. The youngest one decided to roll around in the sand in the middle of the road.
Now, Savute is an interesting place. Located in the Chobe National Park, the Savute Channel runs near by the camp, and there is also a marsh (aptly named the Savute Marsh). The channel is dry; the last time I remember seeing water there is early 2015! The marsh is also dry. So, when there is no rain, Savute has sand 1-2ft deep. And it is super-soft sand. And when it rains, it turns to mud and dams. So Savute has two 'road climates'; very sandy, and very muddy. Have fun!

Anyway, we watched this little ellie have its fun, then Mom decided to was time to move. She didn't like us and ran across in a bit of a huff. One of the many things I find fascinating about these creatures is how quiet they are. Despite being only 2.5m from this elephant, I couldn't hear its footsteps as it crossed the road. Every time I have watched elephants, the only time I heard them was when the brushed up against leaves on trees, or stood on twigs or dead leaves, or shook their heads, or when they talked to one another.

I have only heard an elephant trumpet in true annoyance once, like, it was ready to all-out charge. And it scared me. It is such a powerful sound, and it makes even more of an impact when you realise that that animal could kill you in a heartbeat.
But what is even more remarkable than their trumpeting, is when they rumble.

It comes from deep within them, and rolls over you more forcefully than thunder, shaking the ground you stand on, and rattling your rib cage. It surrounds you, makes you freeze as you realise you are in their world. And then, another rumbles and while the sound is everywhere, it feels like it is behind you, and you turn to find a grey ghost standing there, trunk probing the air in an attempt to determine what has entered its domain.

By the time you turn around again, those ahead of you will have moved off silently, the impressions of their giant feet on the earth the only indication that they were ever there to begin with.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Carnivore on June 17, 2016, 09:22:24 pm
A full magazine article wright write right there, done and dusted. Pity you posted here, and not in the Publication.
That was a touching story, and your last sentence was a perfect closer... see, you can do it.

Now get writing. You are overflowing with stories. Just tell 'em!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 21, 2016, 08:15:33 pm
A full magazine article wright write right there, done and dusted. Pity you posted here, and not in the Publication.
That was a touching story, and your last sentence was a perfect closer... see, you can do it.

Now get writing. You are overflowing with stories. Just tell 'em!

Thank you, Sir.

My Mom is visiting for a little bit. She arrived on Sunday, and I managed to get yesterday and today off, so we stayed at Chobe Chilwero. It was a little strange being a full-on guest after staying there so many times as The Pilot.
Tomorrow it's back to work for me, with a nightstop in Savute. And, surprise! The office organised for my Mom to come with  :) I was hoping to get her in a camp in the Delta, but beggars can't be choosers.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sandban(g)k on June 21, 2016, 09:55:01 pm
A full magazine article wright write right there, done and dusted. Pity you posted here, and not in the Publication.
That was a touching story, and your last sentence was a perfect closer... see, you can do it.

Now get writing. You are overflowing with stories. Just tell 'em!

Thank you, Sir.

My Mom is visiting for a little bit. She arrived on Sunday, and I managed to get yesterday and today off, so we stayed at Chobe Chilwero. It was a little strange being a full-on guest after staying there so many times as The Pilot.
Tomorrow it's back to work for me, with a nightstop in Savute. And, surprise! The office organised for my Mom to come with  :) I was hoping to get her in a camp in the Delta, but beggars can't be choosers.

Jealous. Very. Went to Chobe Chilwero on honeymoon, that place is awesome! Three and a half years later wifey still wants to go back there...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 27, 2016, 06:07:43 pm
At last, I managed to get a photo of me in front of the Kodiak, so you can compare the differences between the Kodiak and the Caravan.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oshkosh on June 27, 2016, 07:34:52 pm
Been following your thread with interest love it!  :thumleft:
Just a quick question what are the 2 x droppers hanging off the wings?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on June 27, 2016, 08:44:59 pm
At last, I managed to get a photo of me in front of the Kodiak, so you can compare the differences between the Kodiak and the Caravan.



You make both look good   :imaposer:

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 27, 2016, 09:42:54 pm
Been following your thread with interest love it!  :thumleft:
Just a quick question what are the 2 x droppers hanging off the wings?

The orange things on a stick?
They are the pitot tube covers. The Kodiak has an additional rope from the stick, which has a metal "plug" on the end, so that we can plug the under-wing fuel vents (otherwise wasps and other bugs make nests in the vents).
And on the Caravan, there are bungees at the end of the stick, which we hook on to the tie-down point of the wingstrut so the cover doesn't fly off.

Thank you Ri!  :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: JonW on June 27, 2016, 10:00:26 pm
Hi Sardine

Really enjoying your story and pics.

I flew up to the Kruger Park for a few days last week, also a young female pilot.

Was very impressed with her ability.



Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oshkosh on July 02, 2016, 06:58:33 am
Been following your thread with interest love it!  :thumleft:
Just a quick question what are the 2 x droppers hanging off the wings?

The orange things on a stick?
They are the pitot tube covers. The Kodiak has an additional rope from the stick, which has a metal "plug" on the end, so that we can plug the under-wing fuel vents (otherwise wasps and other bugs make nests in the vents).
And on the Caravan, there are bungees at the end of the stick, which we hook on to the tie-down point of the wingstrut so the cover doesn't fly off.

Thank you Ri!  :biggrin:

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on July 07, 2016, 11:06:58 am
Hey where is my daily fix........................ :bueller:
We demand more  :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: schalk vd merwe on July 07, 2016, 08:54:50 pm
Hi Sardine I did construction work at Mashatu in 1994 and again in 2000. I just about rebuilding main camp. Do you sometimes fly there. It is one of my favorite places on planet earth. I fly small stuff like microlights but sometimes I fly with a buddy who own various aircraft including a Bell super ranger helicopter and a King Air and a Harvard and a Bosbok and and. I don’t know if it is illegal but sometimes he gives me the stick in the Bell Ranger and if you just move the stick a milli meter it goes completely sideways but he just says fly the thing man. Exiting stuff.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 12, 2016, 05:36:24 am
Sorry!

Huge accomplishment, 2000hrs as of yesterday!
Feels a bit surreal.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: pietas on July 12, 2016, 06:04:30 am
Well done. Don't happen easily
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on July 12, 2016, 12:20:35 pm
 :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on July 12, 2016, 12:38:02 pm
Congratulation.  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ButtSlider on July 12, 2016, 01:11:20 pm
Congrats.

That's a fair amount of air.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 12, 2016, 05:08:10 pm
Tuesday

I have been a little bit sick again, so on Monday afternoon I was looking forward to my 10:35 today (Tuesday). Obviously Murphy heard me, and before I knew it, I had an 08:00 scenic.

It was cold this morning. 10 degrees according to the ATC (Air Traffic Controller). I froze my butt off, but it meant I could take the Kodiak to a new level.
On every take off, you need to observe certain limits. These are: Torque, Temperature, and Ng. Some take-off's are torque-limited, others are temperature-limited; it all depends on the day.

The lower the temperature and elevation, the more torque you can squeeze out, but then you need to keep an eye on the Temperature and Ng.
Maximum torque is 1790lbs (at sea level, up to 20degC).
I am pretty conservative on the use of power. On a normal winters' day, I use 1300lbs, and on those really hot summers' days, about 1250-1300lbs
So today I had fun and took a handful of power, taking it up to about 1500lbs (according to the Pilot Operating Handbook, I could have taken it up to 1700lbs).
You know that feeling when you open up the throttle on your bike, and feel the wind, the power, the sound. Yeah, it was like that  :ricky:

The scenic was also good. While windy, there was barely any turbulence, and the old ballie (it was a group of South Africans) sitting in the co-pilot seat was a good spotter, so I could just focus on the flying while he found the animals.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ican on July 12, 2016, 06:00:18 pm
Well done on the 2000hours!!
Title: Re: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on July 12, 2016, 09:01:29 pm
Sorry!

Huge accomplishment, 2000hrs as of yesterday!
Feels a bit surreal.
Whoop whoop!! Well done!!

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on July 13, 2016, 08:28:41 am
A hard worked for achievement. Congrats.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Fudmucker on July 14, 2016, 09:01:18 am
Does that mean you can now actually fly a plane properly...?   :sip:

Seriously, it is an achievement.
Congratulations!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 16, 2016, 04:31:14 am
Dedication is... Knowing you have to wake up at 04:30, and not complaining about it. In fact, despite not being a morning person and hating the cold (8degC this fine morning), you're actually kind of excited because you know the sunrise will be epic!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 17, 2016, 09:15:31 am
The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Yesterday was a long one; I was up at 04:30 and in the office from 05:45. I didn't fly a lot, but eish, I am not a morning person.

These days, there is war and fighting, complaints and criticism, fear and anger and hate. Nothing seems to be going right. Everything is negative. If it isn't work, it's the family or friends. Switch on the tv and it's terrorists this, and terrorists that. Poverty, lack of money, nuclear threats, global warming, not enough resources, oil spills, natural disaster.

Stop. Switch it all off. Take a deep breath. Wake up early and watch the sun rise. Or sit outside and see the sun set. Sit, listen. Take it all in. Get back to basics. Find the beauty in the smallest things.
Title: Re: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on July 17, 2016, 11:16:50 am
The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Yesterday was a long one; I was up at 04:30 and in the office from 05:45. I didn't fly a lot, but eish, I am not a morning person.

These days, there is war and fighting, complaints and criticism, fear and anger and hate. Nothing seems to be going right. Everything is negative. If it isn't work, it's the family or friends. Switch on the tv and it's terrorists this, and terrorists that. Poverty, lack of money, nuclear threats, global warming, not enough resources, oil spills, natural disaster.

Stop. Switch it all off. Take a deep breath. Wake up early and watch the sun rise. Or sit outside and see the sun set. Sit, listen. Take it all in. Get back to basics. Find the beauty in the smallest things.
Now you really made my day with this awesome positive post! The way we should see and live our lives!!

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: profiler on July 17, 2016, 09:21:32 pm
Fantastic  O0
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Carnivore on July 18, 2016, 09:09:16 am
Imagine if our politishuns could have this lady's work ethic, drive, determination and character... What a country we would be!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 18, 2016, 07:11:46 pm
Thank you for the kind words!  :thumleft:

A Change of Scenery

Believe it or not, flying the same aircraft 6 days a week gets tiring. Yes, there is something comforting about the familiarity, about knowing you will find it the way you left it the day before, about knowing its most intimate little quirks. But, like motorbikes and cars, every now and then, as much as you might love your GS or your DR or your XR, you just need to experience something different.

So, today I flew in the Airvan. It was training, so I just sat in the right-hand seat and watched the world go by. Which was a good change of pace. I was scheduled to do a scenic flight in the afternoon, in A2-ZFF, also known as "The Fox", and when she behaves "Foxy Fox".

The Fox is a 1969 Cessna 206D. She has seen in excess of 18 000hrs. That's a lot of bad landings! Slow, heavy, out of balance, she is a handful, and makes you work. But, she has a STOL kit fitted (Short Take-Off and Landing) which means that if you need to get people out of a rain-soaked strip on a hot day, you send in The Fox!
(The STOL kit has wing-fences, which help to reduce drag, and the ailerons droop as you lower the flaps, which means much better lift and aerofoil[wing] performance at low speeds).

Now, I haven't flown a C206 in a very long time, so I was looking forward to it!

And then, Murphy intervened. Due to Air Namibia being seriously delayed, our entire schedule changed and instead of burning holes in the sky with The Fox, I had to fly the Airvan to Savute and back.

Oh well, I have been reminded of what it is like to fly at a measly 120kts, and will appreciate the Kodiak some more  :ricky:

**

For the training flights, we did 5 sectors, including one up to Nxamaseri, which is to the north west, along the "pan handle" of the Okavango Delta. It is the most beautiful area you could possibly imagine; beautiful rivers winding through a sea of papyrus.
Then we went to Omdop, which also has a lot of water. And the grasses are changing colour from deep, lush greens to orangey-yellows. I was reminded of the canola fields in the Western Cape.
And the trees around Maun have turned a purple-red.

"And I think to myself,
What a wonderful world."


1 - Ngoha River, the panhandle
2 - Floods have arrived!
3 - Maun trees

Title: Re:
Post by: Tom van Brits on July 18, 2016, 08:33:40 pm
Wow.....stunning pics

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on July 19, 2016, 12:11:55 am
I see that the Airvan flies really well inverted  :peepwall:  :pot:  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:


When I see your pics I dream of Africa... Botswana is one of the places I truly love.  :'(
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 19, 2016, 07:49:05 am
Thank you, Tom!  :thumleft:

Yes, Mr. Zog, we are trying out the new Mahindra GippsAero 8 Super-duper Inverter Kit. It flies faster upsidedown, and the fuel guages always say "Full"! Everybody wins!  :pot:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on July 19, 2016, 08:59:42 am
Thank you, Tom!  :thumleft:

Yes, Mr. Zog, we are trying out the new Mahindra GippsAero 8 Super-duper Inverter Kit. It flies faster upsidedown, and the fuel guages always say "Full"! Everybody wins!  :pot:

 :laughing4: :laughing4:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on July 19, 2016, 02:32:27 pm
and here I thought you'd taken a trip to China
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 22, 2016, 07:20:23 pm
Guma

I have done a few flights to Guma. It is in the north west region, along the pan handle of the Okavango Delta. With water and papyrus everywhere, it is a sight to behold.

I have only ever seen the airstrip (which is nothing to write home about), but today I had a long wait so they took me into the camp.

Wow. It was as if I had stumbled into a rain forest. Wooden decks, tents on stilts, lush green trees, beautiful grass, and a fantastic wooden main area which looks over the Guma lagoon.

On arriving I was handed a Coke and water, and a plate of cheese and tomato, and onion and palony sandwiches. Now it isnt much, but man this is living the dream!

After eating I went inside and saw what books were on the shelf. Grabbing an interesting looking one, I glanced through it as I picked a couch and sat down.
Aaah, nice soft couch. I promptly closed the book and set it down, and forced myself not to fall asleep right there.

Maagie vol, oogies toe!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: windswept on July 22, 2016, 07:50:18 pm
I did google the website of Guma. Their rates are very reasonable. You are one lucky fish to be able to go to these lekker places. :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 27, 2016, 04:15:37 am
Sardine is about to set off on another adventure.
To Johannesburg!

I will post more when I can, but for today I leave you with this:
There is no such thing as a "perfect moment or time".
Everything happens for a reason.
You only live once.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Crab on July 27, 2016, 07:37:11 am
Good luck in Jozi Heather
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on July 27, 2016, 11:29:49 am

City of smog. Rather come back to Cape Town. Winter is almost over, time to ride  :ricky:

Is this a permanent or long time move? If so, all the best!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 27, 2016, 09:50:11 pm

City of smog. Rather come back to Cape Town. Winter is almost over, time to ride  :ricky:

Is this a permanent or long time move? If so, all the best!  :thumleft:

Thank you, Crab!

Neither permanent nor long term. Tomorrow I leave for Durban, on Friday I will be in Cape Town, and on Sunday back to the dust bowl that is Maun!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Crab on July 28, 2016, 09:09:42 am
Oh nice little trip. I hope you enjoy the outing.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 29, 2016, 04:01:43 am
Durban is cold...
Driving across I was expecting rain. Nope, blue skies all the way! It was lovey to see the snow on the mountains and take on the twisty roads.
Today begins leg 3 of the adventure: Cape Town!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on July 29, 2016, 04:08:21 am
Awesome!!!!


Enjoy      :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 01, 2016, 02:45:01 pm
So on Friday two weeks ago I tried to get another extension on my car. I was unsuccessful which means that I had until Sunday 30 July to get it out of the country. If I didn't and got caught, they would impound the car and charge me a P10 000 fine. Ouch.

I started getting the dates for the next truck to South Africa and then saw that our flying schedule was very quiet from Wednesday onwards. So quiet in fact, that I wouldn't be flying for 5 days. The wheels got turning in my brain cell and I devised a plan; I would drive it to Cape Town and combine it with a visit with the family, and meet my niece.

I started plotting my route- Maun to Windhoek to Cape Town over 2 days. This is going to be tough!
And then, a speed bump. My sister wouldn't be home for the weekend; they were going away to Greyton for the weekend. Nooit, the one time I get the opportunity to meet my niece and they won't be there.

Ok, think. First I got confused between Greytown and Greyton. I almost wound up driving to Greytown. Oops.
Then my Dad suggested I take my car to Durban- it is shorter than going to Cape Town. Hmmm... I DID have to drop stuff off in JHB, so maybe Durban is a better option.

Now, I am the type who likes to do loads of research. I plan things meticulously and can take ages to make a decision. Do I truck my car down, then spend R8000 on plane tickets to visit my family later in the year, or do I just combine it all now, even if I have to drive to Greyton to visit my sister and her family for just one night.
What about the car? Will it survive over 1700km over two days? And flights, the Durban to Cape Town flights were filling up fast. And Cape Town to Maun is expensive.
Is this the right time? Should I or shouldn't I?
At the end of the day it wasn't so much about the money, but about spending time with my niece. Two days now or hope for more time later

I was going back and forth and started asking my closest friends what they thought.
One of them asked "What is more fun and adventurous?"
Well, the road trip of course.
"There's your answer, you only live once."

And that was when I remembered that since moving to Botswana, I have been trying so hard to be a bit more spontaneous, and to try new things and just experience life. You only live once.
There is no such thing as "the perfect moment". If you keep waiting for the that moment, you will be waiting for a very long time.

Sure, I would only have two days with my niece, but if I wait in the hopes of getting more leave for longer later this year, well, it might backfire and might wind up only seeing her next year. An opportunity arose, grab it with both hands! But, is all that effort for only two days worth it?

It's family, of course it is worth it! When I met that little girl, and got her to smile, everything just faded away. Yes, family is definitely worth it.

So, I drove from Maun to JHB, then JHB to Durban. On Friday morning I flew from Durban to Cape Town and then drove to Greyton (after visiting the Mall and spending a lot of money!). I spent some time with my family, and now I am back in Maun. It is getting hot, and I no longer have a car. My transport will be a bicycle. Yes it sucks, but I am sure it has happened for a reason.

So, next time you are wondering if something is worth the money, if it is the 'right time', just go for it! Money is made to be spent. Get out there and do what makes you happy!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on August 01, 2016, 03:03:13 pm
ek stem 100%     :thumleft:   :thumleft:    :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Crab on August 01, 2016, 08:23:32 pm
Sounds like it was a cool trip. So what will become of the car in Durban?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 01, 2016, 08:51:09 pm
Sounds like it was a cool trip. So what will become of the car in Durban?

It was. I will get around to uploading the photos. One day.

Haven't really decided yet. Might put it up for sale. But part of me wants to keep it so I don't have to buy a car when I move back to SA. See, I'm doing this whole over-thinking 'is this the right time' thing again  :P
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 02, 2016, 05:43:33 pm
Cacophony of Noise

After months of only one aircraft radio, it has finally been fixed. Now I have the ability to simultaneously listen to two radio frequencies. I have got so used to just having the one, and not having to put up with all the nattering on the company frequency that it was a bit of a shock to the system hearing so many things.
It takes a lot of practice to listen to two frequencies; we normally set the volume of the primary frequency (air traffic control or the general frequency we all use in the Delta) higher than that of the secondary (company) frequency. But sometimes it is difficult to get the volumes just right. That's when I turn down the volume of the second frequency as it can be incredible distraction.

Today was a short one; two hours with 4 sectors. While a little windy on the ground, the flying conditions were as smooth as silk. It felt as if I hadn't flown in months, even though I was only away for 5 days last week.

And I did some Airvan flying yesterday. That was nice. I had a 16:30 scenic which turned into a 17:10 scenic because the clients rocked up late. That's cutting it fine with sunset. But sjoe, what beautiful conditions. And we saw 3 huge male lion. I touched down in Maun as the sun slipped below the horizon. Beautiful.

After filing all the paperwork, it was well and truly dark. And I no longer have a car. So I strapped a torch to my bicycle helmet, hopped on my trusty Merida, and had a very scary 10 minute cycle home. The torch isn't very strong so I could only see 1m in front of me. I opted to take the dirt road home as the main tar road was quite busy. Eish.
But, I survived. Today was Day 2 of no car, no late night cycling, so I am happy!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on August 03, 2016, 09:38:51 am
You have the distinct advantage of being a lady; imagine a guy trying to listen to two frequencies AND fly all at the same time  :imaposer:


Please could you elaborate a bit on the "scenics" ?  Sounds like an airborne game drive   :drif:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on August 03, 2016, 10:34:34 am
Cacophony of Noise

After months of only one aircraft radio, it has finally been fixed. Now I have the ability to simultaneously listen to two radio frequencies. I have got so used to just having the one, and not having to put up with all the nattering on the company frequency that it was a bit of a shock to the system hearing so many things.
It takes a lot of practice to listen to two frequencies; we normally set the volume of the primary frequency (air traffic control or the general frequency we all use in the Delta) higher than that of the secondary (company) frequency. But sometimes it is difficult to get the volumes just right. That's when I turn down the volume of the second frequency as it can be incredible distraction.

Today was a short one; two hours with 4 sectors. While a little windy on the ground, the flying conditions were as smooth as silk. It felt as if I hadn't flown in months, even though I was only away for 5 days last week.

And I did some Airvan flying yesterday. That was nice. I had a 16:30 scenic which turned into a 17:10 scenic because the clients rocked up late. That's cutting it fine with sunset. But sjoe, what beautiful conditions. And we saw 3 huge male lion. I touched down in Maun as the sun slipped below the horizon. Beautiful.

After filing all the paperwork, it was well and truly dark. And I no longer have a car. So I strapped a torch to my bicycle helmet, hopped on my trusty Merida, and had a very scary 10 minute cycle home. The torch isn't very strong so I could only see 1m in front of me. I opted to take the dirt road home as the main tar road was quite busy. Eish.
But, I survived. Today was Day 2 of no car, no late night cycling, so I am happy!  :thumleft:

Must be so nice to be able to get on a bike and cycle home in the dark without worries beyond "hope a buck doesn't run me off this thing"  :biggrin:
And agreed with 0012, please post pics if any?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 03, 2016, 08:25:29 pm
Here is a photo of one of the rivers we fly part of the scenic along.
Gomoti River

Scenic is flown at 500ft, which is around 3 to 4 times lower than what you see in the photo.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on August 05, 2016, 01:54:15 pm
Hello H Glad to see your back Flying in Bots and survived the traffic from ZA  :ricky:
go and have a look here please :

http://www.extremelights.co.za/product-category/cycle-lights/ (http://www.extremelights.co.za/product-category/cycle-lights/)

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 06, 2016, 03:48:35 pm
Hello H Glad to see your back Flying in Bots and survived the traffic from ZA  :ricky:
go and have a look here please :

http://www.extremelights.co.za/product-category/cycle-lights/ (http://www.extremelights.co.za/product-category/cycle-lights/)



Thank you, Zetman.  :thumleft:
I bought myself a super duper 180 lumens headlamp. Tried it last night and it works well.

Organised Chaos

On Thursday evening I was updating my electronic logbook (I run two; one is the good old paper version, and the other is electronic. Electronic is nice because you can get a summary of hours per aircraft type in an instant, but I find it so satisfying penning in entries in the paper one).
I realised two things.
1.) I have 400 hours on the Kodiak now. Woohoo!  8)
2.) I have had really slow days; 1hr here, 3hrs there, 2hrs... This time last year I was pushing 4-5.5hrs per day. Believe it or not, working a long day is much better than a short one, as the short ones often go 'Fly, get back to Maun and wait, fly, get back to Maun and wait'. It drives me crazy! A long day would be good for a change.

Think stuff like that and Murphy shall answer...

Friday (yesterday) morning, I had just hit the snooze button for my 06:55 alarm. I was only flying at 10:40, which means I only had to be in the office at 09:10, but I was planning on leaving home at 08:00.
07:15, my phone rings. It's the office.
"You have a scenic at 08:30"... Oh great. I was out of bed, dressed and walking out the door in 10 minutes, a dry, stale Provita my breakfast. I raced down the dirt road on my bicycle, and shaved 2 minutes off my usual time on the cycle to work.

Grabbing a schedule, I saw I would be doing the scenic on the Airvan, then jumping on to the Kodiak (my original 10:40 flight) and once back at 13:30, I would jump on to the C206 at 15:00 for another two scenics. Eish.
Somehow I made it to the aircraft in record time, and we were airborne at 08:30 on the dot!

Stomach grumbling and body lacking caffeine, it was a good scenic with smooth conditions and good game (HUGE herds of buffalo these days).
Back on the ground, I secured that aircraft (we tie them down to steel cables) and completed the paperwork, then went over to the Kodiak to pre-flight and get going on that. I contemplated pre-flighting the C206 quickly as well, but decided that there was no point in rushing that as I might make mistakes.
That meant that when I got back at 13:30 I wouldn't have enough time to go get breakfast (and lunch). So I phoned the office.
"Hi there, is there any chance you can organise a sandwich or something for me when I get back? I didn't eat breakfast and couldn't pack lunch because, well, I didn't have time and I also don't have any food in my house." I had been planning on getting groceries before work...

When I got back from the Kodiak flights, a beautiful bacon and egg roll was waiting for me. I swear I heard angels as I took that first bite!  :drif:

Body fuelled, it was into the C206. It had come back from maintenance and needed to do a test circuit to make sure everything was working (like with car services, you can send it in with one thing broken and get it back with five things broken). Good thing too as I hadn't flown a C206 in a long time, and this particular one can be a bit of a dog.

The circuit was, uhm, interesting. I managed to land without breaking it, and then it was on to the scenics. Flew two cool groups of people, and tied down with the sunset as the backdrop. Then it was to the pizza place across the road from the office to order a take-away pizza, then to the office to do the paperwork, and then cycle home in the dark.

Phew, was I knackered by the time I got home!
But, I got the long day I had been hoping for!  O0
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ama ride ride on August 06, 2016, 05:20:29 pm
Always lekker to read your diary :thumleft:.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Crab on August 06, 2016, 07:10:41 pm
Such an interesting life.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on August 11, 2016, 12:18:15 pm
Hey Sardine
Im assuming you have jinxed yourself and are flying all day everyday now, thats why you have been so quiet......... :peepwall:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 11, 2016, 01:30:16 pm
I wish, Big-G!
I have been hit with a cold once again. Don't think it is flu this time, but eish, it's not so cool. So just trying to take it easy.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on August 11, 2016, 04:22:01 pm
I wish, Big-G!
I have been hit with a cold once again. Don't think it is flu this time, but eish, it's not so cool. So just trying to take it easy.

Go shop for a nice motorbike. It's that cycling at night that's doing you in  :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 11, 2016, 04:45:16 pm
I wish, Big-G!
I have been hit with a cold once again. Don't think it is flu this time, but eish, it's not so cool. So just trying to take it easy.

Go shop for a nice motorbike. It's that cycling at night that's doing you in  :biggrin:

There's a TTR230 I was considering getting. But a part of me would rather put that money towards flying home on leave next year. Decisions decisions.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on August 11, 2016, 06:39:31 pm
EK Stem vir di bike elke mens moet n bike he  :snorting:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on August 12, 2016, 12:00:30 am
I wish, Big-G!
I have been hit with a cold once again. Don't think it is flu this time, but eish, it's not so cool. So just trying to take it easy.

Go shop for a nice motorbike. It's that cycling at night that's doing you in  :biggrin:

There's a TTR230 I was considering getting. But a part of me would rather put that money towards flying home on leave next year. Decisions decisions.

Suggest to the family that since you're such and integral part of it, and really want to visit, but really REALLY need a bike in Bots, they could be nice and contribute towards the ticket   :deal:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 13, 2016, 08:33:07 am
Savute Elephant Lodge

I'm sitting on the deck overlooking the dried up Savute Channel, sipping coffee and munching a slice of mutilated toast (why do they always cool the butter so it doesn't spread?!)

It sounds as if the trees are rustling, but there is no wind. It is the hundreds of doves who have flocked to the artificial waterhole to get their fill now that the elephant and kudu have wandered off.

Something disturbs the doves and they are airborne in perfect harmony, whistling and tweeting as they leave their perch in a tree for a spot on the ground.

An African Fish Eagle watches, it's pure-white feathers like a beacon at the top of a dead tree.

It is not as icy cold today like the last time I was here. As the ground heats up the temperatures will start creeping into the high 20ies, and come October they will be well into the high 30ies.

I can't wait to see this place transform with the rain. Right now it looks a bit like a wasteland of yellows and browns; no water, no grass, and trees with small leaves (some with no leaves at all). After the rain, it is just a sea of green.

Maybe this year the Channel will flow again, but I'm not going to get my hopes up.

Not long and I will need to head to work. My commute is about 20minutes by hectic sand roads in a Land Cruiser. Then I will trade wheels for wings. Today should be straight forward, with three pickups  and then to Maun, with a Maun-Khwai-Maun in the afternoon.

But first, another cup of coffee (or three!)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Crab on August 13, 2016, 10:34:37 am
Nice!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on August 18, 2016, 07:31:58 pm
Am I pleased that you are back, oh yea.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 22, 2016, 09:01:03 pm
The past 10 days or so have been a bit hectic, with a double night stop at Savute Elephant Lodge, a night at Motswiri Camp, and a double night stop at Chobe Chilwero. I also had some 3hr days, and even a 3.9hr day!
Today however, I clocked 5hrs! It was long, and it is starting to get hot! So I worked hard and am now lying in bed trying to keep my eyes open while I type this. Tomorrow will also be a fairly long one, and I am doing my Certificate of Test.
This is basically an annual renewal. My boss will be doing the testing which means it is sure to be very challenging! (The other examiners are also tough, but The Boss just takes it to a whole new level). I enjoy tests like that, but I know that tomorrow evening I will probably be even more tired than I am tonight, and Wednesday night also be a long day.
But you know what? It sure as heck beats sitting around doing nothing!

Last weekend I managed to go for a quick helicopter flight on my day off. I haven't been in many helicopters, and am quite careful about what I fly in. So I was pretty nervous climbing into this little Robinson 44. They have a lot of bad rep, and a friend was in a R44 crash a few years ago.
Well, you only live once!

Wow! What an experience! Cruising along low, at 90-100kts, with the doors off. I was in heaven. It made my realize how much I miss puttering around in J3 Cubs and Tiger Moths with the wind in my hair!
There's just one problem now... I want to do my helicopter licence. Anyone want to sponsor me R200k? :pot:

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: MegaPix on August 22, 2016, 09:15:30 pm
Just love these shots out the chopper.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on August 22, 2016, 09:37:02 pm
The past 10 days or so have been a bit hectic, with a double night stop at Savute Elephant Lodge, a night at Motswiri Camp, and a double night stop at Chobe Chilwero. I also had some 3hr days, and even a 3.9hr day!
Today however, I clocked 5hrs! It was long, and it is starting to get hot! So I worked hard and am now lying in bed trying to keep my eyes open while I type this. Tomorrow will also be a fairly long one, and I am doing my Certificate of Test.
This is basically an annual renewal. My boss will be doing the testing which means it is sure to be very challenging! (The other examiners are also tough, but The Boss just takes it to a whole new level). I enjoy tests like that, but I know that tomorrow evening I will probably be even more tired than I am tonight, and Wednesday night also be a long day.
But you know what? It sure as heck beats sitting around doing nothing!

Last weekend I managed to go for a quick helicopter flight on my day off. I haven't been in many helicopters, and am quite careful about what I fly in. So I was pretty nervous climbing into this little Robinson 44. They have a lot of bad rep, and a friend was in a R44 crash a few years ago.
Well, you only live once!

Wow! What an experience! Cruising along low, at 90-100kts, with the doors off. I was in heaven. It made my realize how much I miss puttering around in J3 Cubs and Tiger Moths with the wind in my hair!
There's just one problem now... I want to do my helicopter licence. Anyone want to sponsor me R200k? :pot:


Ag lekker! My brother was in the Air Force and when he transferred from Pretoria to Bloemfontein, invited me on his last Oryx flight around the Magaliesberg. They threw it around the sky a bit and then we hovered next to a waterfall with the doors open... so awesome :)

All best on getting that chopper licence!

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on September 06, 2016, 01:37:53 am
I flew as engineer in the SAAF, AloIII.

To fly is heaven.
To hover, divine.  :drif:

And I found a pilot-related pic you can reproduce and put up in the bathroom at the hangar  :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on September 08, 2016, 07:59:39 am
Hey Sardine I hope you are well, we are missing our regular bush pilot fix :deal:

Please check in with an update :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 08, 2016, 08:57:29 pm
I know, I know.
Sorry.

Right, my Dad came for a visit. He used to work here in the late 80ies, and we had done a flight up here in 2011 (but only stayed one night). So it was really cool being able to show him around, and best of all, take him flying in the Kodiak!My Dad has been flying a long time, and is rated on a lot of aircraft. But not the Kodiak  8)
We also spent a night at &Beyond's Xaranna Okavango Delta Tented Camp, which was fantastic. It felt like a home away from home.

This week, a former PPL-student of mine arrived. He has his CPL (Commercial Pilots Licence) now and is on the hunt for work. The last time we flew together was 2014. Yesterday and today he came with on some flights. It was a little weird, me in the left seat and him on the right; it was always the other way around. But sjoe, such a cool feeling knowing that I helped him get to where he is now!

October is the hottest month in Botswana, but summer has already hit hard. From cool mornings and days around 25-28 degrees, this week temperatures just rocketed! It was 30degC at 10am this morning! We're in for a VERY hot summer! Hopefully the rains will be good this season, though!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on September 09, 2016, 12:41:05 am
That sunset pic in your last post is quite simply stunning Heather.

It makes me miss Africa so much...  :'(


The beauty and splendour of Africa, that is.  :thumleft:


Keep them coming please.  ;D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: windswept on September 13, 2016, 04:55:23 am
I know, I know.
Sorry.

Right, my Dad came for a visit. He used to work here in the late 80ies, and we had done a flight up here in 2011 (but only stayed one night). So it was really cool being able to show him around, and best of all, take him flying in the Kodiak!My Dad has been flying a long time, and is rated on a lot of aircraft. But not the Kodiak  8)
We also spent a night at &Beyond's Xaranna Okavango Delta Tented Camp, which was fantastic. It felt like a home away from home.

This week, a former PPL-student of mine arrived. He has his CPL (Commercial Pilots Licence) now and is on the hunt for work. The last time we flew together was 2014. Yesterday and today he came with on some flights. It was a little weird, me in the left seat and him on the right; it was always the other way around. But sjoe, such a cool feeling knowing that I helped him get to where he is now!

October is the hottest month in Botswana, but summer has already hit hard. From cool mornings and days around 25-28 degrees, this week temperatures just rocketed! It was 30degC at 10am this morning! We're in for a VERY hot summer! Hopefully the rains will be good this season, though!

You met Paulo and his wife. Nice couple.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 13, 2016, 10:10:24 am
When I was based in the Western Cape, I pretty much lived at the Stellenbosch Flying Club. As a result, I made good friends and scored a lot of amazing flights. From aerobatics in an MX-2, to formations with T28 Trojan's. But some of the best flights were those in the UH-1H "Huey". Often they were nothing more than a 5 minute circuit every now and then. But, it ignited a fire that has yet to burn out.

Since leaving, I hadn't been in a helicopter for a while. Then recently I managed to go for a quick flip here with a friend, in an R44. The fuel had been added to the coals, and the flames are roaring. Then, last week, I got to go with on a helicopter scenic flight. Wow!
The photos don't do it justice (I can't tell if it is me or the camera that is blurry... getting old sucks!)

At Mack Air we fly a lot of scenics, but flying in a fixed wing is completely different to a helicopter; we go fast, sometimes higher (lowest we may go is 500ft, but if bumpy we go 100-300ft higher), you have windows so reflections are a problem, and there isn't much room for that sweet prime-lens. However, you get a good overview of the Delta, and can see all the water channels and islands and different areas (dry scrub to swamp).

In the helicopter, they take the doors off so your visibility is perfect, you go a lot slower, and if you see something cool, it is easier to go back for another look. There is nothing like the feeling of the wind in your hair while leaning out an aircraft  O0

We saw loads of buffalo and elephant, sable, lechwe, impala, a giraffe, and as we were puttering along, I just happened to look down as we flew over some hyena. Score!

1. Ellies
2. Buffalo along the road
3. Setting up for sundowners by the river
4. Sable
5. The crisscrossing tracks of hundreds of animals. Roads of the Delta, carved by elephant. The channels in the waterways are carved by the hippo. In fact, it is thanks to the hippo that there are so many channels and waterways

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 13, 2016, 10:27:37 am
1. Hippo runs through the water. While hippos can't actually swim, they can run exceptionally fast in water, and on land
2. I love reflections
3. Elephant cooling off
4. Kudu. They were just standing there while we went past a few times. I reckon they were saying "Well, we kudu this, or we kudu that"
5. Hyena rolling around. Doesn't he look cute?
6. So ugly it's cute
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 13, 2016, 10:28:54 am
7. What was once a termite mound is now an island. A lot of the islands in the Delta are white from all the salt
8. What a view. What a flat country.
9. A little piece of heaven
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on September 13, 2016, 10:30:36 am
I pretty much lived at the Stellenbosch Flying Club.

S did you perhaps meet Dirk Linde there by chance?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 13, 2016, 11:09:53 am
I pretty much lived at the Stellenbosch Flying Club.

S did you perhaps meet Dirk Linde there by chance?

Hmmm, his face is familiar.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on September 13, 2016, 12:18:12 pm
:deal: So are you playing lotto yet... The chopper license is waiting :lamer:

Love the photos as always you have a good eye for photos keep going
Groete
Z
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on September 13, 2016, 12:52:08 pm
Wow what amazing photos
It makes me want to pack up and hit the bush right now.....
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Crab on September 13, 2016, 05:43:15 pm
Stunning photos,  I am quite envious
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: MegaPix on September 13, 2016, 06:50:37 pm
wow

i MUST COME VISIT 

Need those type of images for my stock portfolio

Thanx for sharing
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 17, 2016, 07:11:57 pm
Thank you everyone!
MegaPix, let me know when you are in town  ;)

I had a story, but forgot what it was. No fear, I have another little ramble.

The nice thing about this job is that you meet all sorts of people. This month, I met an Airbus engineer, who is part of the design team for the A350's anti-icing system, and he was also involved in the development of the flaps and slats of the A319 (I think... could have been A320). Very nice bloke.
And I also met a retired US Navy Flight Surgeon. We were on the long leg up to Kasane and it was nice and smooth so I could switch the autopilot on and have a bit of a chat to him (he sat in the co-pilot seat).
He showed me some of his photos, and wow! He has flown in heaps of jets and had some cool little stories to tell  8)

--
The Kodiak was in for its scheduled maintenance last week so I was put on the Airvan to do Line Training. That is basically where I sit in the right (co-pilot) seat and stare out the window.
...
Sort of. I also make sure the pilot under supervision doesn't mess up. Fortunately my 'student' is very sharp and didn't need much input from me. But we had a few very long flights. Deception Valley to Kasane, just shy of 2hrs, in hot, bumpy conditions with bad visibility. I reached the point where I started to feel sick just sitting there because I couldn't make out the horizon.

Most of last week was hot and bumpy with bad vis. And then today. Haaaaaaaaah! Windy, but smooth, and oh my, I can see the horizon!
Up in Kasane the vis dropped again, but at least the Delta was clear  :biggrin:

The top pic is on the way from Kasane to Selinda. And the bottom two are in the Delta.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on September 18, 2016, 09:28:46 am
 :sip: Thanks. Fotos are stunning.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 22, 2016, 06:52:16 am
There is nothing like an African sunrise. The promise of a bright, new, and hot (now that we're going into October) day.
But, I'm not really a morning person.
Sunsets, however. Viewed from the air or the ground, they never disappoint. Watching the disc slip below the horizon, casting fiery rays across this flat landscape. Knowing that another day can be marked off the calendar, and that it is finally time to go home, or braai, or just kuier after a long day of work.

But earlier this week I was staying up in Selinda, which is almost on the border of Namibia. There are three camps there, and then a fourth 'camp' which is the Central Supply Unit for the 3 camps. So they have a lot of food stuff, car parts, and quite a big compliment of staff. And because it is a Great Plains concession, film crew also stay at CSU. We call it "tent city" sometimes because they had to set up a lot of extra tents for the film crews.

Anyway, we were having dinner when the moon appeared through the trees.
Just shy of full, it was a deep red colour. With all the smoke from the fires in Namibia and dust from the wind, the air just dyes everything a reddish brown.

As it slowly made its ascent, it turned a red-orange colour. Then orange-yellow. And as it got about the layer of smoke and dust and other nasty stuff, it turned an off-white colour.

Sorry sunrise, you're going to have to be even more spectacular than usual to top that moonrise!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: MegaPix on September 22, 2016, 04:33:57 pm
 :useless:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on September 23, 2016, 03:00:36 am
The other evening I went outside to my workshop. Returning to the house I noticed that a full moon was just rising.

It was magnificent.

But, unlike the African moon that is red from the dust in the air, this moon was sparkling white...

It had been raining, and besides that fact, there is very little dust here anyway...

It was pretty.

But nowhere as beautiful as a red moon rising over the African bushveld  :drif:

I do miss Africa sometimes.  :'(
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Fudmucker on September 24, 2016, 08:14:55 pm
You can take your body out of Africa,
but you can't take Africa out of your soul...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 25, 2016, 05:59:01 am
Sorry folks. The last three mornings I have had to be up at 5am.
Temperatures are around 37degC during the day.
Fires everywhere. The Chobe National Park in the Kasane area has been burnt to a crisp.
Been a long week and I can't wait for my weekend!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on September 26, 2016, 07:21:53 pm
During my working career, which I still enjoy to the utmost, people would ask "what do you do for a living" And I would reply "I'm a subsidised tourist", possibly true. I saw 90% of R S A on the boss's account. Heather you are in a similar boat. Tx for the excellent photos.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: MegaPix on September 26, 2016, 07:34:52 pm
Sardine... You have a PM
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 27, 2016, 10:02:30 am
Thank you, Cheesy. What do you do, if you don't mind my asking?

MegaPix, replied  :thumleft:

Milestone...

Night before last I was updating my electronic logbook. I think I have mentioned that I run two logbooks- one is paper, the other is on my computer. I take great pride in penning in an entry at the end of the day. But with the electronic one, it automatically tells you time on each type of aircraft, number of take-off's and landings, hours over the last 7 days/month/6months etc. So it's really handy.

Anyway, on Sunday I hit exactly 500hrs on the Kodiak.   O0
Quite chuffed with that. My next goal is to have more hours on the Kodiak than on the Airvan (almost 700hrs).

 :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on September 27, 2016, 10:21:58 am
Thank you, Cheesy. What do you do, if you don't mind my asking?

MegaPix, replied  :thumleft:

Milestone...

Night before last I was updating my electronic logbook. I think I have mentioned that I run two logbooks- one is paper, the other is on my computer. I take great pride in penning in an entry at the end of the day. But with the electronic one, it automatically tells you time on each type of aircraft, number of take-off's and landings, hours over the last 7 days/month/6months etc. So it's really handy.

Anyway, on Sunday I hit exactly 500hrs on the Kodiak.   O0
Quite chuffed with that. My next goal is to have more hours on the Kodiak than on the Airvan (almost 700hrs).

 :ricky:

 :angel8:
Congratulations Sardine!! Wishing you many more safe flying hours  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on September 28, 2016, 04:42:21 pm
Not at all, Industrial water treatment. Started in 1972 saw the entire TVL, Free State, N + E + W Cape and some parts of Natal. All by 4 wheels. It is a wonderful life. Furthermore I categorise Biking, Flying and Sailing in the same box, out there in the open enjoying the free elements. :3some:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on September 30, 2016, 04:11:30 pm
sardine when does the stopwatch start & end?

Is it literally flying hours (wheels up till wheels down) or does the timer start from taxi start till taxi end, or some other formula?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 30, 2016, 07:46:29 pm
Thank you, Ri :)

Cheesy, that's certainly something different. If I couldn't fly I would have to get a job where I am not confined to an office.

0012, it depends on the aircraft.
Pistons are generally fitted with a tachometer and/or Hobbs meter. The tacho generally only starts ticking over above a certain rpm. The Hobbs meter can either be wired into the electrics so as soon as you flick the Master switch for the electrics on, it starts ticking, OR, it is connected to a pressure-plate type thing under the wing. A certain amount of air flow is required to push the plate enough to close the circuit and get the Hobbs ticking.

You larger aircraft like the Kodiak, PC12, Boeings etc have a "weight off wheels" squat switch, so as soon as you get airborne the meter starts ticking.

That being said, the law states something along the lines of loggable flight time being from the moment the aircraft moves under its own power for the purposes of flight, until it comes to a standstill after the flight. What we call "chock to chock".

So, for the Kodiak, I know I can safely add 0.1 (6min) to the Hobbs time (aka Flight time, due to that weight off wheels switch) for every landing, to get the true hours flown.

Hope that helps! :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 30, 2016, 07:54:19 pm
I'm trying to get back into my cycling and there have been some spectacular sunsets lately. With all the dust in the air once the sun nears the horizon it just turns into this big red disk.
The other day my housemate invited me to a braai out of town on the Boteti River where the manne like to fish. I decided to would be a good idea to get out the house, and out of Maun.
It's amazing how just driving 20km out of town is enough to help you reset.

Anyway, we arrived just in time to view another of Africa's beautiful sunsets.

---

Today marks 50 years of Independence for Botswana.
It has been a groot partytjie since yesterday afternoon.
I love hats, and figured, what better way to get into the spirit of things than by wearing the Botswana colours.

It was itchy and hot, but it got some laughs. I don't know if they were laughing at the white girl or with me, but either way I'm just happy I got to make people smile.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on September 30, 2016, 08:47:51 pm
Still following this great thread and I was able to see some pictures tonight here on Giugh...the net is rather slowww  :bueller:

Congrats and safe flying!!  :thumleft: :laughing4:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: oldmannorman on October 01, 2016, 11:03:55 am
 :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 09, 2016, 07:09:43 am
Into the Fiery Depths We Go

I don't like the cold. I miss the Cape so much but those icy winters that never seemed to end got to me. That is part of why I wanted to move to Botswana. The winters here are mild- cold nights and mornings, but during the day it warms up nicely and you can wear shorts and a tshirt.

Winter is over now. September was hot. October is the hottest month of the year. And it sure hasn't failed to disappoint!

Yesterday ambient temperatures were up to 38*C. Which means that all the aircraft sitting in the sun bake and the cockpit and cabin reach temperatures of up to 50*C! Everything you touch burns, and if you wear gloves the sweat starts to pool up in them within minutes.

On the 800m walk from the office to the plane, you can feel the heat of the tar through your shoes. I hop from painted line to painted line.
In the plane, you can feel the heat of the metal rudder pedals coming through your shoes. and the rudder pedals aren't even in direct sunlight!

But despite the heat, yesterday was fun because the wind was pumping!
The weather was very odd. In the morning it was pretty much a solid northerly wind of 20-30kts on the ground and up to about 35kts in the air. The take-off's out of Maun, which has a east-west runway, were interesting to say the least. Some of the landings were even more interesting.

Every bush strip I flew to had a x-wind. The computer in the Kodiak can calculate the x-wind and on some landings indicated about 25kts gusting 30kts. Landing on a calcrete runway that is 18m and riddled with holes and ditches and elephant poo. It was a workout!

My day was meant to end at 13:00 but some more flying came up.
On the way to khwai River from Piajio, dark clouds loomed ahead. It looked almost as if it wanted to rain, but it didn't.
However the wind had shifted to a westerly. And picked up in strength.
Coming back to Maun, it was as if a sandstorm had decided to make the airport its home. Swirly clouds of dust and sand and who knows what else!

The thick soft top layer of sand on all the roads had been deposited in my house, hair and clothes, leaving a compact road surface I never even knew existed!

This morning it is a little cloudy and cool, and I can even smell a bit of moisture in the air.
I am hoping this rainy season comes soon, and packs a punch!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 09, 2016, 05:27:19 pm
1- On the ground in Khwai River, the clouds looked promising
2 - Need to find Maun? Just follow the sand!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on October 14, 2016, 11:44:22 am
Thanks for the flying hours explanation, it's quite technical hey!

Love those sunset shots, the dusty atmosphere really provides a spectacular canvas!

wrt the heat, do those aircraft have any aircon?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 17, 2016, 05:59:28 am
Thanks for the flying hours explanation, it's quite technical hey!

Love those sunset shots, the dusty atmosphere really provides a spectacular canvas!

wrt the heat, do those aircraft have any aircon?
:thumleft:

Some of the turbine aircraft do have aircon. The Cessna Caravan's one seems to be quite effective. The Kodiak struggles a bit- with the cockpit painted black the temperature inside the cockpit rockets up towards 50degC, and even with the aircon set to 18degC and the fan full blast it feels like the air from a hairdryer!

On the Cessna 206 we open the window on the ground, and in the Airvan we open the door. Just to get some form of air flowing through. Once in flight it cools down a tiny bit.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on October 17, 2016, 08:40:32 am
 :thumleft:

makes it much more live-able, aircon!

Black paint on any vehicle in africa is a bad idea IMHO   :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 19, 2016, 02:02:00 pm
:thumleft:

makes it much more live-able, aircon!

Black paint on any vehicle in africa is a bad idea IMHO   :imaposer:

Indeed!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 19, 2016, 02:11:32 pm
Scorched Earth

You might remember that the other day I put up a short post about the bad visibility we have been having because of all the fires and sand. Well, by the other day, I think I mean last month- I can't really remember, all the days have just become one big blur.

But anyway, on one of my flights the smoke had cleared just enough for me to get a few half-decent photos of the areas that had been burnt.
It was quite spectacular to see the contrast between the brown, dead earth, and the dead earth blackened by the fire.

What's also quite amazing is that now, a month or so later, you can't even really tell there was a fire.
And after the first rains, that area will just be green.

Speaking of rain, we had a few drops yesterday morning. It was such a good feeling standing by the plane and feeling the water on my face. Alas, it only lasted a couple of minutes.

Photos:
1-3: Fire damage
4: And more recently, a day with good visibility. And clouds!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Crab on October 19, 2016, 10:12:38 pm
Shew that is dry there
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 24, 2016, 05:15:20 pm
Last week (my week is different- Wednesday being my day off is "Sunday", so my week starts from Thursday really) was tough. Very hot and I was stuck in the Airvan. As a training captain, it is my job to supervise the newer pilots while they master the ropes. On one day we did just under 7hrs of flying. Which is awesome, but as I am an observer, I sit in the right hand seat and, well, observe. So it gets very monotonous.

Did about 15hrs of that over 3 days. Draining stuff!

Then, on Friday evening, my sister called. My dog, a beautiful Basset Hound called Max, had been put down. I am passionate about animals, especially dogs. Heartbroken doesn't even begin to cover it. So, it was a tough weekend for me. I am starting to feel a little better now, but damn, the homesickness has hit hard!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 24, 2016, 08:02:54 pm
Cessna Grand Caravan

The Hilux of the skies
Suburban with a turbine
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on October 24, 2016, 11:34:36 pm
 :'( so sorry about your doggie hope your hart heals fast and a new puppy brighten your future
chherioz Z
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on October 27, 2016, 09:54:30 pm
So sorry to hear about your pooch. I have become to "hate" dogs they get under your skin, love you unconditionally and are the greatest companions. When they go, I should imagine it's like loosing a child. I still miss my Rottie.4 years later
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 28, 2016, 09:34:00 am
Thank you guys.
It's weird, obviously I miss my friends and family (the human ones), but as soon as I get home, I give my dogs a big hug, find a patch of grass or a couch, and spend at least 10 minutes talking to them. And invariably getting absolutely covered in hair and slobber. But it's so worth it.
I go out of my way for dogs.

I am feeling a little nostalgic.
Normally I am very clued-up on dates and anniversaries and stuff. I moved to Maun in October 2014, but forgot exactly when. Turns out it has been 2 years and 15 days. Now there's a scary thought. It will be my third Christmas and New Years away from home.

But, on to happier thoughts.
Yesterday was hot. I mean, every day is hot here, but yesterday was HOT! Sitting on the tarmac waiting for scenic passengers, the temperature gauge in the cockpit (which reads outside air temperature, not even the cockpit temperature) was sitting on 42degC! And on the scenic flight, I had my hand in front of an air vent, and it felt like a hairdryer turned up to HOT!

Phew! I don't think today will be much better, but at least for now I am at home working on presentations for next week.

On the plus side, we flew through rain yesterday. Proper rain. It was falling so heavily it had kicked up a whole lot of sand and created a mini duststorm. And you could actually see the trees and ground glistening with water. I can't describe the feeling. It has been, I don't know, about 6 months since we really experienced rain. Even though there have been more and more clouds building up over the last month, I still find myself marvelling at their puffy goodness.

Photo 1 is the dust storm. I was sitting right-seat in the Airvan, while one of our new recruits did the flying
Photo 2 - Ngoha (Okavango) River, with some cumulonimbus clouds, as seen from the left-seat of the Cessna Caravan. Which, I have been flying more often! :D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on November 07, 2016, 04:56:54 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 08, 2016, 07:47:40 am
The sun is beating down, the still air is stifling. The 10 minutes it takes to pre-flight the plane has me drenched in sweat.  If I poured a bottle of water over my head it would be dry in 5 minutes. I climb into the cockpit to completely the paperwork before the flight. Within a minute, I can feel my shirt sticking to my back. I glance at the outside air temperature gauge. 36 degrees Celsius. It isn't even 10am.

30 minutes until take off, I go around the plane, closing the engine cowlings. Even the areas painted white are hot to touch. My day hasn't even started yet.

30 minutes later we are lined up on runway 08 in Maun. I can't see the end of the 3km long runway because of the shimmering haze above it. And, well, the fact that the runway isn't perfectly level means the other end is lower than where I am.
Cleared for take off, I feed in the power, 1 - 2 - 3, the propeller governs, and I set take off power, keeping an eye on the temperature.

Even sitting at over 5000ft, the temperature outside is above 30 degrees. The aircon is on high, but struggling. With 10 sectors, almost all of the stops within the Okavango Delta, it's going to be a tough day...

5 sectors in, we are on our way from Piajio to Xaranna, a 10-minute hop. Dark clouds are building. A drop of rain falls on the windscreen. And then another. And another. A wide grin spreads across my face and I look to the other pilot sitting next to me and clap. Like a retarded seal. "Rain!"

About 45 minutes after we got back to maun I was standing outside the office and it started to rain. Thunder rolling over head and lightning cracking. A group of us all just stood outside and marveled at these strange things called clouds!

It is a strange feeling. Like, when you are incredibly thirsty and finally get to take that first sip of ice cold water, or Coke, or beer. And that satisfied feeling washes over you. That it was it is like out here when it starts to rain.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 08, 2016, 05:26:18 pm
I was fortunate enough to be in the right place at the right time, and was offered the opportunity to fly the Quest Kodiak. With only one other pilot rated on that machine, it was a lot like having my own plane. But, it has been in the shop for maintenance and is only coming back later this month.

While it is an awesome machine, it ain't no Caravan. I came to Botswana to fly Caravans. I got the rating around May this year, and then it was hurry up and wait. For insurance, it is required to have a minimum of 50hrs on type before they let you loose. So even with over 500hrs on a similar aircraft, I still had to do 50hrs under supervision on the Caravan. Fortunately, while the Kodiak has been out, I have been able to jump on some Caravan flights and build some experience.

Just a few more hours to go until I meet the insurance requirements!

Below, a photo of the mighty Cessna Grand Caravan at Chitabe airstrip, with rain in the distance.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on November 09, 2016, 12:19:34 pm
Sardine you got a talent-full writing style, referring to the 'warm weather post'

Bloody hot in Africa, and the rain is always welcome but bring it's own challenges of wet runways (I am referring to especially South Sudan's gravel runways)

I like the caravans as well, but sometimes wonder if a Pilatus porter would not have done a slightly better job? Maybe you have a good chuckle now, what the hell do I know other than jumping out of these beasts when I was still skydiving! It just felt so powerful and the takeoff with 9 skydivers on board was so quick - 10 000feet came up so quickly! I believe the caravan is probably much cheaper to run, don't know? They do look almost similar in size?

Enjoying your thread
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 10, 2016, 05:39:10 am
Sardine you got a talent-full writing style, referring to the 'warm weather post'

Bloody hot in Africa, and the rain is always welcome but bring it's own challenges of wet runways (I am referring to especially South Sudan's gravel runways)

I like the caravans as well, but sometimes wonder if a Pilatus porter would not have done a slightly better job? Maybe you have a good chuckle now, what the hell do I know other than jumping out of these beasts when I was still skydiving! It just felt so powerful and the takeoff with 9 skydivers on board was so quick - 10 000feet came up so quickly! I believe the caravan is probably much cheaper to run, don't know? They do look almost similar in size?

Enjoying your thread

Thank you, Tom  :)

The Porter is a beautiful aircraft. I have never flown in one, or even been up close to one, but it is high on my list of "want to fly" aircraft.
Whilst it is a very capable STOL machine, I think it will be over-kill out in Botswana. These days, almost all of the runways we operate to are at least 900m long.
You can also only take up to 10 passengers, whereas in the Caravan, you can take up to 12 (for our operations). And the Porter cruises at  about 120kts, where the Caravan sits at 140kts (and the Kodiak 150kts).

I think the Porter might be simpler to maintain. But getting crew, however... taildragger experience is required and gaining that experience is difficult as very few owners of taildragger aircraft will allow just anyone to fly them, due to the fact that they can be tricky little buggers.

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: pietas on November 10, 2016, 07:06:01 am
I was fortunate enough to be on the first commercial flight for a brand-spanking new Caravan in Tanzania a couple of years back. Unbelievable difference between that and the older ones that are typically being used
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on November 10, 2016, 12:04:01 pm
Ok Sardine that makes sense. I did not know that the runways are that long in Botswana. Porter would make sense in DRC. Sout African Police using them also in Pretoria and based at Wonderboom airport....very slow flying and maybe a good recce plain.

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 10, 2016, 06:47:50 pm
Pietas, flying a new plane is like driving a new car. It has a certain smell and feel about it that is just wonderful 😊
The Caravans are workhorses. My favorite one here (so far) has got over 10 000hrs under its belt. That's a lot of hard work!

Tom, in the past the runways were much shorter, but now everything is so strictly regulated and insurance has gone up and and and. It does take some of the fun out of it.


We had an interesting visitor today. Twin Otter, aka "Twotter". Now THIS would be great fun in the Delta!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on November 10, 2016, 07:14:29 pm
Portals, flying a new plane is like driving a new car. It has a certain smell and feel about it that is just wonderful 😊
The Caravans are workhorses. My favorite one here (so far) has got over 10 000hrs under its belt. That's a lot of hard work!

Tom, in the past the runways were much shorter, but now everything is so strictly regulated and insurance has gone up and and and. It does take some of the fun out of it.


We had an interesting visitor today. Twin Otter, aka "Twotter". Now THIS would be great fun in the Delta!

Nice photo there Sardine!  :thumleft:

Yes it is different now, I have seen a TV series at some stage while working in Ethiopia on Sat tv. It was covering the 'bush pilots of Botswana' and I loved it.
Almost a 'big brother' type of program, showing how they were having Christmas and the heat and rain and flying.

Please do keep this thread alive!  :laughing4: and more photos will be a bonus!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 12, 2016, 06:28:35 am
I love clouds.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on November 13, 2016, 06:22:43 pm
Stunning! Did you guys also get rain up there since Gauteng and other parts in SA had good rain?

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 1X on November 14, 2016, 11:03:51 am
Hallo Sardine

Ek geniet jou posts baie. Sien Maun het n storm gehad? Hoop nie dit is julle vliegtuie wat omgewaai het nie....
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 14, 2016, 09:32:50 pm
"Well I love a rainy night..."

Let's see, it started late yesterday afternoon. The wind started to pick up and the power kept switching off. And then it calmed down. It was probably around 10pm that the thunder rumbled in and the lightning cracked like a whip across the sky. But the power stayed on, so I fell asleep and stayed asleep until about 3am.

When I woke up it was still raining and there was thunder and lightning. My sleepy brain decided that that was nice, and drifted back off to la-la land.

When I woke up just before 6am, the power was off and there was STILL thunder and RAIN and lightning. I was bumping off the walls on my way to the kitchen to make coffee (I don't function without coffee), when my housemate asked if I had seen the photos.
"Huh?"

So he gets his phone and shows me.
That storm hit Maun. Hard.
Aircraft that were tied down to a stew cable, and chocked, were shifted by the wind, some turning as much as 90 degrees. Unfortunately for some planes, the cable they were tied to broke, and the aeries experienced a moment of "Flying without a pilot".

Fortunately none of the aircraft from the company I work for were damanged, but lots of others were.

So I spent the morning splashing through puddles and taking photos of the rain. The storm quietened down as the morning progressed and by 2pm, it was blue skies, sunny, hot and humid. And the visibility was amazing!

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on November 15, 2016, 01:05:43 am
Glad your company's planes are ok! I have seen in Sudan what wind can do to a little Cessna 172 :(

It's a shame that they do not build proper hangars but then the air charter companies are probably just on contract and not sensible to invest money into another Country if you might end up loosing a contract to the oposition right?

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mother on November 15, 2016, 02:31:27 pm
Done a few flips over the delta... with bush pilots when I lived in Botswana so look fwd to following ur story


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mother on November 16, 2016, 09:13:20 am
Sorry to hear about ur Max we have a basset Russel they have a special personality.... like reading your story


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 16, 2016, 11:13:25 am
Hi Tom,
The charter companies here are permanently based in Maun. It is incredibly difficult to start up a new charter company as Botswana isn't accepting applications for new Charter organisations.
There are 9 companies in operation, which means over 50 aircraft. It's simply not feasible logistically to build hangars.

Mother, thank you very much!
Bassets are truly amazing creatures  :biggrin:

Seeing as the photos have been on the low side...

These are from the other morning, after the massive storm that flipped a couple of aeries.
The first two are of the Airvan, then a Cessna 210, then a Cessna 206, and finally a Kodiak.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Shaun500 on November 16, 2016, 11:56:40 am
They should maybe think of wing tie downs on the apron for the aircraft to prevent them potentially flipping over in the wind. I can imagine those thunderstorm downdraught winds can be pretty hectic.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 17, 2016, 09:54:08 am
They should maybe think of wing tie downs on the apron for the aircraft to prevent them potentially flipping over in the wind. I can imagine those thunderstorm downdraught winds can be pretty hectic.

All aircraft are chocked, and secured with heavy duty rachet-type straps to steel cables. Problem is, one of the anchor points for a cable broke free of the ground, and the cable decided to go flying without wings.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 20, 2016, 07:44:10 am
This is a banana pancake day.
The wind is pumping, the thunder rumbling, the sky is grey, and it is nice and cool. But not that icy cold you get in the Cape. It's a refreshing cool.
Grass is sprouting everywhere and the trees have brilliant green leaves. I love this time of year because Maun transforms from a hot, brown dust bowl, to a hot, brown dust bowl with a bit of green.

Now we just need mountains.

Judging by the satellite images, today could be a fun one out in the Delta. And I'm on office standby  :lamer:

I heard a saying a year or two ago. I can't remember exactly what it said, but it goes something like:
When a place that is nothing like home starts to remind you of home, it's time to go home.

Well, I see Maun as more of a home than South Africa, but I do feel it's time to go "home". 3.5 months to go!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 21, 2016, 12:17:03 pm
I have flown 1 hour this week. One measely little hour. I am going insane.

But, the 21st of November marks 2 years since I was signed off as a Line Pilot with Mack Air.
I've achieved a lot in 2 years:

2777 take-off's and landings, not sure how many scenic flights, 1390hrs of flying, of which: 680hrs GA8 Airvan, 130hrs Cessna 206, 530hrs Kodiak, 50hrs Cessna 208B

Wheee!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: halfjob on November 21, 2016, 02:29:39 pm
 :thumleft: :thumleft: you have achieved a lot Heather  :deal: when are you back in the cape? if you still have your bike we must go for a ride again  :deal:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 25, 2016, 09:39:20 pm
:thumleft: :thumleft: you have achieved a lot Heather  :deal: when are you back in the cape? if you still have your bike we must go for a ride again  :deal:

:thumleft: :thumleft: you have achieved a lot Heather  :deal: when are you back in the cape? if you still have your bike we must go for a ride again  :deal:
Thank you  ;D

I'm only back in the Cape in March, aaaandd... Unfortunately I sold my motorbike  :( I was going to keep it for when I eventually return to SA, but decided that putting the money from thatvtowards flights home would be a much better plan.

--

Have I mentioned that my dream was to fly the Cessna Caravan? I don't know when it started, but I found a YouTube video made by a Sefofane Air (now Wilderness Air) pilot, and fell in love. Flying the biggest single engine aircraft in the world, over a place as beautiful as the Okavango Delta.

On Tuesday I had the 50hrs on type required for insurance, and the Boss did my route check. "You're good to go. Have fun!"
 :imaposer:
Yesterday I did my first solo line flight in the Cessna Grand Caravan. It was amazing.
And today wasn't much different. I even got to dodge some clouds!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 1ougat on November 26, 2016, 08:48:37 am
Congrats  :thumleft: :thumleft:   enjoying your tread ... you are living your dream .... how/when did you start flying ?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 27, 2016, 07:02:44 am
Congrats  :thumleft: :thumleft:   enjoying your tread ... you are living your dream .... how/when did you start flying ?
Thank you :)

I started my PPl when I was 17. My Dad had bought a replica of the Piper J3 Cub after I dragged him to AAD at Ystetplaat. He started teaching me on that, and eventually I realized that flying was pretty cool, and I didn't have the smarts for the other stuff I had considered doing (marine biology, science-y stuff like the Mythbusters), so I decided to continue flying and before I knew it I had my CPL and Instructors Rating and ATPL subjects and was looking for work.
My Mom says I had always wanted to be a pilot though.

---
We had a little downpour yesterday so I went and splashed around in the puddles (I was on office standby).
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on November 28, 2016, 08:40:59 pm
:thumleft: :thumleft: you have achieved a lot Heather  :deal: when are you back in the cape? if you still have your bike we must go for a ride again  :deal:

:thumleft: :thumleft: you have achieved a lot Heather  :deal: when are you back in the cape? if you still have your bike we must go for a ride again  :deal:
Thank you  ;D

I'm only back in the Cape in March, aaaandd... Unfortunately I sold my motorbike  :( I was going to keep it for when I eventually return to SA, but decided that putting the money from thatvtowards flights home would be a much better plan.

--

Have I mentioned that my dream was to fly the Cessna Caravan? I don't know when it started, but I found a YouTube video made by a Sefofane Air (now Wilderness Air) pilot, and fell in love. Flying the biggest single engine aircraft in the world, over a place as beautiful as the Okavango Delta.

On Tuesday I had the 50hrs on type required for insurance, and the Boss did my route check. "You're good to go. Have fun!"
 :imaposer:
Yesterday I did my first solo line flight in the Cessna Grand Caravan. It was amazing.
And today wasn't much different. I even got to dodge some clouds!

That smile ...  :biggrin:

Achievement unlocked - WELL DONE!!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on November 28, 2016, 10:52:16 pm
Congrats Sardine!! Whoop Whoop!!  :laughing4: :laughing4: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 07, 2016, 10:43:10 am
Hello?

Hello -    Hello    - hello    --- hello

There seems to be an echo in here.

Well folks, December is already upon us. That's scary!
The flying has suddenly dropped off, so I've been spending a lot of time between reading, playing Xbox, playing computer games, watching series, and basically just doing nothing productive.

But, on Monday they scheduled me on the Cessna 206, to do a flight to Selinda and night stop there. Take off was set for 16:45. Yep. So I got to the office around 9am, did the paperwork and pre-flight, and was at home by 10:30, where I had breakfast and played games, then had lunch. And at 14:00 I got bored and went back to the office and sat around until 16:00. Then I went to the plane and untied it and rechecked the fuel and oil, and waited for my clients.

The flight was uneventful, a bit of weather building in the distance but nothing spectacular. No, the spectacular stuff started after dinner (which was a yum piece of lamb).

A huge storm rolled in. And when I say huge, I mean the rumble of thunder was enough to make my ears ring, and the leaves on the trees tremble. And then the lightning started. What a beautiful light show. I only had my cell phone and mik'n druk camera with me, but somehow managed to get a couple of photos.
I spent maybe an hour sitting on my little veranda, watching the lightning. And when the thunder rumbled away, I could hear the lion calling to the east, and hyena to the north. And I'm pretty sure there was an elephant sleeping 20m from my room.

It was so nice to get out and experience the raw power of mother nature. It reminded me why I came here in the first place.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 07, 2016, 10:55:59 am
And another.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on December 07, 2016, 11:02:47 am
Hello?

Hello -    Hello    - hello    --- hello

There seems to be an echo in here.

Hello Sardine    :lol8:

These tropical storms really are spectacular!!!! Being in the wild like that for work is a dream for most!

Has Maun cooled down nicely since the rains started?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 07, 2016, 11:32:40 am
Hello?

Hello -    Hello    - hello    --- hello

There seems to be an echo in here.

Hello Sardine    :lol8:

These tropical storms really are spectacular!!!! Being in the wild like that for work is a dream for most!

Has Maun cooled down nicely since the rains started?

Hi there!  :peepwall:

Sort of cooled down. The humidity has shot up. I'd take dry heat over humidity any day, even if it means it's 40 degrees.
The weather app says it's about 30 degrees today, with around 40% humidity, but I'm not too sure- I haven't left the house. Heck, I'm still in my pajama's!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on December 07, 2016, 01:12:40 pm
Hello?

Hello -    Hello    - hello    --- hello

There seems to be an echo in here.

Hello Sardine    :lol8:

These tropical storms really are spectacular!!!! Being in the wild like that for work is a dream for most!

Has Maun cooled down nicely since the rains started?

Hi there!  :peepwall:

Sort of cooled down. The humidity has shot up. I'd take dry heat over humidity any day, even if it means it's 40 degrees.
The weather app says it's about 30 degrees today, with around 40% humidity, but I'm not too sure- I haven't left the house. Heck, I'm still in my pajama's!

 :imaposer:  so damn jealous right now! worked through last weekend so I'm looking forward to this one    :)

Agree with the dry heat, was camping at kariba the last few days of Nov, it rained on one day in the morning, the following 3 days were overcast - max temp only 30degrees but humidity 80% hahahaha! At least there's no need for lip ice    ;D

I suppose most places in Maun are generally equipped with aircon, which makes life so so much easier    :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on December 07, 2016, 04:25:08 pm

Those storm photos are SPECTACULAR, your phone seems very capable! I love lightning shows, I really miss them down here in the Cape, although there's been some thunder grumblings from time to time - all promise though :(
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 09, 2016, 09:32:41 am

Those storm photos are SPECTACULAR, your phone seems very capable! I love lightning shows, I really miss them down here in the Cape, although there's been some thunder grumblings from time to time - all promise though :(

Thank you, RI :)
I took the photos with my little muk'n druk Canon. All I could control was the ISO, so I'm very chuffed.

We had another freak storm in Maun yesterday. Winds in excess of 40kts, hail, rain so bad it was a white-out.
One of our aircraft badly damaged, and unfortunately two helicopters and a TIger Moth, which were on a tour to SA from Greece. Very sad.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on December 09, 2016, 06:08:38 pm

Those storm photos are SPECTACULAR, your phone seems very capable! I love lightning shows, I really miss them down here in the Cape, although there's been some thunder grumblings from time to time - all promise though :(

Thank you, RI :)
I took the photos with my little muk'n druk Canon. All I could control was the ISO, so I'm very chuffed.

We had another freak storm in Maun yesterday. Winds in excess of 40kts, hail, rain so bad it was a white-out.
One of our aircraft badly damaged, and unfortunately two helicopters and a TIger Moth, which were on a tour to SA from Greece. Very sad.

Very sorry to hear about the Tiger Moth - and I can not help to wonder if there are still parts available as this plane if memory serves me right was used in World war 1? It was (is) a legend plane and our ex skydive pilot who got killed in his Spitfire on Wonderboom airport owned one. I wonder sometimes what happened to that plain, he was giving people flips in it back in the lat 90's - mostly tourists at cost. Think his Spitfire was one of only 2 flying examples left in SA. He also owned a (I am probably going to get the spelling wrong) Yacht dating from around the second world war.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 15, 2016, 09:08:47 am
Tom, I think the Tiger Moths still have a very big following. There are spare engines in Australia, and I'm sure someone has approval to make parts for them.
They are beautiful aircraft and there is nothing like puttering along the mountains and coast with the wind in your hair  :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 15, 2016, 09:42:00 am
There are four lines of four songs running through my braincell...

Thunderbolts and lightning, very very frightening!
If you like pina colada's, and getting caught in the rain...
I want to know, have you ever seen the rain?
Aaaaaannndddd....

Row, row, row your boat, merrily down the dirt road that has now turned to a stream!

Right, so remember last week we had that freak storm...

Well it was epic. We were coming back from a freight run to Piajio (about 25 minutes from Maun, located on Chief's Island).
I had a guy (who I will call The Kid) who was sort of job shadowing flying with me, and he had his GoPro rigged up. About 20nm from Maun, dark clouds were looming. There was a wall of rain to the south east, moving towards the airport, but it didn't look nearly as bad as some of the other stuff I've seen.
I did however comment that "I hope we land before that hits."

On final approach, the winds were strong, but constant, and The Kid's GoPro caught a shot of the lightning. It was amazing! A bolt came down on the left, and then seemed to travel through the ground and shoot upwards to the right! I love lightning  :biggrin:

We landed, and we had another freight run scheduled to leave in 45 minutes. So I opted to park facing into wind.

The runway in Maun runs east-west, and the tie-down cables for our parking also run east-west. Which means we normally have the wind coming from the right and hitting us perpendicular.
With the Caravan and Kodiak, we try park into wind when possible because it helps the engine get more air for the start, aiding in a cooler start. And the Caravan's exhaust is on the right hand side, so if you have wind from the right it can blow the hot exhaust gases against the cargo pod and damage it.

By now the wind was around 20kts from the east, so I wanted to point the nose straight into it. By the time we had shut down (about 2 minutes after parking), sand was being blown everywhere. And going straight  into the engine air intake. I asked The Kid to help me put the covers on, so while he got the pitot covers sorted (tubes on the wings that give airspeed and altitude info) I chocked the plane, but the tailstand in, and put the engine covers in.

That's when all hell broke loose. The rain came bucketing down and the sand and wind was ferocious. We clambered back into the cockpit and decided to wait it out there.
It got worse. There was so much water on the ground and the wind was so strong, it made it feel like we were moving forward. I looked at the chocks and saw we had in fact moved about 20cm against the chocks. Not cool.

I told The Kid to sit tight; I was going to jump out and chock the other main wheel. I set the park brake and told The Kid to keep his feet on the brakes. I wasn't taking any chances.
It was also around this time we heard one of our Airvan's, which had been refueling, had been picked up by the wind, and suffered a propeller strike. Great.

I jumped out the cockpit (well, slipped is more like it), grabbed the extra chocks, threw them in, and got a good look at the apron.
It was a swirling mass of white. I could just see the Tiger Moth wedged against the helicopter. Another helicopter's main rotor blade was bent at an unnatural angle. I couldn't see the plane at the fuel bay. And then the hail started. It was only about 20m to run around to my side of the cockpit and jump in, but the hail and wind was too strong. A vehicle was parked next to the plane and I sheltered behind it.

After 5-10 minutes the hail ceased and the wind calmed enough for me to run back to my door. I was soaked to the bone!

I jumped in the cockpit. The office called on the handheld radio- our VHF radio is down, the one we use to speak to our aircraft. And we have 3 planes out in the Delta somewhere.
Ok, I will use the aircraft radio and try reach them. Depending on the conditions on the day, an aircraft radio on the ground will reach an aircraft in the air at 1000ft above ground up to about 20nm away.
But our guys were further out. So I got on approach frequency. Fortunately the ATC on duty knew me, and is very helpful. "Ra, have you heard from our aircraft?"
"Ah, Heeether (yeah), I have not. But I do have some planes on radar, and they are circling about 30nm away."
"Ok, thank you. If you hear from our guys, tell them they are to divert. They must. Not. Come. To. Maun."
"Ah, shap Heeeether, I will let them know."

And then, it was a waiting game. Eventually I got hold of one of our guys who passed the message to the other two.

After another 20 minutes or so, the winds died down to about 25kts (we reckon they were at least 40kts at one stage), and the rain eased up.

Our guys returned safely, and then began the process of inspecting aircraft for damage.

Needless to say, our freight run was cancelled!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on December 15, 2016, 10:34:55 am

...  :eek7: ...

So glad you got through that safe and sound!!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on December 15, 2016, 02:48:02 pm
Wow looks like you have had a few hectic storms lately, insurance companies must be crapping themselves paying out for all the recent damage...
 :o
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on December 15, 2016, 03:47:46 pm
Hectic!

Love that picture with the lightning straight ahead on the runway!!  :laughing4:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: husky on December 16, 2016, 07:31:53 am
Sounds like you are enjoying every minute. Live the dream; I am envious.

You have a very proud Dad on Avcom too.  Was the picture of upside down aeries at Maun?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 23, 2016, 05:14:44 pm
Hi dogs,

The schedule has picked up and I am actually working again. I spend tonight in the bush (woohoo), Christmas Eve in Maun, and then its back into the bush on sunday until Tuesday.

So I wanted to say: Merry Christmas! Enjoy the time with your family and friends. Have fun, catch up, relax, eat way too much, and stay safe.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 29, 2016, 10:41:27 am
Sounds like you are enjoying every minute. Live the dream; I am envious.

You have a very proud Dad on Avcom too.  Was the picture of upside down aeries at Maun?

Hi Husky,

Sjoe, everyone knows everyone hey! :P
Yes, the intervted aeries were in Maun. They have since gone back to SA, and are in the process of being repaired.

--

Christmas was as good as it can be while away from family. A group of about 15 got together for dinner on Christmas Eve. We had gammon, fillet on the braai, potatoes, veggies, salads, pap, vetkoek and peppermint dessert. We were worried there wouldn't be enough food, but it turned out everyone could have had seconds and there still would have been enough left over for Christmas lunch!

Then it was up to Savute on the 25th. Some of our clients had requested to fly with two pilots (normally a life insurance thing), so at least there would be two of us night stopping together. Savute treated us to a wonderful dinner; we even got up and danced with the guests and staff (I'm not a big dancer).
Then on Monday we flew our VIP clients to Livingstone via Kasane (to clear customs etc). The Victoria Falls aren't full, but wow, everything is so green!
The entire Delta has transformed, and where there were kilometers upon kilometers of brown, dead trees, there is now life. Beautiful, but if a plane goes down, it would likely take ages to find!

--

We are short on crew and aircraft, so I was asked to work a 7-day week. This doesn't happen often, but when it does we get two consecutive days off. So I've got today and tomorrow off.
I was a little meh about having to work yesterday, but it all worked out in the end.
Today I got to meet Steve the Canadian (Hayu). He wasn't planning on coming to Maun, but since when do plans work out? So we had breakfast and a chat. Now he is on his way to Gaborone.
Steve, great to meet you!

It's a cool day today, with a few clouds looming. Hopefully we'll have some thunderstorms later.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 29, 2016, 01:06:15 pm
Ok, peekcha's!

1.) Steve's travels

I was up very early today, despite it being my day off. Got a few snaps from the other end of the airport (where the helicopter guys hang out).
2.)  Okavango Air Rescue PC-12
3.) Cessna 206. She has been parked for most of the year; I think it is due for a new engine. The engine alone can cost almost as much as buying a "new" second-hand aircraft
4.) R44 lifting for an early morning scenic
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on January 02, 2017, 02:30:38 pm
Hi Sardine,

My holiday was nowhere near as glamorous as yours cruising the airwaves over Botswana, but I did get to spend it with family in the hot dry Karoo - much envy of all your green trees, I can tell you!

Belated merry Christmas and a blessed and prosperous 2017 to you too !! I hope this year delivers everything you long for. Fly safe!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mother on January 03, 2017, 01:53:27 pm
nice following your stories and pictures thanks for taking the time to share

also lived in Gabs for 15 years so have a bit of a connection to Botswana and the Delta
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 09, 2017, 05:20:19 am
Thank you, Ri and Mother  :thumleft:

---
Time of typing: 04:55.
It is raining and they keep cutting the power. Great.

Since New Years, life has been a little more hectic than usual- the flying side is quite quiet, but I have moved into a new house. Wow, I have no idea how 1.) I got all my stuff from Cape Town up here in my little Golf and 2.) How I've accumulated so much crud.
Everything has been moved across so now it is just a case of sorting it all out. I stayed up until 23:00 last night trying to do that, and have barely even made a dent. I would have carried on, but I have a 07:30 take off, which meant I had to be early: just after 04:30.

I crawled into bed, read a few pages of my book (all about the Smokejumpers in the US, really cool stuff), and was lights out . I woke up feeling surprisingly refreshed, and rolled over ready to jump out of bed and take on the day, only, it was about 12:05. More sleep for me, score!

It's raining, and I can hear water dripping onto the ceiling.  :-\
Super fantastic.

I have been in the Airvan the last few days, doing line training for one of our new guys. We had 3 crew members leave last week, so now we're getting the new recruits up to speed in preparation for the busy season. Today we're flying south to Kalahari Plains, about 1hr from Maun (so about 120nm). It's beautiful and green down that side at the moment. Though, with all this rain it could make for a very interesting flight. The clients we are flying were originally booked to fly out at 10:00, but then decided they wanted to do a village tour in Maun and changed their take off time to 07:30.  :bueller:

The rain is really bucketing down now. Speaking of buckets, I should have brought some with from the old house to fill with water. Humph. And I have a 20m dash from my front door, through the front gate, to my car. I think I might score another shower.

My mind is jumping around a lot right now, as I am sure you have noticed. I'm not even sure what day of the week it is. Honestly, I couldn't be bothered to check.
New Years was quite good. I big group of us braai'd on Samadupi Pan. Some of the guys made a huge 2017 sign out of wood, which one of our pilots set on fire at midnight (he does that fire-breathing stuff. I think he was in the circus in a past life).
It was a big group of people and a nice evening. A lot of people camped over but I was flying fairly early the next morning so I left just after midnight. Then it was straight into a double night stop which was great- when I first started here, I was in the bush 3 times a week. Once I started flying the Kodiak, that dropped down to once every week or two. And with quiet season, once a month. Maun gets very depressing, and I was starting to get very antsy. It is also always worse around the holidays, so being able to get out, even though it was only for a night, was a relief.

So, that marks my third Christmas and New Years in Maun. I am used to not having my family around for the holidays (sister was at university and Dad was working), but it does suck.
Oh well, "The life we chose", is what a colleague of mine always says.

Anyway, I better get my backside off to work.
Have a good one  :thumleft:

Photos:
Splash into the new year!
Fire works are fun!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 09, 2017, 09:48:50 pm
This morning was an interesting one.

I got to the office at about 05:45. As I am doing line training, my "student" was in charge of doing the paperwork and pre-flighting the aircraft. Lekker, I took it rustig and tried to wake up. It didn't work. I was at the aircraft with 45 minutes to take off. We were empty to Kalahari Plains, so while we waited I quizzed my "student" and various procedures and scenarios. All good. It started raining again and some low cloud rolled in. If this had been a flight from Stellenbosch Airfield, I would have called off all of my flights for the day.

Waves of rain came through, we cute puffy clouds drifting by, their bigger, darker brothers looking down from just above. But, this is Maun. Weather is normally isolated and passes quickly. Plus, there aren't any mountains to hit; just two very high (250ft) radio masts. While we were doing the run-ups (series of checks to ensure the engine and other systems are functioning as they should be) I called up the tower and asked for a weather update.

Rain, overcast at 600ft.
Sweet.

We decided to give it a bash. Not 200ft above the runway, more clouds rolled in, nope. Lets route north before attempting to go south. A minute later, we were just short of being in the soup (in the cloud). No passenger transfer is worth pushing the limits. I called up Tower and asked to return to land. 2 minutes after take-off, we were back on the ground. We delayed the take off by an hour and a half; the clients would just have to wait.

Come 09:00, the cloud base had lifted and we blasted off to the south which turned out to be very pleasant.

I could have slept another hour!  :patch:

Yes, yes, this thread is useless without pictures. I am having trouble with the internet in the new place, and will try send some photos from work tomorrow.

---

I have been feeling a little homesick, but since hearing about those fires in Somerset West, all I have wanted to do is go home and help. Even though there isn't much I can offer in terms of skills, I still feel helpless sitting way up here. My thoughts of working for Working on Fire have re-surfaced. Hmmm.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on January 09, 2017, 09:57:56 pm
Heather

STAY FOCUSSED ON THE GOAL

Sorry for shouting. Your intentions are always admirable but you need to be doing what is right for you. Your flying career will flourish from where you are, when the time is right you've seen it happen for others. Hang in and be strong. You can do it.

Home is a place, your heart is where you are.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 10, 2017, 07:07:49 am
Heather

STAY FOCUSSED ON THE GOAL

Sorry for shouting. Your intentions are always admirable but you need to be doing what is right for you. Your flying career will flourish from where you are, when the time is right you've seen it happen for others. Hang in and be strong. You can do it.

Home is a place, your heart is where you are.

 ;)

Thank you.

I'm not going anywhere. Except in March, then I'm going home for leave. Yippee!
I have given my word that I will stay with Mack Air until 2018 at the earliest. For now I am starting to do my research in order to see which companies are hiring, and what their requirements are. I will need to save up for a twin rating and probably a King Air or B1900 rating.
But for now I am in the "what do I want to do?" phase. I go through it a few times a year. Obviously I want to fly. But what? Contract? Yes. But I also want to do something that helps others.

Ho-hum.

---

It has been raining all night. My roof has developed more damp spots, and I'm waiting for it to start dripping through. Great.
So far I have heard that Chitabe airstrip (20min, about 60km from Maun) has received 120mm of rain since 4am, and it's still raining. I wish I could send this rain to the fires in the Cape!
Fortunately I'm not doing line training today- I will be on the Caravan. And it's not just any 'Van- it's the fancy new one that Great Plains Conservation has bought- it has swivel leather seats, tables, a toilet, the works!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mother on January 10, 2017, 12:21:23 pm
mmmm talk about rain......heard its been raining there big time ...
sadly no rain in cape town still today we cant even see the mountain due to the smog from all the fires and the ash from the fires keeps falling on you if you stand out side


we really need some rain....hope it comes from u guys soon
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on January 11, 2017, 07:36:58 pm
Hi Heather, What will it take to get a twin rating besides an aircraft and money?
I was about to post "Where is Sardine", we haven't heard from you in awhile and sure enough.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 14, 2017, 06:21:19 pm
We have had a little thunderstorm every evening for the past few days.
Despite this being my third rainy season, this is the first time it has felt like a true rainy season in Botswana.

Cheesy, time and money.
An initial twin rating is normally done on a piston aircraft like a Piper Seneca or Beechcraft Baron. Depending on where you go that will set one back in the region of R40k. If you have prepared well and the weather plays along, you can be done in a week.

Then the next step is a type rating on a turboprop like a King Air or B1900. Those two are so popular they offer a combo packed so you can do both. That takes up to 1 month and I'm not 100% sure of the rates, but it's easily in the region of R80k.

After all that, you'll have some twin piston time on the actual aircraft and simulator, and the same for the turboprops. All good, right?
Nope.
Now the companies who use King Air's and B1900's want 50-100hrs on type before they'll hire you- this is an insurance requirement and is often non-negotiable. Unless you know all of the right people.
So it's a Catch-22 situation.

Happy days!

---

Today I got to fly the Caravan. Man, I love that plane. We were tasked with moving 31 lodge building staff, which meant 3 runs back and forth between Omdop and Nxabega (a 30 minute return trip). Omdop was fun and games, with an aborted take-off due to warthog running across the runway. And then on the return trip two aborted landings; the first for kudu, and the second for baboons.
Nothing like blasting along the runway at 10 feet to chase animals away  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on January 14, 2017, 06:38:35 pm
I found the quote today whilst cleaning up for my comm license in 1991.

Total from PPL to COMM. R39715.00 incl GST.

A three night 5 dive package deal to Sodwana same year cost R505 incl shared travel.

I also found a restaurant bill from 1997 in Port Elizabeth the El CID Restuarant two people
2Xrump
1 X bottle of wine
2X Irish coffees
Total R24.95

Makes one think
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 15, 2017, 11:00:08 am
I found the quote today whilst cleaning up for my comm license in 1991.

Total from PPL to COMM. R39715.00 incl GST.

A three night 5 dive package deal to Sodwana same year cost R505 incl shared travel.

I also found a restaurant bill from 1997 in Port Elizabeth the El CID Restuarant two people
2Xrump
1 X bottle of wine
2X Irish coffees
Total R24.95

Makes one think

 :eek7:

In primary school (I'm an early 90ies kid), I would get R20 for the tuckshop. I would get a pie, Coke, muffin, packet of crisps, and still have change. 3 years later I could get a pie or a Coke, and that was it.

It is scary how things have changed. The main reason flying is so expensive in South Africa (and Europe, I believe) is because of the fuel. 1l of Avgas is around R17.
A PPL on a small Cessna starts at R110 000.
If you do it on something like a Sling, you can knock off R10-20 000.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on January 15, 2017, 11:12:44 am
Time to win the Lotto
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on January 26, 2017, 05:04:46 pm
Helloooooooo anyone there

Im missing my Bushpilot fix....... :sip:

 :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on January 30, 2017, 03:08:24 pm
 :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on January 31, 2017, 05:42:11 am
Seems that Heather's head is in the clouds 😎
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on February 02, 2017, 03:37:43 pm
Seems that Heather's head is in the clouds 😎

She's racking up flight hours - next we see, she's training to fly helicopters  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tokoloshe on February 04, 2017, 10:31:47 pm
Hi Heather,

Just wanted to say well done on all your achievements so far with the flying. I think its safe to say that your enthusiasm and determination will ensure you keep going up in the world. You are very lucky to be flying in a beautiful part of the world; make the most of it because as someone mentioned earlier in the thread, you will look back one day and realise it was some of the best flying days of your life. Take it from someone who has chased the same dreams for more than 30 years, you have many great things to look forward to, just keep it safe.
I spoke to your boss this week when he was in Nelspruit and he said the Kodiak was coming in for some avionics "work". Apparently our border officials had some issue with your crew and he couldn't stay long.
I should be up there end of next month for about a week doing some conservation work with a Huey and will look out for you.
Great thread and writing style too... :sip:
 
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 06, 2017, 09:44:43 am
  :peepwall:

Oh dear...

I have lost track of time again.

As Tokoloshe said, I got to fly the Kodiak to South Africa last week. This was my first international flight to South Africa, and my first time flying in the Polokwane/Nelspruit/Hoedspruit areas.
A colleague came with as we would be flying a Cessna 210 back, and as I hadn't flown one in a while, would be a little rusty.
Weather was our major concern; flying in Botswana you start to get a little too relaxed, knowing the ground is flat and there is nothing to hit. Lucky for us, the cloud stopped at the border between South Africa and Botswana, and it was blue skies ahead.
We refueled and cleared customs in Polokwane, and that's when we encountered a hiccup... My colleague is from New Zealand, and two weeks ago they passed the new law that means Kiwi's require a visa to visit South Africa.
Visa on arrival? Nope, you need to go to Wellington, NZ, to get it. Bugger...
The immigration lady was very helpful and checked if there was any way to sort out the situation. But while this was happening, our time window was growing shorter. We still had to get to Nelspruit, jump into the C210, fly that to Hoedspruit to drop off the boss, then fly back to Polokwane for fuel and customs, and back to Maun. All in all, about another 4.5hrs of flying.

Eventually the nice immigration lady came back and apologised; there was nothing she could do. So, my colleague would have to stay in Polokwane. By now we were 30minutes behind schedule, so I had to move quickly.
I would fly the Kodiak to Nelspruit alone, meet up with my boss, jump into the C210, fly it to Hoedspruit (Civil), use that flight to get current with the machine again, then fly it alone to Polokwane, pick up my colleague, and fly back to Maun.

Wow, the Polokwane-Nelspruit leg was beautiful! So many mountains, and passes that just scream for a motorbike to be ridden along them! I felt as if I was back in the Western Cape <3

As I said earlier, I have never flown in that area. So a few miles out of Nelspruit, I spotted the runway. Sort of perched on a hill, and quite narrow. This would be fun!
From there it was a mad rush to finish the paperwork for the Kodiak, grab all my kit, power-walk up to the C210, transfer everything, and go. All while I was drooling over all the Dromader's, Huey's, and other shiny toys in the hangars there.

For the next leg my boss did all the radio work and talked me through the flying. Another beautiful sector from Nelspruit to Hoedspruit. I really need to get back to this area, be it by air or road.

I didn't have time to be nervous about the Hoedspruit-Polokwane leg. It was all just go-go-go! And I had fun skirting around the mountains. Man, I miss the mountains!
By Polokwane, I was starting to feel tired. I had my next frequency set up (Polokwane Tower), and was going to do a call on the general frequency to say I was entering the Polokwane airspace. But I selected the wrong radio and did my general call on Polokwane's frequency. I had already told the lovely lady controller I was new to the area, so she just laughed and I apologised profusely.

My colleague sorted out the fueling and ramp inspection while I got my passport stamped.

The return leg was easier now that we were more familiar with the airspace. Once in the cruise my colleague took over while I wolfed down some lunch (mmmm, Steers!).

Then we settled in for the loooong flight back. Fortunately, the C210 is even faster than the Kodiak, and we were back on terra firma in Maun with the sun setting and the aftermath of a storm in the distance.

Needless to say, it was a looooooong day. It felt as if I had been away for a week.
But, a few hours in SA was all I needed to keep me motivated.
Just over a month until I go on leave!  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: westfrogger on February 06, 2017, 03:10:20 pm
Magic.

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on February 07, 2017, 11:59:35 am
You will miss that type of flying when you get snapped up by one of the Airlines  (that's where the moola is) 

Quite Frankly I cant believe you haven't been poached by one of the Qatar's, Lufthansa's, BA, Qantas etc.type airlines. your experience is worth gold by now. (maybe you have and you've turned them down  :peepwall: :pot:)

Which if it happens we will be the poorer for not having the african dream to read.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on February 07, 2017, 02:40:18 pm
Hey Heather
Thanks so much for the update, it is much appreciated
Looking forward to your next instalment :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 07, 2017, 02:46:56 pm
Thank you, Westfrogger and Big-G :)

Hedleyj,

You will miss that type of flying when you get snapped up by one of the Airlines  (that's where the moola is) 

Quite Frankly I cant believe you haven't been poached by one of the Qatar's, Lufthansa's, BA, Qantas etc.type airlines. your experience is worth gold by now. (maybe you have and you've turned them down  :peepwall: :pot:)

Which if it happens we will be the poorer for not having the african dream to read.

I haven't applied to an airline since I got my CPL. My experience is nothing to them as I don't even have a multi-engine rating.
But, because Qatar, Emirates etc are snapping up a lot of the Mango, SAA, Airlink and Kulula pilots, it means there has been movement within SA, which might mean that the airlines will be a little more open to people who don't meet their extreme requirements.

But thank you for the kind words  O0
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: wobbler on February 08, 2017, 08:54:28 am
So typical of some big corporates - they want a 25 year old to have 10 years experience...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 09, 2017, 09:19:45 pm
Catch 22. And the requirements just keep getting higher and higher, and people are getting more and more desperate. So eventually you find yourself paying an airline to give you work.  :lamer:

Kalahari Ferrari

Also known as the Cessna 210 Centurion. This sleek, 6-seat retractable gear pocket rocket used to be one of the fastest single engine piston aircraft out there. More of a Namibian workhorse, there are still a couple here in the swamps.
Why is it more suited to Namibia? You cover much greater distances there, and this little beast will cruise at at least 140kts (260km/h), compared to the Airvan's 203km/h, and the Cessna 206's 220km/h.

Having retractable gear is nice for speed, but also means you open yourself to mechanical issues, like the gear not retracting (not a train smash- you can take the puppy right up to VNE [never exceed speed] with the gear hanging out... if you're going down a mineshaft), or more seriously, gear extension problems.
Fortunately for the extension issues, there is a manual back-up, which requires that you, as the pilot, need to fly the plane while pumping a handbrake-like lever between the pilots seats. The book tells you how many pumps it requires... double that and you'll be closer to a more accurate figure (it's over 50 times!).

Anyway, why am I rambling?
I got to fly the beastie today. From Maun to Tau Pan in the Kalahari, about 40 minutes flight. There were beautiful white, puffy clouds, and as it was just myself and a Training Captain, I weaved between the clouds. I have always dreamed of taking a jet through clouds like that. This is probably the closest I will get  8)

Then we flew two guests to Kwara, 1hr10min away, and crossed the Delta which has exploded with water. Rivers that were nothing but sand last month are flowing! It is so amazing to see how things have transformed.

I have found a nice little walking route near my house which takes me a long the Thamalakane River, and I swear that in two days the water level has risen. Amazing!

Yes, yes, photos. I'm getting there...  :peepwall:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on February 10, 2017, 05:23:12 pm
 :sip:  :deal:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 15, 2017, 08:38:27 pm
So, I moved into a new place at the beginning of the year, and it had a small enclosed yard, so I decided that I am going to try and grow stuff. And by stuff I mean grass (not the type that is smoked), and herbs (also not the type you smoke), and maybe some flowers.
Well, the mint and lavender died within two weeks. But my spider grass is doing well. Last week I planted grass seedlings (I was going to try get cuttings but that didn't work).

With the days of rain followed by days of good sun (it's very shaded and humid in my complex, which in itself is cool- it's like entering a whole new climate  when you drive through the gate... my clothes are always damp though, which sucks), I have noticed some funky things growing.
They come out the ground round and a sort of pink-Orange colour, then open up into two green leaves.

Any ideas what they are?

Yes, yes, I know what you are thinking... she has posted photos in ages and now that she does, its of what is most likely a weed! 
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Jbrgilbert@me.com on February 15, 2017, 10:09:31 pm
Hi I am planning a ride to Tuli Game Reserve Botswana on 31 March - 4 April 2017. Have a group of 5 riders confirmed we need to get the group to 10, please share this FB link with any people who may be interested https://www.facebook.com/events/1762556687397572/?ti=icl or mail me at jbrgilbert@me.com.

Thanks very much
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on February 16, 2017, 04:53:27 am
I believe they are Mopani shoots  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: RrP on February 16, 2017, 06:24:56 am
I believe they are Mopani shoots  :thumleft:
Mopani seed sprouting.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 16, 2017, 10:09:33 pm
Jbrgilbert, hello. I will ask around.

Mr. Zog and RrP, thank you.  O0
Today while getting ready to go to work I surveyed my little garden and saw that the grass seeds I planted last week are sprouting. Woohoo!

---

Right, photos.
My Dad is visiting, so of course Murphy decided to visit too. The day he arrived, I had a 6 hour wait I'm Savute.
Then on monday, I had a two hour wait in Selinda.
It was an early take off, 07:30. I was in the Caravan and got to watch and listen to a storm rumbled past the airport while I pre flighted.

Then about half way into the flight we encountered a bit of rain, and before I knew it a rainbow was sprouting from my wing!

Once at Selinda, I got to go with to the camp (Zarafa, my first time there!) and because all the guests were out on game drives, I was invited to get comfortable in the main area over looking the water.

What a morning!

And to top it all off, I have hit 100hrs on the Caravan.
Happy days.

Oh, having the Pops around is pretty cool too :peepwall:

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on February 17, 2017, 07:41:46 am
Oh, having the Pops around is pretty cool too :peepwall:

Enjoy the heck out of your dad's visit  :thumleft:

And congratulations on the 100 hours!!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Hayu Overthere on February 20, 2017, 10:11:27 pm
Hey Sardine!  Just a cameo appearance back on WD from me...  glad to see your world unfolding as it should!  Remember to keep flying on floats in BC open as an option!  :-)). (Lots of Helo options here too :-)))
Take care and be safe over there,
Steve
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Dupie2 on February 21, 2017, 04:38:50 pm
Hi, I sent you a PM
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 22, 2017, 05:46:18 pm
Hi, I sent you a PM

Received. Will reply soon  :thumleft:

Will also try get an update up here; wifi at home has died and I have some long days at work ahead of me (today was 11 sectors. Wheeee!)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 26, 2017, 08:02:37 pm
Do you ever wake up after hitting snooze for the 5th time, glance around, and find yourself setting yet another alarm for 40 minutes' time because you have just realized that you have nothing to look forward to, so why bother getting out of bed.

I do. And then I get annoyed at myself because I haven't done anything productive. It frustrates me, and before I know it I'm in this spiral of no motivation, and annoyance at not having motivation.

This only happens during quiet season. January in particular was bad. What's the point of getting out of bed for home or office standby? Either way you sit around doing nothing. If it is after a hectic week, sure. But I would go for almost 7 days without a single flight. It destroyed me. But at the same time, I started to get comfortable with not doing anything. Now THAT is a scary feeling.

I am a lazy person to a certain degree, but I can't stand sitting around doing nothing (ha ha).

Fortunately, the flying in February picked up. And before I knew it my mood had improved, I started exercising again, and I was happy to be waking up at 5am because it meant I got to go fly!

Last week I had a massive day, and it was in the Caravan. 11 sectors of bliss cruising around the Delta, clocking almost 4hrs of flying time.

And it was one of those days where you go do two or three or four sectors, go back to Maun, refuel, and within 40 minutes of landing you're starting up for the next round. There's no hurry up and wait.
You get home and you feel tired. Not drained-tired, but that sunburnt, muscles hurt, "I worked hard today and accomplished something" tired.
I love days like those.

And the next 4 days are also going to be fairly busy, with flights for a group of 40. They arrived in a Boeing 757 today. I got to go take a look inside! The cabin crew thought I was the cleaning crew. Gee, thanks.
It ain't no Caravan, but wow! It's not a bad office.

And soon, soon I will be on leave. I am so excited to see my family and friends, and my dogs (oh how I have missed my dogs).
But I'm already wondering what the heck I'm going to do, because I know that if I don't have a plan for each day, I'm going to struggle to get out of bed!

So, if you hear of any events happening in the Somerset West/Strand/Stellenbosch areas from 12 March, please let me know. Especially stuff like blood drives and CANSA Shavathon type things.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on February 27, 2017, 08:45:25 am
What a cool job you have - wish it was me. Always check in on your thread - you're living the life :-)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on February 28, 2017, 09:57:07 pm
Yep, know that feeling.

My niece, 19, took a "gap year" (she was home schooled... ::)) and eventually asked my sister, what should she do to give some meaning to her life? Otherwise she might as well stay in bed and not even leave the room  :lol8:

You know, at least, that it's only a short while and then you're on th go again. So no worries  :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 01, 2017, 11:21:36 am
Clearly Murphy is also reading this...
Yesterday was to be a simple Kodiak day; Maun - Kasane - Piajio - Maun. 1hr-1hr-25min.

I was in the office by 06:30, and some other colleauges also had early flights and were in. One of them had serious car issues and asked if I could take over his afternoon flying. Yeah sure, I had stuff to do, but I am off on Thursday and can get it done then. Besides, its Caravan time!  :ricky:

It was a simple hand over of aircraft, and all was well. A staff run to Cement, about 30 min each way. On the way back, we call the office 10 minutes out to get fuel for the next routing. "You've got 1hr15, Maun - Xaranna - Omdop - Maun..."
Oh no, a pause is never good.
"Confirm that flight is happening today?"
"Yes! Take off 16:15."

I groaned. That gave me 40 minutes to fuel and check and load 1000kg of freight. And I hadn't eaten since breakfast. My mood was deteriorating as I entered hangry mode.
But, it's Caravan time!

It was a bit of a blur, but the flight back from Omdop almost made the extra duty worth it. Smooth as glass, layers of clouds overhead, and walls of rain moving around the Delta. A rainbow even stuck with us for a few miles.

By the time I got back to the office I was dead on my feet. But, feeling good. I think. Everything was numb.  :patch:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 01, 2017, 11:27:04 am
Sorry if I have already posted these.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on March 02, 2017, 08:13:33 am
What a job...what a life :-)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 05, 2017, 08:54:09 am
3 more sleeps, then I fly home.  :ricky:

Often I skim over all the political posts and Facebook, I can read a sentence or two before I get infuriated. Lately I can't even bring myself to read the first three words.
What the heck is going on? How can people be so stupid?!

It's because of the way South Africa is going that I want to buy myself a kitted out 4x4 and spend weeks at a time in the bush with no contact with anyone.

What happened to smiling and saying "Hi, how are you?" to a stranger. To treating people with respect.
Who gives a damn about someone's race, religion, colour, sexuality. We have created a world where things like that matter. Do they, really?
If you work hard, you will get somewhere in life.
If you don't work hard (or work at all), you have no right to complain about anything, and demand things that were "taken from you".

Can you imagine a world where everyone is polite and treats each other with respect?
It's really not that difficult. It starts with you. And when one person does that, more and more and more will catch on.

In the words of the Black Eyed Peas "Where is the love?"
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on March 05, 2017, 01:29:55 pm
Ah, you must have a lovely holiday!! You'll be visiting near Stellenbosch, right? We're having beautiful weather, not too hot, sometimes a bit windy, and it even rained during the night a few days ago.

I've become numb, can't do politics/religion anymore. Even the normal everyday dumbness of people infuriate me to the point of wanting to take up panga-ing as a hobby. Read a meme recently: "If I had to live today as if it was my last day, the body count would be staggering." Ha. Ha.

I do try to always speak with a smile in my voice and treat people with decency (haha, yes, even telesales - shame, they wouldn't be doing it if they had a choice). But sometimes it's hard  :-[

If you do get the 4x4 and flee into the bush, can I come hang with you from time to time?  I'll bring Vaalbaas Chilli Bites and biltong :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 05, 2017, 09:15:28 pm
Hi Ri,

Yes, I will be just down the road from Stellenbosch in Somerset West.

Glad to hear about the weather. It has been chilly in Maun lately (read, 27-30deg)

You will be most welcome to join 😊
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on March 06, 2017, 12:29:10 am
Hi Ri,

Yes, I will be just down the road from Stellenbosch in Somerset West.

Glad to hear about the weather. It has been chilly in Maun lately (read, 27-30deg)

You will be most welcome to join 😊

I'm on a hill among the vineyards overlooking Stellenbosch, Summies and a slice of Strand and the sea.

Eish if you think 27-30 deg is chilly then I hope we have a quick heat wave for you :dousing:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 08, 2017, 05:55:00 am
Sounds like quite the spot, Ri :)

I see this weekend might reach a high of 35.

I fly home today! :D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on March 08, 2017, 06:27:28 am
Enjoy your holiday at home Heather and then hurry back to keep on writing about your adventures in your unique way. 😎😎
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 14, 2017, 08:41:45 am
I've got CCR's Fortunate Son on a loop in my braincell.
Seeing the Huey's in action over the last couple of days has improved my already very good mood. We watched them lifting water for the fire on the hill near Bizweni two days ago, in that howling wind. It looked both fun and scary. Now I want to fly helicopters again.  :patch:

My flight back home last Wednesday was, uhm, interesting. Murphy was around as usual, and there were a few times where I thought "Just my luck, I'm not going to get to Cape Town today!"

First, I was offered the opportunity to do a Caravan flight in the morning. Offered, as our Ops Manager was renewing his instructors rating, and needed a "student". I needed to fly with an instructor to get the paperwork required to put the Caravan on my South African licence. Sweet, everybody wins.
So we're set to meet at 09:00. I'm there by 07:00, and the aircraft is ready to go by 08:00.

We meet up with the guy doing the test, and do all the classroom stuff. Then it's off to the aerie we go. So far, so good. There was quite a strong x-wind an after start up the stall warning goes crazy (more on what a stall warning is in a later post). Ok, maybe it's the wind? So we re position. Nope. Maybe there is a bit of dirt stuck in it. So the Ops Manager jumps out and pokes it with a stick. Nope.
It's a no-go item, so we shut down. Now it's a mad rush to jump into another aircraft. But first it must be pre-flighted, and paperwork done. 30 minutes later, and we're off.

The actually flight went well. I was quite happy with how I did. I kind of like flight tests because not only is it a learning opportunity, but there is also a bit of pressure, and I perform well under pressure.

But, we were behind schedule. I had to check in for my flight by 12:30, and we landed back around 11:30. We still had to debrief and fill out all of the paperwork. I was entering stress mode; I like to be checked in and settled for flights well before I have to. Probably because I'm so used to things going wrong at the last minute.
Long story short, I found myself in the departures lounge, sweaty, my uniform covered in oil and jet fuel, sunburnt, and smelling slightly. But, I was going home!

12:40 came and went. Normally Airlink is on the ground by now. Nope. At about 13:15 they arrived. Must be a headwind. Then they called all the pax for Air Botswana (which landed after Airlink). Eventually we got going. It's an ERJ135, so loading everyone takes all of 5 minutes. Woohoo! Bring on Cape Town!
We start our take off, all is well, I am smiling as I watch the trees out my window. Next thing I know we are slowing down, brakes are applied, hard, and we are not taking off. Great.

Turns out they flew through a huge flock of birds (those lapwing plover things). I couldn't help but laugh. Just my luck. We taxi'd back to the terminal so they could do a visual check for damage. Then we had to refuel again. And wait for the brakes to cool down. Finally, at about 15:00, we got airborne.

Wheeeeeee! I'm going to Cape Town!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on March 14, 2017, 04:18:00 pm
 :spitcoffee: So cool to hear its going well and your having a nice break enjoy the Holiday

that song been  playing for days in my head   :lamer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on March 14, 2017, 06:09:21 pm
:spitcoffee: So cool to hear its going well and your having a nice break enjoy the Holiday

that song been  playing for days in my head   :lamer:

Enjoy your holidays Sardine!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on March 15, 2017, 02:41:27 am
Were the Lapwing Plover things birdies ok?  :peepwall: 


Enjoy the holiday H, rest, and recharge the batteries. Have lots of fun. Get drunk and wake up with a babelaas... and not have to fly with it  :biggrin:



Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 15, 2017, 07:45:19 am
Thank you Zetman and Ri :)

For those not in the Cape, it's raining!  :ricky:

Were the Lapwing Plover things birdies ok?  :peepwall: 


Enjoy the holiday H, rest, and recharge the batteries. Have lots of fun. Get drunk and wake up with a babelaas... and not have to fly with it  :biggrin:

Hi Zog, they went SPLAT all over the windscreen.

The birds are becoming a real problem there. We need a few of those trained hawks or falcons to come and pick them off.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 27, 2017, 07:33:11 am
I have lived in Somerset West for around 17years. The Helderberg Mountain is on my doorstop. I have been not even half way up once or twice.
But yesterday I finally got to climb to the top of the Western Peak. Not the highest point, but still pretty high.

What an awesome climb! We took it slowly, stopping for photos often. It took us around 4hrs. We had lunch at the top and then started making our way down via the eastern route. Some parts were more challenging than Kilimanjaro, with big rocks and sheer drops off narrow ledges.

What a blast   :biggrin:

But today, I can barely move without causing pain. Lifting my coffee mug to drink hurts. :'(

Photos to follow.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on March 27, 2017, 07:48:51 am
sub, sounds awesome  ;D   :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on March 27, 2017, 08:38:01 am
Nice Heather. Following with interest.  O0
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 01, 2017, 12:40:07 pm
The Fish is reporting to you live from Ballito.

So, 6 days after climbing the Helderberg and I can finally move with minimal pain. Yay!

Here are a few photos. Some sections were more technical than Kilimanjaro, mostly on the descent. There were a few times where I wondered if we were on the right path, and a second or two of panic when I thought about having to retrace our steps back up the mountain, or call in rescue services. But despite that, it was heaps of fun.

Next time I will summit The Dome!

1 - about a third of the way up
2 - Scrat looking for directions
3 - a little over half way. Check that view!
4 - Scrat resting at the top of the Western Peak. Hardly a breath of wind and not too hot. Bliss!
5 - looking over the edge. It's a loooooonnnnnngggg waydown
6 - digging this!
7 - one of the sections of path we followed down. Wheee!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on April 01, 2017, 09:05:14 pm
I want to climb that mountain but my pink piggy is too lazy to join me :(

Also I bought a little plot of Gydo Pass recently and climbing is definitely out of the question for now.

How long are you still in Stellenbosch for, Sardine? I have an extra DR650 on my hands, if you want to go for a ride one Saturday.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: billy-joe on April 02, 2017, 08:56:02 am
I have been meaning to climb up that mountain for a while now.  Always been too busy!  hopefully I get to do it when i'm home next.  did you go in through the nature reserve?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 02, 2017, 05:13:07 pm
Hi Ri,

Unfortunately I'm already in Durban and heading to Maun on Thursday. Thank you though!
Gydo Pass looks awesome!

Billie-joe,
Definitely make time to go for a climb ("climb", it's more a walk with sections of hiking). Even if you don't go all the way to the top (we took about 4hrs up, and around 3hrs down), it's still worth it.
You enter through the Nature Reserve, yes. I found the maps a little meh, but once you get to the jeep tracks it's quite easy to find your way.
Friends say hiking to the top of The Dome takes about 3 hrs.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on April 02, 2017, 06:41:01 pm

Gydo Pass is beautiful, for sure. You just don't want to be eyeing it at tar level as you slide across it :imaposer:  But apart from the back brake bending double, and scuffed front brake lever, DR suffered no damage whatsoever  :eek7: :eek7:  Rider fared slightly worse... :xxbah:

I've climbed the jeep track up to and around the Western Peak, it is hot and torturous, especially when the fit good looking people come jogging by barely breaking a sweat  :lol8:

Apparently there's another way up, much shorter and more direct. From the R44 you turn onto Little Helderberg Road, I think it's called. There's also a Greek restaurant near that corner. It leads to a farm and the track starts on the farm. You can see it leading straight up to the base of the Western Peak, whereas the jeep track zig-zags up the mountain.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 02, 2017, 08:06:34 pm
Oh, Ri. I am such a twit! Completely misinterpreted your "buying a plot" comment. Sjoe, not riding has addled my brain!  :lamer:
Glad the bike is ok, and I hope you're 100% soon!

Ja, quite a few of those fit joggers passed us.
Nice thing about the zig-zag (in my opinion) is that while the distance is more, it's a somewhat easier climb.
The only time I suffered was towards the descent when my knees complained, and for the 6 days after that!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on April 02, 2017, 09:31:54 pm
Oh, Ri. I am such a twit! Completely misinterpreted your "buying a plot" comment. Sjoe, not riding has addled my brain!  :lamer:
Glad the bike is ok, and I hope you're 100% soon!

Ja, quite a few of those fit joggers passed us.
Nice thing about the zig-zag (in my opinion) is that while the distance is more, it's a somewhat easier climb.
The only time I suffered was towards the descent when my knees complained, and for the 6 days after that!

:imaposer: All flat lands in Botswana?

No worries, apparently I should say I "bought the farm" but that sounds like a big deal, and really, mine are just idiotic mishaps (although maybe I now do own a farm on Gydo, come to think of it)

Safe travels!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 08, 2017, 07:12:49 pm
Back to the grind

On Thursday I touched back down in Donkey Town after 3 weeks in Cape Town, and a week in Durban.
No rest for the wicked... no, wait, I can't really say that when I have done nothing but rest for the past month, hey...
Well, it was straight back into it with some Caravan-ing on Friday, and some more today. And tomorrow I'm off on a double night stop in Kasae.

It is tough to be away from my family, but at the same time, it feels really good to be back to the simple life. But at the same time, it already feels like I have been back for months.
Maybe it's like watching 7de Laan; you can not watch it for 2 years, and within 2 episodes you're all caught up.

The Delta is looking good, and while areas have flooded, there are already some grassy areas that are turning yellow as there hasn't been as much rain in the last month. I went up to Kasane today. Wow, what a change. Last time i saw it the Chobe River was a clear border between Botswana and Namibia. Now the river has become one with water-filled flood plains and it is difficult to see where the two countries meet- epic! I will try to get photos.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 12, 2017, 09:01:38 pm
Flying Without Wings

Since being back, I have had to hit the ground running. With 3-4 hour days since Friday, I am sunburnt, tired, and seem to have an endless amount of sand in my hair. Scary to think that when I was new to the company, I was doing 4-6hr days without an issue. I must be getting old.

Yesterday I was on my way to Saile from Kasane in the Caravan. Coming of a night stop, I didn't have a loadmaster with me, so I was doing the hot turn arounds myself. Nothing like being blasted with hot exhaust gases with a turbine screaming in your ears, while ushering clients to and from the aircraft :)

My clients were loaded and seated, and I got to work on loading their bags. The guide had placed them just behind the main wheel, and I was loading them into Pod 2, which is in front of the main wheel, so I was having to load a bag, step back under the wing strut, turn, and pick up the next bag. Little did I know the guide had come to help and placed a bag right where I was stepping back.

It happened in a flash. My right foot connected with the bag with enough force for me to literally be swept off my feet, my arms flailing like a penguin trying to get airborne, and my brain trying to comprehend what had just happened. Luckily the bag was fairly soft, I know because I landed squarely on top of it. My wrist also hit the ground at some point and was tender for the rest of the day.

I got up, brushed myself off, told the guide it was an accident and thanked him for trying to help, and finished the job. Once I was back in my seat, one of the passengers in the first row (a Brit I think) said "Oh, you're back, and you're the right way up this time!" I just laughed and shook my head.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Carnivore on April 12, 2017, 10:03:10 pm
Sometimes you just dig a bit deeper into your character reserve bank, and you get through another difficult moment/day/week...
I am sooooooo chuffed for you  as I read of your exploits.

I'd go to war with you. :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 12, 2017, 11:19:31 pm
Sometimes you just dig a bit deeper into your character reserve bank, and you get through another difficult moment/day/week...
I am sooooooo chuffed for you  as I read of your exploits.

I'd go to war with you. :thumleft:

Thank you, Carnivore  :)

===

I got myself a new little camera and I've been testing it on empty legs.

1.) In the circuit for Shinde airstrip. My laptop screen is washed out, but the tv screen shows the most beautiful greens and blues. I hope the colours show for you guys and gals.
2.) Maun Town, already turning brown from the lack of rain. But, the river is flowing!
3.) On approach into Kasane. To the left is the Chobe River. The last time I saw it, I could clearly distinguish the border between Namibia and Botswana
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hje on April 12, 2017, 11:39:28 pm
WOW !!!  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mother on April 13, 2017, 09:47:52 am
nice pics from the air.....

all is good and well here in cape town had a nice rain downpour last night

have a great easter up in the delta

nice to follow your thread
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 17, 2017, 07:20:04 am
...

Completely forgot what I was going to say. Clearly the caffeine hasn't set in yet. Here are some more video screenshots instead!

I had Thursday and Friday off, so naturally I went to the office so I could fly. As a passenger into one of the camps for the night. It was also an opportunity to check out the leased Caravan I hope to be flying soon.

1.) Garmin 600 avionics. Very nice piece of kit, with regular "steam" engine instruments, and electronic flight instruments (the Garmin 1000 has electronic engine and flight instruments)
2.) So much water! Just after crossing the Buffalo Fence into the Delta, about 5 minutes out of Maun
3.) Final approach into Xaxaba airstrip. Wheeee!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on April 17, 2017, 07:37:52 pm
Heather I am so pleased that you are back at work, now we will hopefully get more brilliant photos and reports, I find them stimulating.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on April 25, 2017, 09:07:44 pm
 :sip:............looking forward to hearing what you have been upto !!
Need my bush fix badly please
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 26, 2017, 08:01:44 pm
Time to spare? Go by air!

More time yet? Go by (Air Namibia) jet.

Sometime in April.

"I might need you to go fetch the Kodiak in Windhoek."
It's my boss on the phone.
"Okay," I say casually, trying to get the excitement out of my voice. "I'm keen."
Why don't I want to show excitement? Because this year alone I have missed out on 3 ferry flights. I will not let this one slip through my fingers!

Sunday, 23 April.
It's 10:00, and I am a passenger in an Airvan, on my way to Kasane with a few stops along the way.
Maun - Stanleys (10min) - Piajio (15min) - Lebala (35min) - Kasane (55min).
Normally flights like that kill me- I get bored so fast. But it was a cool day with low cloud to dodge, and a good friend was the pilot, so we chatted all the way and time went by pretty fast.

From Kasane, I jump into a taxi for my road transfer to Victoria Falls; I'm catching the 16:30 Air Namibia flight to Windhoek, so I can pick up the Kodiak and fly it back to Maun.

It was a beautiful drive through Zimbabwe, and my driver gave me a history lesson on the country. I really need to open a book more often. Well, I open lots of books, but not those on southern African history.
We arrived at the airport with plenty of time, and I made my way to the check in desk.

Some Americans were already there, and behind them the Air Namibia board had 19:00 in red. Great.
"So, I take it the flight is delayed?"
"Yeah, this is the second time! First it was delayed to 16:30, now 19:00!"

Hmm, turns out there wasn't a 16:30 flight on the system (or in their brochure), so I'm not sure how I got booked on it. Oh well! I was there, and I had my boarding pass. I had packed light out of fear of my transfers running late and I didn't want to be delayed with checking in luggage. So I had a change of clothes, my headset, the paperwork for the ferry flight, and Scrat (he likes these sort of trips).

I settled in in departures and got some lunch. 10USD for a side of chips, salad, a coffee and a water. Thanks, Boss!
Eventually we were told we could have a toasted sandwich and as many soft drinks as we liked, courtesy of Air Namibia. Cool, I can do an early dinner.

I didn't have wifi, and my roaming wasn't working, so it was a very long wait. I paced the terminal, cursed about the fact I hadn't brought a plug adapter with, and read my book (on Pararescuers).
Eventually they called us to the gate at 18:30. Finally!

Air Namibia running late was Ops Notmal when they operated the Windhoek-Maun flight. But the icing on the cake; they announced that the aircraft was overweight, and all the checked luggage would remain in Victoria Falls. Good thing I wasn't on the connecting flight to Frankfurt.
And I only had hand luggage.
There were some grumpy Germans and Americans on that little ERJ.

Once on board, the crew just apologized for the delay but gave no explanation. As for the weight issues, who knows why it was a problem. Fuel? Eh, Airlink does CT-Maun with no issues and that flight is almost an hour longer. Maybe they decided to fuel for both that flight, and the next morning's flight.

I was sat in the second last row. The lavatory is at the back, and on the door was a hand-written sign stating it was out of order. Good thing I went in the terminal!

The take off was something. It was a pitch black light, and once the wheels left the tarmac I lost all reference of which way was up. All I saw was black, and the flash of the strobe lights reflecting off the clouds.
And to think, people in deep Africa do flights on nights like that in single engines aircraft. No thanks!

The flight was uneventful. The food was alright. By that stage I had accepted that a lekker steak and beer in Windhoek wasn't going to happen- I was too tired.

About 20minutes out, they dimmed the cabin lights and as my eyes adjusted, I could see the milky way stretching out above us. It was beautiful, and the lack of horizon made me feel like I was back on Kili, on the night of my summit.

Once at Windhoek international it was another wait for my road transfer as he was also driving a lady coming from the JHB flight. By now I was in a bit of a stupor, both thankful that I was in shorts as the cold kept me awake, and at the same time wondering if I could put on my pajama pants. I used the time to get a local sim, deciding I was tired of not having reliable communication.

I got to the hotel around 22:00 local time, so 23:00 SA time. Darn time changes. A 1hr shift messes with me, can you imagine what 5 or 6 hours would do?!

Very nice hotel- Safari Court, next to Eros Airport.
The plan was for me to depart Eros by about 08:00, but with all the delays the boss said I could leave when I wanted.

So I slept soundly that night, was up at 6am, admired the view from my room (buildings, what?!) and ate a leisurely breakfast.

I left around 10:00, and found my way to the hangar where the Kodiak was.
Eventually I found the man in charge, only to be told the aircraft wasn't ready. Best settle in for more waiting.

I got to see a former student who is now working in Namibia, which was cool.

Eventually I got airborne just before 15:00 SA time. The Garmin had had a software update so I spent the first 30 minutes figuring out the airspace and skirting around Windhoek's airspace to avoid all the Heavies (airliners).

Sitting at FL115 (11 500ft above sea level) I settled in for the remaining 2 hours. The air was smooth and the Kodiak performing well. Averaging about 165kts ground speed, it was a pleasant flight.

Considering I hadn't flown the Beast in about 2 months, I was chuffed with my landing in Maun. And as I parked it and opened that door, and got that whiff of "Maun air", I couldn't help but smile. I had only been away a night, but it felt like a week. It was good to be home.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on April 26, 2017, 08:22:46 pm

 :sip:  :thumleft: Awesomeness.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on April 27, 2017, 04:33:09 pm
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Dustman on April 28, 2017, 01:58:15 pm
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 29, 2017, 05:29:35 pm
Here are some peekcha's to go with the Kodiak ferry flight story.

1.) A muddy day in the Airvan. We practiced our drifting in the park bay at Lebala airstrip.

2.) Very busy at Victoria Falls International

3.) Thank you Air Namibia!

4.) On board and ready to go! A pitch black night awaits us
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 29, 2017, 05:32:32 pm
1.) I've never really stayed in a hotel. Loved the patterns in the passage

2.) Scrat admiring the view from the room

3.) Eros airport as seen from the stairwell of the hotel
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 29, 2017, 05:35:54 pm
1.) Waiting for the Kodiak. Look at all that eye candy!

2.) Finally underway! It was weird to look down the wing and see all of those buildings

3.) Settled into the cruise, time for lunch

4.) Scrat did the navigating

5.) Nearing 5pm, the light on the clouds was epic. Not long after this I landed in Maun.

:)

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on April 29, 2017, 06:39:06 pm
 Settled into the cruise, time for lunch

I like a job where one can wear a "kortbroek" :thumleft: ;) :lol8:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 29, 2017, 08:20:05 pm
Settled into the cruise, time for lunch

I like a job where one can wear a "kortbroek" :thumleft: ;) :lol8:

Ja Chris. I never used to wear shorts. Now I'm rocking the craziest sock tan. Mornings in winter are tough, sometimes with temperatures hovering around 8degC, but once the sun is up, I love my shorts.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on April 29, 2017, 10:18:13 pm
That last picture under the wing is amazing.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 30, 2017, 06:00:31 am
That last picture under the wing is amazing.

Thank you  :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 30, 2017, 08:02:14 am
It feels like I have been back for months, but it has been less than a month since I returned from leave. Time has been moving fast and slow, at the same time.
With busy season upon us, I have been night stopping like crazy. Which is great for saving money 😊

Last night I stayed in Selinda, at cSU (Central Supply Unit). They have a mix of tents which can be used by pilots, staff, and film crews. Some have a toilet and shower, and others you have to go traipsing to another bathroom.
There is also The Wooden House. A large house with three bedrooms, overlooking two little lagoons. Being wood, and raised up on stilts, it creaks and groans and is quite freaky.
A colleague was also here, so the managers gave us the option of, either one in the pilot tent and one in the house, or we grab a room each in the house.
I said there was no way I would be staying in the house myself, so we each grabbed a room.

Anyway, long story short, here's a photo of the sunset, and sunrise from the deck.

It's chilly this morning, about 10degC.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on May 02, 2017, 02:50:58 am
I do so miss the African bush.

Especially at dawn and at sunset.

I also miss the sounds... the Turtle Doves, the Fish Eagle, the Cicada's. Crickets and frogs...


Thanks for the awesome pics Heather, brilliant!  :thumleft:

And thank you for the other thing too... Thanks!  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 06, 2017, 06:43:16 am
Gary, it's one of the reasons I love it so much out here.
I am more than happy to sit outside my tent (or inside it, depending on what animals are lurking) and just listen. Even my house in Maun is surrounded by all sorts of birds and critters, and right now (06:40) everything is waking up and making noise- beautiful.

It doesn't beat sitting at the beach and watching and listening to the sea, but it's a great alternative!

Another thing I find amazing is the temperature as the sun rises. Just before it pops up over the horizon, the temperature drops; it's especially noticeable in winter. Getting klapped in the face by the cold air is a good way to wake up!  :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 07, 2017, 07:04:08 pm
Moeg.

Today was one of those days I like; there wasn't a lot of "hurry up and wait".

A respectable take-off time (09:45), I got home at around 17:15, and was actually wondering what to do with myself. So I did the laundry and made coffee and watched Great British Bake Off.
But you aren't interested in that.

The season is starting to get interesting, with reports of lodges running at near 100% occupancy (up from their 30-40% last year). So you can imagine how much the charter companies are working. I wish I had a good camera and a whole day so I could do a time lapse of Maun airport. I like to compare it to the ebb and flow of the ocean...
At sunrise, all the aircraft are tied down, "DO NOT REMOVE" tags gently flapping in the breeze. It's cold. The first of the pilots show up for their 07:30 and 08:00 scenics. Engines spring to life here and there as they are warmed up as part of the pre-flight.
The rising sun quickly warms things up and jackets are shed and more people arrive.
Metal cables snap to the tar as tie-downs are released.
Cowlings are propped open.
Fuel is drained.
The smells of JetA1, and AvGas and oil fill the air.

And before you know it, the apron holds only a handful of aircraft, and the airspace is filled with radio calls.

Come 12:00, the apron starts to fill up as guests connecting to Airlink and Air Botswana are brought back from their slice of heaven in the bush.
Aircraft are fuelled and tied down (we used to just chock them, but since the freak storms we secure them to the metal cables whenever they are left unattended).
Pilots rush off to get fuel for themselves.

The airlines arrive and it is chaos as 100 people wait to be stamped into Botswana by the two immigration officials on duty.
The terminal is full of people; pilots, porters, safari company representatives. It's a mass of bodies, and sweat, and impatience, and fatigue (from the clients who have been travelling for the last 48hrs).

The queue for security goes all the way back into the arrivals hall.

And by 14:40, the terminal is empty.
Aircraft are fired up on the apron.
And come 15:00, calm is restored to the little village of Maun. Until tomorrow, at least.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on May 07, 2017, 09:08:10 pm
You sketch the scene very well. Lovely word picture  :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on May 08, 2017, 09:17:03 pm
 :sip: hey there H

Get a GO PRO and stick it up at the airport somewhere to make a nice timeline video ha ha ha ha
Enjoyed your discription you need a BLOG  :deal:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on May 09, 2017, 05:53:41 am
:sip: hey there H

Get a GO PRO and stick it up at the airport somewhere to make a nice timeline video ha ha ha ha
Enjoyed your discription you need a BLOG  :deal:

The Flying Fish Blog (updated 16/12/15) - http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/     :deal:
Mt. Kilimanjaro - http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=189100.0
Botswana - http://www.wilddog.za.net/forum/index.php?topic=165257.0
Instagram - TinCanPhotorgraphy
Videos - https://www.youtube.com/user/SardineG
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 09, 2017, 07:32:00 am
Thank you, Ri  :)

:sip: hey there H

Get a GO PRO and stick it up at the airport somewhere to make a nice timeline video ha ha ha ha
Enjoyed your discription you need a BLOG  :deal:

Zetman, unfortunately airport security is VERY sticky about cameras in the airport terminal. Then there's also the issue of me filming someone and putting it up on YouTwitFace and them somehow finding out and kicking up a fuss because I didn't get their permission. So a bit of a tough one.

As for the blog, it is there, in the corner, covered in dust and cobwebs  :-\
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on May 09, 2017, 04:42:31 pm
 :spitcoffee: Love it  :biggrin:
Ha ha ha

you always have a good way with words enjoy your Time there and keep it right side up  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on May 10, 2017, 02:19:13 am
Still loving your thread mate; keep it up!  :laughing4:  :laughing4:

Did I miss it, what camera you got? Seems like Wide angle fish eye there,or up your Shutter speed if it is an option to right the bend props!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Skaiidawg on May 14, 2017, 02:19:21 pm


Still loving your thread mate; keep it up!
The mate is actually a sheila.....


Sent from my E7 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 14, 2017, 07:41:07 pm
Sjoe, the last two days have been busy.

Tom, it's the MiView, a knock-off of the GoPro that works just as well and costs less than half!

I don't have any fresh photos because of the tempo of work. But perhaps I can type out a little of what the last two days have been like.
I have a few friends and acquaintances who fly in the airlines, and I often find myself "comparing" the types of flying. In 6 hours, they will have traveled thousands of kilometers from one end of South Africa, to the other, and back again. And done maybe 4-6 stops.

In 6 hours, we would have done only around 1000-1200km, but with 8-13 stops.

Yesterday was a 10-sector day. And that was 10 sectors in the bush; I left Maun in the morning and got back for the first time at 3pm. It's a nice feeling; you are independent out there. You have your schedule with the times you need to stick to and the people you need to drop off and pick up, and you make it work. Some sectors are 10 minutes, and I think my longest one for the day was 25minutes.
And I didn't go to the same airstrip twice, which is always nice.
Unfortunately I couldn't take a loadmaster so not only was I the pilot, but also the cabin crew and baggage handler. I loved it! Even though I had tears running down my face and the sniffles- the downside to hot JetA1 exhaust gases wafting in your face.

Though, it was a little disheartening when I tallied up the flying time and it only came to just shy of 4 hours. Ah well.

And today, well today was 11 sectors. This time with a short, 30 minute, turnaround in Maun for fuel and fresh victims. Uh, uhm, I mean, passengers.
But again, the majority of it was just me, doing my thing, and really really enjoying it. Though at one of the stops where I had to drop off 7 people and pick up another 7 I managed to misread my schedule and make an utter fool of myself. Like when a waitron reads back your order and has it all wrong. Yeah, that was me. And it turns out one of my passengers is a GM for some or other safari company. Whoops!

So in 2 days, I've done 8hrs and 21 take-offs and landings. And people still ask me why I love this so much, and why I haven't applied to Emirates and Qatar.

I'm absolutely knackered, and I have sand everywhere. So I'm going to say good night for now.  :peepwall:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on May 14, 2017, 08:27:19 pm
That Miview is impresive, amazing quality in these little action cameras now adays. Your schedule is very similar to some of the UN caravan pilots where they also double up as cabin crew and load master. Would you move companies if you get the change like say a 2 year contract in the DRC? Most bush pilots I got to know were freelancing and been working all over Africa.

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 14, 2017, 08:47:07 pm
That Miview is impresive, amazing quality in these little action cameras now adays. Your schedule is very similar to some of the UN caravan pilots where they also double up as cabin crew and load master. Would you move companies if you get the change like say a 2 year contract in the DRC? Most bush pilots I got to know were freelancing and been working all over Africa.

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk

Tom, one of my goals has been to fly contract on twin-engined aircraft, like the King Air or B1900. I don't know what next year holds, but I'm going to be pushing to move up another step in the ladder. However, I'm going to keep all my options open :)
I think free-lancing would be great, but it seems to be becoming more and more competitive.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on May 14, 2017, 09:09:01 pm
That Miview is impresive, amazing quality in these little action cameras now adays. Your schedule is very similar to some of the UN caravan pilots where they also double up as cabin crew and load master. Would you move companies if you get the change like say a 2 year contract in the DRC? Most bush pilots I got to know were freelancing and been working all over Africa.

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk

Tom, one of my goals has been to fly contract on twin-engined aircraft, like the King Air or B1900. I don't know what next year holds, but I'm going to be pushing to move up another step in the ladder. However, I'm going to keep all my options open :)
I think free-lancing would be great, but it seems to be becoming more and more competitive.
Indeed more and more competative as I was told already, same for us medics. You got to have 'contacts' they say. I have a number of skydives from or out a 1900! Great fun and a lot more propwhash than on the Pilatus Porter. You would know but they can't 'feather' the prop as much or something. The first excit was rather unstable and the the jumpmaster told me to dive towards the end of the wing and give more chest to the propwash. That helped and was rather fun in the end!

Best of luck in moving through the ranks 👍

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 17, 2017, 07:52:53 pm
Thank you, Tom  :thumleft:

------

Lately I've been feeling quite drained. Even if I'm home by 5pm, all I want to do is make a big cup of coffee and crawl into bed. Maybe it's the cold; mornings are down to about 8degC, warming up to about 27degC during the day.
But, I tallied up my hours for the last 7 days and saw I had done 25hrs. That's a lot of flying for a week. No wonder I'm kaput!

Two days ago I was on my way to Maun from Kadizora, which is in the north west near Seronga and where the Okavango Rivers comes down from Angola. With no passengers, I climbed to 9500ft and chilled. I like doing that to just get away, and gaze at the world below with a slightly reduced chance of hitting a feathered friend.

And then I saw it out the corner of my eye. Something coming straight towards my head. I instinctively leaned back and swatted. And just as I swatted I realised it was a big black and yellow wasp. Thank goodness I missed! It buzzed around, making a few passes at my head before settling on the co-pilot window.
Now, last time I was stung by a bee, I had a very bad reaction. Granted, it was about 10 years ago. But there was no way I wanted to risk a wasp sting. So the obvious solution is remove the threat, right? Well, two problems;
1- if you're going to go for one of these buggers, you have to make sure you kill it properly the first time. Because if you don't, all hell will break loose!
2- I can't bring myself to kill something that is just innocently minding it's on business.

So, I decided to keep an eye on it, and try my best to not panic.
Until the sneak flew towards my feet and chilled on my leg. Fortunately I was coming up to my top of descent point, and I made it a very rapid descent followed by a tight approach and landing.

On the flip side, the patterns around Duba Plains look fantastic. The grass is dying and the Delta is turning brown, but the channels are bright greens and blues.
Omdop has a lot of water, and their game vehicles have been raised about a foot so they can still do game drives.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 17, 2017, 07:55:11 pm
Oops, sorry, the photos need to be rotated clockwise 90 degrees. And they're a bit blurry from the compression, and also the exhaust gases flying past the window  :xxbah:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on May 20, 2017, 10:13:51 am
Sardine, I imagine your facial expression was similar to your Profile Pic? LOL
Well done on keeping your cool, my son was allergic to bees, I know how serious those allergies can be.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Dupie2 on May 22, 2017, 04:59:42 pm
Hi, still enjoying your stories and experiences.
A group of us are visiting your town soon. We will be on a bike trip from RSA to Francistown, Kasane, Caprivi, Shakawe, Maun etc, and will be in Maun on 14 & 15 June. Join us for a drink, will be camping at Okavango river Lodge.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 22, 2017, 06:12:39 pm
Thump, hahahaha, yes, that was my expression! :)

Duper, I'd love to swing by for a drink. See you then!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 25, 2017, 05:29:54 pm
There are days I love living in Maun, and days I absolutely hate it.

I've always liked the idea of no commitments- being able to get up and go wherever, whenever. And I can do that here (as long as I show up to work on time  :patch: ).

I also love the simplicity of the place, the super chilled pace, the low crime rate. Yesterday while doing Airvan training, I got to snap a photo of the Thamalakane River, which runs through Maun. It's a flowing river, one I used to walk along before it flooded. How cool is that?! And I am glad I don't have to worry about water restrictions, and drought, and muggings, and sitting in traffic on the way to work, like my family and friends in Cape Town.

But it has been a tough few days for me. The flying has dropped off, and I am bored. But most importantly, I am missing my niece's first birthday party, as well as one of my best friends' weddings. And that really sucks.

I love my job, but man, only going home once or twice a year is starting to take its toll.

On a lighter note:
The Thamalakane River
And a shot of "the Western"- the apron where we park our aircraft. The front line (at the bottom of the photo) is generally reserved for the Caravan's. They were all out on freight runs this morning. Taken during more training. I don't often get the opportunity to take these sort of photos as I'm too busy taking off or landing  :o But on this one my student was flying and we had just done a go-around, so we were nice and high.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on May 25, 2017, 09:39:44 pm
Older you get more family matters. Sad that you're missing these special events  :-[

Nice photo's though, those parked planes look very neat :D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on May 26, 2017, 03:56:55 am
I get what you mean Heather.

Missing family, events, people...

It hurts. Big time.

Today my dad buried my step-mom. I couldn't be there to just hug him, comfort him.

I have to focus on the positives though. Just like you do.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on May 26, 2017, 07:26:05 am
Thank you Ri, and Gary.

Gary, thinking of you and your family.  I know that you have it worse than I do. So I have no reason to complain. Just have to suck it up and make it work, eh.

Today is my day off and I have no idea what to do with myself. It's nice and chilly, 11 degrees according to Accuweather, but it feels like about 7 or 8. They reckon it will get up to about 30 though.
Guess I will just have to read WD's, drink coffee and eat homemade cookies while I try think of something to do.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: roburt on May 26, 2017, 12:39:19 pm
also the longer you stay out the more difficult it can be, I have been in TZ now 6 years so now make a point of it to fly down to SA every few months even if its only for a long weekend. The first few years I would not have dreamt spending that amount of money for just a weekend, but now I know its worth it and make the fact that I am out of SA a lot easier. in fact flying down in 2 weeks again for a long weekend :-)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on June 12, 2017, 08:42:26 am
Sardine-Sardine come in......Over

Im missing my Bush Pilot fix.............. :-[

Hope you are well and looking forward to hear what you have been upto

Dont forget the PICTURES !!!!

Cheers
G
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Would I? on June 14, 2017, 08:50:17 pm
Yes 2 weeks without a post!!!

Must have forgotten about us.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on June 15, 2017, 06:32:08 pm
 :'( :'(
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on June 16, 2017, 02:05:30 am
I miss the posts by Sardine.

She has such a lovely way of writing.

I have a feeling however that she may have somebody else keeping her busy when she's not flying...  ::) ;)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 16, 2017, 05:45:06 pm
I miss the posts by Sardine.

She has such a lovely way of writing.

I have a feeling however that she may have somebody else keeping her busy when she's not flying...  ::) ;)
:peepwall:
Shhhh!

Thank you for the compliments guys and girls.

It has been getting colder and colder here. The air isn't nearly as dry as it was last year- we're still getting the odd cloud here and there. But I get shocked by my car every morning. And it's always fun going to greet someone and having a literal electric connection when you shock each other while shaking hands.

Yesterday it was a 5am wake-up to drive to work at 6am. Okay, okay, I hit snooze until 05:30.
But it was going well from there, until the car wouldn't start. Fantastic.
Options? Taxi, yeah, I've never flagged one down before.
Bicycle? Yes! The lights are on it and the batteries charged.

So it was a very fresh cycle to work in the dark. Took me 12 minutes. And I couldn't breath properly for about an hour after that- lack of fitness, and the fact that the 7 degree air didn't agree with my lungs.

But, I got to work on time and enjoyed a fantastic sunrise as I pre-flighted. It can only keep getting better, right?

What's that? Murphy got a whiff of optimism?

...

The Caravan has a pressurized oil cap which needs to be pushed down firmly while turning the catch to latch it securely. The combination of cold, my numb fingers, and oil on the cap meant my hand slipped and I cut my finger.
Right then.

Then while I was closing one of the doors, I forgot that the hydraulic hinges weren't that great and it closed on a different finger.

It's going to get better... right?

My flight, which was a freight run to Omdop, was freezing.

Then it was into the Kodiak for the rest of the day.
Which included another run with freight, where the idiots tried to load a whole heap of highly flammable paint on my plane. 

Between flights, it was confirmed my car's battery was fried, so I had to fork out for a new one.

4 hours of flying later, and I was absolutely knackered. A warm shower helped, followed by a delicious pizza at The Old Bridge Backpackers, then home to sleep a good 10 hours.

Today was spent doing household chores and pottering around the garden.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 18, 2017, 09:23:07 pm
Listen to the crackle of the fire, as you stare transfixed at the red-hot embers. The people around you talk, but their conversations are just background noises. The bell frogs call, a cacophony of noise as they search for each other. Bats flit overhead, unseen as they swish over you. And the hippos splash and munch their way through the water 10 meters away, grass adorning their backs like some sort of Picasso-imagined hula skirts.

Take a deep breath... and soak up the fresh, crisp air, as you watch the tendrils of smoke from the fire twirl their way up into the starry night sky.

It's good to be in the bush again.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 19, 2017, 06:41:54 am
Bush alarm clocks are the best...
Hyena's are "wwwwhhhhhhooooOOOO!"-ing, fish eagles are calling, and an elephant is farting outside my room as it munches the trees for breakfast.

The sky is getting lighter and the temperature has dropped, so I'm bundled up in bed, desperately craving a cup of coffee.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on June 19, 2017, 01:33:07 pm
Listen to the crackle of the fire, as you stare transfixed at the red-hot embers. The people around you talk, but their conversations are just background noises. The bell frogs call, a cacophony of noise as they search for each other. Bats flit overhead, unseen as they swish over you. And the hippos splash and munch their way through the water 10 meters away, grass adorning their backs like some sort of Picasso-imagined hula skirts.

Take a deep breath... and soak up the fresh, crisp air, as you watch the tendrils of smoke from the fire twirl their way up into the starry night sky.

It's good to be in the bush again.

Now we're talking!!! Beautiful.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on June 20, 2017, 02:39:13 am
Bush alarm clocks are the best...
Hyena's are "wwwwhhhhhhooooOOOO!"-ing, fish eagles are calling, and an elephant is farting outside my room as it munches the trees for breakfast.

The sky is getting lighter and the temperature has dropped, so I'm bundled up in bed, desperately craving a cup of coffee.

You need one of those little gas-canister stoves. And then some Enrista coffee sachets.

Then you keep it all in a small bag that you take with you on the night-stop trips. In fact keep it permanently with you when you fly. Then you can brew a coffee anywhere, anytime.

I used to have one in the Landy when I did trips. I could boil a single cup of water ready for coffee in about 4 minutes of stopping the Landy. Before guys had finished their smoke-break I had coffee going. And it is perfectly safe for aircraft.   :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on June 20, 2017, 07:23:48 am
Bush alarm clocks are the best...
Hyena's are "wwwwhhhhhhooooOOOO!"-ing, fish eagles are calling, and an elephant is farting outside my room as it munches the trees for breakfast.

The sky is getting lighter and the temperature has dropped, so I'm bundled up in bed, desperately craving a cup of coffee.

You need one of those little gas-canister stoves. And then some Enrista coffee sachets.

Then you keep it all in a small bag that you take with you on the night-stop trips. In fact keep it permanently with you when you fly. Then you can brew a coffee anywhere, anytime.

I used to have one in the Landy when I did trips. I could boil a single cup of water ready for coffee in about 4 minutes of stopping the Landy. Before guys had finished their smoke-break I had coffee going. And it is perfectly safe for aircraft.   :thumleft:

... or just chew on the sachet   :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 25, 2017, 07:18:17 am
Letting Go

I am a very sentimental person; small things will somehow have meaning to me. So I accumulate a lot of clutter. My desks were always piled high with assorted odds and soda. Since moving to Botswana I have tried to declutter my life, and I am getting there slowly but surely. Never mind the 10 boxes of stuff I have stored with my sister :peepwall:

Anyway, I also have a lot of clutter in the form of photos. When I first started taking photos I had a stupid system where I would end up with triple of the photos I liked, and still keep all the really bad photos. You know, just in case I ever want to look back.
When a hard drive crashed a few years ago and I couldn't even remember what was saved on it, I started to think that maybe it's time to only hang on to the really important photos.

Well, 6 years later and I have put many hours into the Photo Clean Up effort. In 2013 alone I took some 4000 photos, of which only a couple of hundred are actually good, or have meaning.
Last night I spent about 4 hours sorting and deleting. And it turns out I did look back on the photos, like I thought I might. Only it wasn't to smile and remember the good old days- no, I was more "Heather, what is wrong with you?! You have 10 of the same photo and not a single one is good! Delete!"

However, I finally sorted through my Botswana 2012 album; that was when I first came up here to look for work. It was about a 6 week adventure...
And I found some photos of the airstrips and rivers from then. 5 years later and there has been a bit of change.

Have I told you guys about that trip in 2012?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on June 25, 2017, 04:19:15 pm

Have I told you guys about that trip in 2012?

Go for it

Really enjoy your posts keep it coming




Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on June 25, 2017, 09:38:34 pm
I'm all ears to hear about your trip....or is it all eyes ?
Anyhoo we want to hear about it please
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 26, 2017, 06:20:16 pm
Before I go back to 2012, maybe I should go back to today first.

Today was going to be a good one; 7 sectors of Delta-hopping in the Kodiak. And with light loads (0 pax, 4 pax, 8 pax, 8 pax, 0 pax, 4 pax, 0 pax). Beautiful! And in a very scenic area so I'd be able to get some good video footage. AND I was only scheduled to take off at 11:00, so I could get some grocery shopping done before going in to work.

Well, the office called me at 07:30 whilst I was drinking my cuppa and browsing WD's. "You have a schedule change," I held my breath and waited for the office lady to tell me I had to be airborne in 30 minutes. "You're taking off at 11:30 now." Oh, the air escape my lungs. That's not too bad then.

Only, they had taken away my Kodiak day.  :-[ Now, I'm not complaining; I was being put on the Caravan, but my 2.5hr day had turned into a 1.5hr day, and I have been pushing to get time on the Kodiak to meet a goal- more hours on the Kodiak than on the Airvan. I'm 2hrs short on the Kodiak  :patch:

Anyway, the change was because of delays to some private charters. A wealthy family from overseas.
Get this, they needed a King Air and two Caravans, for some 20 or so people. About 15 of which are staff. From doctors and massage therapists to body guards.
They had enough luggage to fill an entire Caravan cabin, and two Caravan cargo pods- I estimate around 500kg. Of luggage.
Crazy money there.

Our 11:30 take off become, 11:45, then 12:30.
Eventually I got going at 13:15... we didn't realize how much luggage there was. and while they had booked an Airvan just for luggage (for just in case), there was no way it would fit. So I went from flying some of the help to hauling all the seats of the Caravan to pack it with bags, and the Kodiak was hastily readied to fly the people. So that's 4 aircraft now. Excluding the two private jets they flew in on.

Chaos, absolute chaos.

But in a way, I enjoyed it because of the fast pace of things and the pressure to make a plan and get things done.

But now I am a little bit moeg and sore from lifting bags, so it's time to go braai.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: eSKaPe on June 26, 2017, 07:25:37 pm
An African dream indeed, your life is!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Pistonpete on June 26, 2017, 07:30:51 pm
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: westfrogger on June 27, 2017, 08:54:44 am
Nice. Just plain nice.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 27, 2017, 08:48:45 pm
The Only Constant is Change

Nothing like a lekker post 10am take off, with some good flying for the day. By good flying, I mean nice sectors within the Delta. I enjoy the Kasane runs but lately it has been bumpy regardless of what time we fly, or high we fly (we're limited to 10 000ft above sea level, so about 7000ft above ground).

I arrived at work even earlier than usual- I thought my take off was at 10:00 but it was only at 10:25. And I had one of our training pilots coming with as she needed to sharpen up her radio work and navigation. So while she did the paperwork, I browsed the pilot jobs websites (nothing yet).
As I was about to head out to pre-flight the office radio'd to say our morning flights were cancelled, and we'd only be flying at 14:40.
Oh, bummer. Less flying. That sucks. But, I guess I can go to the shops and pay rent and stuff. So it's not all bad.
As I was on my way out anyway, I decided to go pre-flight and get it done. Half way through, the office radio'd to say a flight was scheduled. Sweeeet.

Flying conditions were decent; not too much smoke so the visibility was good, not too hot or too cold, and not too bumpy. And because the training pilot had to practice nav, we flew all 10 sectors without a GPS.
Now, I know we are spoilt these days. 20 years ago guys were flying from Maun to Francistown at night with no GPS. And here we are in a place with plenty of references, during the day, with a GPS.
But it helps us save on time.
Anyway, today was no GPS, no map, just headings and time. And it all worked out perfectly. And I was reminded of how much my brain has been able to absorb without me realising it; tree lines and rivers to follow to find camps and airstrips; some of them are either well-hidden, or just difficult to see when approaching from certain directions.
So I was well chuffed, and it was nice to scoot around without the GPS.

Tomorrow was a rustig day, but now I have an earlier start, so it's going to be a big one. And Thursday also looks like it could be a long one.
Bring it on!  O0
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on June 27, 2017, 10:07:16 pm
Thanks for the updates but please so post more pictures as it add a lot of colour to us 'picture people' (prentjie mense  :imaposer: )
Every story I read and have been told I always picture-rise (if that word exists) and I find it strange that many people are actually not like that.

I found your navigation without Gps very interesting and have actually attend many years back a lifgt aircraft accident where the pilot (ou omie) lost his way and tried to land in a plouged land when he ran out of fuel. The Cherokee was wrecked but he did survive with minor injuries, so stubborn he even refused ambulance transportation! It is always handy to have additional navigating skills, like you did recognize the places wrt tree-lines etc.

The extra luggage I can only imagine the money involved. When we flew to Kenay we then when to another airstrip the following day to connect to Turkana in Northern Kenya where I used to work but they used some kind of 'Dornier' (probably wrong spelling) twin prop planes. There we were limited to only 20kg and that includes you hand luggage. So many colleagues end up paying something like 7usd per kg extra weight which is a lot of money! I was one day rather pissed off with a guy who was arguing that he weighs only 70kg but pointed to me and said 'that guy is over a 100' so why can't I take extra weight in luggage! Did feel better when the check in lady told him to cough up his dollars!!   :imaposer:

Hope you get that hours you're short on the Kodak ssm  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 28, 2017, 08:20:35 pm
Thank you Tom.

The reason I don't post many photos is because I have to email them to myself to resize them, and then post from my phone as I am so far behind with those photos that they aren't on my laptop yet.

Oh, the VIP's Airbus arrived yesterday afternoon. I'm not an Airbus fan, but I got a few photos of it in the morning light today.

And those VIP's also disrupted the entire schedule today- one of our busiest days- some 400 seats moved. Just by one company. But it all worked out in the end.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 28, 2017, 08:29:37 pm
...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on June 28, 2017, 09:03:39 pm
Pretty smart,
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 28, 2017, 09:11:42 pm
A hop, skip and jump

Today started off fairly well. An early wake up followed by a strong, hot cup of coffee. It was freezing and I had my Kway jacket on, and my sleeveless work jacket (which is surprisingly warm) and my "hobo" fingerless gloves.

I was going to fly to Nxabega and back to pick up some high-level staff, and then I had an 8 sector day after that.

Maun - Kanana - Xaxaba - Savuti - Nxabega - Pompom - Xaranna - Maun.

It was a busy morning when I got back from the Nxabega run thanks to the VIP's delaying their flights out of camp, so as the scheduled kept changing, aircraft and pilots were scrambled to do paperwork, fuel, tow planes from the hangar, and and and. I was busying myself with fueling a Caravan for the boss when next thing I know it isn't flying anymore. Fortunately my schedule wasn't affected and I blasted off to Kanana at 11:00.

The morning went well. I didn't have a loadmaster so I was up and down and in and out loading and offloading people and their luggage.
It was winding down when I go to Nxabega and collected clients going to Xaranna. I briefed them about the stop on the one, at Kanana.
They joked and said that with Xaranna and Kanana sounding so alike, it must be difficult for us. I smiled and said it gets interesting, but that's why we fly over the airstrips before we land; to read the name on the ground and make sure we're at the right place.

Now... have you seen it? My routing was meant to be Nxabega - Pompom. Not Kanana.
Pompom and Kanana are 4.5km from each other, and both are about 15km from Nxabega, and  13km from Xaranna.

I had somehow convinced myself I was going to Kanana. Maybe because at 700m, it's slightly more challenging (and fun) than the other - 1000m - runways.
Anyhow, off we went. Pax briefed, GPS programmed... maybe if I hadn't used the GPS and only referred to my nav log, I would have picked up on my mistake...

As it happened, when I landed at Kanana and saw a vehicle without the two passengers I was meant to be collecting, I got suspicious. I parked and whipped out my schedule, my eyes scanning down the mess of names and numbers. Pompom. PomPom. POMPOM!
You idiot! I felt terrible, but I packed out laughing.
"Folks, I appear to have landed at the wrong airstrip. Sorry about that, it will add just 5 minutes to your flight!"
And off we went to Pompom.

I take great pride in planning my day, and making sure I know exactly what is going on. So I don't know how I made that mistake. Fortuneatly it didn't negatively affect anyone, and my clients had a good laugh, and my colleagues are happy because now I owe a case of beer.
When I got to the office I confessed to the Ops Manager and Safety Officer straight away. As it turns out, the owner of the company was also there. "Oh, we knew about it before you did. The camp Skyped us asking why our Kodiak had just landed at Kanana, and then rapidly departed to Pompom".  :patch:

So how's that. From 3 hours of flying with no GPS, to messing it up on a 5 minute sector. Doh!

Live and learn, eh.

Oh, and I hit my hour milestone. But after my oopsie I don't feel as excited about it as I thought I would
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: westfrogger on June 29, 2017, 08:57:16 am
Why two lines for the Caravan?

And thoughts on Kodiak vs Caravan (from a pilot's perspective)?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 29, 2017, 09:18:45 am
Why two lines for the Caravan?

And thoughts on Kodiak vs Caravan (from a pilot's perspective)?

I was wondering who would notice that...
We operate the standard C208B (Grand Caravan) with good old steam gauges, and we also have a few with the Garmin 1000 avionics, known to some as EFIS (Electronic Flight Instrument System, or something like that).
EFIS experience is often sought-after, so I created the two C208B's to differentiate between the two variants more easily when I send off my experience summary to potential employers.

The Caravan is a massive aircraft. Physically, it's the largest single engine turboprop built to date. And you don't really realise how big it is until you're standing next to it.
When it comes to flying it, it's light. You can easily maneuver it around the sky with two fingers lightly gripping the yoke.
They're well-balanced, and easy to land. It's affectionately known as a "big Cessna 172", because of the way it handles.
It's a well thought-out design that Cessna has had many, many years to perfect.
Solidly-built, comfortable for the pilot (the passengers seats recline just a bit too much for most people's liking), and an easy joy to fly.
And you can throw 1000kg of freight in, and fuel for 3 hours. Which is great!

The Kodiak... a little bit smaller, but still a big aircraft.
It's stubby. One of my colleagues refers to it as a "pregnant Cessna 206". Not only does it slightly resemble the C206, it flies like it too.
The controls are heavy, and in windy conditions you get a good workout!
The aircraft is designed with so many features to improve slow-speed handling, it doesn't really stall and you can fly it at Cessna 172 stall speeds- i.e. slow! 35-40kts. And this aerie normally cruises at 140-150kts.
So it's impressive. The wings have vortex generators, the flaps have vortex generators, and the horizontal stabiliser has vortex generators. The entire thing is like a giant vortex generator. It also has wing fences above and below the wing (normally you just have above), and a saw-tooth leading edge on the wings.

All to reduce drag and promote lift.

As for flying it. This is an aircraft that WANTS to be thrown around the sky. It wants you to grip the yoke firmly, and apply demanding control inputs. If you try baby it, it won't be long before you find that it is actually flying you.

Ergonomically, the cockpit is well thought-out.
And the rest of it is built like a rock- 40% of it is machined out of solid blocks of aluminium.
However, as it is a new design (not even 15 years old), it has it's glitches, particularly on the software front (it only has a Garmin 1000/EFIS option).

But, taking off in that beast always brings a smile to my face!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 29, 2017, 09:27:02 am
All that might be French to you, so here are some peekcha's.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: westfrogger on June 29, 2017, 02:22:23 pm
Thanks for that H. Was kinda curious to know how you'd compare the 'feel' of the one against the other.

No PC12s yet at Maun? Strikes me as a useful set of wings to move those with staff and much luggage around (being somewhat more comfortable than the 206B, at the expense of fewer – much far plushier! – seats).
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on June 29, 2017, 03:55:19 pm
All that might be French to you, so here are some peekcha's.

schweet!!! "Roller Mod"   :lol8:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on June 30, 2017, 01:37:19 am
That was a proper updat with pics, thanks Sardine  :thumleft:

You should download 'fast stone' photo resize freeware. It is very users friendly, try it.

Enjoy the flying!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 02, 2017, 08:03:02 am
Thanks for that H. Was kinda curious to know how you'd compare the 'feel' of the one against the other.

No PC12s yet at Maun? Strikes me as a useful set of wings to move those with staff and much luggage around (being somewhat more comfortable than the 206B, at the expense of fewer – much far plushier! – seats).

Hi WF,

The PC12, while a very capable bush machine, can only transport 6 passengers in comfort. 9 in the "no leg room" configuration.
Whereas the Caravan can take 11, and we'll take 12 if there are children in the group.
The Caravan also has more luggage space with the external cargo pod.
And the PC12 is  around USD3 million (second hand, ball-park figure. I see they are 4.9 million for a 2017 model) they are expensive. The latest and greatest Caravan is about 2.5million new. (Kodiak is 1.4 million new, but you can only really take 8 people).

If we were doing longer sectors (maybe at least 150nm), then the PC12 might be a better choice as it cruises at around 270-280kts. But for short hops with shutting down a lot, it isn't suitable.
And then there's fleet standardization. The AMO's (Aircraft Maintenance Organisations) are approved to work on Cessna and know the Caravan well. Introducing the Pilatus would require personnel to be trained, or for maintenance to be done in SA. And the PC12 has more complex systems- retractable landing gear, and pressurization; more stuff that can break.

It wouldn't surprise me if the pistons were phased out completely, and only Caravans are used here in the next 10years. They are just such solid, reliable machines.

Now, having a PC12 or three to fly clients from SA to Maun, then having them hop onto a Caravan could work. But there are so many PC12's in SA, I don't think you'd be able to compete.

I know they were looking into the Otter and Twin Otter, but as the new ones are so expensive, they would have to go the second hand route. And Botswana has issues about importing aircraft older than x-amount of years. Also, with the ability to carry more people, multi crew environments would have to be put in place, and I think the Twin Otter might even require cabin crew.

But, I am just a pilot :) who knows what might happen.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: westfrogger on July 02, 2017, 09:29:10 am
Interesting, thank you!

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on July 02, 2017, 01:34:11 pm
What a life  :3some:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 07, 2017, 11:22:31 am
Thank you, everyone.

Yesterday was a long one. But fortunately quite straightforward in terms of sectors and passengers.
Sometimes it can get confusing...
Leave Maun with 3 people, of which 2 go to camp A and 1 to camp C.
At camp A pick up 2 for camp B and 1 to camp D, and drop the 2.
At camp B pick up 2, and drop 2.

And so on and so forth. Loading can get tricky because you ideally want the people disembarking last near the front, but it's difficult with that sort of scheduling because you need to ask people to move. Then you forget the faces of the people you have already briefed and make eye contact with the wrong ones. And you need to remember whose bags are whose, and and and.

But, yesterday was: Maun to Chobe with 3 who were going to Kasane. At Chobe pick up 4. Drop all of them in Kasane.
In Kasane pick up 6, take them to Saile. Leave Saile empty and go back to Kasane.
In Kasane pick up 1 for Maun, 4 for Saile, and 2 for Omdop.
Go to Saile, drop the 4, and pick up 3 going to Maun.
At Omdop drop the 2, and pick up 3 going to Maun.
Take the 7 to Maun.
Boom, 4.6 hours later, done.

And all the sectors were at least 30 minutes, and it was smooth. So both the Kodiak and I were in our element.

Apart from that, I can't remember much else from the week.

BUT, I do have some photos from Race for Rhinos which happened at Sua Pan (near Nata) last weekend. I will upload once I am done sorting  :3some:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on July 08, 2017, 07:00:43 am
Sjo these aircraft got expensive! I agree that the Caravan is the way to go wrt reliability and maintenance!

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 09, 2017, 07:47:18 am
Here's a little taster...

The light at the Race for Rhinos event was difficult to work with. I'm out of town tonight, but hopefully tomorrow I can post more :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: westfrogger on July 09, 2017, 10:54:12 am
Beautiful.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on July 09, 2017, 01:51:30 pm
Wow....stunning!

Sent from my SM-J500F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on July 09, 2017, 03:11:22 pm
Awesome pic   :thumleft: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on July 09, 2017, 08:24:33 pm
OK now you have whetted our appetites...............................pics pleeeez
 :drif:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 10, 2017, 08:43:10 pm
Birds of a feather...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 10, 2017, 08:47:24 pm
It's all about perspective.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 10, 2017, 08:59:58 pm
At the beginning of the year, after much, MUCH research, I decided to splash out and buy myself a new laptop. Sjoe, they have got expensive!
I've had a faithful Toshiba for 6+ years, but it required a new battery every 6 months.
Enter, a fancy, cool i7-powered Asus thing with a load of RAM, heaps of space, and a 1080p HD screen; perfect for editing photos and videos and playing games.
Only, sparky here didn't read the "Anti-glare screen" in the description.
Matte screens and photos don't gel well in my experience, and as a result editing photos is difficult because the colours on this screen are incredibly washed out.

So, here's one more kiekie from Race for Rhinos. The rest will have to wait until I can make sure they look OK on another screen (I generally detest editing photos, but the light was horrible and a bit of tweaking seems to have helped).

Sleep well :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on July 12, 2017, 11:33:05 am
Sardine that last picture is just so beutifull!!
I have also had a matt screen on a laptop at one stage and can relate. I know macbook is very expensive but think it is more reliable that windows and very good for photo editing.
I am going to keep an eye on the trade buy and sell for a good second hand one as they are just too expensive new.
Keep in mimd you csn always plug in a aditional screen to your laptop if need be.

Hope to see more of that pictures!

Sent from my SM-T231 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 13, 2017, 07:34:55 am
Thank you, Tom.
I bought an iPhone last year when my Samsung bombed out because I wanted something different, and second hand iPhones are cheap. Wow, I don't like Apple. User friendly? I still haven't got the stupid thing figured out. So as good as the Mac's are, personally I will be staying away from Apple.

=====

Yesterday I decided to cycle to work, and then take the scenic route home. When I left the office I took the road past the airport parallel to the runway, and heard something I haven't heard in a while... a Fugly, that had the same grunty, slappy thump on acceleration as my DR. I miss taking my DR on the twisties in the Cape  :drif:

I cycled with no clear route in mind, and found myself by the river. The water level is still high, but they've cut a new tweespoor higher up so you can still drive (or cycle) along there. It was fun to get out, and for a kilometer I could pretend I was back in SA, cycling in the mountains somewhere.
I will try get some photos.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 15, 2017, 07:52:43 pm
Today was a big one, Maun-Dinaka-Maun.
56nm south of Maun, it's a fairly new airstrip, and a first for me.
In the Kodiak, it takes all of 25 minutes each way. There's a whole lotta nothing down there. When it rains it turns green though, which is cool :)
I picked up a family and took them to Maun, and that was my day done.

So I had lunch in the office and browsed the job websites. A colleague got some "slap chips" from the corner food ladies. Mm, all that was missing was a lot of salt and vinegar, and a fresh piece of hake wrapped in newspaper. And the sounds and smells of the sea.

After lunch settled I donned my running gear and headed to the Thamalakane River for a jog- it's closer to work than my house and I figured if I went home, I would get lazy and not exercise. All in all, not a bad day.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on July 15, 2017, 08:18:58 pm
That pick of the 'lonely airstrip' is classic :thumleft: - it reminds me of South Sudan 'Bor' and 'Pe Bor. Sometimes we could not land in the rainy season and had to return to Juba - just too much of a risk too land.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 26, 2017, 04:30:36 pm
I had a write up lined up for you, but I have since forgotten it. The last few days have been busy. A good busy.

On Monday some friends from the flying club at Stellenbosch passed through Maun so I joined them for dinner. It was great to catch up and speak to the people who have given me some amazing flying opportunities.
On Tuesday I had a 07:00 take off which meant being in the office by 05:30.
My alarms (4 of them) were set from 04:00 at various intervals, the last one being about 04:45.
Well, I snoozed the first one, and when I woke up it was 05:23.
Time slowed down and speed up at the same time as I realized I had overslept.
I was in the office by 05:35, and I even had all my clothes on properly.

It was a great flight- as I climbed out after take off, the sun rose with me.

That feels like decades ago. You see, a colleague was found stabbed yesterday morning. I thought Maun was safe? So, time has slowed down for all of us as we process things (he is alive).

On a flight on Sunday or Monday, I followed one of the rivers and snapped some elephant and buffalo photos.
And in Kasane I got a snap of a Cessna Citation Mustang (pocket rocket), the Kodiak and one of Airlink's Embraer's.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on July 27, 2017, 03:14:13 am
Sorry to hear about your colleague. I hope he is still ok? Medical evac to SA?


Does anyone know what the circumstances surrounding it were? Robbery?

Stay safe please!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Crab on July 27, 2017, 08:57:20 pm
Hey Heather.
I hope your buddy is ok.
Thanks for the photos and write up. Its always a pleasure to read your write up, even if I dont reply much.
Stay safe.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on July 29, 2017, 06:57:22 pm
Stuning pics and sorry to read about your friend and wish him a speedy recovery.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ican on August 01, 2017, 08:07:47 pm
A bit of history... I believe this is the cubby that you learned on. You're mentioned in the post. 😀

http://avcom.co.za/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=189373

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 04, 2017, 08:29:54 am
Thank you for the thoughts, all.

And yip, Ican, that was my baby. I miss it so much! It would be perfect for bumbling around here on my days off... yes, when I'm off I want to go to my place of work and fly more  :ricky:

The past week and a bit has been tough emotionally and physically.
My friend and colleague is on the mend. It's going to be a long road to recovery, but we are all confident he has the willpower and drive to make it through. Bits and pieces of conflicting information keep coming in, which makes it difficult too. But the important thing is that he is alive and in good hands. On arrival in SA, the doctors said he would be paralyzed from the shoulders down. Since the 26th he has regained some movement in his right leg and wrist, and he can move some toes on his left foot.

And on the 2nd, after a long day at work, my sister called to say my Grandfather had passed away that morning. He was 92.
We were never very close, in fact, I have seen him more often since moving to Botswana than when I lived in SA, which is sad. But mostly I'm upset because I'm so far from home.
So I'm feeling a little lost and helpless at the moment.

---
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 04, 2017, 08:51:40 am
Work-wise. Yesterday was long.
It was to be a day of freight runs, which I was excited about despite the 07:30 take-off (which means I must be in the office by 06:00).
But, freight doesn't throw up, it doesn't ask stupid questions, and it doesn't require a safety briefing. It was a case of load, go, land, offload, fly back to Maun, fuel, load more freight, go etc. And I would get a good 4hrs of Caravan time, which I was stoked about!

I was in the office by 05:40, and walking to the plane at 06:00. It was dark. And I mean dark! I thought it was a moonless night but as it got lighter I realised it was just overcast; very strange for this time of year. But the air was still, it was warm, and as I untied my plane the animals started to wake up with birds chirping in the distance. For a while, it was just me and my plane.

The sunrise was 'gentle'. Normally it is a bright orange orb on the horizon, but with the clouds the sky lightened gradually and a light breeze picked up.

I recently bought myself an early Christmas/Birthday present in the form of a new headset. It was an aux jack so you can listen to music, and automatically mutes the music when there are radio transmissions. Seeing as freight doesn't care what the pilot does, I used this opportunity to try it out. It was nice, climbing up to FL075 (flight level, so 7500ft above sea level, about 4400ft above ground), music in the background, smooooooth air.

As the sun rose higher the horizon in the distance turned orange, and shafts of light cut through the clouds. I decided it was my Grandfather saying hello.
It was beautiful.

...

On the way back from the second freight run the office was in a panic trying to get hold of me. I was flying back from Savute, about 45minutes away, and climbed high to try get in range of the office so I could find out what was wrong. The communications were still pretty dodge as I was still 70nm away, and all I got was "Set max cruise back to Maun."
I whipped out the POH (pilots operating handbook), and flicked to the performance section which has loads of graphs and tables. Based on my altitude, and the temperature, I could whack on an extra 250lbs of torque, which took my speed from 140kts to 160kts. Yeeha! Kodiak speeds! (It only shaved off 3 minutes though).

Once I was closer and had clear communications I got the full message; one of our aircraft had a technical problem and had to return to Maun. So I had to jump aircraft (to a Garmin 1000-equipped Caravan as the standby Caravan pilot was cleared on those systems yet), and the standby guy took over my flying.

It was a case of parking next to the aircraft I was switching to, shutting down, grabbing all my stuff, and running across to the other aircraft and getting myself settled. 10 minutes later we were started up.
I had to fly to Piajio to collect clients and take them to Kasane, then go from Kasane to Pompom and back to Maun.
Max cruise all the way as these clients were now 1.5hrs late, which cuts into their safari time.

Well, everyone got to where they had to be at the end of the day. I got back to Maun at 16:30. I'd been on the go since 05:30. I was tired!
But as I did the paperwork I realised I had clocked over 6hrs of flying. I don't think I've EVER had a 6hr Caravan day. Happy fish :)

I somehow managed to drag myself and still go for a walk to clear my head and relax a little.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 04, 2017, 08:53:20 am
Stupid thing is bugging out so I'm going to post photos one at a time...

Pre-flighting in the dark. I still think the older Caravans with steam gauges are the sexiest.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 04, 2017, 08:57:52 am
1.) About 900kg of fresh fruit and veg, ready to be flown into camp.
2.) Lined up runway 08 at Maun International
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 04, 2017, 08:59:21 am
1.) Orange glow
2.) Rays of light had me thinking about my Grandfather, and my family back home
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 04, 2017, 09:00:55 am
Getting ready to start up at Savute and fly back to Maun. I didn't manage to get photos of all the boxes of freight (about 890kg) because the guys were too efficient with loading and offloading it!

I love this plane!  :3some:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 04, 2017, 09:13:57 am
Photos from the 25th, when I overslept and had that 07:00 take off...

1.) My view from the 'western' (apron. We call it the Western because it's on the western side of the airport)
2.) This is living

3.) A few days later, another early start. Moisture higher up makes for cool contrails
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Carnivore on August 04, 2017, 10:18:19 am
What an inspiration you are!

Level headed, loyal, and diligent. What more could the company ask for...
For yourself... trials and pain builds character, which is what you need to overcome trials and pain... :deal:

You will overcome every obstacle - you are that kind of girl.

Proud of you, Tinned Fish.

(When my youngest was a toddler, our games in the pool had me call her "Fish"... She's 27 now, and I still call her that.)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: husky on August 04, 2017, 11:36:57 am
Thanks for the photographs and notes - unusual and most interesting.

Sympathies about your colleague and a real shock for Maun I guess.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: jacbot on August 05, 2017, 08:14:28 am
Makes me wish I could have my Caravan days back, still the aircraft I liked and enjoyed the most, but alas, life goes on. Thank you for the great pics and your relaxing writing style Sardine. Your character shows that you will only be an asset for any employer.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on August 11, 2017, 03:43:37 pm
I love this plane!  :3some:

Here is one on a new strip we made just on the border between Zim and Moz   :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on August 12, 2017, 06:33:30 pm
Hi Sardine

Sorry to hear about your grandfather's passing, condolences.

I am glad to hear that your colleague is on the mend after the brutal assault. Very sad to read about the paralysis but glad that he is regaining movement in some extremities. Sounds like a long route to recovery for him ahead but with you all supporting it should be easier on him.

You are at a good place, living your dream flying and doing a good job! Please keep on posting pics!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on August 21, 2017, 06:57:52 pm
OK its been 11 days since your last update..............................
Dont lean us out like a Cessna engine :laughing4:

I hope you are well and will update us asap  :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 23, 2017, 09:21:01 pm
Thank you, Tom. I have managed to organise a few days of leave in November to spend time with my family, which I am really looking forward to.

0012, that looks really good!  :thumleft:

---

Ja nee, so it has been busy as usual. A few 04:30 wake-up's and 12hr days.
It's getting warmer now too, so by midday I feel drained. The mornings are still chilly though which makes getting out of bed difficult.

Now I need to try and think back on the flights I've been doing..

...
...

Nope, sorry.

BUT!

My Mom is visiting and last week I organised a helicopter scenic flight for her. The idea was to go late afternoon and have a sundowner somewhere in the Delta. Unfortunately all the helicopters were busy during that time, so we settled on a 09:30 flight instead.

It was a cool morning and with the doors off it was rather fresh. But the breeze meant all the smoke from Namibia had been blown away and we were treated to crystal clear conditions.
We found elephant, buffalo, impala, lechwe, giraffe, hippo, baboons, zebra and wildebeest. And we landed on a little island and had coffee and cookies.

It had been a while since I was in a helicopter and it was great to be back. There is nothing like a doors off helicopter scenic. I wish I had a Cub or something up here to putter around in (not that I have much time off!).

No, there aren't photos with this post. Yes, they are on the way. Yes, it could take a month  :peepwall:

But ja, I think I am coming down with a cold again, so I've been hitting the vitamins.

Otherwise, the Delta's water levels are dropping and it is getting more and more brown. The long sectors to and from Kasane have been horrible with bad vis and bumpy conditions.
I can't wait for summer; no having to take a jacket everywhere in case there's a cool breeze, no wearing jeans (and that from someone who used to dislike wearing shorts), and hopefully we will have some epic thunderstorms.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 24, 2017, 05:36:48 pm
I'm feeling drained.
It was around 30 degrees and I think the heat combined with my cold zapped all of my energy.

This morning's flying was good, with smooth conditions.
We have a potential new pilot under assessment so he came with me. We were empty to Camp Okavango, about 20 minutes north(ish) of Maun. It's one of the last grass runways in the Delta, and a bit of a cow if you aren't careful (it gets very sandy and rutted, and there are also little "hills" on the threshold that you can't see from the air).

Here we picked up 7 and took them to Savute, 30 minutes away. I had the GoPro running for the flight in and decided to keep it going for the flight out. I'm glad I did as there were elephant in the water right after take off! I've attached some screenshots (yay! Peekchas!)

Tomorrow is my day off, so I'm going to take my Mom out for breakfast and chill.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 24, 2017, 06:04:16 pm
1.) On the take-off roll, sand and grass getting kicked up
2.) Airborne!
3.) Elephant!
4.) Wheeeee!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on August 24, 2017, 07:43:15 pm
Grass strip were always fun. But not when they have lurkers halfway down😀

Usually a nice smooth easy landing with no ground effect to speak of.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 29, 2017, 06:09:37 pm
Hi All,

I am fairly certain I posted an update which seems to have disappeared. I will need to have a think and try remember what it was about  :lamer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on August 29, 2017, 07:09:30 pm
Hi All,

I am fairly certain I posted an update which seems to have disappeared. I will need to have a think and try remember what it was about  :lamer:

 :laughing4:
That's original
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 29, 2017, 08:20:17 pm
Old age, I tell ya.

My Mom is visiting. She leaves in a couple of days.
On Sunday I finished work early, and as I started late-ish on Monday, I organised for us to go to Drifters Maun for a night.
It's about 40km from Maun, on the Boteti River. They offer camping, as well as pre-set tents with and without en-suit bathrooms. It's a really lekker chilled spot with cool managers.
There's a pool and a volleyball net, but beyond that, you have peace and quiet. And the cows with their bells, grazing on the other side of the river.
The food is home-cooked and tasty.

Even though it was just for the night, I got back to work on Monday feeling like I had been away a week. It was really refreshing.

The last week has been fairly busy, logging at least 3 hours a day. Yesterday was meant to be a chilled Maun-Piajio-Maun (25 minutes each way). On the way back to Maun I was told we had been subbed by another company who didn't have enough aircraft. So 5 people scored an upgrade to the Kodiak (from an Airvan).

And off I went to Saile (about 45minutes from Maun), to collect these people and take them to Kadizora (about 45 minutes), then I flew back to Maun (40 minutes). Two empty legs meant I climbed high to try and get out of the smoke and dust that has been kicked up in Namibia and drifted into Botswana.
So my short day turned into a good 3hrs of flying, which I was quite happy about.

---

I have wanderlust.

And I need suggestions.

Here's the info:
I might have 10-14 days to travel with friends in the beginning of January.
I am on a budget. A tight budget.
I want to road trip, gravel trumps tar; I want an adventure.
The friends I am going with have already seen Victoria Falls, Shakawe, and mid-to-northern Namibia and the Fish River Canyon.

Where do we go?
We like things like driving (duh), camping and hiking (and any other adventurous activities).
We would need to rent two cars (there are 6 of us).

I briefly looked at Angola but it seems you'd have to go well west to get to the good stuff, and visa's could be a big matata.

Aaaaaand, go!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 29, 2017, 08:37:58 pm
Oh, and some photos from the helicopter scenic.

1.) It's flat. And beautiful.
2.) Hello mokoro's!
3.) And hello boat!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 29, 2017, 08:45:12 pm
It's so tempting to pack a backpack with some basic camping gear and food, throw on the hiking boots, and disappear here for a few weeks.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on August 30, 2017, 01:30:55 am
Oh, and some photos from the helicopter scenic.

1.) It's flat. And beautiful.
2.) Hello mokoro's!
3.) And hello boat!

That "flat" is just like Florida. Except our "flat" goes from Key West in the South all the way up to Georgia in the north... hundreds of MILES of FLAT...

I used my old Garmin Quest in the truck the last few days, it gives me the altitude. I vary between 0 feet (at the beach) to 30 feet (at my house). Nothing higher than 40 feet...   EISH  :o  :imaposer:


Oh, and about the same amount of water as the Delta too...  :lol8:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on August 30, 2017, 03:08:19 pm
Hi All,

I am fairly certain I posted an update which seems to have disappeared. I will need to have a think and try remember what it was about  :lamer:
Either on another forum or you forgot to press send, LOL.

Very frustrating when you've typed a lot, :(
 


Seriously though, we are grateful for your posts, we may not comment each time you post, but I'm sure you'll notice the "read" total increases quite a bit each time you do post on this thread.

So thanks for the effort.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 30, 2017, 08:11:31 pm
And it's a lot more humid in Florida!

Thank you, Thump. It means a lot. I know I am always slack with my posts which is stupid because I find writing very therapeutic.

---

Disappointment is...

Wait, before we get to that.
Today was long in terms of stops - 9 take offs and landings. And as I was full on 3 sectors, I couldn't take a loadmaster. So that was 9 starts. At an average of 10minutes per turn around, that's a lot of time on the ground.

I had 4 sectors going up to Kasane which wasn't too bad as I was just picking up at each stop, and the first two ladies I picked up were great- friendly and chatty and completely chilled with the fact that they would have 3 stops before they got to Kasane.

It was smooth, just starting to warm up, visibility wasn't too bad and all goood in general.

Kasane was chilled, but by the time we got airborne at 12:45, the bumps started.
No one threw up. 4 of my pax were French and very friendly which was cool. Two adults and two kids, and the parents told me their son didn't like flying and they said they weren't going to have a lot of flights. 5 flights later... oops.

I was feeling good. I'd had a good cycle to work in the morning and I was looking forward to taking a 10km scenic route home.

Ok, so on to the disappointment.

Earlier this week I checked the schedule for Thursday, because that's when my Mom leaves.
And SURPRISE! I was on home standby. I haven't had a home standby in months, and I've been flying 80hrs a month (our limit is 100hrs/month) for the last 3 months or so.
So I was looking forward to a break, and was happy how well the timing had worked what with my Mom leaving.

When I checked the schedule this morning for tomorrow it had changed, buts that okay because I was just doing afternoon flying. Sweeeet, I can take my Mom out for breakfast and see her off.

Murphy was listening and said "Ha! You have tried to make plans! I am going to mess with them! Mwahaha hahahaha!"

When I got back to the office this afternoon the schedule had changed again and I now had a 10:30 take off, back in Maun by 11:55.
Ok, I might have time to run to the terminal and say good bye to my Mom between my flights.

I take the direct route home on my cycle so I can spend a bit more time with my Mom as breakfast was now no longer an option.

I get home and at 17:00 call the office to confirm my schedule.
Take off now 07:45, back in Maun by 09:00, that works! Woohoo! Now we can do breakfast.

My phone rings 15min later and when I see it's the office I'm hesitant to answer. But I do. Take off now 11:25, back at 12:40.
My Mom has to be through security and into departures by 12:30.

You know that deflated feeling, like a whoopie cushion that has just been sat on, that's how I feel.

And I'm  ready to strangle the clients that keep changing their minds.

So, I'm going to go in super early, go do my paperwork and pre-flight, then go back home so I can take my Mom out for a quick coffee and say good bye.

She will need the car so I might just cycle back to work to be there by 10:45 for my flight.

Gotta love non-scheduled charter.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 01, 2017, 06:19:29 am
Thursday, 31 August

I'm up at 05:50. I almost hit snoozed and rolled over. Almost.

I somehow managed to put my clothes on the right way, and wandered to the kitchen to make coffee, my eyes barely open. In my lake of awakeful ness, I added 3x as many coffee grounds as I normally day. Oops.

About 20 minutes later with a lot of caffeine coursing through me, I went in to work.
A pleasant cool morning, the sun was already awake (disadvantage of summer is that to see the sunrise, you have to be watching it from about 06:20). And I was starting to wake up too; the roads were quiet and it just felt like a glorious day, the type where after work you go home and braai with friends and family.

By 07:30 the plane was pre-flighted and I went back to the office to tell the Scheduler on duty that I wouldn't be around for a few hours but "Don't worry, I will be back in time for my flight!".

As I was running ahead of schedule I figured I'd do some grocery shopping now instead of after work. Curse these shops that only open at 08:30 and 09:00!

My Mom and I went to a new eatery, Marc's Eatery. Owned and run by a German (with a bit of Frenchman), it has been tastefully done up and sitting down felt like being thrown into a homey by classy coffee shop in South Africa.

The breakfast was tasty though portions small, and the coffee good. And their carrot muffins are delicious! And it's only about 1km from my house, so I see frequent walks there for coffee in my future!

Still ahead of schedule, we went and did the shopping.
And then I had to work. So it was hugs and kisses goodbye.

Turns out the group who kept changing their minds were a bunch of little old ladies. When I saw them my previous rage started to dissipate and I managed to throw on a smile. One of them used to fly herself, "Cessna's and Tiger Moth's" she said. I didn't get to find out more but she was really sweet.

We were back in Maun early and provided I got fuel quickly, I'd be able to run to the terminal and say bye one more time.
Well, the fuel truck took 1.5hrs  ???
So I sat and waited at the plane for that long. But at least the morning worked out in the end.

My clients for the afternoon flying were a cool group, Spanish, South African and British (I think!). We actually got airborne on time (our afternoon departures are scheduled for 14:40 but due to the number of people who have to stamp into the country, and the fact that there is normally one, maybe two immigration officials, we're lucky to get away by 15:00).

The flights were good, and then I was done.
Very tired, but done for the day.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 01, 2017, 06:40:45 am
Okay, enough boring stuff.

Some more photos from the scenic flight two weeks ago.

1.) Elephant in the trees
2.) Hippo on a little island. It was chilly that morning and they were suntanning  O0
3.) Remains of a buffalo
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: pietas on September 01, 2017, 07:18:23 am
Nice pictures of the flat land  :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 02, 2017, 09:24:30 pm
Flat land indeed.

Which makes walking and cycling a lot easier than back home.
I've been trying to cycle as much as possible. Yesterday I took for an hours' cycle, and today I cycled in to work.
I misjudged the time of sunrise, so when I set off at 06:00 it was still quite dark. Luckily the street lights were working. I normally take a sedate cycle to work, about 15min, then take the scenic 30-40min route home at the end of the day.

Today's flying was quite chilled. 08:20 take off to Mopiri and back (35min each way). Then Piajio and back (25min each way). A spot of lunch, then Xakanaka and back (20min each way). The visibility was rubbish but it was smooth.

I was looking forward to a good, hard cycle home.
When I got to the office to file my paperwork, there was a dog lying at the bottom of the stairs panting his little heart out. The office has an ice cream container outside for water but it was empty. So I filled it and gave it to the woof. There are lots of strays and not-so-strays around (they have a home but roam the streets).

He was still there when I went to leave and as I cycled off, he followed.
I figured he would lose interest quickly so I carried on, and he still followed. Uh oh. Maybe if I go really fast?
The speedo on my bike showed 26km/h and he was right next to me. Coughing up a lung but keeping up.

No man, he's going to hurt himself. So I circled back past the office in the hopes he would stay put this time. Nope, stubborn bugger followed me.

Well, there goes my plan of a good intense cycle.
So I slowed down to 10km/h and he trotted next to me in the sand. When he drifted too close to the road I just had to put my left hand down by my side and whistle and he went back to his spot next to me.

After 5 minutes I realized how nice it was to just go slow with my dirty-tan-shadow.
He would occasionally stop and sniff something then come racing to catch up. When other dogs appeared he stuck close and raised his hackles.
I stopped every 10minutes and offered water that he refused. When I tried walking to give him a chance to rest he went ahead as if to show his impatience at the slow pace.

He followed me all the way home- a total of 6km. I gave him some water and bread and some dog food I keep for the puppy next door, and he chilled in the garden.

Whilst work-wise it was a good day, there were some family issues and I was feeling lonely.
And I like to think that this guy was there to keep me company and warn me to take it easy as I have been pushing myself lately with long days.

He's in decent health and knows "no", so he probably has a home. And I decided to drive him back to the airport so he could make his way home. It was difficult, especially when he came trotting after the car. I hope he made it home.

It felt really good to have a canine company nearby, a boost I really needed..
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Pilchie on September 02, 2017, 10:23:45 pm
Keep the doggie  ;)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: hedleyj on September 03, 2017, 06:06:17 am
A dog will alway choose his own leader. Henchose you for a reason. Probably sherrvkindness and compassion, which he rrcognised and wanted to return, knowing and sensing you wree troubled about something. Dogs are highly intuitive.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on September 04, 2017, 01:27:51 am
Quote
Whilst work-wise it was a good day, there were some family issues and I was feeling lonely.
And I like to think that this guy was there to keep me company and warn me to take it easy as I have been pushing myself lately with long days.


Some days are really difficult when you are so far away from family and friends.

But isn't it just so wonderful that if we open our eyes we will see something that makes us smile, gives us strength, and helps us to keep on going, pushing through the tough times?

I can remember over the years seeing a beautiful flower in the deep Congolese jungle. I found and kept a little fish from the Congo river in a mayo jar on my bookshelf in a remote camp for many months, called him Elvis  :biggrin: 

That little dogglie was just cheering you up, tomorrow he'll find someone else in need of a bit of companionship.

I'm sorry you had a kak day. I hope you fell better today.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on September 04, 2017, 12:56:15 pm
Quote
Whilst work-wise it was a good day, there were some family issues and I was feeling lonely.
And I like to think that this guy was there to keep me company and warn me to take it easy as I have been pushing myself lately with long days.


Some days are really difficult when you are so far away from family and friends.

But isn't it just so wonderful that if we open our eyes we will see something that makes us smile, gives us strength, and helps us to keep on going, pushing through the tough times?

I can remember over the years seeing a beautiful flower in the deep Congolese jungle. I found and kept a little fish from the Congo river in a mayo jar on my bookshelf in a remote camp for many months, called him Elvis  :biggrin: 

That little dogglie was just cheering you up, tomorrow he'll find someone else in need of a bit of companionship.

I'm sorry you had a kak day. I hope you fell better today.  :thumleft:

+1
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 04, 2017, 10:14:41 pm
Thanks guys.

Yesterday I had hoped to find Dog waiting outside the office, but he was nowhere to be found.

What was to be a short day with just a few sectorsnin the morning changed when one of our planes ran late. His flying was transferred to me, and I scored a nightstop at Linyanti Bush Camp. It was a quick dash homenwjth a friend to get my overnight kit (I had cycled in), then back to the office to do the paperwork and top up the fuel.

It was great to be back in the bush. All I've seen the last few months has been Kasane, and while it's great to get out of Maun, nothing beats the bush.
And it has been over a year since I was at this particular camp, so it was cool to see how they have updated the rooms.

A wonderful sunset was watched, with elephant grazing in the marsh. A scrumptious dinner was eaten (eventually- the clients only got back from their game drive at 20:30). And my night was punctuated by squirrels running across the roof, and elephant crashing past the tent.

Soul food.

Flying wise it was quite chilled, with some Brits and Aussies.

Tomorrownit looks like I'm off to Chief's Camp for the night, another camp I haven't been to in over a year. :)

Oh, when I got home today I found the Neighbour's cat in my garden, looking very fragile. Normally she is very skittish but today she just lay there. So I got her some water and gave her half a tin of tuna and just sat with her a while. On Wednesday I will get some cat food to leave out for her.
Unfortunately the people here don't have a clue when it comes to looking after their pets   :dousing:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on September 04, 2017, 10:22:33 pm
Unfortunately the people here don't have a clue when it comes to looking after their pets

I remember in 2006 my wife and I rode through Bots to Vic Falls. Every time we stopped for a break between Buitepos and Maun and Kasane we would resting for minute or two and the next moment two of three dogs would appear from any direction. As skinny as a dead dog. We left food every time.
In Maun there was this dog in the parking lot that just sat there and watched me while Amanda was in the shops. When she came out and saw the dog she went back in and bought some food for the dog. The locals though we were bonkers.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 05, 2017, 07:47:31 am
Most of the cows and donkeys and goats are in better condition than the dogs.

A lot of dogs have a place they sleep but roam the streets during the day. They're a bit like cats in that they will adopt you.

I love animals more than people, so it's really difficult to look past the strays, especially ones like Dog who followed me.

On a happier note: a photo of the Gomoti River from yesterday. I am slowly building a photo library of places to see how they change over the months. The Gomoti has got shallower, but it is spreading outwards, turning its surroundings green.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on September 05, 2017, 08:30:14 am
wow thanks for all the lovely pics. still always special to me to see hippos outside in broad daylight!

thank you and keep em comin   ;D   :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 12, 2017, 09:57:30 pm
Sunday, I'm running upstairs to the briefing office to file a flight plan for the changes to my afternoon. One of the ladies who manages tours is there waiting for guests and I stop to say hello.

After the pleasantries she throws out a "I hate being in airports, especially on weekends! It's easy for you- you want to be here, you're used to it!"

And I respond with "I choose to be here!"
But afterwards I realized that I don't choose to be stuck in airports. I love days where I don't have to see Maun or Kasane, and just hop around the Delta.

Nope, I'm not used to it. My life is meant to be spent soaring through the air.

I do love hanging around airfields though.

But even though I don't like hanging around in airports (normally because I'm waiting for clients who tend to be at the back of the queue of 100 people, and my already long day gets another 45 minutes added to it), I do like to watch the people.

It's an ebb and flow of homosapiens.
They come through immigration and are met by a safari company representative, or their pilot.
Names and pleasantries are exchanged.
Tired faces try to understand the flurry of information, older folk lean in closer to hear better over the din, those who don't speak English have pained expressions on their faces as they catch a word here and there.

Eventually you resort to hand signals, and point to their ticket and passport, then the security point to indicate they must go there.

Families with children tend to have more energy and smiles, honeymooners are taking selfies and holding hands, older couples bicker with one another "I told you you had to pack that! Where have you put that! Listen to the man, Tom!", and those whose faces are wrinkled, hair grey, and eyes with many decades of experience are quite content to just sit and read, or take a nap.

Once the clients are through security we meet the next wave, until we have everyone for our flight (1-11 people). Then it's a flurry of bags on our side as we get their luggage checked through, and organize a vehicle to transport everyone to the plane, 700m away.

But first you have to remember which 1-11 faces of the 50+ waiting in the departure lounge belong to you.

On the way to the vehicle they are briefed. They are tired and zoning out. Those who used to fly way back when are all "Look honey! That's the Cessna Caravan!" Those who fly for a living just look but don't talk.
"Folks, when we get to the plane please mind your head- there are lots of things you could walk into! And watch your step! Steel cables run along the ground that you could trip over! Please stand in the shade and we will sort out your luggage!"

Bleary eyes look back, and I get one or two nods of understanding. I'm thinking 'don't tell me I didn't warn you when you get an elevator to the forehead' but I give my most winning smile.

At the plane I jump out and start taking off the tie downs and opening doors so fresh air can flow through. By now it's over 30degC.
The porters arrange the luggage and once everyone has identified their bag, I give them another briefing- how to get into the plane. Yes, they need to be briefed on that.

"Be careful on the steps- they fold up and you can catch your foot. Put your hand luggage on the box in the back! Mind your head as you move through the cabin! When you put your seat belt on, tighten the lap strap first, and then the shoulder straps."

About half listen, and I have to spend time re doing people's seat belts.

By now the plane has turned into a sauna. And tired faces are growing sweaty.

A final briefing- safety information. And telling them that if they use a sick bag, they are to take it with them- a souvenir!
Yes, people leave their used sick bags in the plane. Along with all of their trash.

All in an afternoon's work.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on September 13, 2017, 10:24:18 am
 :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on September 13, 2017, 08:55:45 pm
But at the end of the day would you choose another career, let's say sitting in an office shuffling paper across a desk? Not you Heather Flying is your passion, it shows in your photographs and writing skills. You are one special person and privileged to be doing what you enjoy, O K the sick packets is the yeachy part of the job, but hey, next flight is scheduled to go. Possibly an unfair question, if so please ignore, where to from here?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 16, 2017, 05:52:23 pm
Hi Cheesy,
Another career, no, probably not. Not only have I invested a huge amount of time and money in my flying career, but I simply can't imagine not being able to go to "work" and fly.
That being said, I do enjoy a bit of change every now and then. Being a hands on person, I'm happy when I'm outside and working hard. I even enjoyed working behind the bar at the flying club because I was surrounded by aviation, but I was always kept busy running up and down.

Where to from here. Well, I've been asking myself that for a while. The next step is going to be a big one, in that I might leave Maun before I have a confirmed next job. And that is a scary thought. So for now I'm just trying to make some contacts in SA and see what the market is doing.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 19, 2017, 07:42:56 am
Monday, 18 September

07:45 is the take off time for a run to Seronga (40min away) to collect a group for Kasane. We do these flights every week around this time of the year, transporting around 30 people in 4-5 aircraft.

Empty out of Maun, the surface wind is calm but from about 100ft AGL (above ground level), a northerly kicks in at 20kts.
The temperature on the ground was already 21 by that time of the morning, and as I climb through 5500ft, it rises a few degrees; an inversion layer, where all the heat and smoke and muck is sitting. And the layer extends to about 10 000ft (okay, I might be exaggerating, but at FL085, about 8700ft altitude, the visibility was still bad and the temperature in the mid 20ies).

But it was smooth, so I was complaining.
The wind in Seronga was all over the place, layers about 200ft deep had wind shifts of anything from 20-180degrees, and 5-10kts. Nothing too hectic but enough to keep me on my toes.

Leaving Seronga we fly low level for 20 minutes to offer the clients a scenic. The smoke is so bad I can barely see the horizon. One thing we tell our clients is that it is a scenic flight, not a game flight. Animals aren't guaranteed so they must enjoy the view. Not today. Fortunately the visibility was alright  looking (straight) down, and I found some elephant and buffalo.

Then we settled in for the leg to Kasane over mopane, mopane, and more mopane. Not in the mood to talk to Maun Approach, I stayed below their airspace at FL075, there was a 10kt headwind but it was as smooth as glass, a small price to pay.

Nearing Kasane the visibility got worse and worse. The horizon pretty much disappeared and it was a case of scanning between just left of the aircraft nose, the cockpit instruments, and above the nose (for birds). At about 6nm from the airport I finally found the runway. Later in the day Airlink only found it once they were overhead!

Then it was off to Kwando, about 45min from Kasane. Still fairly smooth, but the temperature was into the 30ies. (By now it was about 11:40)
At one point I looked inside to check the engine instruments, and when I looked back outside literally 2 seconds later everything had disappeared- I had punched into a thick layer of smoke.
It's not a nice feeling suddenly losing all external visual references. I could still see the ground, but had no horizon.

By law we fly under VFR (Visual Flight Rules), but days like today make that very difficult and you have no choice but to rely on instruments to make sure you maintain heading and altitude. I was very grateful to be in the Kodiak with it's digital instruments; they're accurate and build a nice picture for situational awareness.

At Kwando I dropped my clients then hopped to Selinda 10 minutes away to pick up 4 people. On meeting them they sounded South African. Normally I ask "So, where are you from?", but today I just said "You sound very South African!" And smiled.
The 4 looked at each other, and one finally piped up "Er, we're Australian."
"Whoops! Sorry about that! Normally people ask me if I'm Australian and I'm actually South African."

Awkward.

Then it was back to Kasane, drop them off, pick up a big group, and fly them to Khwai an hour away.

Hot and bumpy, the smoke was sitting despite the wind. A day like today is typical of winter and we are lucky we haven't had many, but sjoe, it isn't fun. Our biggest fears are; birds, and losing visual reference and entering a spiral dive. Well, those are my biggest fears at least.

Anyway, I'm writing this from Machaba camp. The guests are out on game drive so I'm sitting out front in the main area watching the hippos wallowing in the river and ... a pack of 9 wilddogs have just run past the front of camp! Woohoo!
Got a ride with the manager to track them and see where they're off to!
(18:05)

(19:00)

Aaaand, I'm back. The dogs followed the river and we found them with a lechwe kill. The guides reckon one dog chased it into the mud on the riverbank, killed it, went to get the rest of the pack, forgot where the kill was, ran through camp, and eventually found the kill again.

The (now) 10 dogs tore it to shreds and there was almost nothing left after 20 minutes. Brutal. I'm glad I didn't see the actual killing- I don't have the stomach for that sort of thing.

Funny how these creatures are such brutal killers in that they will tear their prey apart while it is still alive, but they have such a naffy whine.

Anyhow, it was cool to see. Normally I never see this type of thing on night stops.

(22:45)

Just enjoyed another lovely Machaba dinner, which included cheesecake for dessert. Diet, what's that?!
Now I'm in bed and bugs keep flying into my face, so I'm going to call it a night.

Did 5hrs flying today and got another long day tomorrow! :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Scalpel on September 20, 2017, 07:44:03 am
Sardine seeing that you love animals. Have you been to MAWS? Maun Animal Welfare Society. Its run by a lady with the name of Tana Hutchinson. You can volunteer and help out when time permits. Help is always appreciated.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 21, 2017, 07:29:09 am
1.) African sunrise. As soon as the run gets above the layer of smoke and sand, the temperature instantly shoots up a few degrees.

2.) Visibility on the way to Seronga. It's a balance between scanning your instruments and scanning for birds
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 21, 2017, 07:31:58 am
1.) Hippo play in the water outside the maun arranged of Machaba lodge. It looked quite fun and I was a little jealous
2.) Pack of wild dog run past the main area
3.) A wild dog carries the stomach of the lechwe to an area away from the others. It was gobbled up within minutes
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on September 26, 2017, 04:43:28 pm
Well Heather I as many other readers do wish you well in your pursuit. Your talents are many and give pleasure to all who read this forum. 
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on September 26, 2017, 06:08:52 pm
Hello H
 Dankie vir die   Fly Report  :biggrin:

jy nou al genoeg gespaar vir die Chopper license?  :peepwall:
 
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 29, 2017, 07:02:43 pm
Scalpel, hello :)
I have thought of volunteering at MAWS. At one point I was even looking to adopt a dog. But unfortunately, as I work 8-12hr days 6 days a week, I decided that I can't commit to volunteering, even if it is only once a week. My day off is normally the only day I have to clean the house, do washing and buy groceries. A bit of a meh situation.

Cheesy, thanking you greatly!

Zetman, Eish. The helicopter is on the back burner. I am busy saving up for the next move, and due to unforeseen circumstances (my car's timing case cracked and had to be replaced), I am well behind my schedule when it comes to saving money.

Just when I think "yes! I can put a nice sum in the savings account!" Murphy strikes. Git.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 29, 2017, 07:11:10 pm
This week has been long.

I managed to organize three days off last week, so the bf and I could go away for his birthday. We spent 3 days and 2 nights at the amazing &Beyond Sandibe camp, which is just a 15minute flight from Maun.

So since laaadt week Thursday until this morning, I have been up by 05:30. Safari's aren't for sissies; they don't tell you you get woken up at 05:30 every morning for game drive. Then when you're not looking at animals they're forcing food down your throat. Matata. Just kidding, it was awesome.

But by Wednesday, I was starting to feel the strain of all the early starts, especially as it's about 30 degrees by 10:30.

Anyway, it is Independence Weekend. And with it, comes the first rains of the season. Normally. This will be my 3rd Independence Day in Botswana, and from mid-October, my 3rd year.

Yesterday morning, as I pre-flights with the sunrise, the air was cool, and I could smell the rain. After dust and smoke and more dust for the last 5 months or so, I cannot describe the pure joy at the smell of rain.
And the clouds, oh the clouds! Beautiful!

I went for a jog this evening, and as today was nice and cool I could head at earlier than usual. It just so happened that I got to watch the sun set on my way back. While listening to the rumble of thunder and marveling and the huge bolts of lightning.

There is a buzz in the air, a mood change. The anticipation is palpable. And I cannot wait to once again feel the energy of Maun as the first drops of rain fall!

1.) Thursday morning, clouds!
2.) This evening. A photo on the run, the smoke in the air makes the soon look blood red
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on October 03, 2017, 09:13:10 pm
One of my favorite threats, thanks for all the news and pictures! I especially like the screenshots of the 'go-pro' on the aircraft rear - good idea!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 12, 2017, 10:28:41 pm
Thank you, Tom. Unfortunately I can no longer get footage like that as one individual broke a rule and ruined it for everyone else.

...

Have you ever woken up, looked outside and felt you are only just seeing the world for the first time? Or at least, for the first time in a long time.

Out here, days cease to exist. My weekend is Friday, my day off. There are no public holidays, no half days. The only days I know as days are Friday, and Sunday (because Woolworth’s closes early).

After several months of this blur - or it could even be weeks, or maybe even only one week, I don’t know because everything has morphed into one big blob - something shifts. And it’s like coming up for a deep breath of fresh air. There’s an attitude shift, colours seem brighter, things seem clearer.

As the days heat up and the METARs and TAFs (weather reports) taunt us with forecasts of clouds and rain, the wind has shifted. And blown away the dust and smoke and muck. And all of a sudden, I can see.

I can see the bright greens and spunky browns of the grasses, the deep blues of the lagoons and the shimmering rivers. A vibrant sky with a whisp of white cloud. I can see the Maun hospital from 60km away. Everything seems closer, like I could just reach out and grab it. Everything looks different; was that river always there? Where has that lagoon gone? We’re those trees always that colour? I’ve never seen that place before.

And then, out woof the corner of my eye, a big dark shape. I am snapped out of my zen type state as I bank hard right and a marabou stork flashes past close enough for me to count it’s feathers.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ican on October 13, 2017, 07:26:39 am
One of my big concerns are the vultures when l fly over the Magaliesberg. That Marabou must have given you a pucker moment...! 😳
Very glad you missed it.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 16, 2017, 06:40:33 am
It can quite hectic with birds here. At least we don't have to deal with mountain ridges and powerlines and the like, too!

Some photos from the other day.
1.) New Xakanaka airstrip (left) and old Xakanaka (right). It's all looking so green!
2.) Better vis than what we've had
3.) Many hands. Offloading 1000kg of freight at Chitabe airstrip
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 29, 2017, 05:04:30 pm
 Goooooooooood mooorrrnnninnngggg Savute!

It’s 09:30 on 26 October and already a blistering 30 degrees C.
With barely a breath of wind I can feel the energy being drained out of my even as I sit in the shade and write this.

As i pre-flighted a cloud shifted and the sun hit me full force. I didn’t even realize there were clouds until then. Cap on my head and sunglasses shielding my eyes, I still squint as I gaze south and see a darker sky. Hopefully there is rain there; there’s definitely no sign of it up here.

I contemplate applying another layer of sunscreen but figure it will sweat off within minutes.

A breeze flows through, and it is then that I feel just how much I have been sweating. Gross.

Hopefully it won’t be too bumpy today. Some clients I’m flying to Maun via Lebala (requires going north before heading south) have said they don’t like flying.
Nothing like a bumpy ride in a hot aircraft with the smell of puke in the cabin.
Aircon, you ask? Yes, I have it. But even set on max the air coming out of the vents feels similar to air coming out of a hair dryer.

I still have about another 45minutes before my clients show up. For once the camp drove me to the airstrip before my requested time- normally they leave 10-15min after the time, so I got here very early.

But, that allows me to do what I need to do, and then clean the cockpit, or sit and think or write.

The last few weeks have been busy. I was put in charge of doing Caravan training with some of our crew. My days have consisted of flying most of the day, and then going home and preparing a Caravan Rating syllabus and presentations. Something I have never done (presentations yes, but not for an initial turbine rating).

It has been tiring, but when I finally presented my course, it felt good. With 4 students, we spent a total of 8 hours covering Basic Gas Turbine Theory, and the Caravan and it’s systems.

Doing something like this for the first time is always challenging because you need to find a balance of information. Too much too soon and the students switch off. Too little and you can have a dodgy foundation.
When I was doing my instructors rating training, I learnt the importance of going from the known, to the unknown. As a newbie, it is easy to dive right in, forgetting that while you might know something, your student might not have the background.

So it has been finding ways to build the foundations and continue from there. And it is rewarding to see that the hard working and effort, flows. Well, it did for the most part. I realize now that I need to change the format slightly to make it better.

But that is part of the fun and the challenge- as an instructor I am always looking for ways to learn and improve. The more I learn and improve, the more I can teach my students.

Anyway, rambling aside, two aircraft have just covered my plane in dust in the space of 5 minutes. Idiots have little to know airmanship and apply full power with their tails right at my plane, sending sand and rocks my way.

Sometimes I wonder how some people have been cleared to fly.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on October 30, 2017, 01:48:22 pm
Eish, we'd have thought pilots were a class above roosting bikers and car drivers, LOL
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 10, 2017, 09:20:53 pm
 :peepwall:

 :patch:

Yup, I'm still alive.

The fires had died down for a while, but with temperatures still well into the 30ies and very dry air, more and more fires have been popping up. Particularly in the grassy areas, and along the pan handle.
The reeds burn well, and coat the Okavango River in a layer of oil.

One day I fly to the east, the next day to the west, and on the third I fly to the east again and can barely recognize the scorched earth. It is both remarkable, and a little sad.
Of course, clients are always asking "Is that a bush fire over there?"
Why no sir, it appears to be a different type of fire.
"Is that fire there man-made?"
No ma'am, it's because it's so hot and dry out here.
"Is that Victoria Falls?"
*facepalm*

The smell of the smoke reminds me of summer at home, of the Working on Fire Huey's wopping overhead, Spotter planes buzzing along, and the whine of the bombers going back and forth. It feels me with a sense of need to help, and makes me want to return home and do something, anything. Some days, the smoke here will drift across the sun, casting a deep orange glow over the world. A brief respite from the intense heat. But I can't think about it too long because where there is fire, there are dead or dying animals, and where there are dead or dying animals, there are birds. Lots of them. Huge flocks circling, waiting for the next meal, as I slalom around them, dipping a wing and kicking in rudder so as not to have one hit my aircraft.

It is fun sometimes, a moment of action. But there have been some very close calls that have got my heart racing and me thinking "Phew, that was close!" as I give my passengers a thumbs up or shout "BIRDS" to explain the aggressive maneuvering.

---

The Kodiak is in for major maintenance; the engine hot section inspection is due, so the engine has been pulled out the hot section sent to South Africa to be inspected. This is done at the engine's half-life. As the pilot, we are able to see the ITT (inter turbine temperature) which, depending on the day and the aircraft, sits around 700degC. The hot section however reaches temperatures in excess of 1000degC. Scary stuff, but amazing too.

Turbine engines are still magic to me.

---

I have been flying the Caravan's a lot lately, which has been a good change of pace. A bit of variety is always good. The downside is that 10 other people also fly the 'Vans. With the Kodiak, I leave the cockpit in a certain way, and that is how I find it the next day. Everything has its place and I know about all its scrapes and scratches, squeaks and rattles.
But flying a different 'Van every day means you don't know what condition it has been left in. You don't always know it's quirks, you don't always know if a particular item has been acting up, you don't know how it responds to hot and heavy conditions.

The other day I was flying one of our older 'Vans, a grand old lady with over 20 000 landings to her name (more if you count the bounces).
She is coming up for a major inspection and her compressor section is getting a little tired so she doesn't quite churn out as much oomph as the others I have been flying.
The first landing was fun... on the approach when we know we will make the runway in the glide, we close the power lever to idle. The propeller "discs" causing a lot of drag in some aircraft (and a really cool sound). Some disc through 500lbs of torque, others through 200lbs of torque. Well, this old girl discs very rapidly and the drag is enough to make you feel like you just snagged an arrestor cable.

She also likes to plonk herself down on the runway.
And her stall warning gets a little over excited especially if there is a stiff wind. The stall refers to an aerodynamic stall of the wing rather than the engine. The result is a loss of lift, which, if you have altitude, is a non-event.
A stall can occur while straight and level, in a turn, climbing and even descending, and at any speed. It is a function of the angle of attack of the wing: The angle between the Relative Airflow and the Chord Line.

On this day, I on the approach into Kasane. It was hot, and I was heavy, and the wind couldn't make up its mind. Landing runway 26, we land deep to avoid having to taxi almost 1km to vacate the runway. So 1/4 down the runway, I retard the power to idle, ready for the disc-ing.
What I wasn't ready for was the windshear about 50ft above the runway.

Windshear is a sudden change in wind speed and direction. In this case, it pushed down, and to the side. With a lot of force.
I grabbed a fist-full of power, but unfortunately with the turbine engine, it takes a while to spool up and for the power to kick in. And it was around then I thought "Oh snap!" and the stall warning went off.

Just before we met mother earth, the power came in and caught it, cushioning the landing (it was actually one of my better ones of the day!).
Windshear is no fun, and can easily take down an airliner.
I was with a training pilot and decided to turn it into a learning opportunity "Now you've seen the lag in power delivery I was telling you about!"

We parked and as the clients were heading to the terminal, a gentleman came up to me and said "I'm going to give you one piece of advice... speed is your friend! I never want to hear the stall warning go off on landing. Speed is your friend!"

Then he muttered about his 30hrs on a Caravan.

I thought of asking him how much he knows about windshear and hot and high ops, but decided to hold my tongue.

 :lamer:

Anyway, I "thanked" him for his advice (sjoe, thank goodness I had him on board to educate me) and left him.

---

Other than that, the pace of flying has been relentless. Normally by now it quietens down but it doesn't seem like we will have much of a quiet season.

I have also been doing more training so days when I'm not doing 'camp flights', I'm either giving ground school or doing training flights.
Again, a good change of pace, not without it's interesting moments...
Disc-ing in the Caravan takes some getting used to.

Training someone how to fly a Caravan and demonstrating a glide with the propeller feathered is both fun and nerve-racking.
By feathering the propeller the blades turn so they procedure very little drag, allowing the propeller to windmill, and allowing us to get a little more distance on the glide. In the Caravan you can actually feel it accelerate as the propeller feathers.

I don't think I will ever get used almost seeing each individual blade as it languidly turns in the airflow, and my biggest fear is it not coming out of feather for some reason. So I always make sure to do the exercise where we could land off the glide if that were to ever happen.

---

Anyway, enough random musings. I best get to bed otherwise I'm going to stay up all night.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on November 10, 2017, 10:41:09 pm
hello H
 We need a Plane  :ricky: thingy  :ricky:
Thanx for the detailed flying report and always sharing your knowledge.... love to read your reports and as always nice peethars.... 8)

any news on the new adventure?
 you still leaving Botswana end of the year?
 cheerio
Z
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Skaiidawg on November 13, 2017, 04:31:20 pm




The fires had died down for a while, but with temperatures still well into the 30ies and very dry air, more and more fires .........
Of course, clients are always asking "Is that a bush fire over there?"
Why no sir, it appears to be a different type of fire.
"Is that fire there man-made?"
No ma'am, it's because it's so hot and dry out here.
"Is that Victoria Falls?"
*facepalm*


I like your posts and pictures. One thing you must remember when clients ask you if that's the Vic falls or whatever, you have seen it maybe a thousand times, they perhaps not, let alone from the air so please don't mock their questions.  Happy flying.

Sent from my E7 using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 14, 2017, 08:21:27 am
Hi Skaiidawg,
Thank you :)

As for me mocking people about the Victoria Falls comments, that isn’t my intention. And I’m sorry that it came across that way.

I am by no means an expert on anything. My geography is useless, I was average at school, I’m still naive and I know I have a lot to learn. I have seen the Falls less than 15 times, and never from the ground.
I have always preferred to sit and listen rather than chip in because, what do I know?

But some of the people we deal with really make you wonder about the gene pool.
The Victoria Falls question is one of the main ones.

Some other fun ones...
Clients arrive in Maun from CT or JHB after having spent a few days in South Africa. One of their first questions will be “Are we still in Africa?”

Fairly often we transport clients from a lodge in the Delta to Victoria Falls or Livingstone via Kasane. It is normally a private charter, so the entire aircraft is booked just for them. Mega bucks.
Often people elect to fly to Kasane and then do a road transfer; it’s only 2hrs longer and a fraction of the cost.
Anyway, we explain to the clients that we will fly via Kasane in order to pass through customs and immigration in order to exit Botswana. This is normally met with “But why can’t we fly direct?” And I explain that just like flying from SA to Botswana, you need to go to and from a port of entry.
Or they will ask “But, aren’t we staying in Africa?” While looking at me as if I’m the one who invented some ludicrous procedure to mess with their holiday.

Most of our Caravan’s have a 2 piece seatbelt- a lap-strap and a shoulder strap.
The lap strap is identical to that found on an airliner, and the shoulder strap goes across the body like a car seat belt and clips on to the lapstrap. So I explain “secure the lap strap like you did on the airliner”
And I will be met with “oh no, this one is different! I’ve never used one like this before.”
Me: “No Sir, I’m quite sure the lap strap is just like the one you used on the airliner you flew in on 40min ago.”

Or my favourite...
“I’m a pilot, can I sit in front?”
No hello, how are you, just I’m a pilot.
Me: “yes, not a problem! You have a 4-point seat belt...”
Them: “I know how it works, I don’t need your help”
Okay then. So I leave them and go help the other pax. After I close up and give the safety briefing, I turn to my “co-pilot” and about 70% of the time they aren’t even close to having their seat belt on properly. And then they will argue with me about how they don’t need it.

It’s funny when spouses bicker after one asks a silly question.
“Honey, Africa is a continent. We are in Botswana, a country. Zambia is a different country.”
“Oh.”

Now, after working 9-12hrs a day, 6 days in a row, your patience wears pretty thin and your tolerance for stupid is pretty much zero.

I realize people aren’t deliberately being/playing dumb, but one has to wonder how they not only got through life, but how they have become as wealthy as they are.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TrailBlazer on November 14, 2017, 10:19:47 am
Hehehe... I can relate to the "stupid questions" thingie...

Many years back I attended a Nav Data software-coding course at Honeywell in Phoenix, AZ. While there I was asked where I lived. Jo'burg was the answer. "Oh" says the dude at the facility... "I know Joe Blogs in Nairobi... have you met  him yet?"

I kid you not... this oke was somewhat taken aback when I told him Nairobi is about 4 hours flying time from JNB. I seriously believe that

a.) The average American has absolutely no geographical knowledge outside of his own county or home state, or
b.) has never travelled further than perhaps the next state from his / hers.

A short while after returning from this course, I sent my co-worker on the same course. On his return trip, sitting on the aircraft waiting for departure, two Americans were chatting about their "Safari". One asked the other... "I have brought three flashlights with me. Do you think that will be sufficient? We may not be able to but batteries over there."

Yeah dude... we still wear skins and walk round barefoot, unwashed and uneducated.

Heather, I know exactly where you're coming from with your pax. My belief is that you take a normal, sane, intelligent person, put a boarding pass in their hand, and they become like sheep. It was for this reason that I left passenger handling after a few months; I could see myself doing some sheeple some harm. I spent the next 35 years in Flight Ops. At least a/c don't talk back or ask dumb questions...

Enjoy your flying.

PS. Any positions open there for a Beech 1900 rated co-pilot, or perhaps another 'Van pilot?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on November 14, 2017, 03:55:32 pm
Clients arrive in Maun from CT or JHB after having spent a few days in South Africa. One of their first questions will be “Are we still in Africa?”

 :spitcoffee:

 :imaposer:

 :lol8:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 01, 2017, 09:25:39 am
I feel sick.

My head is down while I frantically skim through the Kodiak's big POH (Pilot Operating Handbook, sometimes called an AIM - Aircraft Information Manual), as my colleague, B, throws the machine around.
He is doing his CofT- Certificate of Test- an annual check where we go over emergency procedures and other drills. Our boss is one of two people who can do them on the Kodiak, and he is the type of examiner who makes you sweat, makes you realise how little you know, and yet is able to teach you.

I had finished my Kodiak rating in SA a few weeks prior, and I was only just beginning to realise what I didn't know. The Boss fired questions at B, from technical aircraft questions to asking how his family was, all while instructing B to complete various manoeuvres and procedures. This is a sneaky tactic as you don't even realise you're being distracted until The Boss says "You just busted your altitude" or something similar. Damn.

I'm sitting just behind them, with my headset plugged in so I can see as well as hear everything. And as each question is fired at B, I realise that I have been able to answer 2 of the 10 so far. So that's why I'm sitting head down, feeling ill. I don't make a good passenger. I figure it won't be good to throw up in The Boss's plane, so I resign myself to the fact that when we land and swap places, it will probably be a dismal test, and I put the POH away and focus on not puking my guts out.

---

Fast forward to now, and I'm the one in the right seat, firing questions at a sweating student. As they fumble over words and their eyes search frantically around the cockpit looking for an answer, I'm taken back to my first Kodiak CofT. It feels so long ago. I suppose it has been 2 years. I smile as I watch them, not because they are struggling but because I can see where their eyes are looking and I can tell that they know what to do, but they just can't quite get there. I wait a second or two more before giving them a clue, a step in the right direction, and it's all they need to get their brain back into gear.

It's really satisfying being able to take a student and teach them, and watch them learn and grow. It's even more satisfying witnessing the effort some of these guys (and girls) put in. And I remember how much I enjoyed instruction. Sure, it gets VERY repetitive, but to teach someone to fly is great.
To try teach someone to fly when they are lazy, however, sucks. And it's when I get those types of students that I lose my patience and give a hard time.

But, I digress.

My last day is nearing, and I find myself having more and more flashbacks. It is comforting in a way, to see how far I have come. And while next year is unknown, and scary as heck, at least I can look back knowing that, having accomplished everything so far, I can definitely take on the challenge of the unknown and make it work.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on December 04, 2017, 09:48:33 pm
Heather we will miss the stories/photographs on your experiences in Botswana. I absolutely loved them. Thank you.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 04, 2017, 10:09:36 pm
Yesterday

Doing circuit training in the Caravan with a storm about 10nm SE of the field. Always spectacular to see. Soon after we landed for the day it moved over Maun and graced us with a night of rain.

And Today

More circuit training. Got a good view of Maun and realized that 1.) it has grown a lot and 2.) it’s green!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on December 04, 2017, 10:20:08 pm
 :'( like I Said longtime  fan of you going to miss your photos and reports but hopefully you will keep on  blogging
Keep the wings in the wind :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on December 06, 2017, 01:39:31 pm
Great RR as always

I can relate to the ppl 30hour bloke trying to lecture you  :patch: :dousing:

I sometimes get first aiders telling me about the advanced level of 'emergency and trauma paramedics' they are and will try to lecture you from the sideline in what to do... Then when you ask them by the way what course they did, the feedback is 'one week level 2 first aid'. Same when extrication entrapped patients from motor vehicles with the rambars and jaws of life....'why do you not put it there'...pok I am very patient but had to ask police officers on ocation to remove some bystanders in order for us to do our work properly. Guess you need to grow a thicker skin while working with the general public  :imaposer:

Hope you will start a new thread on the next leg o your adventures  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Big-G on December 13, 2017, 07:39:09 pm
Damn, it will be  a sad day when i cant pop in here and catch up on your life and times in Bots

Hope you are well and would be good to get an update soon  :peepwall:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oubones on December 13, 2017, 08:10:06 pm
Damn, it will be  a sad day when i cant pop in here and catch up on your life and times in Bots

Hope you are well and would be good to get an update soon  :peepwall:
Yes please!
I jusr thought I was going to be lucky when I saw there were new posts here.
May your path be paced smoothly.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 14, 2017, 05:46:50 pm
The days have become quiet, but busy. Like a road stretching off into the distance in the hot Karoo, life just seems to be dragging on.

Between training people on the Caravan, I have done a few line/Delta flights. Well, I have been in the air but not actually doing the flying. Insurance requires newly rated crew do at least 50hrs under supervision before being let loose.
Some days it is fun, other days it is boring. But it gives me a chance to look out of the window and appreciate the beauty passing by.

The Delta has changed a lot. Rain here and there has transformed areas from brown to green, but the rivers and water ways have dried up.
The Thamalakane River, which runs through Maun, has dropped well over a meter.

It is both amazing and sad to see. Maun is really a dust bowl, a donkey town. It has a certain charm to it, but in winter when every day brings blue skies and sand, you get over it.
But after the first two or three good rains, it is transformed and everything is green and clean. I love driving down the main road and looking at the contrast between black tar, brown sand on the side of the road, lush green trees, the blue of the sky and white fluffy clouds.

Today was a short one with just ground school in the morning. Then we packed the car and got ready to set course for Guma, about 3.5hrs' drive towards the pan handle. Only we didn't even get 3.5km when my car started to overheat. We pulled into a petrol station with an Autozone (I think) and had a guy come take a look. He schemed it was the thermostat. No point in risking the engine so we nursed it to the mechanic who has done a lot of work on it.

Blown head gasket. Joy of joys.

No more Guma for us. And no car until next week.
At least it didn't happen halfway to Guma.

 :lamer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Shaun500 on December 15, 2017, 07:16:08 am
You are a real inspiration.  Thank you for your stories of life up in Botswana.  :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on December 15, 2017, 07:18:46 am
Eish... Pity about Guma :(
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 24, 2017, 08:27:10 pm
Today was a fun one, with lots of fluffy white clouds and mud!

But tomorrow is a 6am sign on.
So it’s a quiet evening at home with the bf, waiting for the fire to burn down, then it’s time for some ribs and braai broodjies, and then sleep.

Merry Christmas everyone. Keep safe and enjoy the time with family and friends 😊
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 31, 2017, 04:40:21 pm
In November I went to Durban or a week. The reason was two-fold; to attend my Grandfather’s memorial, and to get away.
My whole family was there and it was the first time in 7 years that we were all together. So it was really special.
The second reason was, I needed a break.
I didn’t realize until after we got back to Maun that I was on the last trip of my patience.
I think if I hadn’t had that break, I would have highfived someone.
In the face.
Repeatedly.

After getting back it was into the training side which was a welcome change. The working hours were long but most of them were spent in the classroom. When I wasn’t training I was flying the Caravan around the Delta or enjoying much needed standby days.

The Kodiak came back at the beginning of December, after a major service, so I have been back on that beast. I really love to fly it and it has a specialty place in my heart, but it’s not a Caravan.

I’m a few hours short of my 1000hrs in the Kodiak, and I have 12 days to get them. It’s  going to be  tough if JR.

It seems Botswana has finally realized that it is summer, and we have had some sort events rain with days of storm and cloud dodging. I still think we are some of the only pilots in the world who want rain and storms. You don’t realize how how depressing blue skies become until you experience that for 8 months solid.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on December 31, 2017, 06:08:11 pm
  :laughing4: :imaposer:

Glad you didn't end up high fiving. Holding thumbs for your 1,000 hours  :thumleft:

Happy New Year and may 2018 be a prosperous year for you.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on January 01, 2018, 01:37:17 am
Hey Sardine,

Few of the non-aviation minded folks will appreciate the milestone that is 1000 hours on a Kodiak. I'm rooting for you to get them.


And sometimes a good break is desperately needed, if only to keep us from assault charges  :peepwall:  I know that feeling well.

By now it's already the new year in Africa, so have a good one. May it bring you what you really need.

I'll take the lead from your avatar, follow the compass that always points towards what you really want.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 01, 2018, 06:06:46 am
Thanks guys  :3some:

The Kodiak in Kasane, with a storm rolling by in the distance.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 01, 2018, 06:11:32 am
Several storms rolled by Kasane. The feeling of thunder through the ground and the sound of the wind in the trees is amazing.

It wasn’t long before the clouds started to disappear, and I got to see a freshly-washed world below me. The contrast of colour a took my breath away. Airborne from Kasane, routing west and looking towards Namibia.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 01, 2018, 07:27:47 am
A dreary morning in Maun. One of the first decent rains of the season, it bucketed down all night and well into the day. It was cool with a breeze and reminded me of Cape Town.

I love watching raindrops roll off the windscreen.

—-
The flying that day was fun- lots of decisions to make regarding the clouds (do I go over or under?), and plenty of mud.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on January 01, 2018, 12:49:57 pm
Happy new Year Flying Goddess :ricky: :ricky: :ricky:
I hope the 2018 Flying season brings much more Happynes and more Adventures
Rooting for you and the 1000 Hrs Hoot Hoot  :biggrin:
Thank you for all the lovely peekchers  as always
Cheerio
Z
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 05, 2018, 08:24:33 pm
2 January 2018

It was one of those days that flew by. Originally it was a short day, but due to all the companies having a lack of aircraft and pilots, flying got added on.

The legs were 25-35 minutes each, and in the Kodiak that seems to be the magic number. Anything longer than that and it either gets very boring, or very bumpy because it normally means we are going to/from Kasane.

First off, I was empty out of Maun to Kadizora 35 minutes north west of Maun towards the pan-handle. I picked up 6 people and took them to Maun.
A quick refuel then I was empty to Deception Valley Lodge, 25 minutes to the south. There I picked up a family of 7 and took them to Maun.

Then I refueled for the rest of my afternoon and the next day as I was night stopping, and I knew that my next turn around would be very tight.

For JetA1 they have big trucks that come to the aircraft. They’ve revamped the system and modernized it, but despite having 2 trucks they normally only use 1, and they pump very slowly. So to uplift 300l of fuel can take 15minutes. And when you are number 6 in the queue...

That done, I left Maun empty (no passengers) and was off to Khwai 25 minutes away. I picked up 7 people and took them to Eagle Island (Xaxaba Airstrip) 20 minutes away, and then left there empty to Maun (15 minutes).

I was to have a 40 minute turnaround but managed to make up 10 minutes. Already fueled and ready, I cleaned the windows while waiting for my pax (the porters are a little slow and I figure, if you want a job done properly, do it yourself).

Eventually I got my 7 passengers and left Maun 10 minutes behind schedule. And off we went to Khwai where I spent the night at one of my favourite camps- Machaba.

With the headwinds and circuits, it was a good 4 hours of flying :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on January 05, 2018, 09:15:49 pm
 Nice! :thumleft:

Countdown to 1,000 hours on the Kodiak  :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 07, 2018, 06:58:41 am
6 January

Blue skies. All day. And hot. A heat wave is sweeping by and yesterday got to 38deg, with the next few days forecast to get hotter.

There was no flying for the Kodiak, so I was on the Caravan observing one of our newly-rated pilots. She is a little, ah, vertically challenged, and needs to perfect her technique for jumping into the Caravan through the rear cargo door.
The door is split in two, with the top half swinging up, and the bottom half swings out and forward.
The trick is to brace a hand on the lower door, and one on the floor of the cabin, and jump and twist. About 1.5m up. It takes a bit of practice but once you know it it's quite easy (and fun). As it was her first day I said I'd jump out and do the turn arounds.

It was our last turnaround before heading back to Maun for the day. I jumped, twisted, and brought the door too close before I had got my leg inside the door. Knee, meet door.
I slammed my knee up against the bottom of the door, just above and left of the knee cap (luckily).

Now I'm sporting a beautiful bruise, a great big lump, and walking is painful.

Maybe that was the Caravan's way of saying "screw you for leaving!"  :3some: :lamer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 13, 2018, 08:04:26 am
Last Botswana sunset for a while.

—-

Sometime in mid October 2014 I arrived in Maun well after dark, having driven up from Johannesburg in my VW Golf (from Cape Town via Durban).

It was the start of a great new adventure with a new job in a new country. It feels like decades ago.

I went online (did my first solo flight) as a Mack Air Line Pilot on 21 November 2014. It was in an Airvan and I was thrown into the deep end with a double night stop, and a flight to Livingstone International- my first international flight as pilot in command. I had no idea what to expect on my night stop, and packed my own cereal...

It has been an amazing journey with all sorts of wonderful and weird sights. Some fantastic people, and absolute idiots. Many moments of joy, and also many “oh no” thoughts as birds have sped by narrowly missing wings and propellers, or trees have rushed up to meet me on take off on a hot day.

I have come to appreciate the little things, and realize how much I took for granted. Having blue skies 8 months of the year for example- you don’t realize how much you start to miss clouds.

The experiences and memories have been phenomenal. I have made friends, some better than others, and met some interesting characters.
The thing about Maun is that it creates a bond, even if you never speak to the people from here again.

And then of course, there is some flying. Long, sweaty hours, 6 days a week, over one of the most beautiful areas in the world. It’s just a pity we have to deal with tourists.

My dream was to fly the Cessna Grand Caravan, and I got that and so much more! The flying out there is real flying, and I have learnt a lot about the machines I flew, and their limits as well as mine.

The thought that I am leaving hasn’t quite sunk in yet. There is some sadness. And nervousness. And excitement. Leaving here will be a shock to the system, but it is time to go somewhere where I can see my family, and the mountains, and the sea.

This chapter might be finished, but the book is far from over.

First flight as a Line Pilot - 21 November 2014
Last flight - 9 January 2018

Airvan- 715hrs
C206- 135hrs
C210- 8hrs
C208- 347hrs
Kodiak- 991hrs

Over 2100 hours and 4407 take offs and landings (and I still bounce the undercarriage off of the Caravan!)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oubones on January 13, 2018, 08:19:10 am
Great stuff and thank you for taking us with.
Waiting to see what adventures are coming now.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: RrP on January 13, 2018, 10:44:03 am
Sad to see this "end" but look forward to the next chapter , all the best .
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TrailBlazer on January 13, 2018, 05:35:07 pm
All the best in your new venture... where will you be flying now?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ama ride ride on January 13, 2018, 10:24:22 pm
Thank you for all the interesting facts and updates. :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on January 14, 2018, 04:25:11 pm
Aaargh only 9 hours shy of a 1,000 on the Kodiak!!

Here's to endings and beginnings. Thanks for taking us with on your epic journey!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 15, 2018, 02:19:35 am
For now my focus is on a holiday. All will be revealed after that.

Hello from Hong Kong! We are on the MTR express into town. So far, while efficient and clean, I’m not too impressed. But I’m sure that will change when I’m walking the streets and looking up at the buildings
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oubones on January 15, 2018, 05:13:18 am
Enjoy your holiday, it must be a big change from where you were?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: pietas on January 15, 2018, 07:00:49 am
And that was a life experience
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Carnivore on January 15, 2018, 08:09:15 am
What an amazing woman! It's a privilege to share your stuff. What's next? We wait to hear, and see, and read some more.
It'll be a special man that wins your heart, because he will be getting a partner who knows the meaning of commitment, and who has a wonderful soul. No doubt, there is this "someone" in the wings (pardon the pun - I could not resist.)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on January 15, 2018, 04:22:39 pm
wow awesome Sardine, enjoy the break, and all the best for the new chapter.

Loved every post out of Maun   :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 16, 2018, 12:09:01 am
The Drive

The last week has been a chaotic mix of working and packing and saying good byes.

My schedule kept changing which annoyed me but eventually I was able to just accept it.

My last day of flying was Tuesday- a day of observing in the Caravan. But after our first flight, a freight run to Chitabe, we had a rudder trim issue.

The trim is used to reduce the control forces on a control surface. The Caravan has manual aileron, elevator and rudder trim- a wheel in the cockpit is linked via cables and pulleys and chains to the control surface.
It’s kind of like having power steering and helps reduce the workload on the pilot.

Anyway, maintenance wasn’t sure how long it would take and we had to be airborne again in 30 minutes. So the Ops Man made the call to use the Kodiak, which was on the other side of the airport. I grabbed my stuff out the Caravan and dashed to a vehicle and got driven across.

I was pre-flighted, fueled and started up 5 minutes ahead of take off. And I arrived 10 minutes ahead of schedule at my first stop, only to have to wait 30 minutes because the lodge messed up with arranging transport for the clients’ bags.

By the end of the day (I think it was 6 stops) I had made up 20 minutes and was well chuffed. But also sad, knowing that that was my last day in the Delta.

There was no fanfare, no water cannons. I tied the Kodiak down and ran a hand along its side and thanked it for keeping me safe. And I looked back once as I walked away...

On Wednesday and Thursday I was in the classroom giving Caravan groundschool. We were having a heat wave so it was nice to be indoors with the aircon on.
While it sucked not flying my last two days, I preferred it.

The last flight is an emotional one, and there is plenty of room for error. I just had a feeling something would happen on my last flight and I made sure to be extra careful. But it all worked out in the end.

I wrapped up groundschool on Thursday, and said my good byes to the office staff. It was a little sad.

Then I headed home and packed, and started to mentally prepare for the drive to South Africa.

12 January

We were up at 2am, and blearily crawled out of bed and had a bite to eat. It was even too early for me to have coffee and that’s saying something!

We packed the last of our things and did a sweep of the house, then managed to squeeze the last few bags into the car.

We were on the road by 03:05.
It was a cool, still morning. Traffic was non-existent, both of the vehicle and animal kind.

We made pretty good progress and by the time the sun was up had covered a good few km.

The drive was uneventful, albeit long. In the back of my mind I knew I was leaving but I was also so focused on the next few days. The day passed by in a bit of a haze.

We crossed at Martins Drift. The longest I’ve taken there is 30 minutes. Today was 15 minutes. No fuss, no hassle, just stamp passports and go.

We took the Lephelane(spelling) Road, which was winding and quiet and in good condition. Loads better than going through Mokopane.

By 16:30 we were in Germiston, exhausted and grubby. We unpacked the essentials and managed to muster the energy to go to Spur for dinner.

Needless to say we slept very well that night!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 16, 2018, 12:24:39 am
The following is written as it happened, so it might come across as a bit arb.

14 January

It’s D-Day! Time to fly out to Auckland.
We were on the 12:30 Cathay Pacific flight from Johannesburg to Auckland via Hong Kong.

Our driver to the airport was early and we made it from Germiston to ORT in 20 minutes.

We had checked in online so the bag drop was quick and painless.
Security and passport control was also a breeze.

Boarding began 10 minutes early.
This is the first time in 14 years that I’d be going overseas. And my first time on the B777-300ER! I think I’ve been more excited about the flight than the trip!

We passed through the fancy first class seats, then premium economy, and found our seats in row 42. These are in front of a bulkhead and we were worried about the recline of the seats. Turns out it’s pretty good :)

The cabin crew were super friendly, and it wasn’t long before the Captain was on the PA welcoming us on board and giving us weather info.

There was very little traffic at the airport and from push back to take off was about 10 minutes.

I had fun watching the wing tip bouncing up and down on the taxi and flexing upwards as we took off.

Within about 15 minutes of getting airborne we were served drinks. I had a beer called Lite, which is from Millers. It was a lot like river water...
The cabin attendant misunderstood us and thought we wanted two beers, but immediately picked up on her mistake and offered something else. Really awesome service.

Within an hour or so they came around with our meals, and asked us to put our window blinds down. A clever way to start the process of getting used to the time zone changes.

I kicked back with my chicken stir fry, rice and pak choi (I think), and started watching a series on astronauts.

It’s 14:15 SA time and I feel sleepy already. Looks like we’re about to overfly Madagascar. The engines have got quieter and it seems we have leveled off... waiting for the moving map to display the altitude. Loads of phong-kong writing... aha, 35000ft, and we’re doing about 600mph; 520kts or 965km/h. Just felt the plane banking. They have an outside camera mounted the belly, and he-o, were turning. My piloty-senses are good.


They even have music and series on board! I just found some Frank Sinatra. Come fly with me!

I’m off for now- they’re serving coffee! And all I really want to do is look outside but damn it’s bright!

—-

It’s 14:50. I’ve just walked to the back of the plane for a stretch and a poke around. The galley is quite cool.
Now I’m settled in to watch a movie called Wind River, and they’ve dimmed all the lights in the cabin. Curfew anyone. It feels a bit like being in a movie cinema.

—-

The rest of the flight passed in a haze of naps and watching movies.
It was a beautiful morning in Hong Kong when we arrived, and whoever was flying landed the B777 brilliantly!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: big oil on January 16, 2018, 04:04:55 am
I've very much enjoyed your reporting.  I like your writing style.

I assume you didn't care for Miller Lite, lol???

All the best to you, on too your next chapter in life.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: husky on January 18, 2018, 11:16:52 am
"Landed brilliantly" - quite a few South Africans flying for Cathay Pacific.

Good luck in the future and enjoyed your posts. Thanks.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 01, 2018, 06:43:51 am
What was a pitter patter of rain is now falling more heavily. Clouds have descended and the surrounding hilltops are hiding. It’s cosy on the couch, overlooking the lake while listening to the rain and the gentle snores of a staffie dog.

I’m in Rotorua, New Zealand.
Since arriving in New Zealand in january, I have been to Auckland, Blenheim, Nelson, Te Hapu, another place I can’t pronounce, and now Rotorua. This weekend we are heading north to

So much has been crammed into the days that I’m going to give a brief summary now, and go into detail once I have sorted my photos out.

On arrival, Auckland was cold, for me at least. 25ish but windy had me pulling on a jacket while the locals were in shorts and T-shirt’s and jandals (plakkies).

Auckland looks like quite a nice city, not too busy. Unfortunately I still haven’t much exploring to do, but I have walked up My. Eden twice and seen a few other places. The people are friendly for the most part, and the atmosphere is chilled, but.

Blenheim, now that’s my type of temperature. High 20ies to mid 30it’s, sunny all day. A good heat and plenty to see and do. From riding brand new mountain bikes around town, to swimming in rivers.

Nelson just flashed by as we were only passing through, but a beautiful beach and some very fancy houses

Te Hapu... wow. We stayed in a cottage on a farm set on the mountains. A 1km wall through fields and over rocks got us to the beach (we later discovered an easier track, but what’s the fun in that). We spent our days exploring the rocks at low tide (about a 2km stretch on the northern side), then heading for the hills for some intense hiking (our quick 3hr hike worked out to almost 6hours).

Then off we went to the other place. Somewhere near Tata Beach I think.
A beautiful bay with lake-like conditions. We had a spot overlooking the bay, and it was a 50m wall to the beach which boasted warm sands, and warm clear waters.

And then it was back to Auckland.

On Tuesday we headed down to Rotorua where we have done some sight seeing, enjoyed a spa and a river with hot water, and we did a hike. Only 9km, it was mostly through forest. But we followed a river back, which was about 3km of slippery madness. The going was slow as we waded our way over slimy rocks. 50m from the end I put my foot on a rock and slipped spectacularly. So now I have a sore elbow and a ginger butt. All in good fun!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Dustman on February 01, 2018, 03:53:14 pm
Wow, it sounds awesome. Enjoying reading it as much as you enjoy being there.  :thumleft: :thumleft: :thumleft:  :sip: :sip: :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: zetman on February 01, 2018, 04:03:42 pm
 :ricky: Hey Its Alive  :peepwall: Sardine Enjoying the colder climate ?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on February 01, 2018, 09:24:14 pm
Thanks Sardine,

Botswana was a delight to fly along with you, looking forward to your Kiwi/Pacific adventure!

 8)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ama ride ride on February 02, 2018, 04:58:51 am
Welcome in NZ.

I am sure you will enjoy it.

I am still adapting to the funny weather but the last few days were really hot here in Palmerston North.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: landieman on February 02, 2018, 01:28:12 pm
Wow,seems I’ve missed quite a lot,GoodLuck on your follow adventure Sardine


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 29, 2018, 10:50:48 am
It has been over a month since moving back to South Africa from Botswana. There have had to be a few small adjustments, but for the most part I'm not missing Botswana or the old job. Too much. I do miss the 5-minute drive to work, and the cost of petrol being only P7/l.
I don't miss waking up at 4am, and working 12 hour days 6 days a week, not having a schedule and not being able to plan.

Now I fly a Pilatus PC-12 for the Red Cross Air Mercy Service.

The Cape Town base has a PC-12 equipped as an air ambulance. We mainly transfer patients between Cape Town and George, and Cape Town and Vredendal.
The Durban base has a Flying Doctor Service, where they fly doctors and specialists into rural areas. It's more of a scheduled service, whereas we sit and wait for a call to come in.
A welcome change of pace after being on the go all day every day.

Thunderbolts and Lightning

Yesterday we got a call in the afternoon for a flight to George to pick up a guy with a spinal injury.
We checked the weather and cloud was forecast, but it seemed that it was going to stay just off the coast.

We got airborne from Cape Town just before 15:00. It was a smooth flight across. George looks amazing; all green and fresh.
We waited at George airport while the paramedics went to the hospital to get the patient ready for transport. It was quite a wait, and we only got airborne after 17:30.

By now, the cloud had started rolling in. We were flying straight into the setting sun, which cast beautiful light everywhere.
As we reach Sir Lowry's Pass, flying as slow as we could so ATC (Air Traffic Control) could slot a B737 in front of us, we got our first glimpses of lightining. The sun was dipping below the horizon, the clouds in the distance red. It was getting dark fast, and we were treated to a spectacular light show. In the 17 or so years I've lived in the Western Cape, I've never seen lightning like that. And it was even more special seeing it from the air.

From about 5nm from the airport, we could see the apron was drenched. The runway lights welcoming us like a giant Christmas tree. ATC cleared us to land, and cautioned us that the runway was very wet.
I was flying. This was my first night landing on a mission. With a spinal patient, a wet runway, and storms in the vicinity.
I planned to land firmly in order to break through the surface of water on the runway, but not so firm as to jar everyone in the back.

It was a good landing. I'm really chuffed with it.
Once we were on the ground we could hear the thunder, and feel it rumbling through the ground.
Awesome!

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on March 29, 2018, 11:05:28 am
 We mainly transfer patients between Cape Town and George, and Cape Town and Vredendal.

I was picked 17 years ago by them in Vredendal, had to wait from two in the afternoon til nine at night though!!! :eek7:
All planes and choppers were busy that day elsewhere in the WC.
Good work you doing Sardine. :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tony the Boney on March 29, 2018, 11:15:29 am
well done Sardine....and that PC 12 is a Beaut!!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ican on March 29, 2018, 11:39:22 am
Welcome back, Sardine!
Yours is one of only two threads I follow on wildogz and I’ll admit to missing your posts.
Way to go with the new job! Enjoy!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: halfjob on March 29, 2018, 01:13:43 pm
welcome back Heather, we must all get together for a catch up braai in somerset west when you are here again :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 29, 2018, 03:02:48 pm
welcome back Heather, we must all get together for a catch up braai in somerset west when you are here again :thumleft:

Thank you :)
I live in Somerset West, so let me know :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: halfjob on March 29, 2018, 03:57:09 pm
welcome back Heather, we must all get together for a catch up braai in somerset west when you are here again :thumleft:

Thank you :)
I live in Somerset West, so let me know :)
you getting old hey🤣Brian and I went to the swellendam airshow with you..

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 29, 2018, 07:26:04 pm
welcome back Heather, we must all get together for a catch up braai in somerset west when you are here again :thumleft:

Thank you :)
I live in Somerset West, so let me know :)
you getting old hey🤣Brian and I went to the swellendam airshow with you..

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

I remember.
But I’m confused. Where is “here again”?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: halfjob on March 29, 2018, 10:25:56 pm
welcome back Heather, we must all get together for a catch up braai in somerset west when you are here again :thumleft:

Thank you :)
I live in Somerset West, so let me know :)
you getting old hey🤣Brian and I went to the swellendam airshow with you..

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

I remember.
But I’m confused. Where is “here again”?
sorry I thought you were staying in cape town and only came out to SW occasionally my bad..

Sent from my SM-G935F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on March 30, 2018, 02:32:17 am
Good to see you back on the forum,

and also back in the air again.  :thumleft:


The PC12 is a MACHINE! The mining company I worked for in Lesotho had one, and flew into the mine regularly. STOL ability at 10 000 ft was impressive  8)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on March 31, 2018, 07:25:46 pm
Good to hear you are enjoying the new job and also the Pilatus.
Also good on you for performing under pressure - spinal patient and soft landing!

I used to skydive for a couple of years and Pretoria skydiving club used a Pilatus porter - that thing climbed to 10 000 feet in Pretoria in (under correction) 15 minutes with 9 skydivers! Had great exits - loved the propwash on my chest. Then it will beat us to the ground to pick up the next load. After that they used a King Air 1900 if I recall correct. Was quite weird at first to exit from a low wing aircraft but also good memories.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 02, 2018, 11:37:05 am
The Pilatus Porter is on a my "Plane Bucket List".

---

I keep reaching for my coffee cup, forgetting that it is empty  :lamer:

So, I joined AMS is mid-February, and I did my first mission on 6 March.

The plane was out for a week for its annual service, so I missed out on 5 shifts - probably about 3 or 4 flights.

I've decided to start recording more info about each flight; number of patients, infant, toddler, adult, what was wrong with them.
I missed a few and can't remember who we flew, so March was the trial period. Hopefully I will be more on top of it from now on.

So, stats for March...
Missions flown: 13
Patients: At least 15
They ranged from expectant mothers, to a guy with staples in his head, another guy recovering from a head injury, a guy with a broken back and neck, and a few babies.

I'm starting to get a little more settled. Some of the crews are really awesome and we just click well. Others aren't quite as much fun. But I'm starting to get more of a feel for the team vibe, and I have made a deal with one of the paramedics; I will teach her how to read aviation weather charts if she teaches me about the equipment they use. So far I've had a crash course in using one of those funky little defibrillator machines.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 02, 2018, 12:09:49 pm
George Airport, 28 March

There has been an Airbus 310 parked there for a while.

That same day we were joined by a Boeing 737.
The Boeing is so much prettier.

And on the 31st of March a heap of small aircraft arrived for Easter Weekend... King Air's, Mooney's, Cirrus, Bonanaza, Gazelle...

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 02, 2018, 12:11:19 pm
Also 28 March

The evening the storm hit.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 02, 2018, 12:17:42 pm
1 April

Wow, what a beautiful day!

I called the office in the morning to see if any flights were pending - nada.

So I did some admin at home and bumbled about. Just as I was thinking of going to the Stellenbosch Flying Club, I got a call saying a George flight had come up.
Off we go!

Blue blue skies all the way, and not a bump to be felt. Absolute bliss.
The paramedics had to pick up a patient from the hospital so we settled down in Wimpy for lunch; the third time in a week, with this Captain. We're working our way through the menu to see what is best. So far, the Lunch Bowls are in the lead.

It was a good 2hrs+ before the paramedics were ready.
It looked like a wall of fog was rolling in off the coast, but once we got airborne it turned out to be just a few puffs of cloud.

The flight back to Cape Town was uneventful, with ATC slotting us in behind a Airlink ERJ. She said there would be one "heavy" to depart ahead, unless we could keep the circuit tight. The PC-12 excels at fast, small circuits, and we happily accepted a tight circuit and landed in no time.
It was really cool seeing two massive A340's waiting at the holding point while we landed.

The PC-12 wing over False Bay... such a sexy plane.
And, wind creating cool patterns in the mist over the sea.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on April 02, 2018, 02:11:12 pm
The sunset photo's are spectacular  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: big oil on April 02, 2018, 02:38:36 pm
In the last photo, are those brownish land parcels freshly plowed/seeded or is this an area of SA affected by drought?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cocky on April 02, 2018, 02:48:26 pm
In the last photo, are those brownish land parcels freshly plowed/seeded or is this an area of SA affected by drought?
Some are vineyards and some are newly tilled ground.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: westfrogger on April 02, 2018, 04:17:47 pm
Is that a private B738 at FAGG?  :o
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kortbroek on April 02, 2018, 07:31:04 pm
Awesome to see you're back Sardine.

Flying for AMS has got to be a dream job for anyone that has a passion for flying. We often fly with the AMS heli based in ct for mountain rescues. Maybe I'll run into you sometime.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 02, 2018, 08:53:36 pm
Is that a private B738 at FAGG?  :o

It sure is! It seems to hang around FACT often, I think it’s based there, but registered elsewhere.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: westfrogger on April 03, 2018, 08:09:35 am
Is that a private B738 at FAGG?  :o

It sure is! It seems to hang around FACT often, I think it’s based there, but registered elsewhere.

 :thumleft: Do you have the reg number?

(B738: for when a Citation will simply not do)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 03, 2018, 08:12:14 pm
Is that a private B738 at FAGG?  :o

It sure is! It seems to hang around FACT often, I think it’s based there, but registered elsewhere.

 :thumleft: Do you have the reg number?

(B738: for when a Citation will simply not do)

A rather apt, “VP-BBJ”.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: westfrogger on April 04, 2018, 09:36:30 am
Thanks Sardine. Wonder what on earth it's doing here.  :scratch:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cocky on April 04, 2018, 10:40:50 am
Thanks Sardine. Wonder what on earth it's doing here.  :scratch:
Is that not the plane Christo Wiese shares with Ernie and Johan Rupet
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Smidty on April 05, 2018, 10:02:32 am
Nope

Story around George is that it belongs to an Asian businessman
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cocky on April 05, 2018, 10:03:47 am
Nope

Story around George is that it belongs to an Asian businessman
737 BBJ, dude must have BIG money
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cocky on April 05, 2018, 10:06:36 am
2nd hand one going for $87 million https://www.avbuyer.com/aircraft/private-jets/boeing/bbj/293694
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 10, 2018, 07:37:30 pm
Hello Dogs,

Not much has been happening my side. I have been scheduled for a couple of night shifts, which is cool because then I don't have to go in to the office during the day, and I only go in at night if I get called. As Murphy would have it, just as I took my first bite of pizza while out with a friend, the phone rang... my first night mission; George on a moonless night. It seems the patient had a suspected brain bleed and needed to get a scan in Cape Town.

I've also had a day off every second day. The first two days of this routine were great, but by the fourth I was getting cabin fever. I was excited to drive to the airport today, and sit in the office. Even though we didn't get a flight. I hung out with the paramedics for most of the day.

---

So, when I started this thread I was fairly good at keeping it up to date.
I was also good when I started a blog many years ago. But as time went by I thought "Who cares about my day-to-day happenings?" and I started to lose interest.

But you know what, I like to read. And I enjoy writing. I was quite good at creative writing in school, and I think being forced to chose a topic helped me a lot. I feel I don't really have the imagination to create a character and develop a plot. Yet.
But I think it's time I try and get back into it.

I'm going to use this thread. If people don't like what I write, then they don't have to read it :)

As I like goals and checklists and challenges, I'm going to try to follow a 30-day writing challenge. Hopefully this will help guide and motivate me.

Onwards and upwards!

Day 1
"Take us through a written walk down your street and to your favourite place through the eyes of somebody else."

Ok, I'm going to modify the brief already  :pot:
...

Today is day 10 of my 30 Days of Change exercise program. If I can make it to day 10, I can make it to day 30! And if I can stick to an exercise program for 10 days, I can sure as heck do a writing challenge!

Today's goal was to jog for 20 minutes.
I live on the side of a hill, and quite a steep one at that! You've got to go up before you can go down, so that's exactly what I did. Shoes beating the tar, I took in the sounds and smells of the cars flying over the speedbumps. The wind is blowing, and the Helderberg Mountain stands majestically against the blue backdrop of the sky.

I focus on the sound of my feet on the tar, and try to control my breathing. I've never been good at breathing in through my nose and out through my mouth, or counting to four as I inhale and exhale, so it requires a lot of focus. It's a short section of steep uphill, and as I turn the corner into a side street, I allow my mind to wander.

I jog past my pre-primary school, barely recognizable with the removal of a giant jungle gym and addition of two more blocks of classrooms. It's sad to see the place where I laughed and played and ran turning into another piece of a concrete jungle. Another corner turned, and I am going downhill. My breathing not as laboured as it normally is by this point. An elderly lady sits on a bench in the garden in front of her house, a book in hand and her cat beside her.

Down the road I go, my eyes looking ahead and my mind drifting all over the place. I find I run best when I think about anything and everything except for the run itself. I force myself not to look at my watch; it will buzz when I reach twenty minutes.
I decide to explore an area I haven't run around before, and I make my way across the main road to a big housing area filled with various complexes. The ground is flat, and I'm feeling good. I take in the smell of the sea, the wind on my face, and marvel at the enormous buildings around me. There are very wealthy people living in Somerset West!

Just one more block and I will start making my way back. I turn to cut across a park on a gravel path, excited to hear the sound of the crunching gravel (strange, I know), and I'm hit by a headwind. Within meters my legs start to burn and for the first time during my run I begin to doubt if I will make it. "C'mon!" I mutter to myself. "You're past halfway, you can make the rest!" I put my head down and keep putting one foot in front of the other, doing my best to ignore the burning in my legs, my laboured breathing.

I turn again and I'm back on the tar, uphill, against the wind. My right shoe feels loose, and I look down to see my shoe lace has come undone. 'Maybe I can stop to tie it,' I think to myself. "No! Keep going!" I say out loud. The road turns. I can see where it levels out, it's not far. But it's too late, I allowed doubt into my mind. My legs shut down as I take in lungfuls of air. And I stop. And tie my shoe lace.

And I look up at the hill. And go again. It hurts, but after two more minutes I'm on level ground with the wind at my back. Yes! Another minute and my watch buzzes; I hit the 20 minute mark! Yes, I took a 30 second break, and I feel bad. But I got out and I did what I could. And that feels good.

I did 10 second sprint intervals for the last 500m to the house, and that also felt good, despite the uphill. Face burning red, legs burning, lungs burning, I went inside to do my stretches. And as I bent over to touch my toes (ha! Just kidding - I can't touch my toes!) my sister's dog ran up to me and proceeded to whack my forehead with his head, resulting in a resounding thunk, and a lot of pain.

Okay, so I've deviated from the brief completely, but hey, that's a pretty sizable ramble!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Pilchie on April 10, 2018, 08:56:48 pm
Well done, keep it up and welcome home
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 11, 2018, 02:10:23 pm
Another beautiful day spent sitting on the ground.
I have worked through my admin and now I want to fly. Although, I'm starting to feel a little tired. I was up at 5am this morning after a fitful sleep. My head is still sore and I have a nice bump from where the dog hit me last night  :patch:

I have tried to be productive, but it doesn't feel like I have achieved much. I tried to clean the "tv screens" in the plane as people keep getting their greasy fingerprints all over them. But the marks have put up a fight and all I succeeded in doing was making a bit of a mess. I will try again later.

Day 2 of the Writing Challenge

“Think of three people in your life. Give your character the hair and laugh of person 1, the face and bedroom of person 2, and the wardrobe and mannerisms of person 3. This is your new protagonist. Feel free to give him or her any other characteristics you'd like. Give us an idea of who your character is by describing only the first 60 seconds of the character's day.”

Okay, so I had to use Word’s synonym function to find out what a “protagonist” is- a character.

...
A dull light penetrated the gap in the curtains, and he opened a piercing blue eye. Legs entangled in the duvet, he rolled over to check the time. “5am,” he muttered, dragging a hand through his short blonde hair. Yawning, he rubbed his hand across the stubble on his face, a reminder that he needed to shave again, and surveyed his room.
Books and papers and files and folders covered every surface, a mess to an outsider. But look clearly, and you will see items packed away according to function and sorted into neat piles. It was his slice of organised chaos.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 11, 2018, 02:18:44 pm
I DID get a shot of inspiration watching the heli start up for a mission earlier.
I can't attach my little video clip, but here is a link to it on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/p/BhbgYPmn2-j/?hl=en&taken-by=tincanphotography

"My rotors glint in
The winter African sun,
My crew is ready
And my pre-flight done

A push of a button
Starts a chain reaction,
My igniters fire and
My engine leaps into action

Fuel is added
And begins to burn,
My rotors awaken
Faster and faster they turn

I rock and I shiver
And on my skids I quake,
Filled with anticipation
To the sky I must take!"
- Heather
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on April 11, 2018, 03:36:06 pm
Cool  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on April 12, 2018, 03:57:34 pm
Thanks for keeping the thread alive Sardine, good story and always love the pictures.
Please do not be sky and often post pics!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 12, 2018, 10:22:20 pm
Okay, I’m calling it. I just don’t have the gees for that writing challenge.

I had the day off today and worked through my to-do list. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I did take a look at my Dad’s Goldwing as he wanted me to take photos so he can  sell it- the engine needs bearings that have been discontinued. I never got to ride this bike and I have always wanted to, so now I’m thinking “I wonder if I can find a secondhand engine for it...”.

Back on duty tomorrow, hopefully some aviation get happens so I can post photos :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on April 13, 2018, 02:49:21 pm
Hi Sardine,

Some slight encouragement from my side ... not that you need it at all to continue this fine blog of yours.

There are certain people in this world that are viewed as exotics amongst us: some are the RTW travelers, others work on oil rigs, on Antarctica, on large private sail/motor boats, are pilots, personal fitness trainers or actors/actresses and writers or Mr. and Mrs. Zog ... and many other descriptions too but you get the gist no doubt. My affliction is I work on an island in the Bahamas, and whilst you or I might take the views we see daily (be it at 4m or 3000m ASL) as more of the same old same old - groundhog day even, there are so many good people that do not have the same options in life out there. For me, it is always a pleasure to read along what the daily activities entail for friends and family, each contributing to making our world go round. My thanks to them all.

Keep up this great read!

 8)

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 13, 2018, 06:02:48 pm
Thank you, Ian.
:)

So, here it is. The view on a flight from Cape Town to George today, FL230 (23 000ft above sea level), looking towards the sea.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on April 14, 2018, 07:56:59 pm

There are very wealthy people living in Somerset West! Vehicle registration: C F M, City For Millionaires.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 16, 2018, 09:50:54 am

There are very wealthy people living in Somerset West! Vehicle registration: C F M, City For Millionaires.

 :imaposer:

14 April

'Twas the ring of my phone at 06:40 that got me into action. "Air Mercy Service" calling.
I had been drifting in and out of sleep since 06:00, so at least it wasn't a major chore getting up.

I was on my way within 20 minutes. Take-off was set for 09:00.

I arrived in the office laden with bags of flying kit, breakfast, and my uniform. A paramedic and the heli pilot were in the office when I arrived, my eyes a little wild and screaming for coffee. I managed to drop the hangar with my shirt as I was walking to get the key for the pilot office.
I sighed.
"Oh no," said the paramedic.
"I need coffee," I said.
"I'm on it!" the heli pilot said, dashing off to his coffee stash.

I couldn't help but laugh. I must have looked really bad  :lol8:

Anyway, we got airborne right on time for the flight to George. The Cape Town weather was glorious, and when we crossed Botrivier we had a blanket of clouds extended from far out to sea to the mountains.
I thought "I should get a photo now, and one later, to show the difference." Naturally, I didn't. And of course, on the return leg, the clouds were the exact opposite; clear from the mountains seawards.

George was a little miserable. Cloud base sitting at around 500ft above ground level.
Great because I got some IF in (instrument flying), but I don't think I will ever get used to placing my life in the 'hands' of a machine, trusting I have programmed it properly while I watch our progress on the map.

The dark clouds and light made for a few dramatic photos on the ground.

1.) The beautiful PC-12
2.) A Cessna 425 Corsair
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kortbroek on April 16, 2018, 11:46:03 am
Awesome pics, would love to see some in flight shots if that is allowed/possible.

The more I read here the more impatient I am to get started with flying  :drif:
Love this thread  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 16, 2018, 02:00:01 pm
Hi Kortbroek,
Thank you :)

I often post photos to Instagram and forget to post here.

Here’s a panoramic of the cockpit as seen from the left seat.
The PC-12NG is equipped with Honeywell Primus Apex avionics I.e. lots of big tv screens and buttons!

Also, between layers of clouds, with some ice on the leading edge of the wing.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tampan on April 16, 2018, 02:20:54 pm
Awesome - I just love the PC12!  :thumleft:
I once had a very funny and rather humbling experience with a PC12, but not gonna high jack your thread.  :peepwall:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on April 16, 2018, 02:27:42 pm
Ice on the wing can become a pilot's worst nightmare I have read on the Antarctic flights.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on April 16, 2018, 08:50:27 pm
Please enlighten me,
What type is a 738
F A G G;  flight area George?
F A C T   flight area Cape Town?
Ice on the leading wing, do you have not heaters in a craft of type? Many Tx.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 16, 2018, 09:39:34 pm
Tom, indeed. Icing has cause a lot of aircraft to crash.
Some more detail with my answers to Cheesy's questions...

What type is a 738
It's a Boeing 737-800. The -800 denotes the series. Then Mango's and Kulula's are -800's.

F A G G;  flight area George?
FAGG is the ICAO Designator for George Airport. "FA" is for South Africa, and normally the other two letters have something to do with the name of the airport. FAJS - Johanneburg = Jan Smuts. Botswana's ICAO designator is "FB". ICAO means International Civil Aviation Organisation, and they have set the standards South African aviation must comply with. Botswana is also an ICAO state.
America uses the FAA - Federal Aviation Association.
F A C T   flight area Cape Town?
Cape Town International Airport  :thumleft:

Ice on the leading wing, do you have not heaters in a craft of type?
The PC-12 has de-icing boots on the leading edges of the wings and horizontal stabilizer of the tail.
They're essentially really big tyre tubes that inflate in stages, in a 1 or 3 minute cycle, and hopefully cause the ice to pop off the wing/tail. That's why the leading edge looks like a big rubber boot, because well, that's exactly what it is.

In the past, some aircraft manufacturers have said you only need to activate the boots once 1/2" of ice has accumulated. Then some of them found that by that stage the ice wouldn't shed off the wing, and the boot just pushed the ice outwards, resulting in a nice icy surface for more ice to form. This results in a massive increase in weight, and it also changes the profile of the wing, reducing lift and increasing drag.
So with the PC-12, we put the boots on at the first sign of ice. It's quite cool watching the ice flake off.
If that doesn't work, we descend to where the air is warmer, or get out of visible moisture (clouds).

Freezing rain can cause a lot of issues as the ice doesn't build on the leading edge, but rather spreads further back along the surface of the wing. There is no form of ice protection, or way to shed the ice. So we are very careful when we see we're in freezing rain.

The PC-12 also has electrical heating elements on the propeller, and both pilot windshields (much like that found on the rear window of a car).

When it comes to your airliners, those sleek and shiny wing leading edges and engine intakes can all be heated, melting the ice.

A lot of people (pilots included  :eek7:) confuse anti-ice and de-ice.
Anti-ice : Prevents ice from building up. This is usually in the form of a liquid that seeps across the leading edges.
De-ice: Gets rid of ice that has already accumulated.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on April 17, 2018, 06:12:05 pm
 Logical once explained, thank you.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on April 18, 2018, 02:35:44 pm
Awesome - I just love the PC12!  :thumleft:
I once had a very funny and rather humbling experience with a PC12, but not gonna high jack your thread.  :peepwall:

Hijack boet, Hijack ... this is part of my daily fix ... 
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 18, 2018, 03:28:56 pm
Awesome - I just love the PC12!  :thumleft:
I once had a very funny and rather humbling experience with a PC12, but not gonna high jack your thread.  :peepwall:

Agree with Ian, hijack away  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tampan on April 18, 2018, 04:44:54 pm
Thanks, so here goes:

I was a fairly new pilot and owner a Robin HR100-210 at the time. There aren't many of these around, especially in SA, but it's really quite a nice aircraft with very similar performance to a C182, in terms of speed, range and load carrying ability.
Anyhow, my father in law and myself were returning to Gariep Dam from Krugersdorp, with a healthy tail wind, pushing the Robin to a very nice ground speed of 160 - 165 kts. I was routing to the north past Tempe and as we were approaching Tempe, I heard a pilot transmitting that he was taking off at Tempe, routing for Gariep Dam. I didn't catch the aircraft type,  however, but decided it must be a student doing a cross country or some other private pilot routing south. I even announced my position and intensions, wanting him to know that I was coming from behind - fast! He didn't respond ...

With the 160 kt plus GS, I asked my FIL to keep a lookout for the aircraft that had just taken off, as I was ready to give it a good run for its money, already seeing in my minds eye how I was about to reel him in and informing him that I was about to overtake him.

We poked the sky, but simply couldn't spot him and I eventually decided (and informed my FIL accordingly) that we must have already overtaken him. Then, about 20 minutes after him making his take off radio call at Tempe, all of a sudden this gent pops up on the radio, calling on a down wind at Gariep Dam!!! :o :o :o  :-[ (I had just passed Edenburg!)

I was rather embarrassed in front of my FIL, but I still couldn't resist and I called up the pilot, asking what aircraft he was flying. It was the SAPS PC12 and when we eventually landed at Gariep, the PC12 was tied down, covered up and all the occupants were already shuttled off to town ...

On another occasion, I was in Colesberg when I saw the AMS PC12 circling to land. I drove out to the airfield, which was still usable at the time and had a nice chat with the very friendly pilot. I told him that I wanted to take a picture when he took off and asked him whereabouts along the runway he would become airborne. He showed me the spot, which I seriously doubted, so I made my own decision on where I though the PC12 would be flying and stood waiting, with my camera. The pilot waved good bye as he taxied past me to the threshold.

Needless to say, when the PC12 passed me where I was standing, about 600 meters down the runway, it was already cleaned up and probably climbing through 500 ft!  :-[

Indeed an amazing aircraft!  :thumleft:

Hijack off!  :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on April 18, 2018, 04:47:24 pm
How does a PC12 look?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tampan on April 18, 2018, 05:32:23 pm
How does a PC12 look?

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on April 18, 2018, 06:25:07 pm
Turbo prop or piston engine Tampan?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cocky on April 18, 2018, 06:32:32 pm
Turbo prop or piston engine Tampan?
Turbo Prop
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tampan on April 18, 2018, 08:31:02 pm
Kyk hier Chris: https://www.pilatus-aircraft.com/en/fly/pc-12

Ek sal altwee my ghoens gee om elke dag met hom rond te vlieg!  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 18, 2018, 09:03:51 pm
Awesome, Tampan!
Very impressive ground speed for the Robin! We barely got that in the Caravan.

I hope you got some photos of that take off.

Chris, the PC-12NG is powered by a Pratt&Whitney turbine engine that kicks out 1200shp.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on April 18, 2018, 10:21:03 pm
engine that kicks out 1200shp.

 :o :o :o :o :drif: :drif:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on April 19, 2018, 12:52:58 pm
Nice one Mr. T!

Always been a C210 fan myself ...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tampan on April 19, 2018, 06:43:28 pm
Nice one Mr. T!

Always been a C210 fan myself ...

Indeed. A friend of mine used to own one and every time we flew in it, my wife would comment that she could very easily get used to the C210.That was when I still owned a Mooney M20F.
She doesn’t have anything but praise for my V-tail Bonnie though ...   :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on April 20, 2018, 01:42:11 am
Nice one Mr. T!

Always been a C210 fan myself ...

Indeed. A friend of mine used to own one and every time we flew in it, my wife would comment that she could very easily get used to the C210.That was when I still owned a Mooney M20F.
She doesn’t have anything but praise for my V-tail Bonnie though ...   :biggrin:

Ah, yes my dad went back twice to look at a B35 in 1979 ... he’s 78 today and still talks about it.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 20, 2018, 05:17:38 pm
Yesterday we received a call for a flight to George. A patient we couldn’t fly on Wednesday due to turbulence was still waiting (spinal patient).

Yesterday morning was foggy in Cape Town. I find it amazing how the fog seems to settle on the runway.

Anyway, take off was scheduled for 12:39 but we got going before then.

We punched through the clouds in Cape Town, a soft fluffy blanket extending as far as the eye could see.

It cleared up as we passed Botrivier, and George had a cloud base of about 3700ft.

We waited about 2.5hrs for the patient to get prepped for transport then we were back in our steed and on our way home.
A little more cloud had developed for the return trip.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 20, 2018, 05:19:00 pm
Mango pulling in at George

Citation Mustang

Fluffies on the way back
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on April 20, 2018, 07:31:25 pm
Stunning pics Sardine  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oubones on April 20, 2018, 10:00:01 pm
Nice pics.
I had a nice trip once in the Krygkor citation years ago, would not mind that privilege again.
Unfortunately not the right connections anymore.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 28, 2018, 09:29:04 pm
I did my first official Park Run today. I did one a few weeks ago but we arrived late and didn't bother scanning the barcode for times.

Today, I was early. Very early. I arrived at Roo44 at 07:15 and thought it oddly quiet for an event this popular. "Maybe it's because there's all sorts of trail running happening at Boschendal," I thought to myself. By 07:30 I decided to get out the car and have a wander, maybe even jog on the spot and stretch, like I've seen the seasoned park runners do.
And I waited. And waited. And they were having marshal meetings and setting up the fences and stuff.

Hmmm... and I just happened to turn and see the park run board "Park Run, every Saturday at 08:00."

...

Back to the car I go to thaw out my legs.

By 07:55 the crowds had gathered and I took my place near the back. I never fancied myself much of a runner, but in the last month I have got into it and jogged 5km for the second time in my life. But I figured I would take it easy and try stay out of the crush of people.
It had been an hour since I left home where I had consumed a futurelife shake and a lot of water. So I really had to pee. Great.

Lucky for me, there was a loo on the way. By the time I left everyone had spread out and I managed to take up a slow jog, with the odd bit of walking to negotiate my way around people. They mark the route distances and I was surprised when I passed the 2km mark; it had gone by so fast.
I had warmed up, there wasn't any wind, the air was crisp, the view was spectacular and I was really enjoying myself.

I walked up the really steep hill and jogged the rest of the way back. It felt goooood! My goal for the day was 40min of exericse and I was on 37min so I jogged a few laps of the parking lot before heading home.

It was a really cool experience, and I'm quite excited to go again.

So if you ever want to get out and do something active, try a park run. You don't have to be super fit or fast, mostly it's people who want to have fun.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on April 30, 2018, 06:24:26 pm
Well-done on your 5km parkrun Sardine, 37min is not bad at all. I am trying to maintain a fair level of fitness and do every 3rd or 4th day 5km's on the treadmill and that takes me 30minutes. It is easier to jog on a treadmill as well, so you are probably doing better than me. Maybe the running thing will grow on you, I have seen many people starting later in live and it eventually grows into half marathons and later the comrades!

The picture is absolutely stunning!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 06, 2018, 05:50:25 am
Can you imagine a world with no idiot taxi drivers... and a reliable bus service from Somerset West to the Cape Town CBD...

10 buses, 40(?) people each = 400 people and probably over 200 less cars on the road.
Driving in to work this morning at 5am, the roads were already packed with cars with only the driver in.

Sigh.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 06, 2018, 06:13:44 am
May was a slow month, with only 8 missions - about 17hrs flying. A bit of a change from 70-80hrs per month in Botswana!

I asked for more night shifts as I'm trying to get the hours I need for my ATPL (Airline Transport Pilot Licence). The requirements are 1500hrs total, of which 100hrs must be at night, and 75 hours must be instrument.

I have more than enough total time, but as all of the flying in Botswana was VFR Day (Visual Flight Rules), I left there with 10hrs night. So I thought hey, 15 night shifts @ +-2hrs per sortie = easy hours!
Right?
Nope. We only fly about 30% of our night shifts. Less in winter.

The beginning of the month started well with a call to George, where we then got stuck as fog had rolled into Cape Town.
Of my 3 consecutive night shifts, I flew two of them, not bad!
Then I had a week of no flying.
Then one flight.
Then a week of no flying.
Then two flights.
Then a week of no flying.

It starts to mess with you, and the lack of routine drove me crazy.

This month was looking better, with 17 day shifts and 7 night shifts, but the roster has been shuffled several times, and now I'm down to 15 day shifts, but it's all good :)
I've already flown more this week than pretty much the whole of last month  :ricky:

I haven't been very good at keeping track of how many people I've been flying, and what has been wrong with them. It's all kept on record so it's just a matter of getting over my laziness and checking. Maybe later today  :peepwall:

We have had quite a few spinal patients, and a fair number of babies.
Some poor guy was driving at night and hit roadwork equipment; they were doing the roadworks but hadn't set up any lights or signs indicating such. From what I picked up, the one side of his body was rather broken, ribs, hips, femur...

The winter weather has been interesting. Turbulence, icing, storms. It is a spectacular feeling when you can feel thunder whilst in flight. And I'm not talking about the thunder from the previous night's curry!

It has also been scary; flying at night, climbing through clouds, where the only thing you can see is the pulsing red beacon light reflecting off the clouds. There is nothing else out there, except for the ground. And there you are, in a pressurized metal tube with only one engine, trusting that all the fancy computers and gadgets up front aren't suddenly going to fail.

I've flown with a few more different pilots. Air Mercy Service has a large pool of volunteers on the fixed wing, and each comes with their own style, knowledge, and skill set. Some are just there to fly, and a few very special people teach. And they make me work, which is good. It is so easy to become complacent at this job; we fly a sophisticated, highly automated aircraft. And it's easy to get used to the norm. Until the poo hits the fan and you realise just how little you actually know.

So my new rule for the last month or so has been to read up on one emergency procedure, every flight. Then the next flight I recap all the previous ones, and learn another one. Hopefully my brain cell will absorb something and my reactions will become a bit more fluid and automatic.

A lot of the pilots also aren't interested in patients. But a couple (these are normally also the same ones who enjoy teaching) get involved and chat to the patients, find out what happened, where they're from etc. A crew like that makes the hours of waiting bearable, and it becomes fun. I'm very shy and still getting used to talking to people, especially sick people. But I try to remind myself that it will do both the patient and me good; often they are scared and unsure of what is happening, and engaging will help me feel like I'm helping them a little and doing good, which is why I wanted this job.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on June 06, 2018, 06:53:38 am
So cool - what a great job you have!

Thanks for sharing  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tampan on June 06, 2018, 08:01:18 am
Good stuff, Sardine. You’ll be amazed to know how much most non-flying people are intrigued by pilots and their world, so I can just imagine what it would mean to most patients when their pilot shows interest in their situation. I guess it probably also comforts them, in a way.

I can just imagine the heap of procedures you have to stuff into your brain for that PC12, but good for you to be as dedicated as you are!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on June 06, 2018, 02:15:39 pm
Compassion is a virtue, and none other than a patient is so aware of that.

Safe flights Sard.

 8)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 06, 2018, 05:42:47 pm
Hurry up and wait

It applies to all aspects of aviation, but EMS Flying is next level.

I have spent more time in George in the last few months than I ever have in my life. And all I’ve seen is the airport, and the Spur and Mugg&Bean at the petrol station (only at night though).

I don’t mind the waiting too much. I normally have a book or something to do (or stuff I should do, like write). Sometimes my colleagues just want to sit and talk, when all I want to do is keep to myself.

But today I’m flying with a guy who is happy to do his own thing. And he has access to the Bidvest Lounge. If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have packed lunch. Boiled egg and tuna and avo salad, perfect combination for sitting in a confined area with other people! >.<
I’m on a see-good diet and trying my very best not to sample the muffins and croissants.

Today is absolutely stunning. CAVOK (ceiling and visibility ok - no clouds below 5000ft/MSA [minimum sector altitude] and visibility more than 10km).
Not a bump, warm, blue skies for days.

The Captain asked which leg I wanted to fly and I said I’d do the return as I’ve been flying Cape Town - George a lot lately. I’m glad I did: it was so lekker to check out the view and enjoy what the Cape has to offer. It reminded me of my instructing days where I’d suss our routes to explore on the bike.

On our return we had to fly lower to keep our cabin altitude down as our patient has a lung problem. Being a clear, smooth day, we came back at 12 000ft. What bliss!

And tomorrow I’m off!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 06, 2018, 05:49:32 pm
Photos...

1. We departed runway 01 Cape Town (to the north) and got an early left turn out past Table Mountain

2. Steenbras Dam

3. Mossel Bay

4. Ambulance arriving in George with precious cargo

5. Beautiful light on the way home
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cocky on June 07, 2018, 10:01:59 am
Hurry up and wait

It applies to all aspects of aviation, but EMS Flying is next level.

I have spent more time in George in the last few months than I ever have in my life. And all I’ve seen is the airport, and the Spur and Mugg&Bean at the petrol station (only at night though).

I don’t mind the waiting too much. I normally have a book or something to do (or stuff I should do, like write). Sometimes my colleagues just want to sit and talk, when all I want to do is keep to myself.

But today I’m flying with a guy who is happy to do his own thing. And he has access to the Bidvest Lounge. If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have packed lunch. Boiled egg and tuna and avo salad, perfect combination for sitting in a confined area with other people! >.<
I’m on a see-good diet and trying my very best not to sample the muffins and croissants.

Today is absolutely stunning. CAVOK (ceiling and visibility ok - no clouds below 5000ft/MSA [minimum sector altitude] and visibility more than 10km).
Not a bump, warm, blue skies for days.

The Captain asked which leg I wanted to fly and I said I’d do the return as I’ve been flying Cape Town - George a lot lately. I’m glad I did: it was so lekker to check out the view and enjoy what the Cape has to offer. It reminded me of my instructing days where I’d suss our routes to explore on the bike.

On our return we had to fly lower to keep our cabin altitude down as our patient has a lung problem. Being a clear, smooth day, we came back at 12 000ft. What bliss!

And tomorrow I’m off!
How long before you get to sit on the left, or shoud I ask what is your end goal, surely not sitting and waiting at George airport?
PS love following your fread, sadly my flying days have escaped me, so I live vicariously through your fread.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 07, 2018, 10:29:53 am
Hurry up and wait

It applies to all aspects of aviation, but EMS Flying is next level.

I have spent more time in George in the last few months than I ever have in my life. And all I’ve seen is the airport, and the Spur and Mugg&Bean at the petrol station (only at night though).

I don’t mind the waiting too much. I normally have a book or something to do (or stuff I should do, like write). Sometimes my colleagues just want to sit and talk, when all I want to do is keep to myself.

But today I’m flying with a guy who is happy to do his own thing. And he has access to the Bidvest Lounge. If I’d known that, I wouldn’t have packed lunch. Boiled egg and tuna and avo salad, perfect combination for sitting in a confined area with other people! >.<
I’m on a see-good diet and trying my very best not to sample the muffins and croissants.

Today is absolutely stunning. CAVOK (ceiling and visibility ok - no clouds below 5000ft/MSA [minimum sector altitude] and visibility more than 10km).
Not a bump, warm, blue skies for days.

The Captain asked which leg I wanted to fly and I said I’d do the return as I’ve been flying Cape Town - George a lot lately. I’m glad I did: it was so lekker to check out the view and enjoy what the Cape has to offer. It reminded me of my instructing days where I’d suss our routes to explore on the bike.

On our return we had to fly lower to keep our cabin altitude down as our patient has a lung problem. Being a clear, smooth day, we came back at 12 000ft. What bliss!

And tomorrow I’m off!
How long before you get to sit on the left, or shoud I ask what is your end goal, surely not sitting and waiting at George airport?
PS love following your fread, sadly my flying days have escaped me, so I live vicariously through your fread.

Hi Cocky,

It’s a bit of a grey area as the PC12 is certified as a single crew aircraft.
The Captain/Co-pilot roll isn’t as strong as in an airline environment, but helps to organize duties. As a co-pilot, I ensure the aircraft if pre-flighted, documents in order etc, before a flight, and I tuck it in after the flight. While the Captain does the paperwork, files flight plans etc.
The Captain is also the decision-maker, but, we are a team. So we discuss everything before making a call (be it weather, pax, aircraft issue etc).

We fly leg-for-leg, and swap seats. So I might be a co-pilot for the day, but as pilot flying I sit left seat. Whereas in the airlines, co-pilot sits tight seat. Like I said, it’s a grey area and has its pro’s and cons. What we are also trying to do now is do a leg or two from the right seat every few weeks just to keep our hand in as flying from the right is a very different picture.

As for becoming Captain, it’s amazing how different it is to Botswana. There I was almost completely alone, entrusted with 10 pax at a time, in harsh, high-workload environment.
But this type of flying requires a different skill set, one that I am still building. So when I’m comfortable and ready, I will be tested for Command.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on June 08, 2018, 03:56:46 pm
Always enjoy updates on your thread Sardine, and the pictures I'll never get tired off so please keep on posting them!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: big oil on June 08, 2018, 08:54:12 pm
Yes, more pics, more pics, more pics, I can’t get enough Sardine aerial pickchaas  :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 10, 2018, 05:53:28 pm
Thursday, 7th June

Ring ring, ring ring...
I really need to get a dedicated work ringtone. I was thinking of "Somebody call 911, shorty fire burning on the dance floor" or whatever it is, but I only like that part of the song. Any ideas?
Odd, as it was my day off. Did someone mess up and think I was on night shift? I had a drink with lunch. Hmm...

Nope, they were just letting me know we had 07:00 take off to... Beaufort West! Woohoo! Somewhere new  :ricky:
Perfect; I've been driving to work with my other half as we only have one car and he has to get to the Waterfront by 08:00, so leaves Somerset West by 05:15, which means I sit at work for aaagggggeeees. But this would work out well.

I slept on and off, starting awake several times thinking I'd overslept.

When we left, Somerset West was foggy, so was the N2, and the airport. No 07:00 take off for us.
The fog lifted to mist, and the visibility was above the legal requirement for take off, so off we went!

I sat right seat and did the radio work so I could watch and learn the procedures for the new airfield. It was amazing punching through the layer of fog seeing the blue sky when just a few seconds before, it felt like 6pm.

The last time I was in Beaufort West was in 2012 when I flew my Dad's Cubby from Stellenbosch to Wonderboom (a story I still need to post here). Back then it was a gravel runway. Now it's a tar one, but they were working on it so we used a shorter gravel cross-runway. Ain't got nothing on Botswana  O0

AIFA, a massive flight school, has a base there primarily to train Chinese students. They've set it up nicely and built student accommodation on the field, and the instructors live in what used to be a really awesome B&B. While the paramedics went to collect the patient, we waited in the dining hall, drinking Ricoffee (yuk). Fortunately it wasn't a long wait, then we hopped over to George where we waited a couple of hours, then back to Cape Town (I got to fly both those legs  :biggrin:).

Then I waited for the bf to fetch me on his way home.
A long day, but really lekker to go somewhere different!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oubones on June 10, 2018, 06:41:04 pm
A break from routine is always nice.
Interested to hear what is the story behind the cubby flight.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cheesy on June 10, 2018, 09:22:51 pm
Heather, life is to short to drink plastic coffee, filter or water only.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 11, 2018, 06:00:35 am
1.) Looking from the hangar towards the old tower at 07:35. We need 800m horizontal visibility to take off, from where I was to the tower is about 450m.
2.) Climbing above the fog near the Bottelary Hills looking towards Stellenbosch/Somerset West
3.) Franschhoek Valley
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 11, 2018, 06:01:26 am
1.) Brandvlei Dam near Worcester
2.) Paramedics have laid all their kit out, ready to be loaded into the ambulance at Beaufort West
3.) Funky panoramic
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 11, 2018, 06:02:20 am
1.) Thanks to Carnivore for the info  :thumleft: Swartvlei, Sedgefield. Dead centre is Willow Point, site of Veld & Vlei Adventure School, Winter 1973.
Groenvlei is top, to left.
2.) Kulula waiting to depart ahead. There was a hold up as some guy trying to route towards Plett encountered cloud and mist rolling in off the coast and had to turn around. Took a few minutes for ATC to get the poor dude out of the way of the departure path
3.) Returning to Cape Town just before 15:00, still some mist and low cloud, but clearing up
4.) Last photo before landing. We flew the whole arrival for runway 19, which I've never done before; normally they vector us or if we can see the runway, we can cut the corner. The arrival takes us over Stellenbosch to about Kuilsriver, then over Fisantekraal towards Morningstar (Zone7), before we turn left to land to the south
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 11, 2018, 06:04:04 am
Heather, life is to short to drink plastic coffee, filter or water only.

I learnt that while living in Botswana when I discovered buying filter coffee is cheaper than the instant stuff. I haven't yet progressed to beans though... one day when I grow up I will buy myself a coffee grinder  :biggrin:
But, hey, coffee beats no coffee, even if it is the plastic stuff.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kortbroek on June 11, 2018, 07:10:48 am
Ring ring, ring ring...
I really need to get a dedicated work ringtone. I was thinking of "Somebody call 911, shorty fire burning on the dance floor" or whatever it is, but I only like that part of the song. Any ideas?

You could always record the PC12's turbine startup and use that? I have the Oryx turbine startup as my message tone for rescue, really gets the blood pumping.

Great pics as always. I would love to see pics from the cubby trip. This is that same cubby that is up for sale again is it not? (ZU-DVR). You wouldn't happen to know of any instructors in the cape that are rated on the cubby?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on June 11, 2018, 08:01:12 am
" to get to the Waterfront by 08:00, so leaves Somerset West by 05:15, which means I sit at work for aaagggggeeees. But this would work out well."

that must be unpleasant bloody hell nearly 3 hours to get to work  :'(
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 11, 2018, 08:56:18 am
" to get to the Waterfront by 08:00, so leaves Somerset West by 05:15, which means I sit at work for aaagggggeeees. But this would work out well."

that must be unpleasant bloody hell nearly 3 hours to get to work  :'(

No, fortunately it's only about a 35-45 minute drive. BUT, if he leaves at 05:15, it's an hour. 05:30 = 1.5 to 2hrs.
And as he only knocks off after 5pm, he hits the peak traffic coming out of town, so often only gets home after 18:30.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 11, 2018, 08:57:44 am
Ring ring, ring ring...
I really need to get a dedicated work ringtone. I was thinking of "Somebody call 911, shorty fire burning on the dance floor" or whatever it is, but I only like that part of the song. Any ideas?

You could always record the PC12's turbine startup and use that? I have the Oryx turbine startup as my message tone for rescue, really gets the blood pumping.

Great pics as always. I would love to see pics from the cubby trip. This is that same cubby that is up for sale again is it not? (ZU-DVR). You wouldn't happen to know of any instructors in the cape that are rated on the cubby?

Hmmm, I've thought about it. I will give that one I try.

Yes, that's the very same Cubby :)
I'm instructor rated on it, and should hopefully have my instructors rating renewed sooner rather than later.
There are two others, but one is on contract often, and the other is quite busy.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 11, 2018, 09:07:29 am
I was going to retype this, but then I realised, Hey, I've already got a perfectly good blog post about it.

I Follow Roads - my 2012 adventure where I ferried a little yellow plane from Stellenbosch Flying Club to Wonderboom Airport.
The trip took 3 days, 13.7hrs flying, and 6 fuel stops (using an the average fuel burn of 20l/hr = 274l of petrol), and covered about 750nm.

http://the-flying-fish.blogspot.com/2013/03/i-follow-roads.html
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Carnivore on June 11, 2018, 09:09:11 am
1.) I think this is Island Lake/Touwsrivier in Wilderness

Heather, that is Swartvlei, Sedgefield. Dead centre is Willow Point, site of Veld & Vlei Adventure School, Winter 1973.
Groenvlei is top, to left.

Our first day started at 00:00:03 with the instructors yelling like banshees. Our first hike, clockwise around Swartvlei, 20km in the dark, thrashing through swamps and reeds, making more noise than the Normandy landings.
Suffice to say, after 3 weeks, I returned back to my school hockey team, the fittest in the squad.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 19, 2018, 09:07:20 pm
So I haven’t flown in about a week. And when I don’t fly, and it rains for days, I get bored. And when I’m bored, I eat.
I have come to realize how much rubbish goes into pre-made meals, and have been trying new recipe’s, even modifying them to make them more healthy (or at least what I think is more healthy).

A few weeks ago I watched a Masterchef The Professionals video where they had 20 minutes to make a soufflé.
I was drooling the whole time and I decided “I’m going to make a soufflé “. I’ve never even eaten one before.
Eggs and chocolate. No flour, no other sugar, as desserts go, this is healthy... right? :peepwall:

Anyway, I finally gave it a go, and I’m super chuffed.
I overbaked it ever so slightly and my presentation needs work, but wow did it taste good!

I used De Villiers 70% chocolate, and lined the ramekin with a bit of cocoa and cinnamon. I also added some peanut butter which is probably also why it came out quite heavy.

I guess I’ll just have to make more and practice!  :drif:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on June 19, 2018, 10:25:54 pm
That looks lekker! Thanks for the update and the pictures!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on June 20, 2018, 02:46:08 am
YUMMY  :drif: :drif: :drif:

Please don't send Mrs Zog the recipe, my waistline will not survive it  :pot:  :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on June 20, 2018, 06:40:15 am
Looks delicious - great job.

Tip - when you dust the top with icing sugar - put the icing sugar into a tea strainer (or sieve) and lightly just bump the edge of the tea strainer or sieve and you get a nice fine sprinkling of icing sugar on the top ;-)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 20, 2018, 07:01:28 am
Looks delicious - great job.

Tip - when you dust the top with icing sugar - put the icing sugar into a tea strainer (or sieve) and lightly just bump the edge of the tea strainer or sieve and you get a nice fine sprinkling of icing sugar on the top ;-)

I was trying to minimize the amount of dishes  :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on June 20, 2018, 07:47:31 am
Looks delicious - great job.

Tip - when you dust the top with icing sugar - put the icing sugar into a tea strainer (or sieve) and lightly just bump the edge of the tea strainer or sieve and you get a nice fine sprinkling of icing sugar on the top ;-)

I was trying to minimize the amount of dishes  :imaposer:

 :imaposer: .... or maximise the "snow" on top of the yummy souffle'  :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 22, 2018, 11:30:31 am
Looks delicious - great job.

Tip - when you dust the top with icing sugar - put the icing sugar into a tea strainer (or sieve) and lightly just bump the edge of the tea strainer or sieve and you get a nice fine sprinkling of icing sugar on the top ;-)

I was trying to minimize the amount of dishes  :imaposer:

 :imaposer: .... or maximise the "snow" on top of the yummy souffle'  :imaposer:

Exactly!

 :P
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on June 22, 2018, 12:37:40 pm
Le chef's version of cumulonimbus clouds  :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 27, 2018, 10:16:24 am
It has been a little slow at work, with almost 2 weeks between flights. A combination of night shifts and bad weather, and day shifts where flights either weren’t requested, or weren’t authorized.

So I’ve been keeping busy by studying for my multi-engine rating, looking for new recipe’s, and going for Sunday drives.

The multi-rating studies have made me realize how much I have forgotten and how slack I have become. I haven’t flown a piston aircraft in about 8 months, so it should be fun going back to that.

Food, I made pulled pork yesterday. Holy cow, yum. I love the movie “Chef” purely because of the cubano sandwiches they make, and I’ve always been wanting to try it myself. So I made my own pickled onions and cabbage, pork, and attempted to create the sandwich. The balance of flavours wasn’t quite there, but it was still good.

As for the drive, on Sunday we set off for The Orchard for a giant choc chip cookie. I can’t have cookies without coffee so I took my trusty’ Stanley flask of coffee (why Payne R25 for watered down java when I can make my own).

Then we set off for Botrivier. I’ve always wanted to ride the Van Der Stel Pass,  but was always worried about falling and being by myself and getting stuck. Well, I didn’t realize it was a gravel highway! Now I regret not taking the bike  :(

From there it was through Villiersdorp.. A portion of the road was covered in sand and Theewaterskloof looked like a beach with mini-dunes.
Villiersdorp was quite clean and almost pleasant to pass through
Then we headed to Elandskloof to see what we could see.

From there we backtracked to Villiersdorp and headed over to Franschhoek.

We came across a bend in the road covered in pears. Gouge marks in the road suggest a truck went pear-shaped around the bend.

At the top of Franschhoek Pass we checked out the entrance to Mont Rochelle, and had some padkos. Then we  drove through Franschhoek to Helshoogte.
Pniel was so neat and tidy, not a spec of rubbish. Why can’t everywhere be like that?

We pulled in at Hillcrest Berry Orchard for hot chocolate and scones.
If you haven’t been there, do yourself a favour and have their scones. We are cheesecake-crazy and decided to order a slice. R doesn’t like lots of lemon, and the waitress assured us their cheesecake had only a hint of lemon. Well, my face is still puckered from the sour-ness. We won’t be getting that again.

Then it was home for an afternoon nap. Lekker!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 27, 2018, 10:36:31 am
There’s just something about mountain passes and gravel roads...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 27, 2018, 10:37:29 am
Theewaterskloof beach...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 27, 2018, 10:38:31 am
Elandskloof
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 27, 2018, 10:39:39 am
En-route to Franschhoek
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on June 27, 2018, 10:40:27 am
Hillcrest Berry Orchard
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on June 27, 2018, 02:21:07 pm
Lekker, mooi en lekker!

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 15, 2018, 11:00:13 am
Getting called to work at 3am sucks.
It sucks more when it's 3 degrees outside.
But I guess for the patient, it sucks a heck of a lot more for them than it does for me.

What a beautiful flight though. Dark sky with the twinkling stars mimicking the lights on the ground, only the stars are much prettier.
An efficient ambulance crew in George meant we were starting up within 20 minutes of landing. My alarm went off as we were preparing to start and gave me a fright; it was 6am but felt like midnight.

It was smooth sailing back to chilly Cape Town with a fantastic sunrise (no photos unfortunately).
My heart sank a little as I realized I'd be in peak traffic driving home (which is now in Cape Town  :ricky:) and then I remembered that it's Sunday.

What a superb drive, clear crisp air and the sun warming up Table Mountain. Not a hint of wind here. Bliss :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 15, 2018, 11:06:49 am
In 2017 I attended Race for Rhinos in Botswana. I have finally sorted through my footage...

Little Annie goes water-skiing

Little Annie is a South African-based Antonov AN-2.
In 2017 she took up water-skiing while at the Race for Rhinos Air Race held at Sua Pan in Botswana.

Lumbering, yet graceful, this evening display was a superb display of flying.

Read more about Little Annie here: http://www.littleannie.co.za/

Song: Baskets in the Sky by William Rosati

"[/youtube]
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 16, 2018, 01:51:18 pm
Mucking around with a Photoshop app.
Taken in George on our call yesterday morning.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 18, 2018, 01:33:05 pm
Hanging out in George. Nice and warm, but windy.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: WheelieDog on July 18, 2018, 08:05:21 pm
Striking pictures Sardine.

Thank you :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on July 19, 2018, 12:31:34 pm
OMW that An-2 is nice. I had no idea they're so....graceful.  :drif: I want one....
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 28, 2018, 03:42:25 pm
Right then, where did I drop off...

So June only had me flying 10 missions. A slow month, but I got to go to Beaufort West and Oudtshoorn. Variety is the spice of life.

There were a couple of night shifts, and late calls, which made for stunning sunsets. The nice thing about winter is that we catch the sunset when we leave George around 5pm.

Lots of kids, and lots of spinal injuries. From car crashes to falls.
And this month, a couple of burn victims.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 28, 2018, 03:47:39 pm
Steenbras dam
Mossel Bay
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 28, 2018, 03:48:20 pm
The view never gets old
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 28, 2018, 03:49:08 pm
And then there are the sunsets...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 28, 2018, 03:53:38 pm
Got to see the snow.
And Theewaterskloof looking green. Photos take. On different days
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 28, 2018, 03:54:42 pm
Heavy(er) metal
And fluffy white clouds
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on July 28, 2018, 03:55:32 pm
First time getting this routing, cool to see the Helderberg Basin like this
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on July 29, 2018, 04:17:47 am
Stunning views Heather  :drif:


Just this evening there was a piece on the local TV news about the FAA saying that there is a shortage of pilots in the US...  just saying  ;)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 03, 2018, 02:39:30 pm
Thanks Gary :)
Unfortunately while I meet (and even exceed) most requirements, I am missing the golden (green) ingredient - a right to live and work in America.
I might be able to get a Canadian work visa... working on that. As well as exploring options in Europe and New Zealand. Unfortunately for Europe to convert my licence it means writing 14 theoretical exams. But we shall see!

July was a bit of a better month at work. I flew 13 missions which works out to about 32hrs. A very slow month by Botswana standards!
But I got to go to Beaufort West and did my first George-Vredendal routing, which was something different.

I quite enjoy the Cape Town - George flights; the scenery is forever changing. It's the waiting around for a call that gets to me. Especially when you wait all day and then as you're packing up to go home the call comes in.
The last few calls have been nice in that they have phoned at 07:00 to say we're flying. Then I'm happy :) I wasn't even bummed the other day when we had a 09:30 to George, and then after we had got back and packed up, and another call. Saw an awesome sunset on the way back!

AMS held a women's day event. Not sure what it was really for (I mean, I know August is "woman's month", but the event seemed a bit meh), but a bunch of us had to pose for photos.

And yesterday I was signed out as a Captain. Now, the PC-12 is a single-pilot certified aircraft, so you don't need two crew. AMS has a two-crew policy because it's safer, and as most of the pilots are volunteers, they might not fly the PC-12 often and it's easy to become rusty. So we look out for one another. Anyway, so the terms "Captain" and "co-pilot" don't really mean much, like they would in an airline. For us, if I am rostered as Captain, it means I am responsible for the go/no-go call (but I discuss it with the medical crew and my 'co-pilot') and doing the paperwork. The Co-pilot does the pre-flight and gets the plane ready.

So it's not like a huge thing, but it did feel quite good. One of the paramedics also made a bit of a fuss about it was such an awesome gesture and made my day. Amazing how positive people in the workplace make sure a difference!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on August 03, 2018, 02:49:29 pm
That's great, congrats Captain.

I guess now you can keep your avatar, Although I'm pretty sure captain Sardine would look better, LOL.

I quite enjoy your instagram pics as well.

So thanks for all the effort you do, even though we don't always respond, we really enjoy your posts as they are always interesting.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Carnivore on August 03, 2018, 05:15:58 pm
You know.... I've been thinking about this Sardine character... I think she actually wears a blue suit with red underpants under her flying gear.
I wish I had one tenth of her gumption and chutzpah*!

Go, Miss Inspiration.

* Although the word derives from the Jewish word for audacity and cheek with some negative connotations, the more modern use of the word implies tenacity and courageous sticking to one's guns, and a huge dose of sass to take on the odds, sometimes bucking the system. It certainly is appropriate for this girl's grasp on life and ability to chase the Dream. You just have to challenge everything to achieve this, in such a few short years since she was a schoolgirl learning to fly.
I hope that no one misinterpreted the word negatively... I certainly mean it with the utmost respect for this young lady.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on August 04, 2018, 12:53:26 am
Fantastic news on becoming Captain  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oubones on August 04, 2018, 07:44:02 am
Congrats Capt Sardine!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 04, 2018, 11:32:14 am
Thanks very much Guys, it means a lot to me.

Carnivore, I needed that boost. Thank you.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 04, 2018, 11:46:16 am
I have slowly started working through the 4000 photos on my phone. I accidentally deleted about 300 thinking I had already backed them up to my laptop. Whoops. Oh well.

Anyway, I thought some might be interested in the instrumentation in the PC-12. Whenever I show someone the cockpit, their jaw drops at the sight of all the buttons and information displayed on the screen.
At the end of the day, it's all about knowing what you're reading, and it becomes easy.

The PC-12 NG (Next Generation) is equipped with the Honeywell Primus Apex EFIS (Electronic Flight Information System), also known as a 'glass cockpit'.
Each pilot has a PFD (primary flight displaying) in front of them, and two stacked MFD's (multi-function displays) in the middle.

Here is a shot of a PFD...

All the little buttons on the side are "soft keys". Not all of them have a function on the PFD as the screens (PFD and MFD) are interchangeable, and their functions change depending on the menu you're in. So far I've found there are at least two ways to do things and reach the same goal :P


1 - Torque gauge measured in PSI.
Controlled by the power control lever (think of your car's accelerator) it gives an indication of torque. Torque is limited by things like altitude and ambient temperature. This was shot in the cruise. Red line is 44.34psi

2 - ITT, or Inter Turbine Temperature is measured between the power and compressor turbines of the engine. It is not the hottest part of the engine. Our limit on take-off is 850 degrees C, and in the cruise it's 820C. Increasing the torque will increase the ITT. The ITT also increases the higher we fly (for a given power setting)

3 - NG, a percentage of the speed of the power turbine (which spins at... i forget, something like 30 000rpm)

4 - Oil Temperature and Pressure. Keep it in the green and you're good  8)

5 - NP is the propeller RPM. In the Caravan and Kodiak we controlled this with a lever in the cockpit. With the PC-12, it's all linked to the power control lever

6 - Fuel Flow measured in pounds per hour. We use 450-500lbs on our sectors

7 - VHF radio frequencies to speak to air traffic control and other aircraft

8 - navigation frequencies for ground-based systems such as the VOR (VHF omni-directional range) and ILS (instrument landing system)

9 - ADF, automatic direction finder, points to a ground-based beacon called an NDB (non-directional beacon). We can also listen to Magic 828  :imaposer:

10 - Transponder code assigned to us by ATC for each flight so they can easily identify us on their radar screens

11 - information relating to what modes are selected on the autopilot. Green means go!

12 - speed tape, the red barber's pole is the no-go speed

13 - altitude tape, we typically fly at 22 0000-23 000ft

14 - AH, artificial horizon, also called an Attitude Indicator, shows the aircraft's attitude relative to the horizon
It gives pitch (up/down) and roll (left/right) information in degrees

15 - HSI, horizontal situation indicator, compass overlayed with information from our NAV and ADF instruments. We can also overlay information such as: weather radar, traffic (shows their altitude, position and if they're climbing all descending), and terrain

16 - information regarding wind (shown has a head/tail wind and x-wind), ambient temperature (the SAT), TAS (true airspeed) and GS (ground speed). I'm not sure what that RNP is though...in this photo we were really klapping it with a 80kt tailwind  :drif:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on August 04, 2018, 02:16:18 pm
Thank you for that 
Lot easier to ride a bike  :) :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 04, 2018, 05:40:55 pm
 :lol8:
At least I can’t moer off the plane when I go through soft sand.
 :imaposer:

I was off today and allowed myself to relax. After cleaning the flat. See, when I sit idle I get very figidity and annoyed. But I managed to find a cool series about Lyndon Poskitt and his 2018 Dakar journey. And it got me thinking how amazing it is that a friend of mine, Ross Branch, will be taking part next year. A more mellow humble guy you will not find. He rides KTM unfortunately  :peepwall: but wow what an achievement (Dakar 2019, not riding a KTM)!

Anyway, I eventually forced myself to get up and take the bicycle for a ride. I had made popcorn before and burnt it so the flat stank and I needed fresh air.
Yesterday we tackled Signal Hill (technical uphill and fast downhills over loose rocks, fun but tough!) so I just wanted to take it easy today.

I went up a few hills to get the blood pumping and then just followed the road. Gradual climbs were pleasant, cars slowed down to pass, and when there wasn’t traffic it was just the sound of tyres on tar and the clicks of a mountain bike. Serene...

I rounded a bend and found myself looking at Clifton Beach. Whoops. So I backtracked and headed down to the promenade where I whisked between joggers and walkers and elderly people and dogs and kids and people in suits (lots of people in suits) and a large number of Jewish people, and a guy playing saxophone and a pancake place and and and.

The energy was just incredible. And it’s warm in the sun and there isn’t a breath of wind. Very glad I got off my ass and got out.

Now I’m waiting for R to finish work so we can cycle home together, and then we’re off to dinner for a friend’s birthday.

—-

The more I get out the more I want to be out. To taste that freedom. To feel the wind in my hair. One of my favorite things in Botswana was eating breakfast around the fire while the sun rose. The smell of fire smoke and coffee and toast... I’m getting sidetracked. Has anyone walked from Cape Tow up the south/east coast of South Africa? Sticking to the coast line as far as safely possible?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oubones on August 04, 2018, 11:25:02 pm
Who cares, walk it if that is what you feel like, live is too short. :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on August 07, 2018, 08:12:10 pm
Sardine thanks for updating the thread with all these amazing photographs! Great collection  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ama ride ride on August 08, 2018, 12:18:37 am
First time getting this routing, cool to see the Helderberg Basin like this

I remember that view from skydiving in Stellenbosch :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ama ride ride on August 08, 2018, 12:44:11 am
Sardine thanks for updating the thread with all these amazing photographs! Great collection  :thumleft:

Agree.  :thumleft: :thumleft:

Just something to tell.
I spend a lot of time in and around planes.

As a teen and young man I skydived mostly from Citrusdal DZ. Circa 1987 a pax walked straight into the C206's prop. Rushed to local hospital and the air ambulance were called in to take her to cape town. We were the last jump of the day as a cold front were coming in. At 8500ft getting ready to jump when the call come in to hold so that the air ambulance can land etc.

So we begged the pilot to climb gently instead of staying at 8500ft. I sat at the open door around 11 000ft watching the landing, taxi, loading and takeoff, It was bloody cold and in the 15mins we were on hold the clouds come in. It was an eerie experience jumping through the side of a cloud. You see something rushing to you, a few wet moments and then watching it "flying up"   

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on August 08, 2018, 08:55:38 am
Quote Ama Ride Ride : "It was an eerie experience jumping through the side of a cloud. You see something rushing to you, a few wet moments and then watching it "flying up"   "
My 2nd AFF jump was into cloud, I deployed in the cloud. The euphoria I experienced was forking indescribable, I think I giggled like a madman and smiled like a chesire cat for hours afterwards.

oops, sorry for hijacking your ( read - awesome ) thread, Heather, and well done on your "promotion".
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 08, 2018, 01:18:09 pm
Flying through cloud scares the bazooks out of me. I can only imagine what skydiving through it must feel like.

So I haven’t flown since my Captain sign out; a combination of being off and a lot of back-to-back night shifts. I have two more night shifts this month, then I’m back to day flying so really looking forward to that!

It actually worked out well that I’ve had all these night shifts- last month a colleague sent me a link to UAV Industries’ website. In support of woman’s month (I think) and wanting to try get more women involved in the drone industry, they were inviting ladies to apply for a drone pilot licence course. For Free. Gratis. Niks. Nada.

Lately I have been entering a lot of competitions and I decided “bugger it, I’m going to send in my CV and motivation.”
And I got short listed.

Then I was told I didn’t make the cut.
But they would offer the course at 50% discount. So it would still cost R13k...
I politely thanked them and said I can’t afford it.
And then, the unthinkable. Someone on the course couldn’t attend, and I was next on the list.

Holy gadzooks! I’ve won something!
That was last week. Ground school started on Monday. Thank goodness for the night shifts because otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to attend.

I’m on to my third and second last day of ground school. I’ve passed 2 of 3 theory exams, and I am amazed to say I enjoy being back in the classroom. And I’m more excited about this than I thought I’d be.
The rest of the month is chock-a-block, but hopefully next month I will be able to start the practical phase. For now I have been flying my boyfriend’s mini-drone around our flat :D

And wow, the laws for the drone industry are hhheeeectic!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 08, 2018, 02:41:05 pm
A Vredendal sortie last month
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 12, 2018, 08:42:08 am
A Weekend Get Away

Ground school for the RPL finished on Thursday and I am looking forward to finding out more about the practical side of the training. Hopefully I will get more information on Monday.

Friday was my first flight since getting signed out as a Captain. I had been on night shift with no calls, so I was kind of looking forward to going in to the office.

That is, until I was hit by a cold on Wednesday evening. On Thursday it got progressively worse, so much so that I opted to go home and sleep rather than attend the fly inn at the Stellenbosch Flying Club. I felt quite bleak about that.

So when the call for a flight to George came in on Friday, I wasn’t quite so amped for it. Long story short, it went ok.

—-
We were meant to go on a weekend camping getaway. A friend in Botrivier kindly said we could camp on his farm, and cycle his mountain bike trails. I was so looking forward to heating up oats on the fire and sipping my coffee while watching the sun rise... just like in Botswana. I loved those mornings even if it meant being up at 5am.

But, as I wasn’t feeling good, we decided it would be best if we don’t camp. Plan B? West Coast, Matroosberg, Greyton, Home... but the snow was melting fast.

Enter Plan C. Cape Agulhas. R hasn’t been before and I’ve been wanting to visit The Michael Collins Pub in Struisbaai- the last time I was there was TFDC 2012.

So on Friday night we booked at a little B&B (Beachcombers Bed and Breakfast) and I scoured out our route.

Come Saturday morning we were up at 05:00, and on our way by 06:30; the delay was due to losing a wallet...

We caught the sunrise and stopped at the lookout of Sir Lowry’s Pass. The air was still and crisp, and the sky shades of blue and purple and orange.

From there we headed to The Orchard for breakfast. We were the first ones there and it was freezing inside. But it wasn’t too long until they had the fire going.

And there I was, coffee in hand with a roaring fire next to me, the smell of smoke wafting through the air and the heat defrosting my fingers. Not quite the camping I envisaged, but close enough :)

With a take away order of cookies and cheesecake, we set off for our next stop- Greyton.

I chose to take roads I hadn’t travelled before so after we passed through Botrivier we hooked a left onto the the R43 and followed that until we got to the Helderstroom turn off.

The valleys were covered in mist and fog which was beautiful, especially when the sun penetrated through the lines of trees cast their tall shadows across the gravel road.

The road could do with a resurface, and my windshield-mounted phone didn’t like the bumps.

At the fork in the road we shot off towards Greyton, the mist and green and yellow hills keeping us company. What a beautiful part of the world.

Greyton was fairly busy with a number of Porsche’s lining the road. I was last here in 2016 when I briefly visited my family. They had a big market on then but today it was a small one with a few sweet eats and some jams and home made arts and crafts. The Von Gesnau chocolate shop was still closed, which was a bit of a let down but we opted to carry on rather than wait.

From Greyton we headed to Riviersonderend, also on a gravel road but this one was blissfully smooth and twisty. Why did I never take the bike out here?!

In Riviersonderend we filled up with petrol and, as it was only just after 11am, decided not to eat lunch here.

So off we went on a (another nice) gravel road towards Protem, and then we linked up with the R317 and set sail south, next stop Struis Baai.

I forgot the feel of these seaside fishing towns, and when we arrived I was really grateful to be away from the hustle and bustle of the city.

We dipped a toe in the sea (freezing), then headed to the harbour to look for the stingray, but unfortunately they’re busy dredging so the rays weren’t around. So we drove down to Agulhas to do the touristy thing and then set off in search of lunch.

We settled on a place called the Crafty Pig. Cool name, we figured it should be good.
Portions were small, bread on the pulled pork sandwich was below average, and we were served shoe string fries more limp  than a windsock on a windless day.

We won’t be going back there.
After lunch we went to check in at the Beachcombers B&B. The hostess, a German lady, welcomed us with a bubbly energy and took us through the rooms and procedures. Quaint little place that has everything you need for a night or two.

I was knackered and feeling vrot so I had a nap and later in the afternoon we took a walk to the beach to find crabs and see what there was to see.
Sections of beach have more pebbles than sand, and as the water flows out it takes pebbles with it which makes the most amazing sound. I was mesmerized.

We then drove past the light house and out towards Suiderstrand, where we stopped to snap a few photos of an old shipwreck.

Then it was back home to get ready for dinner. At last, I was going to get the burger I have been craving for years. The Michael Collins Pub here we come!

We got there around 18:30 and the place was quiet. While perusing the menu we noticed it had the same layout as the Crafty Pig. Uh oh. Well, long story short, the food was better than the Crafty Pig, but the service was appalling.

Don’t you hate it when your memory of something is amazing and then when you go back, what you get and what you remember are vastly different. Ah well.

Anyway, it has been a fantastic day and now it is time for sleep!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 12, 2018, 08:44:27 am
1 - view from sir Lowry’s Pass
2 - coffee, fire and good company at The Orchard
3 - Greyton
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on August 12, 2018, 11:24:28 am
Lovely - thanks for posting  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 12, 2018, 08:36:50 pm
The Weekend Continued...

I set my alarm clock for 05:45, but we only got up around 06:30. The sky was just starting to get light so we layered up and set out for the most southern tip of Africa (I keep wanting to say Cape Point...)

Yesterday there were crowds of people and we wanted to get a shot without heaps of tourists. They are busy building a deck so the view isn’t completely unspoiled, but this morning we were the only humans at the point for a few minutes which was really cool.

The sea looked a little more angry and the clouds were rolling in. I was hoping the weather would have hit by now, but it was still getting there. I perched myself on a rock and set up to get a time lapse of the sunrise. It was hand-held so the video is a little wavy but still cool.

That done we headed back to the B&B. I was cold by now, despite all of my layers, so you can imagine how amazing it felt when we walked into the B&B and were met with warmth and the smell of coffee, bacon, eggs and pancakes.

Our fantastic hostess had our table ready and got us started off with a bowl of fresh fruit. For the hot breakfast I had the vegetable frittata, and R had pancakes, both made right there by the hostess. This place is well worth visiting just for the breakfast!

Fueled for the morning we set off for Gansbaai. From Struis Baai we took the road to Elim and were graced with another gravel highway with dark clouds looming ahead.

It was fantastic when the sun broke through and the landscape was a contrast of bright green fields, yellow flowers, and dark menacing clouds.

Elim is a quirky little town with a mix of old and decaying buildings, and colourful houses. Regardless of the state of the concrete, each had a perfect thatch roof.

We carried on the R43 through “Baardskeerderbos”, and then to Uilenkraal (we missed the turn to Pearly Beach), and eventually Gansbaai where we meandered along the coast keeping an eye out for whales. We stopped at the harbour and I saw the boats they use for the shark cage diving for the first time. They are huge! Two of them were sporting 4x 250hp engines!

From Gansbaai we drove to Hermanus to see if the whales were there, and to have a quick coffee with one of R’s friends. Traffic out of town was bad so we got clever and took back roads only to hit dead end after dead end. Eventually we went back to the main road and just put up with the traffic.

We were getting hungry now and set our sights on the Peregrine Farm Stall where we indulged in a pie each. Wow! Amazing pies! Do yourself a favour and stop in the next time you’re there :)

It was getting late and I wanted to see my family in Somerset West so we made our way to Sir Lowry’s Pass. All the weekend traffic was there and it took about 1hr to get from the top of the pass to the bottom.

Back home and snug in bed, feeling decidedly vrot but so glad we got away for the weekend!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 12, 2018, 08:40:28 pm
1.) Dining and lounge area of the B&B
2.) Cape Agulhas
3.) Sunrise
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on August 12, 2018, 08:43:53 pm
Lovely!

And I see Scrat is still along for the ride too  :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 13, 2018, 08:06:40 am
Lovely!

And I see Scrat is still along for the ride too  :biggrin:

Thanks Gary.

 :lol8:
Of course, and now he has a side-kick; the Red Panda.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on August 13, 2018, 10:10:11 am
Nice man  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 13, 2018, 12:14:35 pm
It's quite long, but here's a compilation of the timelapses I took.

I used a R20 Chinese cheapy suction cup phone mount, and hit go on iPhone's timelapse function.
Unfortunately because some clips were filmed over 20 minutes and others over 1hr+, the video isn't consistently smooth (I understand the iPhone automatically deletes a certain number of photos the longer the recording in order to keep the file size down).

However, I am still chuffed and glad I tried it out.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 13, 2018, 01:13:15 pm
Some photos of our weekend away :)

1.)  Somewhere near the Peregrine Farm Stall
2-4.) Wide open spaces. The landscape is looking beautiful with shades of green and yellow
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 13, 2018, 01:15:38 pm
1.) Going off the beaten path, Helderstroom to Greyton. The mist was eerily cool
2.) Somewhere between Riviersonderend and Protem
3.) Blacktop to Agulhas
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 13, 2018, 01:16:25 pm
Day 2

The road to Elim, and Elim.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 13, 2018, 01:18:02 pm
1.) On our way to the sea in the rain
2 + 3.) Gansbaai. Tjek those enjins my tjiiiiina!
3.) Getting lost in Hermanus could be worse
4.) Arabella on the left
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 13, 2018, 01:24:47 pm
1.) Struisbaai beach
2.) New artwork at Agulhas. They have a metal structure of Africa and the point of the structure representing Agulhas runs through this piece of metal which follows a straight line to the little structure by the rocks signifying the "border" of the Indian and Atlantic Ocean
3.) Tourist shot
4.) Looking over the bay from the lighthouse parking lot. They wanted to charge us R30 each to go up the lighthouse   :dousing:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 13, 2018, 01:26:17 pm
Exploring the beach down the road from the B&B.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 13, 2018, 01:28:15 pm
As sun set neared we went back to "The Point" in the hopes the crowds had disappeared. They hadn't so we carried on out of town to a shipwreck and a magnificent pebble beach.

And then we had dinner.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 1ougat on August 13, 2018, 07:43:42 pm
We went to Arniston this weekend - must say the drive from Caledon to Bredasdorp is absolutely beautiful - green and Yellow vistas .
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: windswept on August 13, 2018, 08:04:59 pm
Lekker photies and story. :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 15, 2018, 02:56:24 pm
Yesterday it was back to the grind.
I spent most of the morning sorting out admin (I check aircraft documents for validity and help track when maintenance is due), and the day went by pretty fast.

Come afternoon we had a request for a Cape Town - Vredendal - George - Cape Town. Lekker! Decent amount of flying and I’d get some night hours too!
Then the plan changed to just a George and back.
Ok, at least it’s flying.
We were to take a patient from Cape Town to George, so our crew had to go prep the patient for transport.

Long story short, we had to call in the night shift due to the delays meaning we would have busy our flight and duty hours - 12hrs duty per day. We are allowed to extend the hours if we feel comfortable, but they mentioned a wait in George and I said nope, sorry. Good thing too because the crew who took over only landed at 1am this morning!

Today dawned beautifully (is that even English), and I checked the weather and NOTAMs (Notice To Airmen) to make sure none of our usual airfields has anything funny happening.
And then I set about making a little cheat sheet for some of our routes- George to Vredendal has  high terrain with a radio mast entourage, and as we don’t fly that route often, I forget the specifics. So I went to Google Earth and drew a path between the two and discovered there is no an option to view the vertical profile along the route, cool! So I could plot all the terrain heights and distances, and now I have a sheet with the info in my flight bag.

As I finished that, we got a call to Vredendal. Lekker flight up, a bit bumpy coming back.

Now I’m waiting to see if there is anything else pending before I head home.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cocky on August 15, 2018, 03:29:36 pm
Awesome pic :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kortbroek on August 15, 2018, 04:08:55 pm
Great stuff  :thumleft:

Regarding using the elevation plot from google earth, keep in mind if you draw a straight line A - B and look at the profile it won't necessarily show you the highest terrain you'll encounter enroute, it just shows you what the line "sees" as such. Combining that with actually tilting the 3D view in google earth would be a safer way. If you drew parallel lines say 1nm apart on a direct route from George to Vredendal you might find they can have quite different profiles as one hits maybe a valley and the other the adjacent ridge for example.

But GE is a great tool. 
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 19, 2018, 07:07:14 am
Same same, but different.

Our machine (ZS-SUR) is in for major routine maintenance (which includes having the engine overhauled), so one of the Durban machines is here so we can keep flying. Enter, ZS-KAL. Also a PC-12NG, but slightly older than SUR. She has had her fancy executive interior stripped out and the medical kits fitted.

Yesterday was my first time flying her... you guessed it, to George.
It was a late call so we flew back in the dark. Beautiful clear skies and smooth, but man it was dark!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on August 19, 2018, 09:17:24 am
Heather cruising back from George what rpm's does that engine do?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 19, 2018, 09:24:36 am
Heather cruising back from George what rpm's does that engine do?

We sit at around 98% NG, with the propeller at around 1700rpm.
The NG is the speed of the compressor turbine, displayed in a % because of how fast it rotates.
98% is about 38 000rpm.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on August 19, 2018, 09:36:12 am
with the propeller at around 1700rpm.

I would have thought the prop would go faster.
That is one sexy plane :drif: :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 19, 2018, 10:49:17 am
Sjoe, massive brain fart. Haven't flown a Kodiak or Caravan in 7 months and I can't remember any of their performance figures  :eek7:
Kodi and 'Van sat at around 1900rpm on the prop. Smaller engines (750hp and 675hp respectively), and different diameter propellers.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 21, 2018, 02:54:48 pm
I got the sun in my pocket...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on August 21, 2018, 03:43:25 pm
Cool pic - those prop blades are bending bru  :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kortbroek on August 22, 2018, 08:47:22 am
You have the absolute best office Heather  :drif:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 22, 2018, 01:11:51 pm
Back to school...

Last month I made the decision to do my multi-engine rating. I meet a lot of company requirements, except for the multi rating. It’s expensive and a pain to schedule around work, family and weather.

All I managed last month were 3 simulator sessions. But today, I got to fly the beast for real!

I wasn’t as stressed as I thought I would be, but I was nervous.
This was my first time flying a piston in, oh I don’t know, 8 or 9 months. And now I had two engines waiting to fail on me!

But shoe?’c it was so lekker to be back on steam gauges and to not worry about computers and two crew and and and. This was real flying and I’m glad to say my “eyes outside” flying wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be - I have picked up a lot of bad habits from flying the PC-12.
It was so weird not having an engine bolted to the nose.

The aircraft is a Piper Seneca II from 19-whatsit.
It is powered by two 200hp turbo charged engines. What a beaut. :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kortbroek on August 22, 2018, 01:34:58 pm
Nice, looks like fun.

Out of curiosity , is your goal to eventually be flying for an airline?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 24, 2018, 03:35:39 pm
Nice, looks like fun.

Out of curiosity , is your goal to eventually be flying for an airline?

I can’t be sure yet.
I have applied to many airlines from the likes of Federal Air up to Comair.
But I think I will be best suited to a smaller company with a more “hands on” role. Float planes would be awesome.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 24, 2018, 03:38:26 pm
As those in the Cape will tell you, today dawned beautifully.
Not too cold and no wind. R cycles to work and today I decided to join him and then hit the promenade and go around to Clifton.
It was really peaceful and I got a good hour in on the bike.

Then I sorted groceries for dinner tonight before heading across to Stellenbosch. I had a lesson booked for yesterday but the clouds wreaked havoc. Fortunately I had today as a back up.

A little more bumpy and smoggy than the other day, but man what a day to be out and flying!

Today we covered emergencies and engine failures. I feel more comfortable in the aerie. Next week it’s back into the simulator to practice instrument flying.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 26, 2018, 01:33:24 pm
Brrrr! It's cold today.

On Friday's training flight I brought my action cam with. It's not a GoPro so it struggles with changes in light, but it gives a cool view.
Screenshots below.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on August 27, 2018, 09:21:56 am
Cool pics - thanks  :thumleft:

What a "job" you have - must be sooooo nice going to "work" huh!

Enjoy!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on August 27, 2018, 09:53:44 pm
Thanks TeeJay :)

9 years ago today I did my first solo flight.
I remember the day clearly; it was the complete opposite of today. As I write, more rain has just started pouring :)
But 9 years ago it was a beautiful afternoon with barely a breath of wind- it couldn’t have been any more perfect.

Today I got to fly the PC-12 “solo”- a circuit to check all the systems after maintenance had to be done. I said I’d do it if the engineer who did the work cane with.
So off we went, my first PC-12 flight without another pilot sitting next to me. It was nogals  lekker :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on August 28, 2018, 08:55:40 am
How's that for insurance - taking the engineer with you  :imaposer:

Great stuff  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 03, 2018, 09:29:53 am
August was a slow month with all of the weather.
I'm a wuss and have no desire to bomb around the sky with thunderstorms, and with all the cold fronts and snow there has been severe mountain wave and icing (and the PC-12 can't handle severe icing), so I spent many days with my feet firmly planted on terra firma. But, as they say "I'd rather be on the ground wishing I was up there, than up there wishing I was on the ground."

I think I flew a whole 7 missions, so about 14 hours. And then the hours towards my multi-engine rating. So I haven't been too bored and I got a lot of admin done which I feel good about.
I haven't been keeping track of patients flown and what was wrong. I want to get all the paperwork from past flights and make notes. Some interesting cases, some truly horrifying... a lady went to the bathroom and she got more than she bargained for when her baby decided to come into this world. She then left it in the toilet bowl. For hours. We flew the kid (less than 1 day old), and as far as I know, he survived.
Another guy broke his neck after getting into a fight. I don't know what the other guy looked like.
A child with a heart defect that could kill her in a matter of minutes. They got her to the hospital safely where she was operated on.
A guy who suffered a stroke and was paralyzed and not really aware of his surroundings. He did, however, smile when he saw he was going in a plane and whenever I looked back during the flight he was looking out the window and seemed content.

It's sobering to see all the stuff that can and does go wrong, and how some people just don't care about others. Makes me sick, but the majority of the cases make me appreciate what I have more.

---

This month has got off to a slow start with 3 night shifts in a row. No flying on any of them (although, tonight is shift #3 so who knows...)
I like the night shifts because I can go walking and cycling and stuff during the day. But at the same time, I want to fly!

Hopefully I will have my multi-rating done by the end of this month, and then next month I can focus on the drone training.

Oh, and last week I finished my first logbook! Pilots take great pride in their logbooks and filling one up is quite a cool feeling :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 03, 2018, 09:36:52 am
1 - hurry up and wait in Cape Town. 2 waiting to take off here, a third waiting at the intersection, we were number 4, and two landing

2 - pretty jet in George. They sat on the ground with the APU (auxiliary power unit) running for over two hours, probably waiting for their VIP

3 - I love watching the landscape change from brown to green. And the clouds provide such a cool contrast.

4 - greenery, a bit of snow, and Theewaterskloof dam
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 08, 2018, 09:01:52 am
1. Where the wing gets bolted to the fuselage
2. The right hand wing. All the piping is for the de-icing system.
3. The bolts holding the wing on. Machined out of titanium, there are 3 per wing  :patch: And one steel tension bolt per wing.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 08, 2018, 09:03:45 am
1. On departure out of Cape Town, with an airliner on final approach below us
2. Pretty sea, and the Steenbras Dam
3. Inboard upper de-ice boots inflated after picking up ice on the descent into George
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 08, 2018, 09:09:11 am
Apologies for the tiny photos. Had a bit of a technology failure...

1. Cruising back from George, we had a bit of headwind... (lower right of the screen)
2. The clouds had moved in and we picked up some ice near Sir Lowry's Pass
3. With the weather wreaking havoc we flew the whole arrival for runway 19 at Cape Town, which takes us well north around the Tygerberg Hills (we flew over Morningstar), but it provided an unusual view. Look at how green it is!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 08, 2018, 09:11:50 am
I was meant to fly the Seneca on Tuesday but the weather had moved in. So we had lunch at the Stellenbosch Flying Club instead.

They have the best chicken burgers, and have updated their menu with a few new items, like a pulled pork roll.
I asked for no bun with my chicken burger, and a bit of extra salad instead. I got a lot more than I bargained for and it was delicious!

---

Walking the streets at night, this building caught my eye.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: GRIM on September 09, 2018, 12:13:37 pm

I set my alarm clock for 05:45, but we only got up around 06:30. The sky was just starting to get light so we layered up and set out for the most southern tip of Africa (I keep wanting to say Cape Point...)


Just for interests sake, the southern tip of Africa isn't in Agulhas, it is somewhere in my garden in Johannesburg.
As a young geology student on a spearfishing trip I took my rock hammer out in a spring low tide and found the southernmost rock and knocked the end off off as a grab sample, thus making my mark on geography for millennia to come...

 ::) :biggrin:

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Welsh on September 09, 2018, 12:22:24 pm
Only you Grimm, now I understand why we are mates.  :sip:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 10, 2018, 09:30:44 pm
Well, today was a beautiful day, and I got to fly!

1. Pretty greens and yellows. I day dreamt of the year I did the Canola Run (2014 if memory serves me correctly)
2. On a wide left downwind for runway 29, with snow!
3. Watching the beastie from Wimpy
4. Our routing out of George had us going East before a right turn over the bay. We were nearly at our cruise altitude (of 20 000ft) by the time we passed abeam Mossel Bay
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 14, 2018, 09:31:01 pm
It had been a busy week.
Rostered on day shift every day from Monday to Friday. And I flew every day. Last time I flew 5 days in a row was probably December!
So I am knackered.
Today was a long one with a call to Vredendal from George, my second time doing that routing.
It was a lekker flight and a good 3.5hrs flying, so I’m happy.

Time to sleep and hopefully tomorrow I get to pole the Seneca!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on September 14, 2018, 10:51:23 pm
You juggle planes like I juggle DR650s :lol8:

Keep racking up the flight hours. Bigger wings await O0
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 22, 2018, 07:31:17 am
Hehehe, it’s funny to think that in Botswana, on some days I flew 3 different types of aircraft in one day, jumping from one to the other.

I have finished up the training towards the multi, now I am waiting for the DE (Designated Examiner) to let me know when he can do my test.

We are in Somerset West this weekend. The plan was to hike and cycle, but Murphy has intercede and the bf has come down with a cold. Maybe it will be good to just rest, a lot has been going on this month.

Wow, what a great day in the Cape today :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on September 22, 2018, 07:45:49 am
1. Big red plane and little red plane. Falcon 7x in George
2. Stellenbosch showing off
3. Piper Seneca II, “sneaker”
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on September 22, 2018, 10:35:52 am
Was a bit behind with all your ventures but glad I caught up now.

Good to see you are having fun and yes...like everyone else I'm very jealous.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on October 02, 2018, 12:21:09 pm
Just LOVE that pic of Mossel Bay! My late daddie's home-town...


Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 06, 2018, 08:18:03 am
So as September drew to a close, my tally was 10 missions and just shy of 30 hours.
 Fortunately the multi-engine training brought the hours up (while it drained my bank account rapidly).

My goal was to test at the end of September but bad weather, lack of aircraft and examiner meant it was not to be.
So, I am booked to test on Monday. Please hold thumbs the stars align and I can get it done!

October started with a bang with a family medical emergency. I'm really tired of sitting at Vergelegen Medi-Clinic. And I was hit by a nasty cold a couple of days ago. But things are on the up.

I have a lot of night shifts this month which is nice because it gives me time to do other stuff during the day, but it also sucks because I don't fly often. So I jump at opportunities to swap shifts and yesterday I swapped my night shift for a day shift. I was off on Thursday and had just polished a rather large hot toddy in the hopes the brandy would kill everything when the office called. "What is the weather doing tonight?"
Huh? I'm not on duty tonight! My heart sank to the South Pole. Had I misread my roster?!

The operations co-coordinator laughed and said he wanted to give me a heads up for Friday- a pending flight to Springbok.

An hour later the mission was confirmed and we were planning for a 08:00 take-off. I was feeling rubbish that night, but I'd get to fly somewhere new!

On Friday we were wheels up and set off into what promised to be a beautiful day. It didn't disappoint. The flight to Springbok is a little over an hour but felt much longer. Last time I was there was by road in 2015 when I rode my motorbike to Botswana. What a barren, dry, foreboding area. But absolutely beautiful.

The runway is in a valley and they were holding the RC Speed Trials. All RC planes were grounded as we approached. I sat right seat (not flying) and enjoyed the scenery.
Sjoe, even at 09:30 Springbok was hot! The medical team, awesome people, dropped us at the Super Spar to wait where we had a very lekker brunch (mince pancakes, yum!). By lunch time it was 35 degrees!

We loaded up and it was my leg home. This would be my first taste of hot and high ops in the PC-12 (Springbok is just shy of 3000ft above sea level. 35 deg C and 3000ft is ops normal for Botswana, but the Caravan runs a lot cooler than the PC-12).
The 1.5km of runway was more than enough, but the PC-12 was a bit of a road runner in the heat. We got airborne and climbed away at about 1200 feet per minute. I opted to climb straight ahead until we were 3000ft above the mountain tops before setting course for Cape Town - valleys like that can slam you with ferocious downdrafts that not even 1200hp can out-climb!

We got back to Cape Town after 1pm and I prepared myself mentally for the paperwork I needed to catch up on. And then, we got a call for Vredendal.
So off we went.
It was also about 35 degrees on the ground there, and I managed to do some paperwork whilst trying not to sweat on the official documentation.

My sinuses were killing me, but what a day to fly!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 09, 2018, 11:09:13 am
So there I was, all dressed up in my polished black shoes, my black pants lint-free and held up by my shiny black leather belt. My crisp white shirt proudly displaying my black and gold bars, and my wings pinned above my left breast pocket. I was nervous but ready to take on my multi-engine test.

And as I stepped out of the bathroom at the flying club club house, a gentleman walked up to me and said “I’d like to order food. Can I order with you?”
I must have looked a little gobsmacked, because after a pause he said;
“Do you work here?”
“Why no sir, I do not. But the gentleman behind the bar over there *points to the guy 3m from where we’re standing* does, so you can order with him.”

 :dousing:

Multi-engine test done. Now I wait for the paperwork! :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on October 09, 2018, 12:03:48 pm
And as I stepped out of the bathroom at the flying club club house, a gentleman walked up to me and said “I’d like to order food. Can I order with you?”

 :spitcoffee:    :laughing4:    :imaposer:   :imaposer:   :imaposer:

Many congrats on the multi-engine test!   :thumleft:   :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on October 09, 2018, 02:16:02 pm
And as I stepped out of the bathroom at the flying club club house, a gentleman walked up to me and said “I’d like to order food. Can I order with you?”

 :spitcoffee:    :laughing4:    :imaposer:   :imaposer:   :imaposer:

Many congrats on the multi-engine test!   :thumleft:   :ricky:
At least now you know if flying does not work out for you waitressing might!! :lol8:
Hope the test went well. :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Carnivore on October 09, 2018, 03:59:00 pm
mmmmm.... maybe your smart pilot's garb needs a rethink... :o
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Pilchie on October 09, 2018, 04:17:13 pm
So there I was, all dressed up in my polished black shoes, my black pants lint-free and held up by my shiny black leather belt. My crisp white shirt proudly displaying my black and gold bars, and my wings pinned above my left breast pocket. I was nervous but ready to take on my multi-engine test.

And as I stepped out of the bathroom at the flying club club house, a gentleman walked up to me and said “I’d like to order food. Can I order with you?”
I must have looked a little gobsmacked, because after a pause he said;
“Do you work here?”
“Why no sir, I do not. But the gentleman behind the bar over there *points to the guy 3m from where we’re standing* does, so you can order with him.”

 :dousing:
 :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: oops but this did make me laugh - well written
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on October 10, 2018, 02:58:58 am
Many, many years ago, a good friend came home on pass from the Navy.

He had done advanced diving courses, and several other "GV" stuff.

He arrived home looking so super spiffy in his white Step-Outs.

Walked inside his parents house, and the maid asks him if he is now a chef  :eek7:  :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer: :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on October 10, 2018, 07:33:49 am

So as September drew to a close, my tally was 10 missions and just shy of 30 hours.

Fortunately the multi-engine training brought the hours up (while it drained my bank account rapidly).


Ha ha funny story.

Regarding the above quote....and please excuse my ignorance but you are a pilot so you are getting paid to fly. Why should it cost you money?

Apologies if you explained this before or if it is common knowledge...then again ek is nie baie slim nie maar ek kan swaar goed optel. :pot:

Dankie.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cocky on October 10, 2018, 08:23:12 am

So as September drew to a close, my tally was 10 missions and just shy of 30 hours.

Fortunately the multi-engine training brought the hours up (while it drained my bank account rapidly).


Ha ha funny story.

Regarding the above quote....and please excuse my ignorance but you are a pilot so you are getting paid to fly. Why should it cost you money?

Apologies if you explained this before or if it is common knowledge...then again ek is nie baie slim nie maar ek kan swaar goed optel. :pot:

Dankie.
Multi engine training, on her own account and time, needed to get to be able to fly buses.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on October 10, 2018, 10:01:43 am
Dankie Kokkie nou verstaan ek ook!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cocky on October 10, 2018, 10:31:58 am
Dankie Kokkie nou verstaan ek ook!  :thumleft:
Die jonge dame het n commercial likesens maar kort twin engine om bus te te vlieg
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 11, 2018, 09:29:53 am
Ok, get ready for a long reply...

So a few years ago, when people were decent, a pilot with a fresh commercial pilots licence could go to Botswana and get a job with only 200hrs to their name.

They would agree to 3 years - 2 years flying piston aircraft and then 1 year on the turbine Caravan. This would get them around 2500hrs, with about 500hrs of those on turbines.

This kicked open the door to charter and contract work. So they would go to the likes of Solenta, get a job, and work there for x-amount of years.

So let’s say 5 years after qualifying you would be eligible for an airline, having not paid a cent for a type rating.

Then things changed. The people in Botswana got their Caravan rating(paid for by their employer), and disappeared.

They did the same to the big contract companies. Now, these ratings cost anything for R60 000-R160 000. It’s a lot of time and money to invest in someone.

So, thanks to those selfish individuals, and a few other idiots flying for free because they can, you now have to pay for your own rating, with no guarantee of getting a job.

There is the odd company who will hire you and then say “ok, you have 4 months to get rated, off you go.” Which is better, but not great.

Ok, so ratings. What the frikkadel?

Typical one gets a Private Pilots Licence (PPL) on a single engine piston. If you have the money you could do it on a multi-engine piston, or a single engine turbine. But few people do.

The single engine piston is quite basic, safe, and perfect for someone with zero flying experience.
Also, good for those who just want to fly for fun.

For those who aim to use their aircraft to get from A to B for work, they typically get a PPL and then a multi-engine rating, or a turbine rating, buy their own plane, and fly themselves to meetings.

For those wanting to make a career out of it, you can do your Commercial Pilots Licence on a single engine piston, or a multi-engine piston (or, if you have loads of money, multi-engine turbine).

I went the single engine route as I knew I wouldn’t be employable with 200hours and a multi-engine rating, and I chose to use the money I would’ve spent on the multi, on an instructors rating.
No regrets!

And, multi-engine pistons scare me.

So up until now, I hold a single engine commercial pilots Licence, with an instrument rating. And I hold a turbine endorsement.

From next week that should become a multi-engine Pilots Licence with instrument rating, and a single engine turbine endorsement.

What are all these rating things?

Flying in South Africa isn’t like going from your VW Beetle to a Ferrari. For each type of aircraft you want to fly, you must be signed out on it by an instructor.

So if I can fly the Cessna 152, I need to do a type technical exam and, depending on the school, a flight in order to be able to fly the Cessna 172. Which is just a big 152.

I’m the States one rating covers all aircraft within a certain weight category, which makes sense as most light aircraft are similar. But there are some that will kill you more easily than others.

Then you get Type Ratings. These are for bigger aircraft. The Caravan, Kodiak, PC12, Boeing 737 etc each require a type rating. That can mean anything from 5-30 days ground school, and a mix of simulator training and flying the actual aircraft. And lots of money.

And then there are Class Ratings: single engine piston, turbine, multi-engine etc.

The big thing with the multi-engine flying is that multi-engine pistons don’t glide. And they don’t fly so well on one engine. The saying is “the other engine just gets you to the scene of the crash faster.”

You have to be awake because when the donkey fails, especially after take off, you have literally seconds to react.

But ja, to answer why I have had to pay for this. My employer doesn’t have multi-engine aircraft so there is no need for them to have me get the class rating.

Most companies require at least a multi-engine rating to be considered for employment.
I tick all the other boxes- turbine time, total time, ATPL exams passed. So I figured now is the time to bite the bullet and get it done. Fuel ain’t getting any cheaper! (Almost R22/l of Avgas! And the Seneca burns 87l per hour. Which isn’t actually too bad. R2000/hr, and it sits at about 140kts in the cruise. But then you have to add on insurance, maintenance, and the owner’s cut and boom, it costs R4700/hr!)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 11, 2018, 09:49:07 am
I saw this puppy parked outside my bf’s work yesterday and asked who owned it. It’s his colleague’s house mate’s. So I asked if I could take it for a ride. ...   :biggrin: :biggrin:

I haven’t ridden a bike in well over a year.

So I took it easy down the road. And then gave the throttle a little twist and was surprised to see the speedo shooting past 60km/h. Wheeee! What a jol! Now I want a motorbike.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on October 11, 2018, 09:56:45 am
Awesome, then you can really FLY....
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on October 11, 2018, 07:46:32 pm
Excellent as always.

 8)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 19, 2018, 09:00:41 pm
It has been quite a slow month.
I got my paperwork back the other day, and everything is correct on it, so I officially hold a Multi-engine Commercial Pilots Licence :D

Now every time I sit down to update my CV, I get called to fly.
Which isn’t a bad thing. Yesterday I did my first George flight this month. And today we did Cape Town-George-Beaufort West-George.

It was quite lekker. Lots of cloud layers, and a good deal of turbulence. Wheeee!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 19, 2018, 09:38:56 pm
1.) Nature is cool. Where the mountains stop, the cloud stops.
Enroute to Beaufort West.

2-4.) Waiting on the world to change... beautiful cloud formations and a bright blue sky. The wind picked up considerably during our wait and it was a fun take off.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 19, 2018, 09:41:14 pm
1.) Between cloud layers
2.) Halo around the sun
3.) Not a routing we do often, I got a good view of the Stellenbosch Airfield and False Bay
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ama ride ride on October 20, 2018, 01:18:15 am
Sardine, I read your explaining about licenses and stuff etc. I am a bit slow like always....

What ratings or licenses do you need for the below planes?

Piper Mirage vs Piper Meridian?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oubones on October 20, 2018, 06:53:18 am
Congrats, another step!
You are making us proud, are you planning on keeping going till you fly the space shuttle? :imaposer: :pot:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on October 20, 2018, 10:22:30 am

Ok, get ready for a long reply...


Many thanks for the comprehensive reply and good luck hopefully you will get there soon.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 20, 2018, 12:35:54 pm
Sardine, I read your explaining about licenses and stuff etc. I am a bit slow like always....

What ratings or licenses do you need for the below planes?

Piper Mirage vs Piper Meridian?

Hi ARR,

Sjoe, I had to do some research there. All I know about the Piper M-series is they all look pretty, and they all look similar.

... and it turns out I misread your question, so here's a breakdown...

Okay, so they have the designation PA-46 (the Seneca is a PA-34, Super Cub PA-18 etc).

The PA-46 comprises of:
Malibu - piston engine
Malibu Mirage - piston engine
Malibu Meridian - turboprop Malibu
Matrix - piston engine, unpressurized Meridian

Then Piper decided to call them the M-Class.
M350 - updated Mirage
M500 - updated Meridian
M600 - updated M500

So, to answer your question:
Mirage = piston engine, 350hp
Meridian = turboprop, 500hp

And it seems all except the Matrix are pressurized.

Ok, now to answer your question, and not what I thought was your question  :lol8:

In South Africa, I would need to do a type technical, ground school, and flight check to fly either one.

In the past, for the Mirage, all I would have had to do was a type technical. But the CAA has made things difficult and now more is required.
In the USA, as I am rated on an aircraft bigger than the Meridian, with all the same systems (turboprop, retractable gear- pressurized), I -think- I could automatically jump in the Meridian and fly with no specific flight training.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ama ride ride on October 20, 2018, 08:33:52 pm
Sardine, I read your explaining about licenses and stuff etc. I am a bit slow like always....

What ratings or licenses do you need for the below planes?

Piper Mirage vs Piper Meridian?

Hi ARR,

Sjoe, I had to do some research there. All I know about the Piper M-series is they all look pretty, and they all look similar.

... and it turns out I misread your question, so here's a breakdown...

Okay, so they have the designation PA-46 (the Seneca is a PA-34, Super Cub PA-18 etc).

The PA-46 comprises of:
Malibu - piston engine
Malibu Mirage - piston engine
Malibu Meridian - turboprop Malibu
Matrix - piston engine, unpressurized Meridian

Then Piper decided to call them the M-Class.
M350 - updated Mirage
M500 - updated Meridian
M600 - updated M500

So, to answer your question:
Mirage = piston engine, 350hp
Meridian = turboprop, 500hp

And it seems all except the Matrix are pressurized.

Ok, now to answer your question, and not what I thought was your question  :lol8:

In South Africa, I would need to do a type technical, ground school, and flight check to fly either one.

In the past, for the Mirage, all I would have had to do was a type technical. But the CAA has made things difficult and now more is required.
In the USA, as I am rated on an aircraft bigger than the Meridian, with all the same systems (turboprop, retractable gear- pressurized), I -think- I could automatically jump in the Meridian and fly with no specific flight training.

Sorry for the loaded question. :biggrin:Its indeed piston vs turboprop.

In the late 1980's when I was still skydiving the club was discussing about getting a turboprop due to rapid cooling of the club's Cessna 206 between loads, One of the pilots remarked that's its just a technical course to do.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 20, 2018, 09:03:52 pm
Sardine, I read your explaining about licenses and stuff etc. I am a bit slow like always....

What ratings or licenses do you need for the below planes?

Piper Mirage vs Piper Meridian?

Hi ARR,

Sjoe, I had to do some research there. All I know about the Piper M-series is they all look pretty, and they all look similar.

... and it turns out I misread your question, so here's a breakdown...

Okay, so they have the designation PA-46 (the Seneca is a PA-34, Super Cub PA-18 etc).

The PA-46 comprises of:
Malibu - piston engine
Malibu Mirage - piston engine
Malibu Meridian - turboprop Malibu
Matrix - piston engine, unpressurized Meridian

Then Piper decided to call them the M-Class.
M350 - updated Mirage
M500 - updated Meridian
M600 - updated M500

So, to answer your question:
Mirage = piston engine, 350hp
Meridian = turboprop, 500hp

And it seems all except the Matrix are pressurized.

Ok, now to answer your question, and not what I thought was your question  :lol8:

In South Africa, I would need to do a type technical, ground school, and flight check to fly either one.

In the past, for the Mirage, all I would have had to do was a type technical. But the CAA has made things difficult and now more is required.
In the USA, as I am rated on an aircraft bigger than the Meridian, with all the same systems (turboprop, retractable gear- pressurized), I -think- I could automatically jump in the Meridian and fly with no specific flight training.

In the late 1980's when I was still skydiving the club was discussing about getting a turboprop due to rapid cooling of the club's Cessna 206 between loads, One of the pilots remarked that's its just a technical course to do.
I should’ve read the question properly the first time  :-P
Back the. SA had open ratings or licenses, so you could hop from one plane to another within a certain weight category. So I imagine the transition to turboprops was quite straightforward back then.

A turboprop engine is less finicky and easier to understand than a turbocharged piston!
Sorry for the loaded question. :biggrin:Its indeed piston vs turboprop.

I personally feel the over-regulation of GA (General Aviation) has lead to an increase in accidents and incidents. But that’s just me.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: RobbieJZW on October 21, 2018, 05:25:08 am
Love your pics and stories, thank you for sharing!!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 21, 2018, 06:47:13 am
I have flown the last 3 days, it has been great. :)
My lower back is sore from the tractor seat, which we use to pull the plane in and out of the hangar.
On Wednesday both machines needed a compressor wash, so it was musical planes moving them around and then we flew.

Yesterday we went to Plett. It was a beautiful day with only a 20kt wind at our cruise altitudes of 22000 and 23000ft (normally it’s 50-80kts).

The lower winds have been fun with gusts of up to 35kts. The PC-12 handlesnit quite well on take off and landing, but pulling it into the hangar with the wind hitting the tail at 90 degrees was more of a challenge than the entire flight!  :imaposer:

Despite the lack of flying this month (only 6 missions so far), I have only been to George twice which has been a boost- it gets pretty mundane and the Wimpy there sucks.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 21, 2018, 06:53:31 am
1.) Passing George at 23 000ft. The airport is sort of middle-right of the photo
2.) Loading in Plett. It’s a nice airfield, not controlled and the people are friendly
3.) Another angle. The ambulance crew were so surprised to see a lady pilot and took heaps of photos
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on October 22, 2018, 08:05:03 am
Still enjoying this thread big time Sardine!  :thumleft:

My experience of skydiving through a cloud at Wonderboom airport is great. Always enjoyed it and though it was one of the best most thrilling experiences.
I have never felt comfortable flying as a passenger in the DRC through clouds because of all the mountain peaks and rather old planes with not the latest and greatest avionics onboard.
What surprised me is that I did read earlier in the thread someone opened a canopy 'in a cloud' and then also only on the 2nd AFF jump  :eek7:
That was never allowed and if the cloud base was less than 4500feet (student opening altetude) they were not allowed to proceed.
Good to read about all the experiences, but one should always focus on safety in aviation as one do not often get a second change.
One of the professions where it is not good to learn from your mistakes but avoid mistakes at all cost  :lol8:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on October 22, 2018, 10:59:36 am
@ Tom...re - deploying canopy in cloud. Interesting what you mention there....to be honest I have NEVER given it a 2nd thought. Ja, at that stage you pulled at 5k feet and that is IT! The cloud was not very thick ( top to bottom ) and I was able to orientate myself pretty quickly.

Sorry for the partial hijack, Heather. Awesome thread this! Just love it, and well done on your 'upgrade'.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 22, 2018, 03:12:00 pm
Working in Botswana taught me the art of the bush wee.
Guys have it so easy.

But it’s quite challenging finding a bush shielded from view of the guests in the vehicle. And then there’s always a chance a lion is hiding in the same bush. So whilst balancing there, you’ve got to “meerkat” and make sure nothing is sneaking up on you.

But when you gotta go, you gotta go. So I learnt the tricks quickly. Good thing too because I needed them on Kilimanjaro.

But it’s one thing dropping  “trou“ in the bush, and quite another when you have a flight suit on and the wind gusting 30km/h. It requires rather careful planning so as to stay out of the “splash zone”.

Ah, the luxurious life of a pilot.  :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on October 23, 2018, 06:37:46 am
 :laughing4: :laughing4: :laughing4:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on October 23, 2018, 09:18:35 am
HAHAHAHA  :imaposer:

All you need is this:
https://www.shewee.com/she-pee


My brother was in an Outdoor Warehouse or Cape Union or whatever and whilst standing in the queue to pay he saw one of these items in the aisle by the tills...
So he didn't know what it was, picked it up, blew on the end bit like a trumpet, held it over his nose, trying to figure it out...
His wife comes along and says "you probably don't want to be doing that, you're holding a she-pee"   :lol8:  :lol8:  :lol8:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on October 23, 2018, 10:00:38 pm
Some photos from the night sortie.

1.) Ready to go!
2.) We had to wait a while for airline traffic so I snapped this at the holding point
3.) Somewhere near  Franschhoek, looking back to the city
4.) All lit up in the cruise
5.) A cold and windy Mossel Bay
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on October 23, 2018, 10:18:04 pm
Working in Botswana taught me the art of the bush wee.
Guys have it so easy.

But it’s quite challenging finding a bush shielded from view of the guests in the vehicle. And then there’s always a chance a lion is hiding in the same bush. So whilst balancing there, you’ve got to “meerkat” and make sure nothing is sneaking up on you.

But when you gotta go, you gotta go. So I learnt the tricks quickly. Good thing too because I needed them on Kilimanjaro.

But it’s one thing dropping  “trou“ in the bush, and quite another when you have a flight suit on and the wind gusting 30km/h. It requires rather careful planning so as to stay out of the “splash zone”.

Ah, the luxurious life of a pilot.  :imaposer:

 :imaposer: One lean fast to pee downwind  :deal:  :imaposer:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on October 24, 2018, 08:53:26 am
That is one seriously neat aircraft!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 03, 2018, 09:36:16 am
This last week has been crazy busy with family drama, so I spent most of it in Somerset West looking after my niece. I had managed to avoid changing a nappy for 2.5yrs, until Monday!  :imaposer:
Sjoe, that kid just doesn't stop- on the go constantly and after an hour I was so tired and out of ideas for entertainment! But man, I enjoyed the afternoon naps. It boggles my mind that such a little human can have so much understanding. I told her I couldn't crawl on the floor as my back was very sore, so she immediately runs off and gets a special massage thing and says "Here you go! This will back you feel better!"

On Monday we did a night flight. In that storm. It wasn't fun, and it's not something I want to experience again. The turbulence coming into Cape Town was like a rollercoaster ride on steroids, half the time I couldn't even read the numbers on the instruments and just had to put my trust in the machine.

And then last night we got another call. It came in early which was quite nice, so I could sort out dinner and stuff, and the weather was perfect. I was looking forward to it so much I was worried Murphy would intervene and it would be cancelled. But he didn't this time.

It was pitch black last night, and the stars and town lights became one. It was as if we were suspended neither here nor there, a feeling that I cannot describe, but love. On the way back I looked out over the left wing and could see the Milky Way. I was taken back to my summit morning on Kilimanjaro where it felt like I was hanging in space, completely at peace with the world.

But, going in to George wasn't as peaceful. We can normally see the city lights from 80-100nm away. Not last night. It was covered in a blanket of smoke and we would only see the glow of fires. So I elected to do a full ILS (instrument landing system) approach, which relies on ground-and-air based instruments for lateral and vertical position. The PC-12, being a computer, will even fly it all for you. But last night it wasn't happy and didn't capture the approach. Now, the danger with these clever aircraft is when the computer doesn't work, pilots tend to fixate on the computer problem rather than flying the plane.

With the Lion Air crash in the back of my mind, I manually got the aircraft where it had to be. No joy. We were too high and the picture outside (when we eventually saw it through the smoke), wasn't looking good. So I called "Going around". And off we went, flying the missed approach. As we got sorted out I discussed options with my co-pilot. We can try again, or go back to Cape Town. The patients were sick, but not sick enough to make stupid decisions. We determined the x-wind was wreaking havoc with the outbound leg of the procedure and decided on a better correction angle. We would try again. If we weren't happy, we would set course for Cape Town.

Knowing the ILS and/or computer were iffy, I manually flew (through the autopilot - you can choose the track/heading, altitude, rate of descent etc). The runway appeared out of the smoke at about 2nm, and we continued, landing safely.

My first go-around on a mission, and more lessons learnt.

We got back to base around midnight, and I was on my way home by 00:45.
I enjoy driving at night - the roads are peaceful and it's just you and your thoughts.

Unfortunately, just after the M3 offramp into town (that nice sweeping right turn) there was an accident. A motorbike hit a Mini Cooper... or the Mini hit the bike, as the Mini's bonnet was crumpled and windscreen smashed. The debris started about 50-80m before where the bike had come to rest. At first it looked like a KTM Duke 390 because it was small, then I realised half of it was lying on the other side of the road.
A Honda in Repsol colours.
The biker was surrounded by paramedics, his leg looked like a giant cheese grater had got to it.

I hope he's ok!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: silvrav on November 03, 2018, 07:42:49 pm
So much excitement there Sardine! Could only imagine that approach in George and glad it worked out in the end...

and strongs to that poor biker
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on November 06, 2018, 09:03:01 am
Exciting post! Thanks again for sharing.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 14, 2018, 05:48:52 pm
In the days following the night flight in the storm, an increasing pain spread across my body and I eventually decided to go see a physio. My entire back was in spasm. People often tell me to just chill out and stop being so serious. The physio did the same and gave me exercises to ease the tension from my shoulders down. Sweet relief.

I organised a training evening at the Stellenbosch Flying Club which was great fun. It's a fairly short (760m) tar runway, with quite a few hazards and requires pilots to be signed out before they're allowed to operate there. So I arranged for some of the AMS pilots to head across and do some circuits to get comfortable and signed off.
It's funny, in Botswana airstrips were 700-1200m long. So Stellenbosch should be ops normal, but I'm so used to Cape Town and George that on the first landing I thought "Eish, the end of this runway is coming at us fast!"

I've been on day shift since. Some quiet days, a flight to Beaufort West which is a nice change of scenery. We even went into town and had lunch at Spur. The staff were great and loaded on the food.

I've been on 5 days in a row and I'm starting to feel it. Again, in Botswana it was ops normal to work 10-12hrs/day, 6 days a week. I'm getting lazy.

Between flights I've been reading. A book called A Band Aid For a Broken Leg by Damien Brown, a South African-Australian doctor working for MSF (Doctors Without Borders).

It made me think about how I always wanted to fly for the UN, and why flying for AMS was high on my list. Though, AMS isn't quite what I thought it would be.
The flying is inconsistent and repetitive, and while I know I am indirectly helping people, I was hoping to be a little more involved. But, I'm shy. And I panic when I need to speak Afrikaans, not ideal when the majority of our patients are Afrikaans. Or heavily sedated.

But on the way back from George today, I gazed at the patchwork of brown and yellow fields 18 000ft below us. Wispy clouds flitting across the blue sky. Fog building out to sea. A glance inside at the engine instruments. Then I glanced back at the paramedics, noting vital signs and checking the plethora of tubes and wires coming out of a guy hooked up to the machines that were keeping him alive. An auto-immune disease. And I thought "yeah, this is pretty cool." Not quite what I expected, but something.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on November 15, 2018, 12:20:21 am
Yep, and the guy with the tubes in him will in time think of you as his flying angel.

 8)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Fudmucker on November 15, 2018, 07:14:10 am
Think of yourself as part of the team.
The paramedics have their job and the patient needs them to deal with medical stuff.
The Paramedics need you to do your job -  to get them from where the patient was to where the medical help is.
Nobody is more important than any other in that team.
Sometimes you are a critical gear in the gearbox.
Sometimes you are in neutral and spectating.
Get certified in First Aid and you may be able to assist more.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 15, 2018, 11:45:16 am
I know we all have our part to play and without each other we can’t do our job and deliver the service. I don’t want to feel more important or be able to say my job is the more valuable one. The paramedics are amazing. They work 12-16hr shifts with little recognition.
It’s just frustrating. Management could be better. And as this service falls under the Western Cape Government, things are... slow.

Now, I do the easy job- the flying side. I have only been to the hospital with the paramedics once and it was a quick handover. So I don’t know what goes on behind the scenes. But I know there’s a lot of politics and, in my opinion, some of the people who make decisions about a valuable resource (the aircraft) don’t have a clue.

The number of times we have been called at 2am to fly a perfectly stable (walking) patient, who has been plucked out of their warm bed, only to arrive in Cape Town and be told no, sorry, we don’t actually have a bed for the patient (so they must wait in the passage for 3-8hrs) is ridiculous.

I’ve got Level I First Aid and was actually really interested in the human anatomy side of biology in school, so I ask questions and often assist with the loading and offloading of patients (another story altogether as higher ups keep changing equipment without testing it properly first).

Ag I’m just venting. I’m going on a well-deserved break this weekend.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 16, 2018, 01:55:59 pm
Overhead Somerset West, looking to the north at 12 000ft en route to... you guessed it! George!

I love the shadows on days like these.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oubones on November 16, 2018, 07:31:54 pm
I love your life!
Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on November 17, 2018, 03:44:41 am
I've done a couple of flights with patients.

The best ones are the ones that have tubes down their throats and are fast asleep. They don't complain.  :peepwall:

But I have also experienced the terror of a patient's vital signs crashing, due to changes in altitude (air pressure and air density, directly influencing oxygen levels) and having to make critical decisions to save a life.

Although those paramedics may look calm on the surface, they are stressing BIG time beneath the surface. Like a duck, all calm above water, but paddling frantically below the surface.

And why do paramedics wear dark glasses? So you can't see the terror in their eyes.  :deal:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 17, 2018, 07:40:21 am
My scariest experience so far:
We flew a young boy, I can’t remember what was wrong but he wasn’t tubed or anything.
When we arrived in Cape Town and shut down the paramedics briefed the other patients to wait until the doors were open etc.
Then I heard them speaking to the kid. Then the tone of voice changed and an instant chill took over the aircraft. I turned around to see them tapping the kid “hey! Wake up!”, panic in their voices and worry in their eyes.
My heart plummeted.

Turns out he was in such a deep sleep, they thought he died.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 17, 2018, 07:41:43 am
The view never gets old.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on November 17, 2018, 04:25:38 pm
awesome pic thanks   :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 27, 2018, 09:43:51 pm
Today I managed to get my backside out of bed early and go for a walk/jog around the neighborhood. It was worth it.

Nice and cool with ominous clouds, a rainbow and an oil tanker. Set the tone for the day :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 27, 2018, 09:57:12 pm
I got to work at 08:30 and managed to get a fair amount of admin done.
Then at 14:30 we got a flight request for Vredendal.
So off we went. The surface wind was gusting 30kts which I really enjoyed- it makes the take-offs and landings challenging and breaks the monotony of the cruise.

And we encountered some cool, fluffy clouds.
There was a B777 and B738 on the ramp. One doesn’t realize that while the B738 is big, when viewed next to the B777 it pales in comparison!

Home by 19:00 and I attempted to make a tuna steak. It wasn’t quite as nice as I’d hoped. I accidentally researched salmon recipes and got it in my head I was eating salmon. Twit.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Skaiidawg on November 28, 2018, 04:36:44 am

I accidentally researched salmon recipes and got it in my head I was eating salmon. Twit.

Is TWIT the female of TWAT?

 :imaposer: :imaposer:

Sent from my SM-J510F using Tapatalk

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 28, 2018, 07:24:10 am
Another glorious morning.
The clouds are less ominous and everything smells of rain.
The streets are freshly washed and the light stunning!

It is amazing what a walk, even just 20 minutes, can do. Now I’m sat on my balcony having a cup of coffee and typing this.

1.) The clouds parted and the sun shone through. Perfect light
2.) Oh ship
3.) Found this bike parked on a steep slope
4.) Today was stair day
5.) Aaaaaah!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on November 28, 2018, 10:28:00 am
 :) :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on November 28, 2018, 11:07:24 am
Love your coffee mug, I would have killed for that during my brief skydiving days ( yes, we were spoilt, we had a turbine  8))
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mrs. Zog on November 30, 2018, 02:58:24 am
I really, really, really love the pictures you take. Amazing.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: silvrav on November 30, 2018, 03:18:42 am
Don't skip leg day  :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 30, 2018, 11:14:54 am
Saw this beaut at the Lourensford Market last weekend.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 30, 2018, 11:19:03 am
When I started my PPL every hour was a big deal.
Then when I had a few hours under my belt every 5 hours was a big deal.
And then every 10 hours.
By 100hrs total time it’s every 20 hours.
And by 200 hours total time it became 50hrs...

Then I hit 500hrs. And every 100hrs was like WOW!
Before I knew it I had hit 1000hrs.
Now every 250hrs is a big deal.

Then 2000hrs...
You get the picture.

Then there’s also hours on type. I left Botswana with just shy of 1000hrs Kodiak, 400hrs Caravan, and 700hrs Airvan.

On 22 November I hit 210hrs on the PC12 (I miscalculated and missed the 200hr flight. Whoops!)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Rooikoos on November 30, 2018, 11:48:40 am
Hi Sardine
Just interested, why are you flying with an oxygen mask?

BTW, love this thread, your pictures are awesome
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on November 30, 2018, 12:41:53 pm

BTW, love this thread, your pictures are awesome


I concur. Very interesting always looking forward to the next post!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on November 30, 2018, 12:57:00 pm

BTW, love this thread, your pictures are awesome


I concur. Very interesting always looking forward to the next post!

Ditto that!!! :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 30, 2018, 12:59:04 pm
Many thanks, guys! It's always nice getting feedback  :thumleft:

Hi Sardine
Just interested, why are you flying with an oxygen mask?

BTW, love this thread, your pictures are awesome

Short answer: It looks cool!
And I wanted to practice donning it.

Long answer:

When I started flying, I had a dream... to be the first female fighter pilot in the South African Air Force. Then Catherine Labuschagne beat me to it. Ok, new dream, to be the second female fighter pilot in the South African Air Force.
Apart from the fact that I'd get to fly state of the art fighter jets, I really wanted it so I could wear the helmet and mask. Yes. It's cool.  8)
I have had this fascination with helmets and masks. I even had a photo collection consisting solely of fighter pilot selfies.

Anyway, after I realized I'd have to sign my life away for 12-14yrs in the SAAF, I let go of that dream (after trying various other air forces and militaries).
But I have still always wanted to don that bone dome.

The PC-12 O2 masks look very fighter pilot-ish. We have them in case we have a pressurization problem or a fire in the cockpit/cabin The passengers also have masks but they're those boring airline-style ones.
Donning of the mask is relatively straight forward, but you can make your own life difficult.

When you're in the left seat, the mask sits on a wall over your left shoulder. So to don, you:
Remove headset and sunglasses
Reach over shoulder with right hand
Pinch the red bits together
The green bits inflate, forming a sort of basket
Keeping the red bits pinched, put the basket over your head and position the mask on your face
Release the red bits and the green bits shrink, the mask sucking on to your face like some sort of creepy alien monster!
Breathe.
Place headset/sunglass back on
Flick the microphone switch from headset to mask, so you can talk
Take a cool selfie  :pot:

To remove the mask, remove the headset/sunglasses, pinch the red bits, remove from your face, then try get the entire contraption back into its little holder whilst swearing.

Pretty simple eh.
Unless you forget to remove your headset/sunglasses. Then it doesn't work so well  :patch:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Rooikoos on November 30, 2018, 01:04:07 pm
Very interesting, thanks  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 30, 2018, 01:09:10 pm
Bone domes have developed a lot as aircraft have developed and people have realised how important it is to protect your pip...
My understanding is different countries use different helmets, and you get different helmet and mask combinations.

With the F22 a lot of hardware is built into the helmet. I don't like the look of them so much.
The Russians have weird masks.
And the French ones also look a little funny.
The SAAF have odd masks but the helmet looks cool.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 30, 2018, 01:09:55 pm
I like the sleek designs...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mrs. Zog on November 30, 2018, 03:56:49 pm
Re: oxygen mask...

I believe I learned a long time ago (yes, I used to have a pilot's license many many moons ago, ha - loooooong expired) that above certain altitudes, FAA regulations here in the US state that if one pilot is alone in the cockpit at or above a certain altitude, an oxygen mask must be worn. 
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on November 30, 2018, 06:12:32 pm
Re: oxygen mask...

I believe I learned a long time ago (yes, I used to have a pilot's license many many moons ago, ha - loooooong expired) that above certain altitudes, FAA regulations here in the US state that if one pilot is alone in the cockpit at or above a certain altitude, an oxygen mask must be worn.

Whaaaat, I don't think I knew that.

In RSA you must have supplemental oxygen if you are flying between 10 000 and 12 000ft for more than 120 minutes, and for all flights above 12 000ft. Regardless of number of pilots.
In Botswana, the regulations said all flights above 10 000ft must have supplemental oxygen... but on those hot summers days you could only find relatively smooth air at 11 000ft  :peepwall:

Since my Kilimanjaro experience, I have a healthy respect for hypoxia.
We had a pressurization issue in the PC-12, and our normal cabin altitude of 6000ft suddenly shot up to over 10 000ft. Climbing Kili, or ascent was gradual. This sudden gain hits in uncomfortable ways. Fortunately we noticed straight away and started a descent.

In extreme cases, you don the mask and tell the autopilot to descend at 5000fpm. Now THAT's a fun ride.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on December 01, 2018, 02:38:11 am
I see your co-pilot is also a lady, holding the sign....  :peepwall:

Tell us more  :pot:


When I was in the SAAF I wore the bone dome, but never the mask. Alouette's didn't usually fly that high. Except in the Drakensberg, then we would get to 12 000 ft. But we didn't have oxygen on board, so we just kept the time up there short.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on December 03, 2018, 11:26:08 am
An Alhouette at 12k feet!  :o
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 08, 2018, 05:35:41 pm
I see your co-pilot is also a lady, holding the sign....  :peepwall:

Tell us more  :pot:


When I was in the SAAF I wore the bone dome, but never the mask. Alouette's didn't usually fly that high. Except in the Drakensberg, then we would get to 12 000 ft. But we didn't have oxygen on board, so we just kept the time up there short.  :thumleft:

Well-spotted  :thumleft:
New "cadet volunteer" pilot  ???

Cool about the Alo. They're awesome aircraft.
And I believe the Squirrel is one of the few helicopters able to fly and (kind of) perform at high altitudes.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 08, 2018, 05:46:48 pm
So, November.
I flew 27.5 hours, and did 12 missions.

Lots of George trips but also a couple to Vredendal and two to Beaufort West (including a CT-GG-BW-CT triangle which was fun).

I have started keeping track of details for each mission.
So a mission is a leg with patients.
I'm using Excel to keep track of everything and I'm still fine-tuning how I want to input the data. I like numbers and stats, so I have a mix of mission number, if the patients were male/female, adult/teenager/child/infant, and then details of their condition.

I only started this mid-November, but some cases were...
Auto-immune disease - the body was attacking itself, specifically the blood vessels of the lungs and kidneys  :o
Head injury after a fall (little old lady)
Paralysed from the waist down
Quite a few sick babies, including one where they couldn't do anything further. Those are the worst; knowing you are flying this kid home to die. At least you know they will be surrounded with love.

Then a really cool moment. At the end of November we flew a baby and mom to CT from GG. The baby was born premature, had pneumonia and all sorts of other nasties.
4-5 days later, we flew the same mom and baby back home to George. I walked past her in the ambulance and I was like "Oh, hi, you're back!" she was looking a lot happier than on the flight down.

When we got to George it was quite a wait for the ambo, so I got chatting to the mom. Her baby has been through a lot and is only 6 weeks old - jaundice, pneumonia, croup, influenza...
But she was on the mend and would be able to go home after a few days. It was cool to hear the story and to actually see the result of these flights. It was also mom's first time in a plane. Shame, I hadn't realized on the flight to CT. So quite special she could share that with her little daughter. I remind myself of that conversation now when I have down days.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 08, 2018, 05:57:44 pm
As usual, there has been a heap of family drama. But on Tuesday, I decided I needed a break, and the bf and I set off for the Stellenbosch Flying Club.

Where I got to fly the De Havilland Chipmunk for the first time in over 4 years (almost to the day). It felt so good being back in a taildragger, and not having to worry about clearances and computers and co-pilots. Real stick and rudder, wind in your hair, don't mess up flying. I was grinning from ear to ear. The icing on the cake was being able to take my bf for a quick flight too (first I flew with a taildragger-proficient pilot to wake my feet up). His first time flying a tail dragger with me, and it was in the iconic "Chippie!".

And then we took a Triumph Bonneville for a burn around the hangars  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 08, 2018, 06:25:26 pm
.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Oubones on December 09, 2018, 08:01:53 am
Ag lekker om met die ou goed te speel!
Ironies, my ou vriend wat sy bonnievale van nuuts besit het en tot op goed in die 70 jaar oud gery het, is rukkie terug oorlede.
Op amper 90 het hy nog elke week met sy RT gery al moes sy vrou hom help op en afklim asook terugstoot in die motorhuis in!
Net anders die ou goed!
Daai een wat julle gery het lyk baie mooi.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 09, 2018, 08:21:20 am
Ag lekker om met die ou goed te speel!
Ironies, my ou vriend wat sy bonnievale van nuuts besit het en tot op goed in die 70 jaar oud gery het, is rukkie terug oorlede.
Op amper 90 het hy nog elke week met sy RT gery al moes sy vrou hom help op en afklim asook terugstoot in die motorhuis in!
Net anders die ou goed!
Daai een wat julle gery het lyk baie mooi.

Thanks Bones. That's really quite something. Bikes keep you young :)

This one is in very good condition. Took me a while to find the ignition, but she fired right up and purred along quietly. Then I blipped the throttle and the grin wrapped around my face!  :ricky: :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on December 16, 2018, 03:33:41 pm
Still love your thread Sardine!! :thumleft: :laughing4:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 21, 2018, 03:20:13 pm
Thank you Tom.  :thumleft:

December has been quiet. I can’t believe Christmas is just a few days away. My first Christmas at home in 4 years!

Work has been very quiet. I have done a whopping 10 hours this month.
But, I have renewed my grade II flight instructors rating and I’m really hoping to do some instruction in the coming months. Just something to keep my hand in and keep me out of mischief.

I also had the pleasure of flying in a Cessna 180 a few days ago. What a beautiful aircraft! It really is a rugged piece of kit. No wonder the Americans and Canadians love them in the backcountry!

I’m sitting in George waiting for our patient. Could be worse, I have coffee and an aircon. But the muffins at the buffet are really testing my self control!
—-

On  Monday we tackled Platteklip Gorge which was great fun. I made it up in 59min49secs... I might have elbowed someone out the way in my haste to get to the top.
After a walk around the top to stretch the legs we set off for the trip back down. My legs were dead after that! Then we tucked into a well deserved Jerry’s burger!

Yesterday was a lekker day! My sister and niece came to visit and then I set out on a walk. Lower Signal Hill, around the base of Lions Head, and then down to Green Point through town. 13km in total. My feet were buggered! But what a few.
I am really enjoying living in a Cape Town and exploring the trails and tracks.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 21, 2018, 03:22:49 pm
Looking down Platteklip Gorge

View from the Cessna 180

Yesterday’s walk


Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on December 21, 2018, 03:28:45 pm
Sardine that platteklip Gorge view should be printed!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: 0012 on December 21, 2018, 03:52:14 pm
wow, stunning pics and stories as usual, thank you  :sip:
Title: My African Dream
Post by: ican on December 22, 2018, 05:21:48 am
Love this thread!
I really enjoy seeing life through your eyes, especially as l have a passion for flying myself.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 24, 2018, 02:20:21 pm
Thank you, folks  :)

The last couple of days have picked up with a flight to Vredendal and two flights to George.

I've spent a lot of time in hospitals this year - sick niece, and operations for my sister and mom. I'm tired of hospitals.
But on one of the George flights I decided not to sit and wait in the terminal, but to rather go with the crew to the hospital.

The paramedics were only too happy to have me tag along.
It's the first time in many years that I have driven through George during the day. It was clean, welcoming, and I believe they have done away with taxi's and operate busses instead - really cool!

I have been to George hospital once, but never went inside. I was expecting something like HH Hospital in Somerset West... which is ironic as I have never been in HH either. But I have heard it's crowded, dirty, old and just not a pleasant place to be (as hospitals go).
Well, George hospital was empty. We went to a general ward where patients were just finishing off what looked and smelt like a decent pre-Christmas of lunch. Whilst it is an old hospital, it was neat and tidy and clean.

After checking on that patient (a last-minute teen experiencing seizures) we set off to ICU for the guy we originally came for.

The ICU was nice and cool - probably the only place with aircon. There were 6 beds, and two sisters/nurses on duty. Not quite like Busamed where it's a 1:2 (maybe even 1:1) ratio of staff to patients.

Our guy was in a car crash. Apart from a very swollen face and a cut on his foot, you never would have thought anything was wrong. That is, if a machine hadn't been breathing for him.
Intubated and ventilated, he had severe head trauma.
I got to watch the hand over from the doctor to the paramedics, and then the delicate process of setting up our equipment began. The PC-12 is a flying ICU, so we have portable ventilators. Once all the machinery was set up, they started transferring him over to our equipment. In aviation, communication is key, and it's no different in medicine. Switching from the hospital oxygen to our portable oxygen is a co-ordinated dance between paramedics, ensuring the patient is off oxygen for no more than a second.

I got to see how they make use of a scoop and head roll to immobilize the patient. How they get packaged to ensure comfort but also safety - this guy wasn't conscious but would randomly grab at leads and the very tube keeping him alive. A young chap, 18 or so, but tall, it took 4 of us to move him at times. And to think sometimes there are only two paramedics.

As the paramedics did their thing, they explained everything they did so that I could learn. At some companies overseas, pilots are trained to paramedic level, and paramedics to PPL level, so that they can work more effectively as a team when the poo hits the fan.

It took a little over two hours from landing at George, to leaving the hospital with the patients. It feels a lot longer when sitting in Wimpy.

For the drive back to the airfield I assisted by checking the oxygen bottle level as they had to time the transfer from ambulance to aircraft, and then aircraft to ambulance in Cape Town.
The aircraft has two big bottles of oxygen for patients, and a smaller portable bottle is used when loading and offloading patients (and in this case, in the ambulance as there was some sort of issue with the ambo's oxygen).

I could also see the patients' stats. The monitor and ventilator is attached to the stretcher that gets loaded into the aircraft. We reckon the weight of patient plus equipment was easily 120kg.
And we manually load patients into the back of the PC-12. There is no hydraulic lift. It's a workout, and there's always a risk of a sprain or pinched fingers.
The Royal Flying Doctor Service in Australia has a funky lift.

It was an uneventful flight back. Unfortunately, based on the stats of the critical patient, it is likely he has suffered severe brain damage. Makes one really appreciate every moment.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 24, 2018, 02:23:19 pm
On a happier note...

A very Merry Christmas, Dogs. Hope you have a splendid time with family and/or friends.
Please do be careful out there.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on December 24, 2018, 03:05:22 pm
Thanks Heather and the same wishes go out to you and your loved one's.

Always enjoy reading your stories - please keep them coming in the new year.

Safe travels out there.

 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 24, 2018, 08:52:52 pm
Many thanks TeeJay!

As luck would have it, I hadn’t been called out on a single night shift so far this month (about 5 of them).
Trust the call to come on Christmas Eve!

Oh well, it was a stunning flight to George. I chose not to go with to the hospital this time so we are waiting in town.

And tomorrow I get to see my family. Beats a Christmas in Botswana!

Photo: Sunset from the George apron...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: buzzlightyear on December 25, 2018, 08:08:52 am
Thank you for sharing your life with us Sardine, haven't been on WD for a while, yours was one of the threads I HAD to read and catch up on.  I have had a keen interest in flight for 20+ years, did a lot of flightsimming with 'live' ATC and traffic years ago, nice to see it through a pilot's eyes.

Merry Christmas!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on December 25, 2018, 03:57:43 pm
Thanks again for keeping none of my fav threads alive, and you too have a lekka Christmas.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on December 26, 2018, 03:09:15 pm
I have a friend (old colleague) at 911 flight desk in Jhb and she was working yesterday.
Said they were so busy.
I can recall a few years back that nothing was happening over the festive season inland, and the helicopters hardly ever worked.
How drastically things have changed. Last night while riding back home from my daughter I was shocked to see how busy the roads were after 9pm and how many drunk people were driving, dicing and shouting out of their vehicles.
The main road through Brits, all the way from Harties and no police vehicles, no nothing but chaos.
Riding past the fire brigade the machine bay was almost empty, meaning they were also busy.

Point I want to make Sardine; you have made a good choice in career being with the flying EMS. You can only get busier and there will be more air ambulances in future.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: silvrav on December 27, 2018, 10:22:07 pm
Many thanks TeeJay!

As luck would have it, I hadn’t been called out on a single night shift so far this month (about 5 of them).
Trust the call to come on Christmas Eve!

Oh well, it was a stunning flight to George. I chose not to go with to the hospital this time so we are waiting in town.

And tomorrow I get to see my family. Beats a Christmas in Botswana!

Photo: Sunset from the George apron...

wow, thats a stunning pic! Real jetsetter look  :P
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 31, 2018, 06:39:25 am
I have a friend (old colleague) at 911 flight desk in Jhb and she was working yesterday.
Said they were so busy.
I can recall a few years back that nothing was happening over the festive season inland, and the helicopters hardly ever worked.
How drastically things have changed. Last night while riding back home from my daughter I was shocked to see how busy the roads were after 9pm and how many drunk people were driving, dicing and shouting out of their vehicles.
The main road through Brits, all the way from Harties and no police vehicles, no nothing but chaos.
Riding past the fire brigade the machine bay was almost empty, meaning they were also busy.

Point I want to make Sardine; you have made a good choice in career being with the flying EMS. You can only get busier and there will be more air ambulances in future.

The seasoned paramedics say that fatalies increase substanstially on Christmas Day.
Fortunately for our Cape Town crews, it was a quiet Christmas.

---

And so ends another month, and another year. I was rostered on night shift the 28th and 29th, and with near-perfect weather, I was hoping to fly. Alas, nothing came in.
I am off today and my Dad is visiting so we're going to spend some time at my sister's house. I can't wait to see my niece!

Yesterday was a stunning day and the bf and I decided to tackle Devil's Peak. But more on that later  :patch:

From 1 January 2017 - 31 December 2017, I had flown 712hrs and done 1472 take-off's and landings  :ricky:
From 1 January 2018 - 31 December 2018, I have flown 281hrs, and done 310 take-off's and landings  ???

The flying info for December. 2018..
24.6 hours flown, which comprised of 10 work missions, a fun flight, a training flight, and a flight test.
7 adults
2 teenagers
3 children
4 infants
Conditions ranging from pneumonia, to pacemakers, to TB of the bone, to a burn victim, a child attacked by a dog, a premature baby, and a few people with head trauma (one from a car crash, another caused trouble and got attacked - I don't think he made it).

Hours spent waiting at George airport? Countless  :laughing4:

And the highlight of the month was going with to George hospital and seeing the paramedics in action.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 31, 2018, 07:50:35 am
We both had the day off yesterday and decided to climb Devil's Peak.
There isn't that much info on the climb, but from what I could gather there are 3 routes, and a return trip should take about 4 hours.

We figured that was a conservative time (Platteklip, for example, says to allow 2hrs to go up, and we did it in 1hr), but planned to start at 14:00. In the morning the plan changed and we started at 09:30 instead. Good thing we did.

The three routes are:
Newlands Ravine
The one near Platteklip
And one from Rhodes Memorial (also called the Knife Edge or Mowbray route or something).

The last one is advertised as the most difficult, so naturally, we did that one.

Now, there is no signage. And I couldn't find any maps online. I found a few websites with descriptions of the route, but they weren't very good. At some point I might write a detailed report with the exact route we followed, but typing is a little painful right now... read on to see why.

Anyway, so we started up towards the Blockhouse and within 100m had taken a wrong turn.
We found our way and came to a T-junction. We went left when we should've gone right. Nothing like an 800m detour!

We eventually made it to the Blockhouse. From here my directions said to go up to old Fire Hut. And where the path forks, go right. Well, we came across about 4 forks. We eventually made it to the Fire Hut.

And then it was more up-up-up!

The wind had picked up, so crossing the "Knife Edge" was quite fun with a very long drop on each side.
But we made it to Minor Peak, and gazed up at what we still had to climb.
The directions said to go left and pretty much straight up to the top of Devil's Peak, and to take caution as there were ledges with sheer drops. There was another, longer route, but hey.

The climb looked intimidating but wasn't nearly as bad as I thought it would be.
The path isn't well-used and the only indicators that we were going the right way where cairns places here and there.

Whilst the entire climb thus far had involved scrambling over rocks and along ledges, this portion also involved going up a few 10-15m rock faces. Now, I'm petrified of heights but astonishingly, I did alright. However, we both knew that if anything happened to us out here, the only way out would be by helicopter. The only time we came across anyone else after the Blockhouse was when we reach the peak.

The final push to the peak involved a hairy-looking climb, but I found a path and went around instead  :biggrin:
The wind was pumping, but stepping down half a meter had us in a completely sheltered area.
We rested and had some snacks and took in the view and sounds. It is a very impressive view! And looking across at Platteklip Gorge makes one realise how insanely steep that climb is!

There was no way we were going down the way we came up, following the poorly-written directions we picked our way down the myriad of paths heading in the direction of Table Mountain.
We could clearly see where the path led to Tafelberg Road, but opted to return via the Newlands Ravine.

The route down was a mixture of light sand, dark sand, big rocks, little rocks, loose rocks, firm rocks, and hard-packed dirt.

Of course, I slipped on some little loose rocks and not only slid and fell, but also bounced rather spectacularly. As I got airborne on the bounce I remember grabbing at foliage to stop myself from rolling down the mountainside.
I came to a rest in a cloud of sand, my arm and leg stinging. I got up and dusted myself off and assessed. My wrist is very nicely grazed where my watch sits (hence the pain while typing), I have a nice roastie on my left thigh, and I tore my shorts.
I'm quite upset about the shorts - they're from New Zealand and cost a fortune.

Adrenaline pumping, I had to force myself to slow down the next few hundred meters.

Eventually we came to some signs and followed the ones towards the Newlands Ravine.

The vegetation changed constantly which I really enjoyed; Scrub, fynbos, trees, open areas, and eventually forest.

Going down the Ravine wasn't too bad - seems the Platteklip walk we did recently strengthened my legs.
I'd hate to have made the ascent this way though. It was just constant winding uphill. At least with the more technical route you have to focus on navigating rocks and it makes you forget that you're tired.

We eventually came to a boardwalk and turned left in the hopes it would take us back to Rhodes Memorial. It did, and it turns out this is the route we accidentally started to follow when we set off.
I've only been in Newlands Forest once. Sjoe, it's beautiful. I can't wait to go explore some of the trails on the mountain bike!

We made it back, some 6 hours later. We were covered in so much sand and dust that our legs were about 4 shades darker. Tired and caked with sweat, we set off for a well-deserved burger.

Great day out! Definitely not the "quick after work climb" we thought it would be.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 31, 2018, 07:56:25 am
1.) What looks like a civilized trail starting from the Rhodes Memorial parking lot
2.) View from the Blockhouse
3.) Looking back along the ridge we hiked after encountering many forks
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 31, 2018, 07:57:40 am
1.) Admiring the flora
2.) Looking down towards Newlands
3.) Where we're headed  :o
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 31, 2018, 07:59:40 am
1.) So close you could almost touch it... not
2.) The Knife Edge - the area of rocks running from the sandy patch diagonally to the right
3.) View of the city while perched on the Knife Edge
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 31, 2018, 08:00:57 am
1.) One of the scrambles to get up Minor Peak
2.) Complete change in vegetation as we set off on the final push
3.) Made it! View from the top
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on December 31, 2018, 08:02:44 am
1.) On the descent. Platteklip Gorge is on the far left - yes, that narrow brown trail zig-zagging it's way up
2.) Looking back at the hill we came down. I fell somewhere on that path on the left
3.) Looking down Newlands Raving
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: buzzlightyear on December 31, 2018, 08:04:47 am
Yesterday was a bit windy! Slingsby might have a map, https://slingsby-maps.myshopify.com/products/table-mountain
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on December 31, 2018, 11:28:49 am
Nice  :thumleft:

Have you been up India Venster?

I meant to ask - do you ever see yourself flying commercial jetliners (Boeing, Airbus) - is it something you want to do?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 01, 2019, 05:59:57 am
I hope it’s a good one!  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on January 02, 2019, 09:27:18 am
Great pics and a great year of following for us.

All the best for the new year and keep em coming.
It's great following and learning on your thread.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 02, 2019, 01:21:11 pm
Nice  :thumleft:

Have you been up India Venster?

I meant to ask - do you ever see yourself flying commercial jetliners (Boeing, Airbus) - is it something you want to do?
Not yet. Our next climb will be up the Helderberg Mounain. And maybe then Table Mountain again.

That is a difficult question to answer. I would love to fly the B777, and I have fallen in love with the Embraer 190. In fact, I've fallen in love with a few airliners.
I'd really like to fly for Airlink.

But I'm not sure if I'm cut out to be a long-haul pilot. Not at this stage of my career at least. But, it could be something I wind up really enjoying. It's a stable job (as stable as aviation can be), a good income, good travel opportunities, a solid roster. However... it is mainly monitoring a computer. Whenever I explain that to former airline captains when they ask when I'm going to the airlines they respond with "but you make enough money to buy your own plane and do real flying on the weekends". Which is so true. But I'm still not 100% convinced.

I'd be fairly keen on Cathay (first choice B777), but having visited Hong Kong (albeit very briefly), I don't think I could live there.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on January 02, 2019, 01:45:14 pm
Nice  :thumleft:

Have you been up India Venster?

I meant to ask - do you ever see yourself flying commercial jetliners (Boeing, Airbus) - is it something you want to do?
Not yet. Our next climb will be up the Helderberg Mounain. And maybe then Table Mountain again.

That is a difficult question to answer. I would love to fly the B777, and I have fallen in love with the Embraer 190. In fact, I've fallen in love with a few airliners.
I'd really like to fly for Airlink.

But I'm not sure if I'm cut out to be a long-haul pilot. Not at this stage of my career at least. But, it could be something I wind up really enjoying. It's a stable job (as stable as aviation can be), a good income, good travel opportunities, a solid roster. However... it is mainly monitoring a computer. Whenever I explain that to former airline captains when they ask when I'm going to the airlines they respond with "but you make enough money to buy your own plane and do real flying on the weekends". Which is so true. But I'm still not 100% convinced.

I'd be fairly keen on Cathay (first choice B777), but having visited Hong Kong (albeit very briefly), I don't think I could live there.

You are young and have a lot of time to move through the ranks Sardine, but I think you have started in the best place. Its like start riding bikes when you are young and then progress through the years to bigger bikes.
You understand flying, and Botswana must have been the best stepping stone for a great career. You know it is not really completely true when they quote 'staring at computers'. You still get to be the brain in the seat, especially when things go a little wrong in bad weather or whatever.
Enjoy!  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on January 02, 2019, 03:36:14 pm
I always wondered about those commercial long haul pilots. I don't think it can be a nice life - always away from home. I guess it suits some people. Someone asked me the other day about flying and I said it's nice to fly in a small plane - now that is real flying - not in a commercial plane. They said I must be mad - that must be terrifying - I tried to explain but I don't think they got it  :imaposer:

India Venster - nice walk - beautiful views over Camps Bay area - a part of the climb is also a little challenge - some steep parts - chains in one or two spots - but a nice walk/climb. Then walk down Platteklip Gorge. I think you guys will enjoy it.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 08, 2019, 10:23:45 pm
I somehow missed your replies! Sorry!

Botswana was amazing and I'm glad I experienced it. It's like a right of passage, and it's sad that low-hour pilots can no longer get work. It's real flying and teaches you a lot!

Modern airliners are taking away more and more control from the pilot. I have heard of pilots who have declined upgrades to bigger, more modern aircraft because they will have less control.
Yes, the pilot still makes the decisions. But a lot  (airline)of accidents have been a result of hands-on flying skill.

As for long-haul, yup, living out of a suitcase. But, I know a guy who comes here every few weeks, rides his motorbike around (which he stores at the hotel), and flies real planes for the week or so he is here before leaving on the next trip. Which is normally one or two (long) sectors, then another 7 days off.

A lot of people I have met prefer flying in smaller aircraft - they say it's because they can see what the pilot is doing.

Will check out India Venster  :thumleft:

---

So far I have flown 3 times. Twice to Vredendal, and today we went to George. It was overcast and raining in George, so we got to do the ILS approach (a precision approach using ground and airborne equipment for lateral and vertical references).
Getting out of Cape Town took 25 minutes - it was rush-hour with 3 departures and 2 landings ahead of us.
Then as we got to the holding point they asked if we could get out of the way at let a Kulula 737 take-off ahead of us.

The 737 is obviously a lot faster, and as we weren't going to fetch a critical patient, we obliged. Had we said so, we would have made life difficult for ATC who would have had to make Kulula wait in order for us to get far enough away for separation.

On the plus side, we got to watch a BA 747 land. Such a cool aircraft!  :3some:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 08, 2019, 10:32:15 pm
Wheee
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on January 09, 2019, 07:15:32 am
No worries - glad you had some flying - enjoy your thread  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 10, 2019, 08:59:22 am
Yesterday I was on night shift but was fortunate enough to go flying in a Cessna 180 “Skywagon” in the morning.
This is a 1950ies taildragger, very popular in the Canadian and Alaskan back-country. With a 225hp (in this model) engine, it leaps into the air in no time and is an absolute dream to fly. And comfortable too.

This particular aircraft is in great condition- it definitely doesn’t look 60 years old!

It felt so good to be doing hands-on flying, and in a taildragger to boot!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on January 10, 2019, 11:44:40 am
So cool....nice pics - thanks :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: woody1 on January 10, 2019, 11:56:43 am
I don't know if this was asked or answered here, but from what I find it strange that these expensive flights are sometimes done without it being an emergency...or am I wrong.

What is the criteria to authorise such a flight ?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 10, 2019, 02:01:00 pm
I don't know if this was asked or answered here, but from what I find it strange that these expensive flights are sometimes done without it being an emergency...or am I wrong.

What is the criteria to authorise such a flight ?

I ask myself this every day.
I am not 100% sure of the system. But from what I have gathered from standing around watching...
The doctor of a patient will request a flight. They send the patient's details through to us. We then phone the authorising doctor for the day. It gets authorised or it doesn't.
If authorised, then our paramedics will look at the details and determine if the patient can actually be flown (so they look at stats, medical history etc). Often we don't get all the details.

Then the pilot gets asked about weather etc.
I am slowly getting it so when I am duty, I am first consulted regarding weather, then the paramedic crew is consulted about the stability of the patient, and only then does the office contact the authorising doctor. Makes much more sense.

Often with non-critical patients they wait to get two or three lined up so we can transport them all in one go. This often means sitting around from 7am to 3pm doing nothing, and just as we want to go home, we get a request.

We recently had a request for a newborn that came in in the AM. They phoned me at 4PM to ask if we could fly the kid that night. Hello. Not clever. Why didn't you do the call hours ago?!

In the past there was a bed manager in George who was organised and had patients lined up for transfers a day or two in advance - that way everyone knew we'd be going to George at the same(ish) time every day. Makes sense.

Now sometimes people spend days waiting for a flight.

They wanted us to go to Vredendal to fly a kid with a broken arm. The request was denied due to "mis-utilization of resources". I agree.

BUT... a colleague said, a flight is a flight. If we don't fly, we don't get money, and we, as the crews, don't get paid. Also makes sense.

I don't mind the late afternoon calls, or the stable patients.
But I cannot fathom why they will phone at 10pm for a patient who can walk and is perfectly stable. Firstly, it uproots the patient - they have to leave a warm bed for an uncomfortable, loud plane, and will only get settled in at the next hospital after 1am.
Second, flying at night in a single engine aircraft isn't fun. So if it isn't life or death, I don't want to do it.

I believe there is a massive shortage of ambulances, drivers, and ambulance crews. So yes, it seems the aircraft is being utilized more as a flying ambulance for transfers, than as the ICU-capable machine it is. I am but a lowly pilot, and it (barely) pays the bills, so I am trying not to be too pessimistic.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: woody1 on January 10, 2019, 02:24:23 pm
Thanks for the reply.  I suppose that is how it is.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 17, 2019, 12:31:41 pm
This time last year, I was sitting in New Zealand and reflecting on my time in Botswana. What a trip.
Now I'm sitting in Green Point, still reflecting on my time in Botswana  :laughing4:

Towards the end of last year my boyfriend said "Why don't we do a bike trip around the coast?"
Hmmm, now there's an idea. So I set about renting a bike and realised that it just wasn't financially viable. Then some fantastic WD's came to the rescue.  :3some:

So on Tuesday we collected a good old Suzuki DR650.
I was a little nervous - I hadn't ridden a bike in a long time, and we'd have 30km to commute on the highway, and this was my second time riding with a pillion.
But once on the bike, with the single cylinder purring away (yes, this DR purrs. It ran far smoother than the one I used to own), I started to relax. The first few stops and traffic lights were a little wobbly, but soon it felt as if I hadn't had a 2 year gap in my bike riding.

Even on the highway, I was overjoyed. It felt so good to feel the wind in my face.

We took the N1 to Cape Town from Brackenfell, then jumped on to the M2, N2, and M3.
Not in a rush, we cruised at 80-100km/h, taking plenty of time to just enjoy the view and the road.
I toyed with the idea of going over Ou Kaapse Weg, but chose to take Boyes Drive instead. We were awarded with fantastic views of a wonderfully calm blue sea. Bliss.

We popped in to the harbour at Kalk Bay, and spied the seals, one of which was out the water and catching a nap on the pier.

The riding had worked up an appetite - I had forgotten how much hard work it is, so we popped over to Kalk Bay Expresso for pancakes and coffee. Mmmm! Consistently good food and coffee!

Adequately fueled, we mandered through Fish Hoek, and then did a short section of Ou Kaapse Weg before turning to Noordhoek and on to Chapman's Peak Drive.
Now, I don't think I've ever ridden Chapman's Peak Drive. I've cycled it, and driven it, but never been on a motorbike. I know, right.
I took it super easy and enjoyed the view.

Then we pulled in to Hout Bay and commenced the search for lunch. I was after some lekker fish and chips, and it took a bit of back and forth to eventually decide on a place - my boyfriend doesn't eat fish. We wound up at Muriel's, which wasn't too bad. But the shop at Mariner's Wharf smelt amazing and I'm going to go there next time!

The sun was out, there was a light breeze, and we were exploring by motorbike. What more does a gal need  :ricky:

Then work phoned... I was on night shift and they had a flight to PE. Woooohoooo! At least, almost a year at AMS and I finally get a PE flight!  :biggrin:
I checked the weather and NOTAMS (notice to airmen), then told work we could take off at 19:30.

Yay!
We rode along the coast to Green Point where I dropped my boyfriend at home. It was 3pm and traffic was already starting. I'd drop the bike back in Brackenfell and then head straight to the airport with my car.

I enjoyed the trip back to Brackenfell, and took great satisfaction in zipping past all the people in their cages. But sjoe, some okes lanesplit and ridiculous speeds!

I filled up the bike so it would be ready for its next adventure. It cost a whopping R95. I can't remember the last time I paid less than R600 to fill a petrol tank, so that was really cool!

And then it was off to work.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on January 17, 2019, 12:39:59 pm
Nice man  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 17, 2019, 12:46:36 pm
1.) Kalk Bay Harbour
2.) Lazy seal
3.) Calm sea
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 17, 2019, 12:53:21 pm
1.) The Beastie
2.) Mmmm, pancakes!
3.) Noordhoek
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 17, 2019, 12:54:58 pm
1.) Noordhoek Beach
2.) Concentration...
3.) Chapman's Peak Drive
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 17, 2019, 12:55:54 pm
1.) Hout Bay
2.) Biker shot
3.) Photos with bikes are just perfect
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 17, 2019, 01:01:10 pm
1.) Hout Bay Harbour
2+3.) We went in search of a coffee shop, but could only find a few ship propellers lying around... turns out the coffee shop was closed for renovations
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 17, 2019, 01:01:41 pm
1.) Fish and chips, lekker!
2.) Last one of the bike before blasting off home

I didn't realise how much I missed being on a bike.
My legs are still sore and my shoulders stiff, but man it was just so good. :patch:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 17, 2019, 01:10:17 pm
The drive to work was against traffic, fortunately, and I arrived with heaps of time to spare.
So I made sure the aircraft was ready, and did all the paperwork for the flight, taking care to familiarise myself with procedures specific to Port Elizabeth, and the airport layout as well as terrain near the airport.

We got going right on time and it was a chilled flight of around 1.5hrs, sitting at FL250.

We wanted to go into town to wait, but there wasn't room in the ambulance. So we went to the Engen across from the aiport and had some lekker strong coffee.
I had planned to be on the ground for 2.5 hours. It came and went. I got munchies and had a rather disappointing pie. After having a pie from Peregrine Farmstall all other pies have been ruined.
While we waited we did online quizzes on the PC-12 and learnt a few things. And waited. And waited. And finally got word the crew was on their way back. Sans patient.
I don't want to post details as I don't know all of them and you never know who reads this stuff.

So we packed up and walked back to the airport. And security refused to let us through to the apron.
We had gone through the arrivals hall.
"You must go through departures."
"It is closed."
"Huh?"
"The departures doors are padlocked closed. Please can we go through here?"
"No."
"So how do we get to the plane?"
"Plane?"
"Yes, the aeroplane, we are the pilots. We must fly our medical crew to Cape Town."
"Oh... you must go through the main entrance outside where the cars go through."
"It's raining. And we aren't in a car."
"You must go."

Now this is really not the conversation you want at midnight.

We eventually got to the plane (after phoning the ambo and asking them to pick us up and drive us through).
Then we spent 30 minutes trying to pay landing and parking fees.

Long story short, we landed at about 03:30. The headwind was strong and it took us about 2 hours to get back.
The flight back was smooth, and absolutely pitch black. So we turned the cockpit lights right down and kept ourselves awake by marveling at the wonder that is the Milky Way. It never gets old!

Photo: stages of sunset at 25 000ft
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: cocky on January 17, 2019, 04:52:34 pm
The drive to work was against traffic, fortunately, and I arrived with heaps of time to spare.
So I made sure the aircraft was ready, and did all the paperwork for the flight, taking care to familiarise myself with procedures specific to Port Elizabeth, and the airport layout as well as terrain near the airport.

We got going right on time and it was a chilled flight of around 1.5hrs, sitting at FL250.

We wanted to go into town to wait, but there wasn't room in the ambulance. So we went to the Engen across from the aiport and had some lekker strong coffee.
I had planned to be on the ground for 2.5 hours. It came and went. I got munchies and had a rather disappointing pie. After having a pie from Peregrine Farmstall all other pies have been ruined.
While we waited we did online quizzes on the PC-12 and learnt a few things. And waited. And waited. And finally got word the crew was on their way back. Sans patient.
I don't want to post details as I don't know all of them and you never know who reads this stuff.

So we packed up and walked back to the airport. And security refused to let us through to the apron.
We had gone through the arrivals hall.
"You must go through departures."
"It is closed."
"Huh?"
"The departures doors are padlocked closed. Please can we go through here?"
"No."
"So how do we get to the plane?"
"Plane?"
"Yes, the aeroplane, we are the pilots. We must fly our medical crew to Cape Town."
"Oh... you must go through the main entrance outside where the cars go through."
"It's raining. And we aren't in a car."
"You must go."

Now this is really not the conversation you want at midnight.

We eventually got to the plane (after phoning the ambo and asking them to pick us up and drive us through).
Then we spent 30 minutes trying to pay landing and parking fees.

Long story short, we landed at about 03:30. The headwind was strong and it took us about 2 hours to get back.
The flight back was smooth, and absolutely pitch black. So we turned the cockpit lights right down and kept ourselves awake by marveling at the wonder that is the Milky Way. It never gets old!

Photo: stages of sunset at 25 000ft
Stunning
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Rooikoos on January 17, 2019, 05:16:56 pm
Sorry for the hijack

On Tuesday I got the opportunity to fly in this beauty from Stellenbosch to Cape Town International. It belongs to a client of mine, and he had to take it to Robin Coss to upgrade the nav system.

We flew out over Fisantekraal, then Melkbos and over Robben Island, before going in to land at Cape Town.

On approach we were asked to fly a tighter pattern because there was a Qatar Airways A350 waiting to take off.

What a great experience, I am just used to flying in airliners as a passenger

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190117/99569e10879142b3f06825bb9bd4b753.jpg)

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190117/e006e834a8466d44e417c33654888c36.jpg)

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190117/0c3aecbfce3b20dd50aa108d884e452e.jpg)

(https://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20190117/7dea17c8ce8102808cc9649ace0cab11.jpg)

Hijack off


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 21, 2019, 06:49:13 pm
Yesterday was my first trail run event. I convinced my friend to enter the Dirtopia Ride and Run mountain bike and trail run event at Delvera outside of Stellenbosch.
We entered as a team - she would cycle 10km and I would run 7.5km.

Other options were a 20km cycle and 7.5km run, or just a 10km run.

Registration was from 06:30, and we got there around then thinking it would be chaos. It wasn't. I was so scared of over sleeping I woke up every hour until, at 04:30, I got up and got ready.

Upon arrival we collected our bag with the timing bands and our race number, and then moved from sunny patch to sunny patch so I could stay warm.

At 08:00 the 20km cycle group set off, and we waited until 08:30 for the 10km group to start.
After about 25minutes a guy from the first group finished. 10km of mountain biking in 25 minutes  :eek7:

At 08:30 the group was off and I waited.
Two other friends who had joined the 10km run arrived and we chatted. The team event was a relay, but I wasn't too keen to wait 45-60 minutes, so I started my run at 09:00 with the 10km group.

The aim of the event was to have fun, not to make a serious competition. We set off at an easy pace, and encountered the first climb after a kilometer or two. I have been running every second day, and did two 10km road runs prior to this, so I was feeling amped. My friends chose to walk and I jogged ahead.
There was no shade, and no breeze, so I made sure to take it slow, drink often, and walk if I felt I needed to - no point in pushing too hard and hurting myself.

The route took us amongst the vineyards, and then we started to zig-zag our way up part of Klapmuts Koppie. On the flat sections I took it easy; I didn't know the route but I did know there was a sneaky climb at the end and I wanted to conserve my energy. I managed to pass a few people, then we played leap frog, until eventually I was behind a lady and keeping up.

There was a water point about half way, but I had my Camelbak so I carried on. Then we entered this awesome single track section through a forest. The temperature cooled right down and the route was flowing. I really enjoyed it. After that it was back into the sun and the point where you turned right to finish the 7.5km, or left to finish the 10km. The marshal said "You go right here" and jogging on the spot I said "Can't I do the 10k?"
"What?"
"Please can I do the 10km route?"
He shrugged, "Sure."

And off I went. I didn't have to, but I was feeling good. I wasn't as tense as I normally am when I run, and I think after waiting so long to start I was just eager to get going.

We had a few more climbs and then single track down through another forest. I had gained on the lady ahead and found my opportunity to pass as she walked up a hill. "Passing right!", I jogged past her, breathing deep, my legs burning from the climb. The end was near. "Slowly!" I told myself "There's the sneaky climb at the end!"
I flashed a 'hang-ten' at a photographer and carried on, 1.5km to go. I could see the climb, and the start point. And it didn't seem far. I can do this.
I kept an easier pace, breathing deep.
I started the last climb, made it a few meters, and slowed to a walk. It turned sharp right and continued, though not as steep. "C'mon, push!"
I picked up to a jog, followed the hairpin left, up some more, another hairpin right, and I was on the home straight.

My friend who had cycled cheered me on, along with other friends who had arrived. One more hill. And I was across the finish!
Breathing deep, sweaty, but not as tired as I thought I would be.

I handed in my race number and timing tag, and walked in circles, I had felt worse.
My watch said it was about 9.3km. That made me feel a little deflated. The course wasn't a full 10km. But hey, what an awesome morning! And it wasn't even 11am - it felt like 2pm!

Big ups to Dirtopia for a really well organised event. Things ran smoothly and on time. The course was a good mix of climbs and descents, and the single track amazing.
I'm looking forward to another one!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: BMWPE on January 21, 2019, 08:17:41 pm
Well done
next time take some pics  ;)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 21, 2019, 09:16:52 pm
1.) On the road just after 05:30. Awesome sunrise
2.) Blue skies, it's going to be a hot day!
3.) Klapmuts Koppie from Dirtopia
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 21, 2019, 09:21:28 pm
1.) Organised set up
2.) Pretty flowers
3.) A medal! And some porcupine quills I found in one of the single track sections
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on January 21, 2019, 09:44:37 pm
You are living life Sardine  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mrs. Zog on January 22, 2019, 03:14:24 am
I just love your pictures. Confession: I "steal" some of them and use them as a background on my work laptop!   ;D
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on January 22, 2019, 07:12:11 am
WELL DONE  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on January 22, 2019, 09:08:24 am
Excellent en well done!  :deal:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ican on January 28, 2019, 08:23:45 pm
Well done on your article published in the Global Aviator magazine Heather! I am looking forward to reading part 2 in next months magazine.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on January 28, 2019, 08:44:40 pm
Your photo's are really beautiful. :thumleft: Makes me want to ride off into the sunset :ricky:

If the stars align, we can do a Saturday or overnight trip one weekend (e.g. Oasis, if you're comfortable pillioning your BF there).  Otherwise just up the coast somewhere. There are lots of lovely camping spots all over. I'll help carry camping stuff.

Maybe @woody1 can give us a spot in his garden in Riversdal  :laughing4: West coast might be fun too.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 28, 2019, 09:53:56 pm
Thank you everyone  :ricky:

Wow, thank you, ICan, I hadn't even realised it was already published!

Ri, thank you :)
That would be awesome. My roster for this month is quite rubbish - not many of our days off align and I only have one Saturday off. But let's see!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: silvrav on January 28, 2019, 10:30:35 pm
oh do post a snippet so we can read it as well  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 29, 2019, 08:23:42 am
oh do post a snippet so we can read it as well  :thumleft:

So far, I have only found this online: https://www.magzter.com/preview/2739/326597#page/2
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on January 29, 2019, 01:44:07 pm
" Dirtopia"!!! Does Murandt Botha still organise that? It used to be near Greyton, still have a tee shirt, from...?...2002?
Title: My African Dream
Post by: ican on January 29, 2019, 08:00:13 pm
oh do post a snippet so we can read it as well  :thumleft:

So far, I have only found this online: https://www.magzter.com/preview/2739/326597#page/2

On Magzter you can just search for the Global Lifestyle Aviator magazine. It is in the latest issue.
Very well written, as we have gotten used to from Sardine.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on January 31, 2019, 07:30:47 am
" Dirtopia"!!! Does Murandt Botha still organise that? It used to be near Greyton, still have a tee shirt, from...?...2002?

Hi EssBee, seems he is still involved with the trail building.
It's now on Delvera farm near Klapmuts Koppie.

---

The last week or so my motivation has taken a complete dive. Actually, it has been since the trail run. I just can't seem to get back into the swing of things. I was consistently getting up at 05:30 and going for a run or walk to start my day. It really sets the tone and I enjoy the early starts (once I wake up). But now I find myself hitting snooze more and more, and I just can't find the motivation to do anything.

There is that video or article or whatever it is doing the rounds about motivation and how it's actually nonsense - motivated people don't necessarily get stuff done, but disciplined people do. I've lost my discipline, and it feels rubbish.

I did however go away to Stilbaai last weekend. Will try do a post later. But for now, I must go to work.

Have a lekker day Dogs!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 02, 2019, 02:41:29 pm
January...
19 hours flown, a whopping 9 flights.  :xxbah:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 02, 2019, 03:18:15 pm
25 January-27 January.

We put in for leave and my BF and I took some time out to spend the weekend in Stilbaai.

I can't sit idle, even when on holiday, so we borrowed my brother in law's SUP's, and planned to take our mountain bikes too.

On Friday morning we were up bright and early, and the plan was to be on the road by 5am.
Loading the bikes took a little longer than planned, so we only set off around 05:45.
The sky was already getting light, and it promised to be a fantastic day. We took the N1 to Paarl, cruising at 100km/h so as not to have the bikes blow off the rack on the back. We opted to take Bainskloof Pass rather than the tunnel.

I only got slightly lost in Worcester and then we were on our way to Barrydale where we were looking forward to  a milkshake at the famous Diesel and Creme.

We arrived just before 09:00, and while my BF tried to decide what milkshake to have, I took in the interior of the quirky restaurant. It's a really cool set up.
We were warned the milkshakes were huge, and to either have food or a milkshake. But, we were hungry. I got the Cruella De Ville (Belgian chocolate with strawberry compote) and my BF got the Oreo Cookie.

For food I went with the omelette and my BF got the flapjacks.

The milkshakes, while impressively large, weren't as good as we'd hoped. Mine tasted like regular store-bought chocolate ice cream. And the Oreo one barely had any cookies in it.
The omelette was quite good, and the flapjacks looked and tasted as if they had come out of a packet.
Ah well, live and learn.

Fuelled, we checked the map and chose to go on the R62 to the R323 to Riversdale rather than the R324 to Heidelberg. What we didn't realise was that it was an unmarked dirt road and not a tar one linking the R62 to the R323. I realised something was wrong when we arrived at Ronnie's Sex Shop -  I had thought of visiting but it didn't seem like all it was made up to be. So I got to see it in the end, but we just turned around, found the turn off we were meant to take, and hit the dirt.

And dirt it was - that horrible powdery sand that sticks to everything! The bicycles and cars we absolutely coated.

The rest of the drive was uneventful, and we arrived in Stilbaai around 11:30.
Wow, what a quaint little town! I fell in love with it immediately and it took me back to Mangawhai in New Zealand - we were there almost exactly a year ago.

We were staying in a rondavel right on the river. It was quiet, peaceful and absolutely beautiful.

We unpacked and cleaned off the bikes, then walked across the road to look at the shops and stock up on drinks. Then we went to the Spar to find some provisions for the braai. Ons gaan nou braai!

The afternoon was spent braai-ing, reading, SUPing, and swimming. The sea was so warm! And after dinner we went for a sunset SUP along the river.

By the end of the day it felt as if we had been away several days.

...

Saturday 26th

My alarm went off at 5am. Why so early?
Well, it was my birthday and I wanted to watch the sunrise.
We set off for the beach and were treated to an amazing sunrise and the promise of another great day. The sea was warm so we had a swim, then headed back home where my BF treated me to his fantastic homemade french toast.

Belly's full, we took the SUP's out on the river before the wind picked up.

By 10:00 the clouds had rolled in and the wind picked up. Determined not to let that deter us, we took the bicycles out to explore the town. The weather couldn't decide if it wanted to be cloudy or sunny, but the wind stayed constant. After about an hour and a half of cycling, we returned to our house and got ready to go out... to Inverroche! Gin tasting for me and rum tasting for my BF.

It was a different and tasty experience for me, but the rum wasn't as nice as my BF had hoped. He did however enjoy the ice cream they had on offer!
We were getting hungry and drove around a bit to try find a place to eat. Nothing quite jumped out at us and we eventually settled on a place called Allegaartjie.

I had the fish and chips and my BF had a toasted sandwich. The fish was over-done but had a delicious butter-lemon sauce. The toasted sandwich was average. They had milktart too, and we got a slice to have after dinner. R18 for like, 1/5 of a milktart! And it was pretty tasty!

We took a drive to Jongensfontein, which was a lot busier than Stilbaai!

That evening we braai'd, and took the SUP's out on the river as the sky darkened.

Last year I spent my birthday in New Zealand. This year in Stilbaai. Both were awesome!

...

Sunday 27th

We got up a little later, but were heading to the beach by 07:00 for a morning swim. I love how much warmer the water is there than in the Cape!
When we got home we took the SUP's out one last time, then rinsed them off and left them to dry.

Time to don the bicycle helmets and go exploring, this time towards Preekstoel. We followed the hiking signs in the Stilbaai Oos Nature Reserve, and encountered sandy jeep tracks. We pushed on for a few kilometers, but eventually turned around - we didn't know if it was a loop, and we couldn't get back too late as we had to check out by 1pm. On our way back the beach looked inviting. With no "no bicycle" signs to be seen, we made our way back along the beach.

It was hard going! If the sand wasn't soft, it was wet and grabbed at the tyres. A workout of note, I was ready for another swim and looking forward to lunch! When we eventually got home, we lit he fire and then drove to the beach and had a swim to cool off. Back home, we packed up our stuff while we waited for the fire, then braai'd some wors and had boerie rolls for lunch.

All too soon, it was time to head home. A final sweep of the house, we jumped in the car at set off for Heidelberg.

Here we stopped at the Blue Crane Farm Stall. I was ready for a pie but decided to wait until Peregrine Farm Stall. My BF got a bag of delicious ginger cookies though!

The drive was uneventful, and despite many uphills and the drag from the bicycles, my car was doing very well.

As the k's ticked by the draw of a pie had me salivating. My Mom had been updating us on the fires, and when I checked, all roads were open. Murphy's Law, when we reached Botrivier, Houwhoek Pass had been closed. No!

We looked at other routes - coast wise would take too long and we'd miss out on the pies. Our other option was the Highlands Road. The bikes had been cleaned... did we really want to take another dirt road? For a Peregrine pie? Yes!

So off we went. It was fine for the most part. But then we encountered idiots doing 80km/h through that fine powdery sand in zero visibility. Needless to say, the bikes got a fresh coat of sand! But we got our pies! And we stopped by The Orchard fro chocolate chip cookies.

On the N2, the sign boards said there were delays from the R300 due to an accident. Alternative routing would either take us through Gugulethu or on the R300 where there were also delays. So we sat in traffic. Then my Mom messaged to say Lion's Head was on fire. Great.

After 30 minutes sitting in traffic, we were on the home straight. At home, we unpacked, ate our pies (yum!) and then set off to watch the fire fighters at work. What a blaze! Major kudos to the guys on the ground!

At the end of the day, a great weekend away. If I had the money I'd definitely buy a place in Stilbaai. Now, when's the next holiday?! :peepwall:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on February 02, 2019, 08:22:08 pm
Nice and wishing you a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY....and many more  :3some:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on February 03, 2019, 05:49:59 pm
Nice and wishing you a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY....and many more  :3some:

Ditto!!  :thumleft: :wav:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on February 04, 2019, 02:51:16 am
Nice and wishing you a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY....and many more  :3some:

Ditto!!  :thumleft: :wav:

And again from me  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: silvrav on February 04, 2019, 02:52:44 am
Nice and wishing you a belated HAPPY BIRTHDAY....and many more  :3some:

Ditto!!  :thumleft: :wav:

And again from me  :thumleft:

Whats after Dito? Tito? :peepwall: Happy belated Bday @Sardine  :ricky: :ricky: :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ican on February 17, 2019, 07:17:48 pm
I have just enjoyed reading part two of your article on the Quest Kodiak in the Global Aviator magazine.(March edition) Well done, Sardine!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 20, 2019, 02:02:18 pm
Samosas... what makes them perfect?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: woody1 on February 20, 2019, 02:36:36 pm
Not what ... Who...

My Indian next door neighbor  :laughing4:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 20, 2019, 02:46:31 pm
Not what ... Who...

My Indian next door neighbor  :laughing4:

Do they take orders?  :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: woody1 on February 20, 2019, 02:59:34 pm
 :imaposer:

Best samosa for me is the beef ones  :drif: :drif: :drif:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 20, 2019, 04:16:16 pm
But what makes it good?

How big should it be? A one-bite snack, or a 3-bite treat.
How crisp should the pastry be? With a good crunch, but not so crispy that it shatters and half of it falls on the floor  :dousing:
Spicy or mild? Toilet paper in the freezer... a nice little kick... or just a hint of pow.
Oil or not? Greasy oily goodness, or something where you don't have to wash your hands after the deed.
How much filling is just enough? Does it go flying when the pastry shatters, do you need a plate to catch it.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ican on February 20, 2019, 08:03:34 pm
How long is a piece of string...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on February 21, 2019, 03:21:08 am
Right now I'd settle for ANY samoosa…  :drif:

and a piece of boerie on the braai  :drif:


What I REALLY also miss is a meat pie from Woolies. Any garage pie...  :drif:   

'Mericans don't know the good food.  :xxbah:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Pilchie on February 21, 2019, 10:26:33 pm
But what makes it good?

How big should it be? A one-bite snack, or a 3-bite treat.
How crisp should the pastry be? With a good crunch, but not so crispy that it shatters and half of it falls on the floor  :dousing:
Spicy or mild? Toilet paper in the freezer... a nice little kick... or just a hint of pow.
Oil or not? Greasy oily goodness, or something where you don't have to wash your hands after the deed.
How much filling is just enough? Does it go flying when the pastry shatters, do you need a plate to catch it.

Must be fresh - 3 bite spicy
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on February 27, 2019, 02:24:10 pm
And just like that, February is almost gone.

It has been a quiet month. Tonight is my last night shift. I have flown 7.7hrs. Out of 19 shifts.
Dismal. Absolutely shocking.

On the plus side, we did a Cape Town-Bloemfontein-Oudtshoorn-Cape Town flight was was fantastic. My first time flying into to the main airport at Bloem.
Photos to follow at some point - my laptop is being a twit. But, it was like being back in Botswana - bright blue skies, fluffy white clouds, green and flat terrain, thunderstorms building...

On Friday we climbed the Helderberg Mountain which was awesome. We ascended from Helderberg Plaas, got to West Peak, then headed over to the Dome.
Even though we packed 2l of water each, it was hot with no wind and we started running low on fluids. So instead of returning via the tricky ascent back to West Peak, we descending through the nature reserve and my called Mom for a lift  :imaposer:

It took us 7.5hrs, and we're both quite fit. However, I still can't walk without pain in my quads  :xxbah:

Yesterday we went on a fantastic helicopter flight along the Atlantic Seaboard. The weather cleared up wonderfully and we were treated to views of whales and mountains. It doesn't get much better than that.

I'm woman-down now though - a stomach bug has attacked. Do I force myself to get up and walk to the shops and get more bogroll, or do I half die on the couch?
The struggle is real, folks.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on February 27, 2019, 04:07:39 pm
You're so funny  :imaposer:

I love it  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on February 28, 2019, 03:16:51 am
Sorry you are feeling ill.

Just send the boyfriend to the shops for the necessary supplies. Then when he gets back he can give you a massage too...  :pot:  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on February 28, 2019, 11:16:58 am
Hope you get better soon.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 02, 2019, 12:01:51 am
Thanks folks.
On Wednesday I half died on the couch then summoned the energy to walk to the shops and get some bogroll. I made a turn at the chemist and discovered there is a generic for Imodium. For only R10/six tablets. It’s a bit like leaving 5 minutes late and hitting that N2 traffic into Cape Town (backed up with no end in sight).

Good thing I decided to half die for the day as, despite not feeling 100%, I was at least well rested for when work phoned at 10pm (as I fell asleep). Off to George!
Beautiful still night, but pitch black.

Oh, I forgot. I finally got to donate my hair to CANSA. For all of my teenage life I sported short hair. When I moved to Botswana I started growing it out as I didn’t trust the hair dressers there. Looking back on photos I also realized I had terrible taste and looked like a twit.
I think it got to about the longest it has ever been - easily 30cm of ponytail. A foot of hair. That’s a lot! And I shed my brown locks as much as a Golden Retriever.

So I psyched myself up and mentally prepared to have my hair chopped short. Snip and... they chopped off a lot less than I expected, which was both a relief and a bit of an anti climax. But I’m glad I finally managed to donate- it has been something I’ve been wanting to do for many years.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on March 02, 2019, 02:58:43 am
I'm glad you survived  :thumleft:

Short hair is so much easier and simpler. Just ask Mrs Zog…  :biggrin:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on March 02, 2019, 03:54:29 pm
I'm glad you survived  :thumleft:

Short hair is so much easier and simpler. Just ask Mrs Zog…  :biggrin:

Or me; love the convenience. I wish I could grow it, though. I have baby locks - thin and soft as a cat's under pelt. And with short hair, a love for motorbikes and no attachments, I've been asked whether I'm gay ::) (for anyone wondering: it's rude to ask :imaposer:)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ian in Great Brak River on March 26, 2019, 03:38:08 am
What happened in Bots yesterday?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 28, 2019, 10:29:20 am
This month has been quiet but busy.

Work-wise, I have done one mission. For some reason I was stuck on night shift for almost the whole month, and of the three night shifts I had, two were taken away.

When we had night flights the weather was bad, and when it was flyable, nothing happened.

So that left me with a lot of time, which was a good thing in the end as we packed up and moved back to Somerset West.

But my mood has plummeted with the lack of flying. I have done almost more unmanned (drone) flying than actual flying. I did, however, get to do a few flights in the Chipmunk which was great!

Last week I purchased a new second hand car. Not even 300km later it spat out all the radiator fluid. Which turned out be water and oil. It happened in a parking lot in Cape Town. On a public holiday. So we towed it to Somerset West and left it for the mechanic to collect on Friday. Turns out that while it had a “full service history”, whoever had been doing the servicing did a poor job and the radiator was blocked. The head gasket? Blown. My pocket? Very empty. My mood? Furious.

On Saturday it was “FASHKOSH”, the Stellenbosch Airshow. My first airshow in years, and it was quite good. Once you’ve been to a few airshows they all get quite monotonous. But it was great to catch up with friends. Highlights flying-wise were the Bell 407 display, Team Extreme, and one of Mango’s B737.

When they said a B737 would do a display we all thought “yeah sure, the’ll fly overhead a bit lower en-route to Cape Town”.
So imagine our surprise when a giant orange hunk of metal came scooting past at 100ft!
It was a fantastic display and much enjoyed.

Monday was very emotional and stressful and exciting and scary and sad. My boyfriend is off on a great new adventure. I move to Somerset West while he moves to Canada.

Tuesday was an early start. I was up just before 03:00, and on the road at about 03:20. Destination: Gaborone to drop off my RAV and visit a friend.

The roads were beautifully quiet until about 07:00, then the trucks started. I don’t enjoy driving the N1 and it was a struggle to stay positive.

I’m Beaufort West I indulged in a delicious omelette and very strong espresso at the 4 Sheep Restaurant.

After that I felt more human and awake.
I took the drive easy, cruising at 100km/h most of the way, taking lots of breaks even if it was to just walk around the car once and carry on. It made a difference and the trip didn’t drag on too much.

I stayed in Bloemfontein that night and got to meet fellow Dog, Grunder. It’s always cool to put a face to the name, and his family kindly let me stay the night.

On Wednesday I was up just after 03:00 and on the road bang on 04:00. Off the N1, the roads were quiet and it was a dark morning. I’ve never driven here so it was nice that it was new, but it was stressful until the sky lightened as there were no fences and I’d seen a few antelope and what also looked like a caracal.

I took the first for hours very easy. Turns out doing 80km/h in a 2.0 RAV4 automatic = great fuel economy. I did 700km on a tank. I normally only get 550-600km.

Breakfast was had in Spur in Lichtenburg. A bit of a meh place at first, but everyone was very friendly and their Americano is double the size of the one at the CT International Spur! Delicious breakfast had, it was back on the road for the push to the border.

The border, Ramatlabama was quiet, and it was a relatively speedy crossing. Next stop, Gaborone!
I’d never been to Gaborone. The road was good, terrain hilly and green, and I constantly had to remind myself that this was real “Africa Time”.

1yr and 2months since I was last in Botswana. I couldn’t really appreciate it over the stress and lack of sleep the last week. Traffic in Gaborone was chaos. People and cars everywhere, big shopping centres, but it was all clean.

That evening my friend and I went to the yacht club, yup, there’s a yacht club. It was awesome. Great view over the water and a very chilled vibe. It made me miss Maun a lot. The food had run out by the time we wanted to order, so I suggested pizza. I have been craving Roman’s for a week and, surprise! They have a Roman’s! Yum.

It was an early night in preparation for another early start. Only a 04:30 wake up this time though.
Flask filled with coffee and left over pizza wrapped up, we set off for River Walk Mall.

And at 06:00 I boarded a bus for like, the 6th time in my life.
I don’t like busses. I associate them with accidents. I was going to fly but that would cost me triple. So I decided to push my fear to the side and buy a Flight Connect bus ticket.

And here I am, in a bus on the N4 near Brits. I have an empty seat beside me. It’s relatively comfortable. We got tea and coffee and muffins, there’s aircon and WiFi. Must say it’s nice not having to do the driving.

The border crossing was just outside of Gaborone- I didn’t realize it was so close e. Leaving Botswana, the passport control office was clean, the staff friendly and efficient. About 30 people stamped out in 5 minutes.

In South Africa, we entered a tired, old office manned by one official. It took about 30 minutes.

And then, I was back in South Africa! And missing Botswana.
I keep thinking it is Friday. It feels like I have been away for months. I can’t wait to see my family and dogs on Saturday- I’m spending a couple of days in JHB.

Are we there yet?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kortbroek on March 28, 2019, 10:57:08 am
Monday was very emotional and stressful and exciting and scary and sad. My boyfriend is off on a great new adventure. I move to Somerset West while he moves to Canada.

Thanks for the update Sardine. All I can say is I have a lot of empathy for the above situation. Last year my now ex girlfriend got the job offer of a lifetime in Scotland while I got transferred to P.E.. Long distance is not for everyone. Good luck.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on March 29, 2019, 10:17:01 am
Monday was very emotional and stressful and exciting and scary and sad. My boyfriend is off on a great new adventure. I move to Somerset West while he moves to Canada.

Thanks for the update Sardine. All I can say is I have a lot of empathy for the above situation. Last year my now ex girlfriend got the job offer of a lifetime in Scotland while I got transferred to P.E.. Long distance is not for everyone. Good luck.
That must be a toss one splitting up not because of not getting along but a better job in another country!! :eek7: :(
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: EssBee on March 29, 2019, 11:16:17 am
Monday was very emotional and stressful and exciting and scary and sad. My boyfriend is off on a great new adventure. I move to Somerset West while he moves to Canada.

Thanks for the update Sardine. All I can say is I have a lot of empathy for the above situation. Last year my now ex girlfriend got the job offer of a lifetime in Scotland while I got transferred to P.E.. Long distance is not for everyone. Good luck.
That must be a toss one splitting up not because of not getting along but a better job in another country!! :eek7: :(

Hell, yes, that must be hard!

Thanks for the update, Heather, hope you feel better soon.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Takashi on March 29, 2019, 02:12:47 pm
Monday was very emotional and stressful and exciting and scary and sad. My boyfriend is off on a great new adventure. I move to Somerset West while he moves to Canada.

Thanks for the update Sardine. All I can say is I have a lot of empathy for the above situation. Last year my now ex girlfriend got the job offer of a lifetime in Scotland while I got transferred to P.E.. Long distance is not for everyone. Good luck.

Long distance is hard work and every situation is different but it can be done.
My girlfriend started working for Qatar Airways in October last year and it really is difficult sometimes.
Her schedule is also obviously very strange as I sometimes have to be up at 3h00 to do a video call because she has just landed in Auckland or wherever the hell she is that day.

The lucky thing with our long distance relationship is that we have been able to see each other at least twice a month since December.
She gets really cheap flights and a couple of off days each month.

We will be making the most of this and travel the world while the tickets are cheap. (90% discount for her, a return flight Doha - JHB is cheaper than a JHB-CT return flight)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: ChrisL - DUSTRIDERS on March 29, 2019, 02:39:01 pm
Have a canadian pilot as a client. He has been dating a girl that lives in the east for the last 23 years!! :o
She is also an air hostess. At best they see each other once a month.
He says they prefer it that way as she does not like Canada at all and is very "familievas"(have no clue what the english word for that is!!?)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: RobbieJZW on March 29, 2019, 08:11:33 pm
Good luck Sardine. Long distance is not fun, but if you have an end point you can make it work
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on March 30, 2019, 03:31:49 pm
Thank you everyone.
In Botswana even though we were within 100km of each other, we only saw each other once a month. Sometimes for a day, sometimes for 5 minutes as we passed through the same airstrips. That was the first 8 months or so of our relationship.

I’m heading home to Cape Town soon. Can’t wait!
Took me 1.5hrs to do 10km on the N3 yesterday because of two minor accidents and a truck that broke down. Eish!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on March 31, 2019, 02:45:33 am
If your hearts are both in it then you can do it  :deal:


I spent a year apart from Mrs Zog when she had to return to the US a few years ago. That wasn't easy, but we saw how much we needed to be together during that time, and now we both appreciate each other even more.

With the modern stuff like skype and WhatsApp video chat etc. you will only ever be just milliseconds apart. I'm sure that he is going there to get hours on a type he needs, bigger picture stuff.

It will be worth it in the end  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Tom van Brits on March 31, 2019, 07:19:44 am
Not lekker, and this will be a true test of you guys relationship.
If he has got a long contract there look into ways of maybe finding work there too?
I had a fireman friend there back in the 90's and he was always telling me about the planes the smoke jumpers used and he eventually also did commercial and changed career.
You are a good pilot, and the sky is the limit  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 10, 2019, 06:29:50 am
Sunsets and cities.
Guess the city  :laughing4:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on April 10, 2019, 06:58:07 am
Cape Town  :lol8:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 10, 2019, 10:38:56 am
Cape Town  :lol8:
Negative!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on April 10, 2019, 11:14:06 am
Cape Town  :lol8:
Negative!

You got me  :imaposer:

Somewhere in South America?
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 10, 2019, 12:31:22 pm
I wish!

Approaching Lanseria from the West.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 10, 2019, 12:37:55 pm
Sunday, 7 April

Massive bolts of lightning light up the horizon, 200nm away. Clouds are illuminated for a second, and then all goes dark again.
The stars twinkle above, and then, like a Mexican wave, the sky lights up from left to right. Bolt after bolt after bolt. I can only imagine what a thunderous roar there must be on the ground.

I have seen thunderstorms before. But never from 25 000ft. Whilst heading straight towards them.
For now the weather radar is clear, but airliners ahead are calling for left and right of track due to the weather. We can see their lights, winking above and ahead of us as they pull away doing Mach 0.8; this is good, it means the clouds haven’t developed vertically. Yet.

We consult the significant weather charts, increase the range of the radar, check the map for lit airfields in the area, and make sure our back is clear should we need an escape route.

“Guys!” I shout to the paramedics in the back. “We’re going to hit some weather. We’re not sure when, but keep those seatbelts on!”

For now we are in the clear. But it isn’t long before we’re skimming the tops of the clouds, a peculiar sensation with lightning flashing below. And then, the strobe lights light up the cockpit, indicating we are in the cloud. Strobes off, propeller heat on, I switch the wing light on- we’re in rain. The inertial separator gets opened- any heavier-than-air particles get flung out and “clean” goes into the engine.

A glance back at the wing.
“We’re picking up ice, deice boots going on a 3-minute cycle,” I tell the co-pilot. A sudden blinding flash burns the sun into my eyes for a second. I blink, my night vision destroyed. The rain intensifies and the ice builds up faster.
“Deice boots going on a 1-minute cycle. Igniters on.”

Too much rain can extinguish the “ring of fire” burning at over 780degC in the PC-12 ‘s PT6A-67P engine.

The weather radar starts showing patches of yellow. It isn’t long before they turn red and magenta. You don’t want to be near those areas, especially magenta. We start avoiding weather, zig-zagging our way over the Freestate. Between the flashes of lightning, the clouds around us pulse with the red glow of the beacon light. The calm in the storm. Literally.

I can hear the paramedic in the back, breathing through his headset. If it’s bumpy in the front, it’s 10 times worse in the back as the tail swishes back and forth.

The planned flight time was 2.5hrs. That has come and gone. Is that my heart beating in time with the pulsing beacon light? Must be. 50nm to go. We’re almost there. A final bank of cloud is between us and our destination.

I can hear talking in the back. “Everything ok there guys?”
“The patient’s stats have dropped.”
“Ok, we’ve got 15 minutes to go.”
We’re in the last bank of cloud. And it throws us around, up and down and left and right. Not the worst I’ve experience, but still uncomfortable. And then, we’re out. Lanseria is lit up ahead of us.

I relax, but only slightly. We still have to get back to Cape Town.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on April 10, 2019, 12:46:27 pm
 :eek7:

Beautifully written - you have another talent  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: >>Thump°C on April 10, 2019, 12:51:26 pm
Very well written.
Saw a pic on fb that reminded me of someone.

Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kortbroek on April 10, 2019, 01:15:10 pm
Awesome stuff Sardine. Very well written indeed. Keep it coming  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Mr Zog on April 11, 2019, 02:31:26 am
Beautifully written  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 11, 2019, 01:49:59 pm
Very well written.
Saw a pic on fb that reminded me of someone.

Thank you. I love this photo!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 11, 2019, 02:04:48 pm
Thanks for the compliments, guys!  :thumleft:
---

So there we were, the city lights of Lanseria overpowering the twinkle of the stars. We were cleared for a straight-in approach, runway 07.
The instruments were set, I had an idea of where the runway was relative to us, and we were to report "runway in sight". Only, I couldn't see it. And at only about 5nm away, you kind of what to know where you're going to be planting the tin can.

Fortunately my co-pilot had been to Lanseria at night before, and knew what to look for. Turns out I was looking way too far ahead.
Runway in sight, I got us on the PAPI's (they give vertical guidance and keep you on the glide slope) and followed them down. We crossed the approach lights, then the runway threshold. And the runway just kept flashing by...

Landing downhill, the runway was falling away from us. Rapidly. I hadn't realised just how hectic the slope was! So we floated like a lilo for a while before I managed to get the wheels on the ground ballerina-style - nice light tippy toe touchdown.

We were given progressive taxi instructions to our parking, as a FlySafair B737 taxi'd out. Turns out the person who taught me to fly was Captain on that B737, so we had a quick exchange of hello's on the radio, and then shut down to wait for the ambulance.

If I had a Rand for every minute spent waiting for ambulances... turns out they were on the other side of the airport, and had to drive around.

Patient offloaded, we filled the tanks for the return flight, and whilst the paramedics were at the hospital, set off in search of coffee. At like, 10pm. Needless to say, there was no coffee. Could be worse - there were people waiting for friends and family off a Kulula flight. Spectacularly late as usual (most likely. I have only known Kulula to be late, lately. As the airport had pretty much closed, I can only assume that flight was probably meant to be there over an hour ago).

But, the hospital was nearby and it was a speedy hand over, so we were on our way before our bodies could melt into the squishy Kauai seats in the terminal.

The weather reports showed the thunderstorms had intensified, with cloud tops at over 40 000ft. The weather-man we phoned didn't sound too certain, so we opted to go with Windy's forecast which showed the storms moving south- we would go north if we had to get around anything.

It was my leg to monitor i.e. do the radio work and paperwork. Normally by now on a night flight I'd be tired, but the fact that we spent 3.5hrs actively monitoring weather meant I was alert (on clear nights you sit there and it's very easy to zone out). We blasted off runway 07, with an early left turn to stay well clear of terra firma. Handed over to... eish... JHB radar I think, we cleared direct to GETEN, a waypoint before our destination. This cut out about 6 other way points and must have shaved off a good few nm's! Lekker.

We skimmed the cloud tops once again, and then entered the clag. Everything that could be hot was hot - it's better to be safe than sorry - and we kept an eye on the weather radar. Which, apart from two spots of yellow, remained green- rain but no turbulence. So much for intensifying storms.
The flight back was a lot more straight forward, with only a bit of lightning on the horizon near Beaufort West.

We got back to Cape Town around 3am. With paperwork done and aerie tucked in, I opted to stay awake until 5am- I had to go into the city and wanted to beat traffic. I'd rather sleep in my car for an hour or two than sit in traffic. Which is exactly what I did; found a quiet street near where I had to be and passed out  :imaposer:

A good 6.8hrs in the bag, and an incredible experience!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on April 11, 2019, 02:41:39 pm
 :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 22, 2019, 09:49:40 pm
What a day.

I had 3 days off in a row from Wednesday to Saturday night. On Wednesday I went in to work in the morning to help with a ground run.
I was planning on getting away but I couldn't decide where to do. So I stayed at home. But it worked out in the end. I have been having issue after issue with my car. More on that in another post.

So I was heading in to work today and say 4 guys almost get splattered by a Spar truck - they were fighting and trying to push each other into oncoming traffic on the N2. I called the cops, and amazingly within minutes they called me back to get an exact location as the switchboard lady didn't seem too switched on. I hope they got the guys and arrested them.

Not long after work phoned and asked when I would be in as there was a fairly urgent flight.
I was at the office 10 minutes later, and the flight had now become very urgent. A sick child in Clanwilliam had to be brought to Cape Town. The wind was howling over the mountains with gusts in excess of 40kts, and the helicopter pilot wasn't too keen on going.

But I was. I phoned the airfield owner to make sure he was happy with it; he was. Game on!
I was excited. Not only was this somewhere new (in the PC-12. I flew to Clanwilliam... in 2012...), but it was a challenge as the runway has one heck of a slope.
It took all of 35 minutes for us to get there. There was a bump or two but nothing major.

My landing couldn't have been better, and the owner treated us to coffee while we waited for the ambulance. And once our crew was on their way to the hospital, the owner drove us to his house for a colddrink. Lekker!

About 2hrs later we were loaded up and setting off down the (downhill) runway, the end approaching at an alarming rate. But, we were airborne with room to spare, and set heading for Cape Town.

Once we got back to base we were informed of a George flight. The weather looked good so I accepted it. Then they asked if we could go to Swellendam too. I phoned a friend there to check the weather - all good. Sweet! Swellendam-George triangle!

The wind was pumping in Swellendam, and rain was on the horizon. Eventually the ambulance arrived and we loaded up and set off for George.
Swellendam is almost exactly half way between Cape Town and George, each leg taking 30 minutes.

We were cleared straight-in on runway 11 in George, through the layers of cloud. George was cold and windy and it was a 20 minute wait for the ambulance.

Eventually we were all set, and took off at last light  It was bumpy initially but smoothed right out and we were treated to a spectacular sunset.

This is what flying is about- new challenges, new places, and an action-packed day!  :ricky:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on April 23, 2019, 06:24:22 am
Nice one  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Ri on April 23, 2019, 06:26:50 pm
Good on you Sardine, taking these weather conditions in your stride :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 23, 2019, 07:26:04 pm
Clanwilliam
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 23, 2019, 07:26:58 pm
Enroute to Swellendam
Swellendam
Enroute to George between the cloud layers
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 23, 2019, 07:27:50 pm
George was cold and windy and became even more dreary as clouds rolled in.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 23, 2019, 07:28:30 pm
Ja nee. Lekker.
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Kerritz on April 24, 2019, 06:54:01 am
Ek los altyd jou thread vir 'n rukkie so wanneer ek tyd het dan vang ek bietjie op sodat ek lekker rustig kan lees.

Daai stukkie Lanseria toe was soos 'n fiction novel gewees.....jy skryf net so goed as wat jy kan vlieg.

Dankie ek het dit baie geniet.  :thumleft:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: RobbieJZW on April 24, 2019, 08:58:36 am
So cool Sardine!
I’ve been up & down quite a bit the last ~6 months, and it’s always fascinating as a passenger to try pick out landmarks as you go. The last flight into Lanseria had me totally stumped-you don’t realize how much topography there is as you approach!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Captain Cook on April 24, 2019, 09:49:56 pm
Is that the airstrip next to the N7 in Clanwilliam?  The owner has some interesting aircraft in the hangers.  I have in a few of them with him.  Great guy we had a blast
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 25, 2019, 03:20:55 pm
Yesterday I arranged to take a friend flying in the Chipmunk. He is considering doing his PPL so I thought I would fuel the fire.

The wind was howling at 5am but it calmed down as the sun came up. There was barely a breath of wind at the Stellenbosch Flying Club. A perfect day to go taildragging!

We puttered around the Simonsberg and up the Franschhoek Valley. There was a bump here and there, but otherwise, beautiful!

Back at the airfield we did a couple of circuits and I amazed myself with what was quite possibly my smoothest landing in the Chipmunk.

I then flew with the owner of the plane as he hadn’t flown it in ages and wanted a refresher (my landings were better than his :P).

And I finished off the morning with a lekker chicken burger.

What a way to spend a brilliant autumn morning!

Today I woke up at 04:45 and briefly considered hitting snooze and going to sleep. But, I had a plan to follow through with. Go to... gym!

I have entered a duathlon this Monday. I’ve never done such an event, and the only running events Ive done are a 10km trail run at Delvera, and the 5km Impi at Coetzenburg.

I was going to enter the team event, but the guy who was going to cycle has to work. So I figured, screw it. Time for a challenge! And entered. Gulp.

It’s 10.5km running, then 30km mountain biking, and finishes with another 5.25km run.

So this morning I hit the treadmill and bicycle to see how my body would handle the exercises back to back. I think key will be to pace myself, and to stay properly hydrated and fueled. It was also a test to see if I could run in my cycling shorts. Fortunately there was no discomfort, so no need to fork out on “tri pants”.

I kicked off with 35min on the treadmill, with the “rolling hills” setting. I know I can do 5km in 30min but I don’t know if it is sustainable.
I got through that alright considering I had been asleep 45minutes earlier.

Then I had a minute or two rest and jumped on the bike, also for 35min. My original plan was to only do a 5km run and 10km cycle. But as I cycled I realized “hey, I can just do half the event”. So I managed a little over 15km cycling in 35min.

Then it was back on the treadmill for a 2.5km run, which wound up being a little longer as I decided to run for 20 minutes.

The second run felt better than the first and I found my breathing more controlled, my muscles less sore and my mind clear.

That was the start to my day!
I did some errands the rest of the morning and then went by an Italian place at Opa Greek Taverna in Main Road Somerset West.

Someone on Facebook mentioned they do a good pizza and the cheesecake isn’t half bad.
So I parked off with my book (Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand... I haven’t seen the movie yet- I wanted to read the book first. Which I have now almost finished ) and munched a regina pizza. It wasn’t bad- nice thin crust, just enough cheese, but a little bland.

Then the waiter convinced me to try their “baklava cheesecake”. Oh go on then.

It was beautifully presented with nuts and honey on the top, and a little phyllo pastry. The based seemed to be a coconut biscuit. The cheesecake was just the right consistency and had good flavour.

But boy oh boy was it rich. I ate all of it, of course, but you would likely be satisfied with half a slice.

There I was, alone in a restaurant, contentedly reading my book. Bliss :)
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: TeeJay on April 25, 2019, 04:02:18 pm
You're an old soul huh?  :3some:
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Wooly Bugger on April 25, 2019, 04:08:20 pm
What a great read, Heather? Keep on posting!
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 27, 2019, 04:59:07 am
Oh noes...
Title: Re: My African Dream
Post by: Sardine on April 29, 2019, 08:40:08 pm
A while back I was searching for trail running events and came across the 8 Hour Challenge. It’s a 3-day event held in Wellington at the Welbedacht Farm.

I could only take part on day 3, 29 April, and had hoped to enter the duathlon as a team. I would run and my teammate would cycle.

Alas, he had to work. So early last week I decided bugger it, I will enter solo!

I got there bright and early, just before 7am, and watched the sunrise.

With my racepack in hand, I paced, packed and repacked, ate breakfast and fidgeted until the start time of 09:00.

Being a Monday, there weren’t that many participants. A number had also withdrawn due to injury from the previous day. So it didn’t quite have the gees that the Delvera run had.

The duathlon was a 10.5km run, 30km mountainbike ride, and a final 5.25km run. Though the distances were shorter (or my watch GPS skipped sections).

I set off at the back of the ground, and managed to position myself just behind a couple who had competed the entire weekend. The lady had injured her shoulder on Sunday during the mountainbike ride. But wow, she missioned on like an absolute boss! I managed to gain some distance on them for the cycling portion, but for the final run they caught me up.

But I was about 5th from the back.
The run was two laps, the route taking us between the vineyards with a mix of flats, downhills and uphills.

I took it easy, not wanting to tire myself out too early in the game. Come the 7km mark I was sweating in places no one should ever sweat. It wasn’t hot, but there was no breeze, and no shade.

I completed the run is just over 1hr which I am really happy with. On my second lap the leaders were already on their bikes and lapping me - the running and cycling loops overlapped here and there.

My transition went well, considering I’ve never done something like this before, and I was on the bike and ready for the cycle. It felt good to have the wind in my hair, and the first 3km of the cycle route were the same as the running, so I knew what to expect.

But, at the 4km mark my calves started to cramp. I pushed through, pain and all, and eventually the cramping started to subside.

And then, we got whacked with one heck of an uphill. Like Suikerbossie towards the end of the Argus, this wasn’t a long stretch but it was steep, in the sun, and painful.

Over all, the 3x10km cycle loop wasn’t too bad. There was however lots of loose sand in the corners, and a front wheel washout was always on my mind. There were also two big dips that I elected to walk through, costing me time.

By the third lap I was really hurting from the cramps and actually looking forward to running. The cycle had taken me 2 hours. There was a 4-hour cut off, so I had 1hr left in which to finish.

Another fairly quick transition and I was off on my run. With a banana in hand for fuel, I felt strong, for all of 50m. I was hoping the potassium would kick in quickly.

I decided to walk a lot of it- no point in killing myself. But when I came to the first ascent, my quads started to cramp up. I’ve never had that before. I walked the hills and did a very slow jog on the flats and downhills.

At the water station I glugged as much powearade as I could without wanting to throw up, and stocked up on water. It was hot now.

The couple that had been behind me overtook me. As much as I tried to push and not let them widen the gap, my body just wasn’t having any of it. I firmly believe endurance events are a case of mind over matter. But I had pushed hard, was probably dehydrated, lacking electrolytes, and lacking food.

But, I jogged the last downhill, walked the flats, and managed to jog the final 100m and across the finish line.

I think it had taken me a total of 3:44, which I am really happy with. I finished third last, but, I finished, and that’s all that matters.

It took about 45min for my heart rate to come down from 160 odd bpm to 100bpm, and then another hour to eventually settle down. I was so sore, that chewing hurt, and so exhausted that I lost feeling in my face.

But what a day :) I have learnt about myself, and about the importance of proper race nutrition - I thought I had eaten well, but looking back I was vastly unprepared.

As for the organization of the event, it was quite good, but at the water stations the volunteers didn’t hold the cups for you to grab on the go, so you had to stop each time. I al