Namibia Self-Fly Safaris

May 11th, 2008

The following is the experience of a safari through Namibia by a pilot who had completed some thorough planning which resulted in an enjoyable trip with minimum problems. The pilot bought some VFR charts and a Namibian Runway Directory well in advance, then contacted us for some pre-flight planning information. And fortunately for us provided some feedback after the trip so we could ensure we gave him the right advice, update the publication, and share the experience with others.

I’d like to say this is a typical experience – but this would be only for those who take time in planning and preparation, which sadly is not everyone.

Dear Danielle,

we are back from your wonderful country! What a trip! We still have in our eyes (and our pictures, more than 350!) the images of the differences of Namibia, from the incredible Fish River Canyon to the vast desert and dunes of Sossusvlei , the fog along the coast and the quite looking scary hills and mountains on route to Hobatere! I don’t know enough words in english to show our happiness after this trip!

Of course your airfield directory was quite helpful, and I would like to share with you what I found during our stops.

Keetmanshoop, we arrived on Sunday, the airport was unmanned but the man in charge for landing fee was able to call custom and immigration in just few minutes! Of course there was no fuel but we were lucky because a car with a fuel drum from Desert Air was refueling a Piper and offer us to fill it up our tanks, even if he asked a call out fee!

– Fuel services ceased recently, this is presently notamed, we are hoping someone may take over the account.

Karios, good landing strip, plus Hein and his staff were very helpful. We were able to refuel, the price was quite high (21 ND x liter) but I full understand the price, actually if you compare was cheaper than Keetmanshoop

Geluk, fantastic place, it’s incredible to land in a place like that! The gravel is very rough, too many big stones, but for the rest, all ok! We were even able to watch the sunset under the wing of our plane (of course a Cessna high wing) while sipping a gin tonic…actually I was there to check the plane and my wife, smart woman, brought the drinks! We have to thanks Le Mirage staff for the possibility to use two quad bikes to go to the airfield at no charge!

– Big stones noted, we’ll put a reference in the new edition (I probably didn’t notice with the big C210 tyres)

In both places the day we left the person who drove us to the plane didn’t leave until we were airborne, very safety!

– Most lodges are very helpful in terms of things like “clearing game’”from the strip, organising trips to the aeroplane, and assistance with flight planning phone calls (even when they like to tell guests they don’t have a phone), the aircraft are the lifeline to the lodges and they are all very safety conscious when it comes to requests from the PIC!

Walvis Bay, ok not so particular like the others but still ok, the only problem was the fuel, or a part of it…because I wasn’t sure if I was able to find the avgas where needed I took with me two 25 liters jerry can and everywhere except Walvis I was able to have them refill. I spoke with the man in charge and he said that for I don’t know which policy I couldn’t refill the jerry cans!

– Fuel which is not in an approved ferry tank installation is unfortunately seen as dangerous goods, and subject to the requirements of Part 92 (Dangerous Goods). This is obviously to prevent improper carriage leading to leaking canisters or harmful fumes in the passenger cabin. This aside, in my personal opinion, properly secured good quality jerry cans are less of a risk than pilots attempting to push on minimum fuel after an unexpected fuel situation. The best way is to ensure adequate fueling facilities is to contact all the relevant people during the planning stage, confirm again a few days prior to the trip, check the notams and phone again on the day of the trip. Of course this doesn’t prevent situations like I experienced when I arrived in Luderitz to find the fuel pump had just broken down! Another option is to check the fuel can storage system for acceptance with a Part 43 (AMO) operator before departure.

Hobatere, number one in our list! The landing strip is not very easy to access, but is a gem! Perfect gravel, good length, the width is ok, maybe the animals roaming the runway were not so nice, but hey, is their home at the end! Steven and his family were wonderful, particular his son! Always available if I had to go back to the plane, I did a couple of times because I forgot something, and very helpful with a lot of information.

– I agree on the difficult to see/access, it is right in the middle of a narrow valley!

One day we flew over the Etosha Pan and landed at Tsumeb for fuel, cute airport, nice refueling personnel, and then we went back to Hobatere. I was too low on my circuit after a low passage over the strip, so instead of flying over the hill at the end of 06 I flew around it, the problem was the windshear from the hills, not too much wind, actually the windsock was almost dead, but some gust coming from various direction, interesting, too say the least!

Then we flew back to Walvis for a night stop and Sunday we did Walvis/Alexander Bay were we stopped for fuel, and then direct to Cape Town…this part with SE wind, so I decided to stay low (1500ft) to try to avoid the stronger wind, at the end we took 3hrs45min to reach the Mother City!!!

The Customs in Walvis was very helpful, like the apron personnel.

Concerning your book I have one question…while we were flying from Geluk to Big Daddy, to go to Walvis then, I was flying at low level to appreciate the scenery, and one of the plane coming in told me that I was supposed to fly at 3500′ as per standard pattern in the area. I couldn’t find anything about it on your book, maybe I missed something?

– There is no formal procedure, except broadcasting intentions in the high density VFR traffic area is essential. We are speaking to the Swakopmund Commercial operators, to find out if there is an informal procedure which the pilot was referring to, that we can publish in the next edition, at present they say there is no informal procedure either.

I hope I didn’t bother you too much with this email, thanks again for your help, best regards ciao Aldo

– We Really appreciate the feedback, to help others and to spread the word on why we enjoy flying here so much, Thank-you Aldo!!

Cessna Training Manuals

PA announcements

May 3rd, 2008

Some from

On a Continental Flight with a very “senior” flight attendant crew, the pilot said, “Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve reached cruising altitude and will be turning down the cabin lights. This is for your comfort and to enhance the appearance of your flight attendants.”

“There may be 50 ways to leave your lover, but there are only 4 ways out of this airplane…”

After landing: “Thank you for flying Delta Business Express. We hope you enjoyed giving us the business as much as we enjoyed taking you for a ride.”

After a particularly rough landing during thunderstorms in Memphis, a flight attendant on a Northwest flight announced: “Please take care when opening the overhead compartments because, after a landing like that, sure as hell everything has shifted.”

From a Southwest Airlines employee: “Welcome aboard Southwest Flight XXX to YYY. To operate your seatbelt, insert the metal tab into the buckle, and pull tight. It works just like every other seatbelt, and if you don’t know how to operate one, you probably shouldn’t be out in public unsupervised.

In the event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, margarine cups will descend from the ceiling. Stop screaming, grab the mask, and pull it over your face. If you have a small child traveling with you, secure your mask before assisting with theirs. If you are traveling with more than one small child…pick your favorite.

Weather at our destination is 50 degrees with some broken clouds, we’ll try to have them fixed before we arrive.”

“Your seat cushions can be used for flotation, and in the event of an emergency water landing, please paddle to shore and take them with our compliments.”

Once on a Southwest flight, the pilot said: “We’ve reached our cruising altitude now, and I’m turning off the seat belt sign. I’m switching to autopilot, too, so I can come back there and visit with all of you for the rest of the flight.”

“Should the cabin lose pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Please place the bag over your own mouth and nose before assisting children or other adults acting like children.”

“As you exit the plane, make sure to gather all of your belongings. Anything left behind will be distributed evenly among the flight attendants. Please do not leave children or spouses.”

On landing the stewardess said, “Please be sure to take all your belongings. If you are going to leave anything, please make sure it’s something we’d like to have.”

“Last one off the plane must clean it.

From the pilot during his welcome message: “We are pleased to have some of the best flight attendants in the industry…Unfortunately, none of them are on this flight…!

Heard on the preflight safety demo: “This is a non-smoking flight. It it illegal to smoke cigarettes or anything that will take you higher than our planned cruising altitude.”

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