Flying In Africa: the three basics
We passed the western part of the continent of Africa and are thrilled by the vast beauty of all the different landscapes, the people who seem so relaxed, and the wildlife in all different shapes and forms. And as we enjoy the flights, we are aware of the three basics for pilots who want to fly in this part of the world. We are happy to share them with you!
Good preparation is the thing. I started reading the Lonely Planet guide for Africa twice from cover to cover to figure out what I would like to see and what to expect. This helped me in preparing for the route planning. I also talked to several (ferry) pilots who had experience flying through Africa, read e-books with accounts of bush flying in Africa and started filling in the details step-by-step. The total preparation took from 2 weeks before Christmas until the day before departure (full time from early morning until late at night).
You need to be flexible to adapt to changes in weather, planning, delays. What helped is that I had the weather, flightplans and routes all preloaded on my iPhone and iPad(s). Filing of the flightplans I did digitally (using our own flightplan app) just about half an hour to 2 hours before departure). If I anticipated that I would not have time on a technical stop for refueling to file, I would file that flightplan ahead of time early in the morning in the hotel or guesthouse. Then, we would cope with what we would come across.
3. SENSE OF HUMOUR
You need to stay relaxed, smile and have a sense of humor. Connect with the locals and definitely do not get frustrated or at least don’t show it on your face.
Mastering these three essentials will make your experience rich and meaningful. Meeting new people, engaging in different cultures and adapting to a slower pace of life give a new perspective.