Between planning our route and arranging the necessary visa we have started putting together a useful survival kit for our trip. What you see is just the beginning, as we will need to prepare for the worst as we will be flying across the dark African continent from North to South. We will cross both the Gulf of Guinea, fly over the rain forests of Gabon and Congo and cross the Saharan desert. These areas bring their specific needs for lifesaving equipment.
The Thuraya satellite network allows us to stay in touch with the homefront and our AeroPlus Flight Operations Centre (FOC) in The Netherlands. The satellite link allows us as well to check for bad weather while enroute or even make phone calls while airborne or to connect to the internet.
The Thuraya Satsleeve will be linked to the avionics stack of the aircraft through the Flightcell Pro device. This way, all voice calls can be dealt with through our aviation headsets while staying in touch with air traffic control (ATC) at the same time. We have adjusted our own AeroPlus flightplan and weather apps to support receiving information over the satellite network. We are therefore able to receive significant weather charts, rain radar, flightplan data, the latest METAR, TAF and SIGMET weather data through our satellite link.
Additional fuel tanks will be taken along as well as that we will be having extra fuel on board using a TurtlePac extra fuel tank. This extra fuel tank is linked to the aircraft system and makes it possible for us to cross longer stredges across the desert or across the deep Africal jungle. Some of the airports we will be flying into will be rather remote and with have no supply of the preferred AVGAS fuel for our aircraft. We will then have to rely on fuel from the local gas station and special fuel tanks, fuel filters and fuel testers are taken along. The aircraft is as such capable of flying on autogas, but we have to be sure it is of the right quality and not contaminated with too much ethanol/alcohol or dirt.
In case we do get stranded we are supplied with a fuel burner (wood burner) that can even charge our satellite equipment or iPhone.