2009. december 30., szerda

Last cover after the last cover

I was very surprised when the chief editor of Haszon, my former company, called me and asked me if I could jump in, as they'd like me to interview a few guys who want to get my position. Yeah, sure...
But when I went in they got me with a surprise farewell party. They've made a magazine issue just with me, where every colleague wrote an article. And yes, there is me on the cover. So the last cover was not made by me... It was made of me.
And it was interesting and touching to read all those memories, stories and opinions of me. The following is what the owner wrote:
Young man coming in quiet, sleek, cool, speaking many funny languages, not asking, working like mad, changing women like underwear, smoking, cursing in many funny languages. Six years later, going out, a little bit bald, small belly, cool self confident professional, not asking, working, understanding funny orders, almost married, proud father of a girl, cursing in many languages, smoking, pilot in command, does not know the word „no”, wants to fulfill his dream: earning as much pula as he can in some African country with a funny name.
They also packed it with fake ads.
Have good times guys!
It was great working with you!

2009. december 27., vasárnap

The Namibian connection

From my buddy I've got the following info today, about the Namibian situation.
Wings over Africa are looking at hiring pilots in the first week of January.
Westair has already hired in November, maybe hiring again later in the year.
Desert Air is hiring again in March.
Everyone is just twiddling their fingers waiting for the new year to see what it will bring.
Companies in Maun it seems will hire around the end of January.

The eastern part of Africa (i.e. Tanzania) has a later wet season so most of the pilot hiring there will be in March/April.

2009. december 20., vasárnap

Night flying with Saint Exupery

Sweet unemployedness. Well, at the moment I'm enjoying it. Being with family. Preparing for Christmas... And for Botswana.I had an NVFR flight on Thursday (17th of December). There was snow, fantastic lights, and cold. Taxiing slowly in the snow to the holding bay of RWY 32 at LHTL is really challenging. The taxi lights unveil just a small part of the taxiway. Geez, a marshaller would come handy on a night like this.
Not to mention that the runway was also covered with snow. There are no real RWY lights at LHTL, just RWY edge lights. I had to realize that for the first time I'm a bit scared (or sort of). Taking off is not that tricky, just keep heading with a bit of rudder. But landing... You need to be neatly lined up. Keep cool. Rule 1: forget about the brakes... Rule 2: if you start to slip then Engine Master OFF... Save the prop.
With the instructor (an ex Hungarian Air Force test pilot, also MiG21 display pilot and trophy winner at the Fairford Airshow with the Hungarian Sky Hussars – the one in the middle of the pic) we flew over LHBP CTR. On the pic above you can see the T1 GAT terminal.
But this wasn't the most memorable part of the flight.
OAT was -11°C at 4000 (QNH 1005). And the problem was that the inside temperature in the airplane was the same. We had no heating. After half an hour I've reached to a point where I could only think of Saint-Exupéry and his novel the Pilote de Guerre. He describes a reconaissance flight where he not only had to vanquish german fighters but had to fight against hypoxia and cold.
It was a terrible and yet fantastic flight.

2009. december 15., kedd

Last day, last cover

So the time has come. My last day as an art director. My last cover. My last okay's and all that stuff.
Geez was this year a long one. And a hard one.
From tomorrow I'm an unemployed pilot like so many these times. But finally I can finish my pending trainig. Will be able to do my paperwork. And then by middle of January be ready to leave to Maun.

2009. december 6., vasárnap

Pilots needed

Nyassa Air Taxi in Malawi is looking for pilots. They have 3 pilot positions.
So any of you who fit their requirements can try and drop'em a CV.

Here's what they ask:
one position - early Jan. 2010, requirements as below plus PA-31 rating required
two positions - 1. April 2010, requirements as below and PA-31, PA-34 rating of advantage
Pilots must be prepared to fly our SE aircraft as well. Applications considered till end Dec. 2009
Our requirements are:
* CPL, IF and ME-rating
* 400 hours PIC
* age 24-40 years
* minimum contract time is one year
Additional advantages:
* Ratings on any of our aircraft
* Multi engine experience
* Bush experience

Me unfortunately am not ready for them with my 200 some hours and an almost IR rating without ME (it'll take me a month to be ready but even then without ME).
If you want to know more about Nyassa Air Taxi and Malawi, you can read these blogs: Mike Fly Malawi and Fliegen in Afrika by Ferenc.

2009. december 1., kedd

On me

I'm just reading the book Caravan: Cessna's Swiss Army Knife with Wings. And found a very good quote that resembles the question I ask every low time pilot I know who wants to get into Boeing/Airbus flying. Well I know we are all different, I started very late and I flew so little that I still want to fly airplanes for a while and not operate the system. But the following quote could be my – and this blog's – motto.
"This is Africa, it's the only place in the world to do things like this. It's so unusual, so much fun I just can't imagine why so many pilots make such efforts to get major airline jobs when they could do this – and do it in one of the most fun airplanes in the world to fly, the Cessna Caravan."
A FedAir pilot after transporting a few sedated lions on a relocation project

2009. november 26., csütörtök

Maun campsites and accomodation

As this has risen a few times I'm posting here a link with campsites and accomodation. For my surprise the camp I was planing to live has a bad reputation. So now I will be sending emails to various camps for getting some prices, maybe some discount for a wannabe pilot and for the longer stay in the low season.
Lots of good stuff on camps, accomodation and more in Maun HERE and HERE also HERE.
What I was told also is to bring a cellphone with me, so I'll just need to buy a sim card and would be easily contactable. And just imagine geting a call like: hey pal, you wanna come and work for us?
The above pics are from Old Bridge Backpackers camps website. A recomended campsite is Maun Rest Camp, the link has every relevant information. An other major campsite is Audi Camp (their WHAT TO BRING and other info pages are really helpful).

2009. november 20., péntek

T -48... That time of the year...

... has come when lots of aspiring pilots are heading to Maun to get that much desired job. I'm wishing you all good luck and a left seat in one of the Cessna's. And if you happen to have some time and info please share it with me too.

48 days left till my departure.

Next week is paperwork. Also getting the yellow fever shot on Tuesday (not mandatory in Botswana, but I'm also preparing for a worst case scenario of not getting a job in Maun and would have to travel to Malawi and/or Tanzania where it is mandatory).
Other then that: I'm fully packed... ready to go.
Pic of Coastal Grand Caravan via African Bush Pilot was taken by Aaron Cawsey

2009. november 18., szerda

A comprehensive list of Tanzanian operators

Yesterday I was chatting with a former Tanzanian bush pilot and he pointed me towards this Tanzanian air operators directory that can be downloaded from the TAOA site. It is pretty comprehensive with adresses, names, emails, phone numbers. It is true that some links don't work, and well I didn't check the phone numbers, but you might get a pretty good "starter kit" for a Tanzanian job hunt.I hope you'll also find it helpful. Here's the link for the excel file: TAOA

2009. november 17., kedd

We're all angels...

What a ride... it's just a sad late autumn weekday on Earth... visibility 3000... overcast 4000... thick clouds... going through the layer, in thet grey nothingness, watching your instruments... and then you're out... on top at 6000... and the sun always shines... you've left the pity of earthlings behind... you are an angel now...
Wings were Romanian made IAR823. Instruments were Russian, with cyrillic letters.

2009. november 10., kedd

One Fine Hot Summer Afternoon

These days with pouring rain, low ceilings, low visibility and no flying simply depress me. Time is just running and I'm not able to do my homework in the pace I'd love to. I'm sitting here wishing I was somewhere else. And these times the stories like the one I'm posting here just save the day. Thanks Tommy for sharing it with me. Maybe some of you already read it. Thanks for whoever wrote this. It is so true...

One fine hot summer afternoon there was a Cessna 150 flying in the pattern at a quiet country airfield. The Instructor was getting quite bothered with the student's inability to maintain altitude in the thermals and was getting impatient and sometimes having to take over the controls. Just then he saw a twin engine Cessna 402 5,000 ft. above him and thought, "Another 1,000 hrs of this and I qualify for that twin charter job! Aaahh.. to be a real pilot going somewhere!"
The 402 was already late and the boss told him this charter was for one of the Company's premier clients. He'd already set MCT and the cylinders didn't like it in the heat of this summer's day. He was at 6,000 ft. and the winds were now a 20kt headwind. Today was the 6th day straight and he was pretty dang tired of fighting these engines. Maybe if he got 10,000 ft. out of them the wind might die off... geez those cylinder temps! He looked out momentarily and saw a B737 leaving a contrail at 33,000 ft. in the serene blue sky. "Oh man," he thought, "My interview is next month. I hope I just don't blow it! Outta G/A, nice jet job, above the weather... no snotty passengers to wait for ..."
The 737 bucked and weaved in the heavy CAT at FL330 and ATC advised that lower levels were not available due to traffic. The Captain, who was only recently advised that his destination was below RVR minimums, had slowed to LRC to try and hold off a possible in-flight diversion, and arrange an ETA that would helpfully ensure the fog had lifted to CAT II minima. The Company negotiations broke down yesterday and looked as if everyone was going to take a dang pay cut. The F/O's will be particularly hard hit as their pay wasn't anything to speak of any way. Finally deciding on a speed compromise between LRC and turbulence penetration, the Captain looked up and saw Concorde at Mach 2+. Tapping his F/O's shoulder as the 737 took another bashing, he said "Now THAT'S what we should be on... huge pay ... super fast... not too many routes...not too many legs... above the CAT... yep! What a life...!"
FL590 was not what he wanted anyway and he considered FL570. Already the TAT was creeping up again and either they would have to descend or slow down. That dang rear fuel transfer pump was becoming unreliable and the F/E had said moments ago that the radiation meter was not reading numbers that he'd like to see. Concorde descended to FL570 but the radiation was still quite high even though the Notam indicated hunky dory below FL610. Fuel flow was up and the transfer pump was intermittent. Evening turned into night as they passed over the Atlantic. Looking up, the F/O could see a tiny white dot moving against the backdrop of a myriad of stars. "Hey Captain" he called as he pointed. "Must be the Shuttle. "The Captain looked for a moment and agreed. Quietly he thought how a Shuttle mission, while complicated, must be the-be-all-and-end-all in aviation. Above the crap, no radiation problems, no dang fuel transfer problems...aaah. Must be a great way to earn a buck."
Discovery was into its 27th orbit and perigee was 200ft out from nominated rendezvous altitude with the commsat. The robot arm was virtually U/S and a walk may become necessary. The 200ft predicted error would necessitate a corrective burn and Discovery needed that fuel if a walk was to be required. Houston continually asked what the Commander wanted to do but the advice they proffered wasn't much help. The Commander had already been 12 hours on station sorting out the problem and just wanted 10 minutes to himself to take a leak. Just then a mission specialist, who had tilted the telescope down to the surface for a minute or two, called the Commander to the scope. "Have a look at this Sir, isn't this the kinda flying you said you wanted to do after you finish up with NASA?" The Commander peered through the telescope and cried Ooooohhhhh yeah! Now THAT'S flying! Man, that's what its all about! Geez I'd give my left arm just to be doing THAT down there!"

What the Discovery Commander was looking at was a Cessna 150 in the pattern at a quiet country airfield on a nice bright sunny afternoon.

2009. november 2., hétfő

Offtopic: my bike

By the time I leave this continent for that Big Adventure my old bike comes to life. I'm working on a 1954 Csepel 125T for some time (not a well known brand I know... the Csepel company was renamed Pannonia in the 60's, and the whole Hungarian motorbike manufacturing ended in the 70's). Well, this pretty has a 125 cubic centimeters motor and has an output of 4,5 horses (on better days).
The guys at Monster Customs are a great help (actually they know what to do, I'm just doing the art directing stuff, as usually, but there's no art directing on a 56 year old black "demon"). Click on image to enlarge.
And now, she seems to be ready for the ride. The engine runs. Everything is mint. She still needs some shine, that's already there under the dust. But the question is: how am I going to take her to Maun? That would be some ride... Getting to my base with her. Jumping into a 206, and at the end of the day jumping on this ol' babe to take me "home"...

2009. október 27., kedd

Just an opinion...

As the time for me to leave the old continent aproaches I have more and more things to do, to finish, to clean up. This is why I'm not posting too frequently nowadays.
This one is also just a private opinion. On our favourite rumour network there are very different opinions on wheather to go to Maun (or any other place in Africa) by the and of this year and beginning of next year. Whether there will be openings or not. Although I'm talking against myself (more guys there the bigger the competition), I really think that anyone who has decided to land a job there should pack and go. At least that is what I'm doing.

I didn't renew my contract with Haszon. This is a great little company, that proved that a few dedicated guys can get into the game with the big guys (meaning here multinational publishers). I'we been here from the beginning and it was fun. But nothing can compete with flying in Africa.
Also there are two types of guys who are flying or have flown in Maun. There are the ones who like to be in Maun and there are the ones who go there to build some hours and then they're off. But this all doesn't matter as far as I'm concerned, because in terms of flying Maun is one of the best places to start for either type. The only thing one should decide is wether he wants to go there or not.

I really am in a shortage of time. Still doing my IR, have some ten more sessions untill I can do the exam ride with the CAA guy. And then there is the risk of not getting the papers in time. December is here soon, and here no one will work... But January 6th should still be the perfect time.

Keep cool.
And sorry for this photographic egotrip...

2009. október 21., szerda

Teaser: Ludwig's lion

A few days ago I've changed the header of the blog. The photo was taken by Ludwig Reiter at Chief's Camp, Moremi National Park (see map at the end of this post). When I wrote him about this he's sent me a few more (click for bigger). So here they are. No coments. Just enjoy...

Saját elmentett helyeim nagyobb térképen való megjelenítése

2009. október 19., hétfő

This is crazy

I arrived to my office yesterday morning (19th of October) at 0830 and came home almost a day later at 0310 (20th of October). And still can't get no sleep. The girls are having their dreamtime.
But one more tough day at the office and from Wednesday IR again. If things go well I'll be ready for the checkflight with an examiner in two weeks.
And next week ICAO level exam is planned, too. So things are rolling.

2009. október 14., szerda

Keeping the spirit high

High Flight
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds...and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of...wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there,
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air.
Up, up, the long, delirious burning blue
I've topped the windswept heights with easy grace
Where never lark, nor even eagle flew.
And while with silent, lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space...
...put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

Photo of C208 over Botswana by Ludwig

2009. október 12., hétfő

Yet an other non-flying related entry

Take a guy, a girl, thirst for adventure and put them to Singapore. Give them a motorbike and you get one of the most amazing adventures I've heard of nowadays. They've set on a journey from Singapore to Poland. Their story is the story of achieving whatever you want if you are really determined.
Kamil sent me a message a few days ago while still in Africa. The reason? He fell in love with bush flying in Namibia. And will probably try to get a flying job there after finishing the Big Adventure. Have a great ride guy's!

But I'll let them talk:
Over 70 thousand kilometers via the roads and side roads of Asia, Africa and Europe, 50 countries to visit, 15 months on the road, 2 adventure seekers and 1 motorcycle….. There’ll be plenty of dirt tracks, desert sands and rocky mountain passes leading to exciting places, interesting people, crazy local customs and nature at its best.
After a few years spent in Singapore, we’re riding back to Poland on a motorcycle – the Honda Africa Twin. We're going home...

Why a motorbike?

For the adrenaline, sense of adventure and ability to go literally anywhere. We want to find places still undiscovered and untouched by western civilization. Places only reached by going ‘off-road’.

Why from Singapore?
We both lived and worked there for over 2 years. On 20th April 2008 all that ended and the adventure we've been dreaming about began.
Initially we planned for a direct route back to Europe via India, Pakistan and Turkey. But with time spent in front of a big map of the world hanging in our bedroom, we extended the journey to include over 50 countries on the continents of Asia, Africa and Europe. Now on our route are Japan, Mongolia and Tajikistan, as well as a 'side trip' down the African east coast to Cape Town and back up the west coast to Europe. We expect the trip to take around 15 months. However we are not limited by time and it can easily be extended or shortened for unforseen reasons... A longer stop is scheduled in Ghana, where Iza plans to work as a volunteer for the “Freespirit” foundation, in memory of “Kinga” who tragically died of malaria in 2006.
The task of preparing the bike and purchasing all the required equipment took over 6 months. Not long when you consider that it can take up to 2-3 years. Most of the bike preparation was done at Aseng’s - a local Singapore mechanic. He'd also worked on the previous two bikes we’d ridden in Singapore. Of the countless documentation to be arranged, the 'Carnet de Passage' was the most important (and difficult) to obtain. It allows for the bike to be ridden through countries without having to pay import duties, which would otherwise be applicable. It is issued by the country in which the motorcycle is registered, but only after a deposit (equal to the value of the bike) is left with a bank guaranteeing the bike will not be 'illegally' imported into one of the countries visited. To get the CDP Kamil actually had to apply for a Singaporean permanent residency (for you couldn’t get it on a temporary visa), which he obtained just a week before departure!!

One of the most commonly asked questions is about budgeting. We are not being paid for our trip and we only have a couple sponsors. The majority of costs will be covered by us alone.How can we afford this?
Well, we do not have an expensive car or other ‘luxury’ items. Our main possession is the Africa Twin and a sense of adventure. We plan to spend US$30 per day. This has to cover our daily expenses including accommodation, food and petrol. It does not factor in visa, shipping and other miscellaneous costs (ie. park entry fees, insurance…). Life on the road can be amazingly cheap. We cook our own meals and camp wherever possible, sometimes accepting free accommodation from generous hosts. To travel as we do, you definitely need determination and a lot of motivation.

We believe that if you want something badly enough,
money is not an issue…

Presently they are somewhere in Morocco. 85,300 kilometers covered. 538 days on the road.
If you'd like to know more here's their website: Singapore2Poland
And here's their blog: Singapore2Poland Blog

2009. október 6., kedd

Three months to liftoff

Haven't been posting for a while as there's not much to say. And almost everything that you should know can already be found here and on PPRuNe's Maun thread.

After having flown 10 hours IR training (+ 10 sim) I feel like I'm the most untalented student the world has ever carried. But I'm working on it hard... And I only have around 9 more IR flying sessions before the exam.

But at least I've bought a tent in preparation of living in Audi camp in Maun. To my surprise it was pretty cheap. A 3 pax one cost 2000 forints (that being 11 US$). Also a backpack so I can carry the laptop and stuff with me. Also started to do the official translations. So I'll be finishing my homework in time, and I very much hope to meet a few of you in Maun.
Two weeks ago my Austro-Hungarian Aviator friend Marcel visited me. We really had some cool times. And the most important thing is that we found the official AHA drink: the Guadalajara coctail (tequila, a drop of coffee, and a bit of triple sec).
One more thing before I end this entry: I asked the guys in Maun if there are mandatory vaccinations or if I should take some before I leave. Important question as those cost around 550 US$. Their answer was to not spend money on these drugs. And as I'm planing for a "worst case scenario" this saving might mean an extra month of staying in Maun.
For keeping the spirit alive enjoy the photos from Maun, all stolen from the Facebook group. Keep wings level.

2009. szeptember 16., szerda

On situation in Maun

Time is coming for me to plan my moving to Maun. But in the meantime I get a lot of controversary information. Some who I mail with are saying it is a nogoer. And that other than MackAir the companies in Maun are pretty bad. One pilot flying for Sefofane wrote me that it is a particularly bad company.
But then again an other pilot who I chatted with on Facebook told me that there will be movement, people are leaving, some are moving up so there'll be places for us newcomers. And he didn't see things so gloomy. Stating that Moremi would be a good move as they have lots of people leaving. Not to mention my buddy at Mack who also says that January will be a good time for arriving to Maun.
Well, to sum it up: for me it is a goer, I think I have no other choice at the moment. I was advised to do an instructor rating, but Hungary is not swarming with pilot wannabees and building around 200 hours a year isn't a big choice at my age.
And as my friend Felix would say getting a job is just a matter of the right attitude. Every pic in this post was taken by him.

2009. szeptember 15., kedd

Big birds, small birds...

Finally I've finished the C210 training on the HA-SKW. And am a happy complex airplane driver. With her retractible gear she's a really new feeling. This 1960 ol' lady has some differences compared to the younger ones, but it gives a very good sensation of a big iron.
Last friday was really fun. At 0500Z was taking off from LHTL (Tököl airport) with a buddy in a DA20. An hour later we were landing at LHSM (Sármellék intl.). Than headed with a car to a small private airfield, Zalakaros, 5 NM away. Flew some traffic patterns just for practice on the 210. Landed her at LHSM, jumped in the DA20 and by one a clock we were landing the small bird at LHTL.
Photos of the ol' lady were taken by Peter Nadasi. Large sizes can be found here.
At LHSM the Belgian Air Force had some jet on the ground. I took a funny picture that I'm sharing with you too. Like the big bird just gave birth to our sweet little Katana...
Well and finally yesterday I've had the first IFR flight. One and a half hour under the hood. It was a sweating experience, but I can't wait for the next session.

2009. szeptember 8., kedd

Finally some major steps

I've been strugling to continue my IFR training since 2 months now. Things slowed down here in Hungary as finally the CAA became JAA acredited. And with this the majority of flight schools have lost their licenses.
But yesterday finally I've arranged my IR training at Pannon Air Service (one of the few operators and flightschools that will remain after the JAA-stuff), with a promise that I'll be able to take the practical check late November, early December. This means that Africa is closing in. Fingers crossed.
IR training and exam will be in DA40 TDI (with FADEC). An extremely easy to handle plane. Also for my CPL check I'll have some hours in a Beech B24R Sierra, reg: HA-ACX (the CPL check needs to be performed in a plane with retractible undercarriage and constant speed prop).
Also made a deal for getting rated on G1000 glass cockpit (the pic above is a DA40 180, no FADEC). I love this TV flying since the first day I flew as a passenger.

2009. szeptember 7., hétfő

Back on the jobhunt

Photo of HA-SKW 1960 C210 was taken by Peter Nadasi. The large size can be found here.

My luck... Yesterday (Sunday) I jumped in the car and drove two hours to fly the C210 HA-SKW from Zalakaros (LHZK) a small private airfield 10 NM south from lake Balaton. As lucky as I am these days, the bird flew some tourists before it was my turn and something broke. After landing the nosewheel was wet by some fluid. Hydraulic fluid was flowing down on the firewall and out near the wheel strut. So, no flying. What am I expecting from this lady in her 40's?
But at least on Saturday I took some guys on a sigthseeing trip over Budapest with a DA40.
So back on the jobhunt.
While it is clear that if you want to grab a job in Africa you need to go there it is also important to emphasize that it is also very important to get some info on the operators before you actually get there. And as the majority of them will obviously not answer to your emails you have to rely on the internet. Where you may find info that may be out of date, like my post on
Renair, Tanzania.
A good start may be the Air Carrier Directory for Africa of Pilot Career Centre. They have listed the majority of operators by region.
An other good source is this link collection I ran over when Cliff who's flying in Tanzania wrote me and I checked his posts on PPRuNe. How to find job info on the intenet...especially for newbies. It is two years old but still, you might never know. And I think he's focused on the North American job market.