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Forum Home > 2017 Vacation - Making The Cut > 2017 Vacation DAY 3

bc
Site Owner
Posts: 8440

EPOCH 2017 Botswana Okavango Delta Vacation

DAY 3


"Craft Down... continued VFR flight into IMC weather"

A duty day in the Okavango usually involves moving tourists throughout and, in the very early morning, getting fresh foodstuffs to the camps all throughout the Delta. After all, luxury food doesn't come in freeze-dried pouches or cans!

Your day has started in the same way. You arose at 0500, dressed in your tent, went to the cafe near the airport for a quick bit of breakfast and then checked in at the ready room for OK Delta Air. At 0610 you were helping to load boxes of food into one of the company's Gipps Airvans and then hopped in the right seat for a route familiarization hop with Aussie bush pilot Marnie up to Xigeria's safari camp. Marnie is to depart from there with a 206 that was left at the airstrip when another pilot got ill and had to be airlifted back to Maun. You are to take the Airvan, for which you already have logged hours and don't require a checkride, back to Maun and return it to service.


But, as they say in the bush flying community, sometimes the fecal matter hits the rotary oscillator!

It is a rather stormy day in the Delta already - usually reserved for late afternoon but today the clouds moved in and the storms started spreading through the area as a pressure gradient moved them from the Angola Highlands south into the Okavango. Accompanied by some rather strong winds, the flying day looks to be more of a chore than a relaxing opportunity to flightsee for all of us on vacation in Africa.


A camp owner from Jao departed his airstrip for Mombo first thing this morning with his red and white Cessna 180. But something must have happened along the way - it is a short hop and he is almost two hours overdue. Despite having a sat phone and onboard radio in the aircraft, nobody has been able to raise him. His staff are frantic, as is his daughter who was to be picked up by him and brought back to the camp.


As there are only a couple of pilots and craft available in the centre of the Delta at this time, you have been contacted by the Company and asked if you would fly the Airvan up to Mombo, pick up his daughter and then do a slow search along his likely flight path from Mombo to Jao, a distance of only 12 nautical miles as the crow flies. Despite the weather and the need, you must stay VFR, even if marginal, but the saying "If you can see through it, you can fly through it" becomes important here! You will fly to Jao and search along the way for any sign of the missing pilot and his craft. If you find anything, you are to take a photograph, mark the spot on your GPS, and expedite your flight to Jao to report.


But still the people and products must move. The office has called you at Jao and has a new routing plan for both you and the Airvan. They have requested that you fly the plane empty to Vumbura to be flight tested for an odd sound that had been reported. The Pilot/AME that is at that location will immediately get on the job.


There is a C206 however that you will transfer to and pick up a couple of passengers and their luggage. A hop from there to Shinde will let you grab another passenger from the local resort, where you will transfer again back into the Airvan which has been checked, flight tested, certified airworthy and flown to meet you at Shinde, at which time you will return all 3 to Maun in the GA8 for their connecting flights back home.


All of your hops today involve built weather, just like yesterday. Yes, there are storms in the area. Yes there is wind. But nothing you cannot handle and, being used to the vagaries of Alaskan weather, you are happy to go.


With this in mind, let's get your weather set up for the simulator...


Today you will have the opportunity to fly the Australian-made bush plane - the GippsAero GA8 Airvan. Also a bit more time in the trusty 206/207, as that is a mainstay of aviation in the Okavango. While the 206/207 allows for 5 or 6 passengers, the Airvan moves 8 in relative comfort. They both cruise at about the same speed, with the 206/207 a bit quicker by a few knots. Here's the Airvan with its simple office, suggestive of performance far less than what this workhorse is truly capable of:


TODAY'S FLIGHTS:

#1:

You shall depart FB95 Xigera in the GA8 Airvan with no other crew, passengers or cargo and fly direct to FB50 Mombo.

Built Weather    No Pax/Cargo   Today's Date    Time = 0800 Local

Departing FB95   Arriving FB50

Altitude (Std. 5,500'ASL)    VFR

Travel best speed direct as time is of the essence!

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Departing FB50 Mombo with 1 passenger for FB26 Jao

Built Weather   1 Pax (115#)/50# Emergency Medical Gear   Today's Date   Time = 5 minutes later

Departing FB50    Arriving FB26

Altitude (Non-Std.)   VFR

Fly as low and slow as safely possible while searching for the downed red and white C180. Be mindful of what the wind was and is like from dawn until now and figure that into the search.


#2:

Departing FB26 Jao in empty Airvan for FB88 Vumbura

Built Weather   No Pax/No Cargo   Today's Date   Time = 15 minutes after landing

Departing FB26   Arriving FB88

Altitude (Std. 5,500'ASL)    VFR

Empty move for a mechanical check of the Airvan at Vumbura.

Switch of aircraft at Vumbura.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Departing FB88 in the C206/207 with 2 passengers for FB73 Shindi

Built Weather   2 Pax (370#)/88# Cargo   Today's Date    Time = 15 minutes after landing

Departing FB88   Arriving FB73

Altitude (Std. 5,500'ASL)   VFR

Revenue flight bringing passengers back from their vacation.

Switch of aircraft at Shindi.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Departing FB73 in the GA8 Airvan with 2 + 1 additional passengers for FBMN Maun

Built Weather   3 Pax (520#)/130# Cargo   Today's Date   Time = 10 minutes after landing

Departing FB73    Arriving FBMN

Altitude (Std. 5,500'ASL)   VFR

Revenue flight bringing passengers back from their vacation for connecting flights.

Once you have unloaded and secured the aircraft at Maun Airport, head over to the cafe for lunch and hangar talk!


SCENERY:

See Day 2 Writeup for scenery link for uX-Pa Custom Botswana Okavango Delta scenery pack for X-P V10.51


This day has seen a more typical type of flying hops in the Delta. Jumping from camp to camp and always ending up back in Maun. Hopefully the folks down there don't have to do searches for missing crew and craft very often. Hope you all enjoyed this Vacation Day and we'll see you tomorrow. Bring your eagle eyes!

Cheers,

bc

--

6 strings, 9 cylinders, 2 Manx cats: Life's Good!

November 17, 2017 at 6:36 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RocLobster
Moderator
Posts: 1681

I had no idea that the Airvan would be next up when I posted this...



https://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?/files/file/40982-ok-delta-air-for-x-hangars-gipps-airvan/


Three registrations are available, in case this becomes popular with the Night-Flight'ers.


The four colors represent the Sky, the Sunset, the Wildflowers and the Grass.  Ah, but since everything is Wild in Africa, I guess they're just called Flowers here.  :)

November 17, 2017 at 9:32 PM Flag Quote & Reply

bc
Site Owner
Posts: 8440

Lovin' It :)

Posted a review at the Org. Man, who else has a payware author doing liveries for their adventures eh? We're lucky. Thanks Rocky.


Cheers,

bc


ps... wx still holding out here but sure isn't looking good for tomorrow. Might not even find my dish under the snow never mind connect to the 'net.

--

6 strings, 9 cylinders, 2 Manx cats: Life's Good!

November 17, 2017 at 10:25 PM Flag Quote & Reply

gofigure
Moderator
Posts: 2755

Nice livery Roc!  Good timing & thanks for the multiple tail numbers.

--

 

November 18, 2017 at 11:08 AM Flag Quote & Reply

bc
Site Owner
Posts: 8440

Going to try to get into a NightFlight. Weather funky but much of it is pushing past now and I can still stay on Internet... looks like it gets better later a bit, so I'm going for it.


2200. Will be a NF Post.


Cheers,

bc

--

6 strings, 9 cylinders, 2 Manx cats: Life's Good!

November 18, 2017 at 6:37 PM Flag Quote & Reply

bc
Site Owner
Posts: 8440

Great flight. Not one of us found the missing aircraft however, but we got passengers and cargo moved.


The weather was interesting and provided for a couple of white knuckle moments during landing cycles but all in all, we as a team did very well. Everyone stuck pretty close during all legs and sequenced takeoff and landing cycles very well.


As well as having CptTroll, gofigure, Rocky and myself, we also had the pleasure of having Magger01 drop by to audit the flight and Rick.Hudd stop in for a quick chat and to let us know he'd be Nightflying again real soon.


Great flight and a fun vacation day gents. Now... I guess we have to get out there tomorrow or when we have time and try to find that danged aircraft. Hope the pilot is okay!


Cheers,

bc

--

6 strings, 9 cylinders, 2 Manx cats: Life's Good!

November 19, 2017 at 12:50 AM Flag Quote & Reply

RocLobster
Moderator
Posts: 1681

Gooooodmmmmoooornnniiiinnn'   Boootsssswwwwaaannnnaaa!

It's Oh-five-hundred!

What's the "Oh" stand for?

Oh, my God, it's early!



Ready to hit the starter ...but first, a cursory pre-flight inspection by the local 'lopes...


On a steep crabbing approach into FB50 Mombo...


Pulling up to the ramp at Mombo, the camp owner's daughter is anxious to get aboard and begin the search for her overdue father...


We had no luck finding the missing Cessna 180. After dropping off the distraught daughter at FB26 Jao, I ferried the ailing Airvan onward to FB88 Vumbura. My sloppy route FB95-FB50-FB26-FB88 consumed 0.7 hours worth of fuel. And there is my next ride...


Down at FB73 Shindi, I part ways with the C207 (and 0.3 hours of gas) and jump back into another Airvan.


Cloud cover forced a lower cruising altitude back to FBMN Maun. It was a little bumpy too, but the three passengers were stoic during the extended approach pattern. 0.4 hours of fuel used.


Some of the metal birds spotted flying near Maun...


Great flights! Great flying companions!

November 19, 2017 at 10:31 AM Flag Quote & Reply

bc
Site Owner
Posts: 8440

Love that Beech 18. Thanks for the great report Rocky!


Those 'lopes can be a real annoyance but it is the flocks of birds that really cause me pause. What nefarious algorithm causes them to turn directly towards your climb-out path after tricking you into thinking they were heading elsewhere? :O .


Hope to head off sometime today to find that danged crash. The weather today is looking pretty good down there with no precipitation, temps in the mid 30s C and winds a paltry 5 knots out of the east ( Rwy 08 active at FBMN again ).


Cheers,

bc

--

6 strings, 9 cylinders, 2 Manx cats: Life's Good!

November 19, 2017 at 11:02 AM Flag Quote & Reply

gofigure
Moderator
Posts: 2755

Dang downed act! Did off coarse, wind blown, pilot not good coarse corrections, circles, zig zags, low & high alt.

Many sorties and no joy. :(


Any more hints, or clues would be nice PLEASE!! ;)

--

 

November 21, 2017 at 11:59 AM Flag Quote & Reply

RocLobster
Moderator
Posts: 1681

Latest word from the accident investigators is that the search area has been extended, working on the assumption that the pilot flew over Jao.  Fuel consumption calculations suggest that the Cessna could have stayed aloft long enough to travel double the distance between Mombo and Jao.  Also, there is a report of a smoke plume in an unusual location West-by-Southwest of Jao.


XP tip: Increase your "world distance detail" to "very high" to maximize your chances of seeing the smoke plume.

November 21, 2017 at 1:07 PM Flag Quote & Reply

bc
Site Owner
Posts: 8440

Getting disoriented with the typesd of weather we have flown through - especially when cloud covers much of the ground, can lead one to pretty crazy assumptions.


Imagine if you had flown back and forth from Jao to Mombo but kept getting thrown off by not being able to find the airstrip even though your time and distance calcs said it should be there. Do this a few times until, with a bit of panic settling in (or at least concern), you wonder whether that is Jao or Mombo that you just caught a very brief glimpse of through the cloud and moderate rainfall.


"Woops. That's gotta be Mombo with the way the runway looked sort of aligned", you say to yourself and, knowing the close proximity to each other (Jao and Mombo) you then head back to the west by southwest to get back to Jao. But what if that was Jao? What if it was another field?


Strange as it may seem unless you've spent a reasonable amount of time in GA, especially as night approaches or weather is pulling your vis down, this sort of thing can and does happen very easily. I like to think that keeping a good track on your kneeboard (time/distance/wind correction - elapsed time) is very important, although a decent GPS would surely help :)


Cheers,

bc

--

6 strings, 9 cylinders, 2 Manx cats: Life's Good!

November 22, 2017 at 10:39 PM Flag Quote & Reply

CptTroll
Member
Posts: 529

I spent quite a bit of time toing and froing at about 500' AGL with no luck. I covered much of the vegetatied areas surrounding both Jao and Mombo thinking the pilot may have become confused and as bc describes, lost his situational sense of things. I know I've experienced loosing site of an airstrip out here and it can be a challenge to find it again.


--

CT

--

"What is a red lake, if it ain't red?

November 25, 2017 at 10:15 AM Flag Quote & Reply

bc
Site Owner
Posts: 8440

Well, Rocky has the right idea in his post just above.


As you have flown this, you quickly realize that the clouds and rain hamper visibility greatly at times. So does one turn little circles in a holding pattern waiting for the weather to clear enough to land, much like pilots in the RW do at Bethel whilst waiting for legal conditions to slip into finals to PABE?


Or does one push out in a circle looking for places to off-airport land if they get into trouble and the weather hasn't yet allowed a view of the airstrip? Go back and forth the few miles between Mombo and Jao and still no landing possible. Wind still pushing bad stuff from the north. Is there a road anywhere? Any place to get this baby down safely on the ground since my fuel is running low or my engine is getting rough or I've run out of coffee in my thermos :P ?


So expand the search area a bit from Jao, since this is where the owner's camp is, suggesting that he would know the terrain around Jao better than around Mombo. Try concentric circles that pop outwards a few miles on each circuit.


Although I have never been on an aerial SAR in the RW, in my mind (and reading) I imagine it to be one of the toughest types of flying jobs ever - especially if you are the sole person in your search craft.


Cheers,

bc

--

6 strings, 9 cylinders, 2 Manx cats: Life's Good!

November 25, 2017 at 11:19 AM Flag Quote & Reply

CptTroll
Member
Posts: 529

A question, I gather Rocky that your reports include illustrative pictures but all I see when viewing on my iPad are small squares where I would expect the photos to be. What am I doing wrong?

--

CT

--

"What is a red lake, if it ain't red?

November 25, 2017 at 1:28 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RocLobster
Moderator
Posts: 1681

CptTroll at November 25, 2017 at 1:28 PM

A question, I gather Rocky that your reports include illustrative pictures but all I see when viewing on my iPad are small squares where I would expect the photos to be. What am I doing wrong?

--

CT

I don't know.  I checked this thread with both of my iPads (one older 2nd Gen, and an Air 2, both still running IOS 10), and my pics are fully visible.


Maybe a temporary Internet glitch?  Did you upgrade to IOS 11 yet?  I did on my iPhone and am struggling with the new Home button reactions.


I'm using Google Drive to host my images.


Can you see pictures at one of my Google Photos galleries?

https://photos.app.goo.gl/1JTyZOCAUxJDMk6x2

November 26, 2017 at 10:37 AM Flag Quote & Reply

CptTroll
Member
Posts: 529

@ Rocky: yes I can see the shots in your google library, really nice! The issue must be at my end then. I did a restart, no change. I'm still iOS 10 and up to date.


Thanks,

CT

November 26, 2017 at 12:39 PM Flag Quote & Reply

RocLobster
Moderator
Posts: 1681

CptTroll at November 26, 2017 at 12:39 PM

@ Rocky: yes I can see the shots in your google library, really nice! The issue must be at my end then. I did a restart, no change. I'm still iOS 10 and up to date.


Thanks,

CT

Do you use the stock Safari browser, or another?

I use Safari.  Even so, an older version might not like Google's image links, which don't end with .JPG, but gibberish like:

https://drive.google.com/uc?id=1QhGCXatl8aHSF5fIOnyV_oCF9Shq1ApM

Settings > Safari has a lot of options (none that I recall having changed), perhaps a content-blocking switch or Javascript (mine's On) is involved?

November 26, 2017 at 2:08 PM Flag Quote & Reply

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