Behind the Scenes, Part II

Pilots are taught to aviate, navigate, and communicate, in that order.  In other words, keep the plane in the air, find your way, and, well, chat.  This advice is well taken if you’re flying in Timbuktu, but if your flight takes you through heavily congested areas such as Cape Town International Airspace – communication is a necessity.

Fortunately for us mono-lingual Safari pilots, english is the international language of air traffic control. On the other hand, not all english is created equal, which prompted George Bernard Shaw to quip ” America and England are two countries separated by a common language.” As it turns out, the english spoken in South Africa adds a third degree of separation.

The following audio clip is of ATC communications at Lanseria, Johannesburg, South Africa. Lanseria Air Traffic Communications

Here’s a test: If you can correctly interpret at least 75% of the communications, you’ll get a special shout-out on the blog.  

Safari pilots Doug, Mike, and David have been listening to tapes of South African ATC communications, in hopes of preventing an international incident with our communications.  :-)

 

Behind the Scenes – Part I


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Most pilots fly their planes to the destination, but when your destination is Africa, and your de Havilland Beaver rumbles along at Mach 0.1, it’s faster and cheaper to ship it by cargo ship.  And so it was that three Beavers were disassembled and packed into 40′ containers for the long journey half way around the world. Here’s a video of the process.

The Great Africa Air Safari Part 1

The great africa air safari lesson1

The Great Africa Air Safari

Flying Beavers in Africa

The Great Africa Air Safari

The Great Africa Air Safari itinerary — May 10-31.

Travelers to Africa speak of stalking the “Big Five,” a term coined by big-game hunters. Among the fiercest animals on the planet, the group is comprised of the lion, elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros. Until now.

On May 10, the Big Five will become the Big Six, as the North American Beaver invades the African continent. Museum of Flight trustees Mike Lester, David Wyman, and Doug DeVries will be flying their venerable Beavers through southern Africa, the world’s second-largest continent. Starting in Cape Town, the safari will head north, following a generally clockwise route through South Africa and Botswana, landing at remote airstrips. The flight will take them through the Okavango Delta, known for its wide variety of African wildlife.

DSC_8477

Beaver N67DN over the Australian Outback

Seth Margolis, the Museum’s Director of Education, has organized a youth education initiative using the safari to focus on aviation in Africa. The program will commence with a live Beaver pre-flight inspection on May 11, and over the succeeding weeks will include sessions on flight planning in Africa, the use of aviation to curb poachers, and exploring game reserves via the air. Through the course of the adventure, students will fly actual legs of the safari on the Aviation Learning Center‘s flight simulators.

For Doug’s Beaver, N67DN, this will be the third trip abroad, following exploration of the Canadian Arctic in 2008, and Australia Outback in 2010. For David Wyman’s Beaver, N510PW, this will be a home-coming of sorts – it started life in South Africa, and spent time in Kenya performing, well, locust control. Note to the swarming hoppers of Africa – N510PW, bug-killer-extraordinaire-and-member-of-the-Big Six, is returning to its former hunting grounds.

Please follow us through the Museum of Flight as we embark on our travels.

Doug DeVries

Mike Lester

David Wyman