Thursday, March 22, 2012

Three years in the making

Happy Third Birthday to my blog! I know it is not the largest milestone around, but it does signify that my random loosely aviation based ramblings have been floating through the interweb for three years. Admittedly I did vanish from the blogisphere for nearly eighteen months after leaving Tanzania. I have provided a few pictures as a form of time line to depict my haphazard progress over a the nine years I have been flying.
The above picture is a Saab 340B which I am flying at present. As a matter of fact I have my 100 hour route check (A test to make sure I am safe to fly with all captains) tomorrow morning out to a remote island in the Gulf of Carpentaria called Groote Eylandt. Fingers crossed it all goes smoothly. From 2011 - present.

Before the Saab there was the Shrike Aerocomander which I flew for one year in North Queensland to build up my multi-engine hours on these old flogged work horses that should really be museum pieces. From 2010 - 2011.
During my time driving Aerocomanders my little Aussie lady who has followed me literally to Africa and and back finally became my wife. From 2011 - we'll see how long she lasts.
For a little over two years I bashed around the bush of East Africa in Cessna Caravans. I know the Caravan can be a career killer for some pilots their ambitious careers stall here and do not progress much further. I do not blame these pilots for staying on the van its a really great machine to fly...though I did have an engine failure on approach into Zanzibar airport in a caravan with ten passengers on board. From 2008 - 2010.
I had a mad idea to become an agricultural pilot at one stage. Though I never flew this Cessna 188 Ag wagon I did load and mix chemicals for it for most of 2007. For this outfit I managed to accumulate only a handful of hours flying in a Cessna 172 ferrying aircraft parts to broken down aircraft literally in the field. This was a seriously eye opening side of aviation.
One of the most amazing places I have been lucky enough to live and work in was the Okavango Delta in Bostwana. Here I flew Cessna 206's and Cessna 210's (not both at once I am not that clever) around Botswana and various other parts of Southern Africa. This was also my first ever flying job. From 2004 to 2005.
The sausage factory as I have come to term it is where I learnt fly. This pilot factory which is better known as the International Aviation Academy of New Zealand in Christchurch did an alright job qualifying this high school drop out as a pilot.....well I haven't crashed yet. From 2003 -2004.


  1. Congrats on 3 years! Great stories and pics!

  2. I enjoy your blog, Ryan. Nice pics too. I relate to your African stories because I live in South Africa. How many hours did you have when you landed the Bots job? Did you have an instructors rating? Keep up the stories! Thanks. Nick

  3. Hi Nick,
    I had about about 230 hours total time and a 206 rating. Never had an instructors rating i don't think i have the right temperament to be an instructor.
    People are saying its getting harder for non nationals to get flying work in Botswana...its never been easy it takes a fair bit of determination and persistance.
    Are you doing you com are you?

  4. Hi Ryan
    Yes, I believe it is getting tougher out there. My current instructor has 1600 hrs and an instructor's rating and was unable to land a job. He is not a local boy, but hails from the sub-continent, and I suspect this is the reason for him not getting hired(?). At present I am doing my PPL (and trying to blog about it on wordpress, under "The Flying Doctor", when I have the chance!)and wil see hat happens after that - I'm realy just enjoying th flying for now!

    1. Hi Nick, there could be alot of reasons. It could be even as simple as he was not there at the right time. When one is starting out the industry can seem quite fickle. I remember when I was in Bots an operator hired two ex-pat pilots...however they still had to advertise locally for nationals. The ad in the Ngami times listed the minimum requirements and one was to have "recent outer space experience". The advertisement satisfied local authorities and ensured no nationals were elligible.
      Anyway I will have to have a read of blog...good luck with your check today.


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