It's been a quiet week here in the Okavango. Two planes down with engine failures in 4 days. Props to the boys behind the props. No injuries, no substantial damage to either aircraft and the passengers have kick-ass African memories.
The first incident involved a Caravan(the airplane, not the Soccer Mom chariot that saved Chrysler the first time) and falling oil pressure. The pilot noticed the pressure issues and smoke on the windscreen so he diverted to the nearest strip. The engine lost all oil pressure on final approach. When oil pressure falls to zero on a Caravan, the props feather because the pressure keeps them at the correct pitch. Feathered blades means less resistance which means greater glide which means over-shooting the airstrip.
Jao's a good place to overshoot because it's surrounded by floodplain rather than trees. Even though the water levels are rising, I reckon the plane touching down scared most of the crocs away.
A couple of days later I flew some concession managers around to meet with various villages within the concession. Once a year the villagers get together to discuss the concession agreement, air grievances and the like. At one of the stops, I was told to call World Headquarters. I did so and was put on stand-by for a medical evacuation.
A man of Chinese descent raised in the Shetlands came on line about a month ago. The Scottish Ninja piloted a Cessna 206 bound for Maun with passengers scheduled to catch the 1405 to Jo-burg. One moment, everything's groovy. The next moment, everything's quiet. Engine failure. The ninja put out a Mayday call(how many of you practice Mayday's when you practice engine failures?) and picked the best opening he could find in the mophane forest.
Botswana Defense Force heard the radio call and alerted Maun Airport. That got the ball rolling that I fielded. Our Scottish hero was light on his tabis (little big toe booties they wear so they can silently move about) so the worst that happened was the front wheel mount got boogered up.
I was told to stand down because no one was injured and BDF was able to fit all the passengers in their helicopter. Not only were there no injuries, but the folks caught their flight out of Maun.
That's the news from the Okavango where all the hippos are strong, the kudus are good-looking, and the Scottish Ninjas are above average.
Things I learn and things I never learn
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