Transport Flight – PA31 Chieftain Pick Up

Good evening my fellow pilots and a warm (literally). This is a bit of a strange trip for us this time round; rather than deliver an aircraft for a client to a far flung country by flying that aircraft all the way. This time we flying from the UK into The United States in search of a twin-prop aircraft in the form of a PA31 Chieftain, our client/guest for the trip is a Mr Ben Millen, he is a pilot from Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides, having just achieved his MEL PPI he is looking for a medium sized ‘older’ piston propliner aircraft. After some searching around we found one in Nevada, near Lake Tahoe, the question is how get there.

You may think I’m speaking from The UK, nope! We set off from Ronaldsway (My new FBO) northbound towards Iceland, before heading towards Greenland and Canada, in the newly reacquired Airbus A318, recently back from lease in The UAE, the A318 is set up as a business jet to rival aircraft similar in size to the Gulfstream, as you may know that The Airbus is easily capable of flying The Atlantic from Shannon to New York with 40 passengers on board… Why didn’t I just do that? Well the idea is to create a way home without having to guess to much later, I decided to fly the same corridor that most ferry pilots when flying from The States to The UK in smaller aircraft…. I’ve got my Camera with me hoping for good photo opportunities…

Our next stop in Boston, Mass…


Taxying from the gate at Keflavik, Iceland


This is early afternoon in Iceland, the sun pretty much doesn’t get much higher in the sky, this is winter afterall.
Aircraft flypast of Keflavik Tower – they sent it to us, off to Greenland

On descent to Kangerlussuaq, stunning sky as we go slightly further north

Landed in Greenland

Cleaning out the aircraft, and heading to the terminal building.

Transport Flight–BAe Jetstream–African Trip

Good afternoon, well we have another transport flight (these are starting to pick up the pace). This time it’s a bit of a strange one, we have a Jetstream 41 at Humberside Airport which is to be flown over 5000nm to South Africa, Cape Town to be exact.

The purpose of this trip is to transport a Jetstream 41 (G-MAJJ) from Eastern Airways Hub at Humberside to South African Airlink. The aircraft will make the trip in Eastern Airways Livery and be repainted on delivery. So today I’m joined by my senior engineer Mick Knowles, who will also accompany me through out this trip he will also arrange to have our 747-400F meet us at Cape Town to return a Avro Jet RJ85 back to BAe Warton. An aircraft which has been in storage for some time and has been requested to be overhauled b  before being returned via the 747-400F again. So we have a long way to go before this contract has finished. In the midst of this we are required to fly the BAe aircraft on a ‘shakedown’ following overhaul.

The Jetstream is a bit of a handful to start up in particular and for that reason we are carrying a few engine parts and tools for any engine issues we may encounter. But once we get used to it the aircraft is a joy to fly.

Today I’m writing this from the hotel room at Santander, Spain. We have flown from Humberside to Jersey and then on to Santander. It’s been a long day but an enjoyable one. Tomorrow we are hoping to North Africa after flying over Spain and making a stop in Ibiza.

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On stand at Jersey – readying for departure to Santander
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Excellent conditions for flying, although weather conditions are deteriorating around the Santander area.
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Really can’t see a thing now.

DAY 2

Good afternoon, you’ve caught me typing this sitting in the cabin at Ibiza whilst the engineer checks out the engines following a stalled engine start at Santander, it’s just a precautionary check to ensure we’ve not damaged to props or shafts, so whilst that’s happening I’ve got a mug of coffee and my laptop to keep you all updated. From here we are heading southbound into Africa and I’ve selected the city of Constantine, a city which was named after Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (Aurelius Constantinus Augustus). The city itself is 50miles inland from the Mediterranean Sea, and is regarded as the Capital of the eastern Algeria, and the centre of its region. Tonight it will serve as our overnight stop,we had a late start today but hopefully should make up for it tomorrow.

Ok engines sorted and we are off….. See you in Constantine.
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Departing Santander.
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Spanish plains – I see no rain though
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Costa Del Sol
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Approach and arrival into Ibiza
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Engines inspected and taxying out to fly over to Constantine
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Powering out of Ibiza
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Stunning sunset over Mallorca
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Menorca’s old capital Ciutadella de Menorca
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Menorca’s current capital – Mahon
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Twilight and arrival into Constantine, aircraft on the stand.

Day 3

Good evening all, finally we’ve made it to the coast of Africa, that is to say we’ve stopped for a few days on the island of Malabo which is the capital of Equatorial Guinea. I’m absolutely shattered after a solid 13hours of flying with 3 short turnaround and refuels we have travelled across Algeria, Niger and over few other countries on route to Malabo; my original intention was to fly down the middle of Africa towards South Africa however whilst flying across Algeria I started to get concerned in the lack of viable navigation aids and airfields and on top of that I was getting concerned as the ground temperatures where in the low 40’s and I could feel the engines starting to strain, we rerouted towards the coast in a bid to relieve the stress on the engines and get some colder and thicker air. Also there are a lot more places to navigate by and airfields to use to reduce our risk. Although I feel we have safely travelled over the worst of the terrain. Although we have increased our ‘state of security’ as some parts of Africa or a little bit more fragile than others.

The aircraft has had a few little issues with the left engine again and a couple of times the start locks on the props didn’t engage which meant manual unfeathering had to be done prior to engine start… Mick suspects that they may of become jammed possibly with bits of sand stuck in the mechanism. However on the whole the aircraft has flown beautifully today with not a single major problem.. our biggest problem has been the heat.

Take a look at today’s pictures…

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Day 4 & 5

YAY!!! Finally we’ve completed our trip down to Cape Town, the aircraft as been handed over to South African Airlink. Tomorrow we will take command of an Avro RJ85 and take it up to Cairo, Egypt for transfer into our 747-400F to ferry the aircraft back to BAe Systems at Warton. There wasn’t much to see from our trip from Malabo. Here are some pictures on the way to Cape Town.

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