Saturday, May 23, 2015

Wind predictions

Thanks to facebook friends I have found two new websites that will be helpful predicting wind flows for our flight across from Mozambique to Madagascar in July. and both offer a moving map which shows the wind and other weather indications at different altitudes. You can therefore check to see what would be the best altitude to fly at to minimise any headwinds and hopefully fly with the wind. We will be crossing the Mozambique Channel, flying east from Vilankulos in Mozambique to Toliara in a 4 1/2 hour flight (or more if there is a headwind.) The aircraft carries 6 1/2 hours fuel, and any headwind would seriously impact on the range we can fly.

Weekend flying

The Flight School was busy today with microlight flights, students training for their pilot's licence and even pilots hiring our Sling aircraft out for flights along the coast.

Our flight instructors Brandon (left) and Brad (CFI middle) chat to William who is doing his National Pilot's Licence with us.

Dave takes student Gordon (right) for a training flight up to the Tugela River mouth in somewhat bumpy and a little hazy weather conditions today.

Umhlanga beachfront and lighthouse on our return

Saturday, May 16, 2015


I had a great day today with two students on a rather dull weather-day. Armand, right below, is our youngest student and took off by himself for the frst time today. Great progress Armand, you're flying so well!! 

Armand is training for his pilot's licence at Durban Skyye Flight School

The Stadium and city looms into view as we take off from Virginia Airport

The Amanzimtoti Country Club en route to the General Flying Area

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

There and back again

Well that's two trips to Pietermaritzburg and back.. yesterday to drop off our flight school workhorse, Sling FYA, for another 100 hour service, and back again today to fetch the plane.

I can never get enough photos of our marvelous Durban coastline and Stadium, so here's another batch. The May weather in Durban is always stunning and the blue of the sea is amazing. So I got to take photos from 3 different aeroplanes - my Sling ZDL going there yesterday, our flight school Bushbaby Explorer MSC today going there, and our serviced plane Sling FYA which I flew home today.

The Durban coastline shortly after take-off from Virginia Airport

The Umgeni River mouth off the wingtip of ZDL

A SunCoast routing takes you right over the Stadium

Selfie, Selfie, Selfie ha ha 

Durban Harbour mouth on my return from Pietermaritzburg

A clear day both days and stunning view of the Stadium

Durban's Moses Mabhida Stadium and Kings Park pool

Routing inland at SunCoast casino seen through the stuts of MSC, a high-wing taildragger

Alverstone Mast from 3500 ft - see if you can see it, and my aunt's farm with the grey slate roof in the foreground

Homeward bound from Pmb in FYA

You can see it's a new day because I changed my shirt ha ha

Saturday, May 9, 2015

Durban night flight

Click on the link to watch the short YouTube video clip of my night landing.
The view over the cockpit of the Durban beachfront as we scoot over the sea towards the harbour

We had an amazing night flight along the Durban beachfront tonight. To keep my night rating current before taking a passenger I need to have done 5 take-offs and landings in the past 90 days. 

So while Llewellyn waited on the ground I did some circuits and improved on my landing skills. 

Initially I used full flaps but this gives you a sharper descent path. At night this is a little tricky as the illusion at night is that the land is further away from you - this is because it is so dark down there. The outcome is that you bump onto the ground before you think you should be touching down and you need to anticipate this. Changing the flaps to setting one helped me float a little longer and the landings were great thereafter. 

The night lights of Durban were stunning and clear and we just did a short flight to Umhlanga and then back to the harbour before returning to Virginia.

The Durban beachfront hotels and the piers out into the sea

The red cockpit and headlamp lights help you see better at night

The Durban stadium and beachfront as we headed past Virginia airport to the harbour

Before I could take a passenger I needed to complete 5 circuits and landings by myself - I am allowed to be a danger to myself but not to passengers ha ha
Llew takes a photo of me as I taxi in our Sling ZDL to the take-off point

Runway 05 Virginia Airport on final approach to landing

Blog stats

Interesting stats from my blog show that I have nearly as many readers from the United States as from South Africa, and the next highest readership comes from Russia. The total page views are 55 212 since I started this blog on taking up flying.

Skyye Surfing

I surfed the Durban skyye today with Jason, fabulous restauranteur of Jack Salmon Fishhouse fame as he took off with me for his first time experience in a light aircraft. Jason proved he's multi-talented, not only as a great Chef and mastermind of the kitchen, but also of the skyye as he effortlessly piloted our airplane ZDL along the coast.

Sunday, May 3, 2015

May weather

April and May are definitely Durban's best months.. clear skyye and beautiful weather, best for flying. I enjoyed some airtime with my student Gordon in the Virginia General Flying area inland of Amanzimtoti.

My second Sling FYA has only one of the two fuel tanks connected. This means the total maximum weight of the plane (MAUW) with fuel, pilot and passenger, can be kept below 600kg which enables the plane to be classified a "Light Sport Aircraft" for which I have my instructor's rating. My other plane ZDL has both fuel tanks connected, which is great for range - I can fly to Johannesburg and back without refuelling - but requires the higher PPL licence to fly as the weight exceeds 600kgs and which requires a Commercial Pilot's licence to be able to instruct on.

Friday, May 1, 2015

Flight test in ZDL

Llewellyn lines up for pre-takeoff checks in our Sling ZDL for his final PPL flight test today in the GF. Tomorrow he does his test Nav exercise to Margate to complete his PPL training and become our first student to qualify for his PPL licence with our flight school. Good luck for the nav tomorrow Llew!!

Llewellyn in the left seat for his flight test in ZDL

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Armand turns 16

It's great to be there at the start of someone's career and a pleasure to take Armand on his first training flight on his 16th birthday. Happy Birthday Armand.. you flew so well today you are going to be a great pilot. It is a pleasure to be part of your journey and we wish you everything of the best.

Proud parents Jeanette and Louis with Armand on his 16th birthday for his first training flight

Armand (right) flies with Dave

A view of Crossways, Bluff, taken from 1000ft routing from Virginia Airport to the general flying training area

The cockpit of our flight school Sling aircraft, with Armand at the flight controls

Returning to Virginia Airport with the Stadium in view

Long weekend

 Beautiful long weekend for flying. My partner and co-owner of our Sling, Llewellyn, is due to do his pilot's licence flight test today, so we did a flight to the General Flying training area yesterday to run through the procedures on the skills test and let him practice the manouvres.

I also started a new student off on his quest for a National Pilot's licence and we did some of the preliminary exercises in the GFA.

Durban's Bluff and harbour from the wingtips of our Sling ZDL

Dave and Llewellyn (right) in ZDL

Passing our World Cup Football Stadium along the Durban beachfront

The Bluff, where I used to live and where my Bluff office is situated

Student Gordon flying with Dave

Monday, April 13, 2015

Herschel does it

Herschel put her fears to rest and took on the challenge of a flight in my flight school Sling FYA this weekend and confirmed this was one the best and craziest things she has done!!

Herschel posing with our flight school Sling after touching down at Virginia Airport

Dave teaches Herschel how to fly the aircraft

Crisp, clear views.. Durban's best flying weather in April

The Umhlanga beachfront and lighthouse