ANIMALS don’t know it’s a runway.
And if you think this situation is just limited to Wilderbeast wandering over the threshold in some far-away-land then even here in the UK, sheep, dogs and cows can all get in the way.
Don’t believe me? Take a look here at a video of a Tiger Moth clipping a cow…
When I learned to fly, one of the checks I was taught on final approach was called a CRAP check. It stood for CARB HEAT COLD, RUNWAY CLEAR, APPROACH GOOD and PERMISSION TO LAND.
The RUNWAY CLEAR check could of course mean to look to see there are no other aeroplanes in front lining up to take off, but when we’re out adventure flying, animals often pose the biggest hazard, especially on remote airstrips.
In the picture above, Sam Rutherford and his wife Bea (who took the photographs) from prepare2go demonstrate some runway clearing in Africa. A low flypast over the landing site is more than adequate to scare the animals out of the way. Maybe even a second pass. Of course, even when we come round for real approach to land, we need to be open to the possibility that a scared animal might just run out in front of us…
Then there’s threat of animals when we’re parked up too. Hyenas in particular have a real thing for eating rubber tyres. In the photo here, a ranger helps Sam and Bea place thorns in front of the tyres to prevent critters getting at them with their teeth.
These are just two very small aspects of the practicalities of flying in Africa but for the eight private pilots (and passengers) who will depart today on Sam’s Trans-Africa flying safari, small lessons like these will become a daily part of the adventure as the group flies it’s way south from Greece all the way down to Cape Town over the next 12 days.
As Sam puts it, “It’s going to be a great trip, the southbound route takes us through some of the most beautiful areas in the world. In Africa, Everything is Possible (probable, even).”