Wednesday, February 20, 2008

New Floats

About 6 months ago, SAM AIR purchased some new Aerocet fiberglass floats to replace the old aluminum Edo's for our Cessna 206 floatplane. I received an e-mail from my Chief Pilot this week with his comments and some pictures. I have posted them for the enjoyment of the airplane nuts... of which I am perhaps the biggest! Pictures are credited to Todd from SAM AIR. The following is what Jon, our Chief Pilot wrote:

I have now flown them (new floats) on several occasions all over the jungles of Peru, and have made some observations. So we are on the same page as far
as how the airplane is equipped. It is on a U206G with the Bonaire IO-550 conversion with the Hartzell Top Prop. It is equipped with the Flint Tips (3800# Gross Weight) and Horton STOL. (Short Take-Off and Land)

The first thing I noticed is that as soon as you crank up, idle tax speed is noticably faster (OK in most places but more of a challenge in a marginal river takeoff where you have no space to taxi upriver and too narrow to turn around most of the time).
2. Water rudders are more effective.

3. Seems to wallow more in the plow, and makes a deeper wake!

4. Step turns feel similar to the Edos.
5. Comes out of the water at #3800 in 40 seconds (Edos were 1 minute plus!).
6. Seems to have more of a suction than the Edos.
7. Very little sence of acceleration on lift off and ve
ry little nose over tendency on touchdown. (very slippery due to no drag from rivet heads)
8. Seems to have a steeper Vx climb, hard to put numbers on it but have been able to climb straight out in places where I used to have to fly the river.

9. Rate of climb is improved by 50fpm+.
10. Flying wires sing on descent.
11. Installed in 32 man hours.
12. Lighter by more than 50 lbs.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Let's Ride!

Being removed from flying, driving an automobile, and only being able to ride a bicycle, the time had come to take drastic measures. The "MEN" of the language school decided it was time to get back to basics and take the "controls" for a saturday and go ride.

For some odd reason, I was the one put in charge of organizing a trip for 4 guys. Our preferred mode of transportation... motorcycles. I found the only tour guide that rented motorcycles in Arequipa. But not just any cycles, these were genuine Wanxin and Cross motorcycles. The finest offerings of some peoples republic of somewhere where things are made cheap...

We all set off on a saturday morning heading towards the town of Yura. After 30 minutes on a two lane paved road and another 30 minutes on a winding dirt road, we arrived at the main Plaza. With only 100 residents, Yura is quite small. However, the Church in the town plaza was constructed 40 years before the USA received independence back in 1776!

It was then off to the country side where the green fields contrasted with the rolling desert hills. We traveled for anther hour until one of the bikes broke down. Thankfully, there was a Tico taxi that passed by and we were able to send the bike back to town inside of the Tico. Since gas was leaking out of the motorcycle tank, we drained the fuel into a dirty gallon sized bucket, cut the top off of an old plastic water bottle that was lying alongside the road, and poured the fuel into the Tico. Down one bike and rider, we continued on.

Arequipa is at an elevation of 7,500 feet. On our journey, we traveled up into the highlands of the mountains. Our next rest stop was at 13,000 feet where our bikes could manage no more than 45 mph. The temperature had also dropped to around 45 degrees. Combined with the wind and late afternoon cloud cover, we were freezing cold! However, the view (along with lack of oxygen) was breathtaking.

After warming up and eating a late lunch, it was back on the road for the one and a half hour return trip. The cloud cover turned into rain and for the last half of the ride, we rode in complete misery as our fingers turned blue. There are a few things in this world worse than riding a motorcycle in the rain with soaking wet clothing and shoes... I just can't think of what those things are right now. A warm shower and dry cloths never felt so good. In fact, the next day we were all talking about doing another trip some weekend, obviously a sure sign that we were all quite delusional after enduring such harsh conditions the day before. The call of the open road, the call of the wild, whatever you want to call it... I am going to call this post quits!

Saturday, February 9, 2008


Two weeks ago, a group of us from Church organized a paintball outing here in Arequipa. We were able to contact the ONLY place that did paintball and they told us to show up at 11am as they would be ready for us. Well, we did show up at 11 and the owners of the place did not show up until an hour later. Note: the non-Peruvians were a bit put-out but all of our Peruvian friends were much more agreeable.

We got ourselves suited up, selected our "markers" (guns) as they are called, and were given a paltry 50 rounds each. Anyone that has played before know that 50 rounds is about enough for one or two games, but the stuff is imported from the USA and thus hard to come by. We ended up playing for about an hour and had a good time bonding together. Perhaps guys are the only people that can "bond" while shooting at each other...

Monday, February 4, 2008


This past sunday was the Superbowl. I was able to find out that "Fox Sports Latin America" was going to carry the game live! So I made some plans and invited a few people over to watch the game. I was able to borrow the projector from my church here in Arequipa, and using a mishmash of cables and connectors, finally figured out a way to get the picture projected on the living room wall of my host home.

After more fussing around with cables, a set of speakers, and 2 VCRs, I was able to get sound out of one channel of the TV and used a remote second speaker to complete the "surround sound" experience. It was even possible to record the game on VHS cassette for another missionary!

I have to say, after growing accustomed to watching soccer down here were a game last for 90 minutes and no more, it was pretty close to torture watching the game for over 4 hours and pausing every 5 minutes for 2 minutes of commercials. Everything was of course in Spanish and I spent a fair bit of time trying to explain the rules to my Peruvians friends... which, when everything was said and done, they still did not understand the game. Perhaps the worst part was answering who my favorite team was and why they were not in the Superbowl. One of these days those Detroit Lions will make it!