Today I was off to Bellavista with Dave, our cheif pilot. Bellavista is a small community of 100 people and there is a missionary family that has been there for a number of years. They used to have to travel two weeks by boat to reach the village but once they found out about SAM AIR, we were able to show them it would only be 50 minutes by air! They now exclusively us SAM AIR!
The river that runs right by the village is not straight which makes the approach to landing and takeoff very challenging. Read: FUN! (if you are a pilot). We set up on final approach with full flaps (30 degrees for the float plane) and 60 knots airspeed. Coming just 10-15 feet over the approach end trees, you land, and immediately get ready to dock. It all happens in less than 30 seconds!
The missionary family was eager to see us as we had about 250 kilos of food and supplies for them. We were given the grand tour of their house and the village and spent about half an hour catching them up on the latest news from the "outside world". For me, it was really fulfilling to spend time with them and realize that I was part of the team helping them with their work in that village!
Ok, back to flying. So for takeoff, you go up river, do all your checks, turn around and cob the power. Hugging the right hand side of the river, you have to be up on the step and indicating about 40 knots before the bend in the river. Then, just like in NASCAR, you cut the left hand corner on the inside. While you are doing this, you have full left aileron and are putting the flaps down to 20 degrees and raising the right float out of the water. At 50 knots you are off the water and on the way to climbing out above the 100 foot trees in the remaining straight part of the river. What a day!
Note: For those of you who are not pilots or have no interest in aviation. I will try to write something in the english language that is understandable and that you can hopefully relate to in the next blog post. Thanks for your patience, but there are people who actually understand these things and get excited about them as well! I know, we are all just "plane" nuts!