Thursday, September 21, 2017

Patient AirLift Services / Sky Hope is looking for Caravan Owners and Pilots

Disaster Relief operations continue at PALS Sky Hope! It’s been four weeks since Maria made landfall, but folks are still in desperate need of help!   

PALS has teamed up with Rescue Global and Airlink to provide relief in the island of Dominica, where over 90% of the island has been destroyed by Hurricane Maria. The premature departure of larger NGOs and government agencies that normally provide lift and aid has left tens of thousands in dire need of our help.  General Aviation is of vital importance! 

THE NEED: C-208 pilots with aircraft who would be willing to give a few days of flying between now and the end of October. (Possibly into November)

THE MISSIONS: Flights in and out of the island of Dominica and surrounding islands to provide imminently needed humanitarian aid as well as transporting evacuees with critical health needs. You would need to be comfortable landing at TDCF (Canefield) airport, a 3000 ft asphalt runway, with a right turn approach over some terrain.

THE OPERATION: Thanks to Rescue Global, a base of operations has been established in Barbados. Accommodations and food are provided at Holders House a very nice set-up! (see pic below).  TheFuel in Barbados is at cost, there is 50% off handling and waived fees.  All customs paperwork is being handled by Rescue Global—all you have to do is file and fly! 

Most importantly, this is a chance for truly impactful, life-saving work!  

HOW TO HELP:  If you can devote some time between now and the end of October, please register here ASAP and a Pilot Coordinator will be in contact with next steps.  

"Changing Lives, One Flight at a Time"

Friday, September 8, 2017

5 Quick Tips for Caravan Pilots

Today we're sharing a useful list for Caravan Pilots composed by our friends at Bush Pilot HQ! Visit this wonderful resource at

This may go without saying, but if you have a large fuel imbalance and no autopilot, you’ll feel it. Balancing fuel reduces the roll load you’ll feel when landing and taking off. Making your life easier.

Set your seat at a constant position, the same incline and height every time. If the height of your seat is consistently changing, the attitude that feels right for flaring changes. This is a good tip for any type of flying as well as the caravan.

Don’t forget the armrests! These are lifesavers, once I have levelled off, armrests = out. If you have passengers up front with you (like in Botswana), show them how the armrests work.

If you’re operating in a single crew environment use the overhead panel air vent for yourself and point the co-pilot’s in your direction. When you do have someone upfront with you, make sure to point it back at them or else you’re just being mean.

Take a towel or cloth with you for making the, “poor man’s sunshield” (see blog title picture for example). Things do get quite hot upfront in the caravan when you’re flying directly into the sun and that extra bit of protection makes a massive difference. It also protects your face from those harmful UV rays.

And finally, just a quick extra tip for making things slightly more comfortable for your passengers. Explain to them how the air vents are used, this may come easy to us but some passengers are unaware of these things.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

How to Become a Jungle Pilot

How to Become a Jungle Pilot
By Louise (

“The village was engulfed in flames. I circled overhead and saw there was a battle going on at the landing strip. I realized that I was just about to land in a war zone!”  How did Swedish born Elin Larsson end up as a jungle pilot in Indonesia? 

She spent four years flying passengers and all sorts of cargo (literally all sorts) in her Cessna C208B Grand Caravan.  Recently she published a book about her adventures in the wild and remote jungles of Indonesia. I talked to her about living an extraordinary life.

Sometimes Elin Larsson felt like flying back in time
Photo by Emil Sergel

If Indiana Jones was a woman he would be Elin Larsson. Swedish born adventuress, who besides being the sweetest person you ever met is also a surfing enthusiast and a hard core hiker. She furthermore is one of the few people in the world qualified to fly in the dangerous jungles of Indonesia.

Flying Back in Time

In Indonesia the storms are violent, the mountains are enormous and most landing sites are also the village main street. Landing here means avoiding running pigs and flying chickens. And of course keeping the airplane steady on the uneven, bumpy gravel airstrips. Everything there was so different that sometimes Elin Larsson felt like flying back in time.

“Some of the villages had no connection with the rest of the world. One time the locals provided a bowl of water to my plane. Assuming it must be thirsty after the long flight. Adventures like these make me feel alive. It makes me feel that I am using my precious time in a good way.”

No doubt jungle pilot Elin Larsson has chosen an exceptional life. “I always feel much better after doing something a little bit adventurous rather than wasting time watching TV. My goal is to have at least one small adventure every day.”

A Broken Foot

"My goal is to have at least one small adventure every day.”
Photo by Emil Sergel

As a result of her desire for adventure she found herself with a broken foot in Samarida, a small airport in Indonesia. It was during her first year at Susi Air.

She was about to exit the airplane when she stumbled and fell hard onto the tarmac. She felt stupid but even worse was her foot, it was broken. The pain was almost blinding. However she did not want to expose her injury. Because she was afraid that the guys at Susi Air would think that she was a cry baby who could not handle the tough assignment as a jungle pilot.

So she swallowed the pain, boarded the passengers and flew co-pilot back to Bali. “Throughout the landing it was almost impossible for me to use the foot-pedals. Every time I moved the foot I felt a gruesome pain.”

During her years at Susi Air she often heard the story about a crazy co-pilot who flew with a broken foot.  Never revealing that it was actually her.

Failure is Part of the Process

About the same time that Elin Larsson got her pilot license, an Icelandic volcano with a name that no one can pronounce (Eyjafjallajökul) started erupting. This natural disaster affected many airlines and suddenly a lot of experienced pilots were out looking for new employment. This, of course, made the competition harder for anyone newly licensed.

Living in Stockholm at the time, she never gave up her dream of becoming a pilot. She would even work for free as long as it got her closer to her goal. “When I find something that I really want to do I devote all of my energy towards that goal. It is a matter of doing what I am passionate about and avoid wasting energy on things that I don’t want to do.”

Finally, one tired afternoon, Elin Larsson found the job of her dreams; Flying as a jungle pilot for Susi Air in Indonesia.

Following a Dream

But going was not a simple choice. Family and friends advised her not to leave the safety of Sweden. Nevertheless, she decided against them all, packed her flip flops and chose the adventure.

This soon to be a jungle pilot is determined not to waste her life.
Photo by Emil Sergel

“People were giving me advice based on their own fears. Everyone, who knew nothing about Indonesia, gave me the advice to not go. All this negativity surely made me doubt my decision to go. I started to question if this was actually what I really wanted.”

A sad truth is that most people don't fulfill their dreams because they are scared of the opinion of others. Luckily she had the guts not to care that much about other people’s opinions.  And this soon to be jungle pilot was determined not to waste her life.

“I read somewhere what other people think of you is none of your business. Just accept that not everyone around you is going to be supportive of your ideas. Especially if your ideas are a bit out of the ordinary.”

Base Your Decision on Facts

Elin Larsson recommends that you base your decisions on facts
Photo by Elin Larsson

She strongly recommends that everyone spend some time alone every now and then. Doing this has often helped Elin to distinguish between her own dreams and what other people want her to do.
Secondly, she recommends that you base your decisions on facts.

“I find that once I sit down with a pen and paper and actually do the math, I am usually closer to my dreams than I thought. Maybe you are not quite there yet but once you have it on a piece of paper you have something to work towards. If you really want to make it happen - make a plan! “Says Elin Larsson.

What the Hell was I Thinking?

What the hell was I thinking leaving the safety of Sweden?
Photo by Emil Sergel

Reading her book I understand some of her experiences must have been challenging both mentally and emotionally.  I asked her if she had moments when she thought, ‘What the hell was I thinking leaving the safety of Sweden?'

“Absolutely. I found that happening quite a bit while flying in the mountains. The weather and the general conditions changed so fast. Some days it was hard to be on top of everything at all times.  We never flew ourselves into any situation unless we had a plan a, b and c to get ourselves out of there.”

"No matter how experienced you are, you can never control everything flying out there; the terrain, the weather, the insane amount of other planes, the crazy landing strips and the political instability."
“I am extremely happy and proud that I am one of the very few mountain pilots in the world. It was magnificent flying but I am really happy that I made it out safely.”

Crossing Comfort Zones

 Elin Larsson often flew to villages in the mountains that used to be isolated from civilization
Photo by Emil Sergel

As a jungle pilot Elin Larsson often flew to villages in the mountains that were isolated from civilization. It was an unforgiving environment to fly in, with no room for guessing or being too relaxed about any situation.

I very, very seldom find myself outside my comfort zone
Elin surfing

“I very seldomly find myself outside of my comfort zone. I am a coward that actually doesn't like taking risks. That might sound weird, but it is true."

"I didn’t start out landing on the craziest runways, hiking the steepest route or surfing the biggest waves. It took a lot of time building my experience, knowledge and confidence. You don't have to be an adrenaline junkie to live an adventurous life.”

Clash of Cultures

Being a tall blond from the other side of the Planet did some times result in a clash of cultures. “It is the passion that keeps me going and sometimes I don’t even realize that I fail along the way. I just see failure as a natural part of the process to get to where I want to be. Sometimes I almost think it is fun when it is hard to get what I want. I like to fight for things, so failures don't bother me that much."

I like to fight for things so failures don’t bother me that much
Photo by Emil Sergel

"When I was younger it was sometimes hard to distinguish between what I wanted to do and what 'society' wanted me to do. Now I am much better at identifying what I am passionate about and I just focus on that.”

For more great articles about Caravan pilots, visit

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Pen Cap Causes Power Lever Problems for Caravan

Most of us pilots have dropped our pen and/or pen cap onto the floor of an airplane that we were flying. It is very important for you, when it is safe, to retrieve any item that has fallen onto the floor of the airplane.

That item has the possibility of causing major problems for you on that flight or one in the future. I have personally had a pen fall and roll behind the rudder pedal while I was taxiing, which prevented me from being able to fully steer the airplane on the ground. Luckily it did not prevent me from stopping the airplane. 

As you will read below, a pilot of a Cessna Caravan found himself unable to reduce the power to idle because of a pen cap that had fallen under the power quadrant.

It does not take a great imagination to think of different scenarios where that situation could have led to an accident.

As submitted to the FAA: "On short final, the pilot could not reduce power to idle. An emergency was declared but the flight landed without further incident. 

Maintenance personnel were unable to duplicate the problem. The pilot later reported the “binding throttle” recurred, though not as severe. 

A detailed inspection of all related linkages, cables and components found the power lever control aft linkage out of rig and a pen cap in the bottom of the throttle quadrant."

Luckily no one was hurt in that situation. It serves as a reminder to us to keep the cockpit tidy.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

New UK Air Taxi Company Waves Technologies Selects Grand Caravan EX

A new air taxi company Waves Technologies, based at Guernsey UK, recently announced that it has selected the Cessna Grand Caravan EX as the aircraft that it will operate between the Channel Islands. The company is about to take delivery of the first of 3 Grand Caravan EX. Their service will commence in August of this year.

On the Waves Technologies website they promise to offer "... affordable, fixed-price flights to Guernsey, Jersey, Alderney, Northern France, and South England." and "... a service that moves with the times and embraces the fast evolving new technology available to all of us."

The company will be competing with local airlines with competitive pricing and better service.

Textron Aviation, owner of Cessna Aircraft Company, expects many more orders of the Grand Caravan EX in the coming years due to a new European rule allowing commercial air transport companies to use single-engine turboprops in IMC.

Monday, June 26, 2017

What are DROTAMs? Something Every Pilot Should Know.

What are DROTAMs?

If you Google search "drotam" you might find that it is a drug that helps with muscle spasms, but that's not what we're talking about today (sorry, I couldn't resist). If you're a pilot, go ahead and add this word to your vocabulary. It is a word that was coined by SkyVector, but I promise you, it is a word and a thing that we will see more and more of. 

Every year that goes by, it seems, drones are having a larger and larger impact on the aviation community. On this site we have written about drones almost colliding with Caravans. To help reduce drone vs. manned aircraft collisions, there are now DROTAMs.

On the SkyVector website we learn that, "DROTAMs™ are what SkyVector calls "Drone NOTAMs", or Notices to Airmen defining unmanned aerial systems operating areas (UAS OA)."

"The U.S. Air Force, Customs and Border Protection Agency, public operators with a Certificate of Authorization (COA), or private commercial operators granted a Section 333 exemption may issue NOTAMs to advise pilots of their activities."

Everyone seems to have an opinion about drones, let us know what yours are in the comments section below.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

DC3's To Be Replaced By Caravans at Catalina Flying Boats

As first reported in the Press-Telegram:
One of Catalina Flying Boats’ historic DC-3 aircraft flew over Long Beach Airport (LGB) Wednesday afternoon for what amounted to an aerial farewell before its final departure.
The company, which hauls mail and other cargo from Long Beach California to Catalina on a near-daily basis, has traded its DC-3s for a pair of single-engine turboprop Cessna Caravan planes that are more reliable and less expensive to maintain. Yet as much as the switch makes sense from a business perspective, the old DC-3s are going to be missed.

“That was brutal,” Catalina Flying Boats pilot James “JAD” Davy said after piloting one of the company’s DC-3s over Long Beach Airport, to the enjoyment of a small gathering of aviation enthusiasts who gathered in a nearby parking lot near the airport’s edge to watch the flyby.
Davy has flown DC-3s for Catalina Flying Boats since 1992, and he said it has been an honor to have been behind the controls of a historic aircraft.
“Not too many people get to do it,” he said.

An Honorable History

The National Air and Space Museum calls the DC-3 “the most successful airliner in the formative years of air transportation.” The aircraft’s flying history dates back to 1935 and workers assembled more than 13,000 DC-3s over the course of its production runs.

Douglas Aircraft Co. workers assembled DC-3 aircraft at manufacturing plants in Long Beach and Santa Monica. Boeing Co., the corporate inheritor of Douglas Aircraft’s legacy, credits the DC-3 with making commercial aviation a profitable enterprise. Its account of the aircraft’s history, however, shows the vast majority of DC-3s — nearly 10,200 planes — were built for military service. The U.S. Army Air Forces designated the aircraft as the C-47 Skytrain, although the Air Mobility Command Museum relates that some who served during World War II had their own nickname for the aircraft — the “Gooney Bird.”
Whatever one calls the DC-3, the Allies employed the aircraft to bring cargo, paratroopers and glider-borne infantry to the front lines.
The backdrop of history perhaps explains why some pilots who watched Davy’s short flight over Long Beach on Wednesday expressed sentimental feelings after watching the old plane in the air.
“It’s nostalgic. Takes you back to an era that I wish I was in, but I was born 30 years too late,” said Vasco Rodrigues, a 56-year-old United Airlines pilot living in Signal Hill.
Keep Flying
Catalina Flying Boats traces the history of one of its DC-3s to 1944 and the other’s to 1945. The military made use of both planes before their eventual arrival in Long Beach.
The freight company itself has been in existence since 1984, and started out with a Grumman Goose seaplane. Its fleet has also included a De Havilland Canada Otter and Beechcraft Model 18.
The DC-3s are headed to Ohio for a $3 million overhaul, according to the company. They are scheduled to remain in service half a world away flying cargo to difficult-to-access places in Africa.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

10 Things You (probably) Did Not Know About the Caravan

Now and then our readers will share with us interesting facts that we did not know about the Cessna Caravan or facts that we do not believe that our average reader would know. This inspired the creation of this article. We hope that you enjoy and share with us any other not-so-commonly known facts that you know about the Caravan!

1. Accidentally hitting the Start switch will illuminate the "Generator Off" light.

2. The most common turbo-prop airplane used for skydiving in the world is the Caravan.

3. The Caravan's firewall was tested to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. The Cessna logo can be seen in the pattern of rivets in front of the co-pilot's door.

5. The Caravan cruises 10 knots faster and 50nm further without the cargo pod installed.

6. If the Torque gauge fails, you can use the Fuel Flow gauge to set power settings: Climb = 400, Cruise = 300 and Approach = 200

7. Single point fuel system is available for the Caravan.

8. You only have 90 seconds of fuel remaining if the red reservoir low light illuminates.

9. Boot activation increases the stall speed by 10 knots.

10. If you accidentally drop your pen in the hole between the rudder pedal and power column, be sure and get it out because it can cause a rudder jam.

Please share your not-so-commonly known facts about the Caravan with us by sending them to

Information compiled for this article is from the archives of and Caravan: Cessna's Swiss Army Knife with Wings.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

True Blue Power's Lithium-ion Battery approved for Blackhawk Caravans

As reported by AIN - Operators of Cessna 208/208B Caravans powered by Blackhawk Modifications engine upgrades now have the option of adding True Blue Power’s TB44 lithium-ion battery. The 46-amp-hour battery replaces the existing main-ship battery and offers advantages in power, safety, life and energy, according to Blackhawk, which has been offering Pratt & Whitney turboprop engine upgrades since 1999.
The TB44 is 40 percent lighter than standard lead-acid batteries used in the Caravan, weighing 51.7 pounds, and it delivers 26.4 VDC during engine starting, higher than the typical 24 VDC from lead-acid batteries, Blackhawk explained. During engine cranking, voltage typically declines, but the TB44 maintains its voltage level during the entire start sequence, delivering a 12-second-faster engine start and lowering start temperature by 60 to 80 degrees F.
The TB44 employs Nanophosphate lithium-ion cell chemistry. Maintenance consists of an in-field capacity check every two years, and battery useful life averages eight years, double the life of lead-acid batteries, according to True Blue Power. 
This new True Blue Power battery has a lot of similarities to our popular New Engine Exchange Program with Pratt & Whitney,” said Blackhawk president and CEO Jim Allmon. “We have found that turboprop operators are willing to invest in new technologies that increase aircraft utility and performance while lowering operating costs and risk.” Blackhawk estimates that fuel and maintenance costs for Caravans equipped with the TB44 will be $2,000 per year lower compared with lead-acid battery-equipped Caravans. This is a result of lower hot section and overhaul costs and reduced fuel consumption.
The TB44 was STC'd on the stock 208/208B Caravans without the Blackhawk engine modifications last October.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Watermakers Air has Added a New Caravan EX to its Fleet

As first reported by World Airline News: Watermakers Air has announced it is adding a Cessna Caravan EX as the newest addition to their fleet of Cessna 208B Grand Caravans. Delivered direct from the Cessna factory, this state of the art Caravan EX will be the newest, most comfortable Caravan available in South Florida. The modern Caravan EX boasts a luxurious cabin our passengers are sure to enjoy, with executive leather seating, a wide aisle, and large windows to savor the beautiful views of the islands. Equipped with the most advanced technology in its class, the EX features the exceptional Garmin G1000 glass cockpit avionics suite. In addition, the larger engine and four-bladed prop allow for a faster cruising speed and provide an ultra-quiet and smooth ride.

Watermakers Air offers comfortable and reliable scheduled air service for both passengers and freight from Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport to 10 Out Island airstrips in the Bahamas. Watermakers Air also offers private charters to destinations of your choice.
Scheduled Passenger and Freight Service to:
Andros (San Andros, Fresh Creek, Congo Town)
Chub Cay
Great Harbour Cay
Eleuthera (North Eleuthera, Rock Sound)
Staniel Cay
Great Exuma
Cat Island (New Bight)
Private Charters to the destination of your choice
Anywhere in the Bahamas or within 500 miles of Ft. Lauderdale
(excluding Haiti and Cuba)
Watermakers Air operates from a private hangar at Ft. Lauderdale Executive Airport (FXE).
All scheduled flights are operated by Exuma Cays Travel, Inc., a Public Charter Operator under the approved U.S. DOT 380 Public Charter Program, prospectus number PC-15-191.
Watermakers Air was formed in 2002 for the specific purpose of flying passengers, as well as freight and supplies. Although the name harkens back to the time when our operation was primarily a support division of Watermakers, Inc., we are now a stand-alone FAA certified public charter operator for both passengers and freight.
All images by Watermakers Air.
Route Map:

Friday, April 7, 2017

Get your Cessna SET at IAS in their Caravan approved by the LBA of Germany

Caravan owned by IAS

In Europe a Class Rating is required to fly the Cessna Caravan. IAS of Germany can help you acquire this important rating.

Cessna Caravan D-FUNK is available as a training aircraft with an approved training program according to EASA.FCL for pilots who would like to get the class rating CessnaSET (Cessna Single Engine Turbine). In cooperation with ATO Ardex, Kyritz (DE.ATO.039) IAS has now received the training certification for the class rating CessnaSET on their Cessna 208 Caravan D-FUNK by the German Federal Aviation Authority Luftfahrtbundesamt (LBA).

For the class rating CessnaSET, IAS offers a very competitive package price. The training is accompanied by highly experienced and highly qualified instructors (CRI) and examiners (CRE). The training for CessnaSET Class Rating consists of 25 hours of theory and 8 hours of flight time. Please rate about 4 to 6 days (weather permitting) for the entire training.

Check Flights:

Also, IAS can now offer the Caravan D-FUNK for your next check flights. Two by LBA approved class rating examiners are available for your proficiency check in accordance with JAR-FCL.

For further information please contact them by mail or by phone +49 (0) 4826 - 3768-447

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Featured Caravan Operator - Catalina Flying Boats

On a recent trip to Southern California we visited Catalina Island. While up at the infamous "Airport in the Sky", we had the pleasure of seeing a Caravan (Super Cargomaster) off loading and loading cargo. It belongs to a company called Catalina Flying Boats.

The company flies cargo back and forth between Catalina Island and the Southern California mainland, mostly to Long Beach Airport (LGB) in their Super Cargomaster and DC3 (C47).

I personally remember being a young student pilot at Long Beach Airport, admiring and desperately wanting to fly the DC3 and Caravan owned by Catalina Flying Boats. These aircraft still inspire me after more than 25 years.

N403JB Photo by Greg Bishop

Well, as you obviously know, I have definitely logged some time in Caravans. The DC3 on the other hand, they are a lot harder to find and it's even harder to find an owner or pilot that will let anyone "take her around the patch" a couple times. Oh well, we can dream! 

If you have any experiences or photos of these beautiful birds feel free to share!

Friday, January 20, 2017

Flying Caravans in Papua.... no room for error!

By Thomas Thrap 

This aircraft landed 3 minutes after me and as you can see, it wasn't able to stop in time, so it went off the end of the runway. The engine in the aircraft is brand new, it was literally on a couple of hours old, as this was it's first day.

The approach looked all good and the landing was fine too, but we were told by the captain that the reverse didn't work as they tried to slow down on the runway. We had figured, as we had heard no reverse as they came up the slightly sloped runway.

At the end of the day, both crew members walked away from it unharmed, which is the most important thing.

It is certainly a reminder and a wake-up call to us pilots here. Flying in Papua can be dangerous, so caution and care must be taken at all times. This could happen to anyone of us if we're not careful.

Out of interest, this is the 5th airframe that has run off the runway in Ilaga Papua in the past 5 months!