Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Featured Caravan Pilot: Marjorie of Sansa Airlines

Meet our Featured Caravan pilot Marjorie with Sansa Airlines. Founded in 1978 and based in San Jose Costa Rica, Sansa flies to 14 destinations with 8 Caravans, including the EX model.

Marjorie is an inspirational pilot! Below you will find her answers to some questions that we asked her. We know that she will inspire some current and future pilots!

Name: Marjorie
Age: 29 years old
From: Costa Rica 
Total Time: 1200 hours 
Company: Sansa Airlines 
Location: San Jose, Costa Rica
Years flying Caravans: 1 year

What do you like most about flying the Caravan? 

For me it is one of the most fascinating airplanes. The Caravan lets you fly at high speeds when you need to do a high speed approach for example and in just a few seconds slow to landing speed on short final. It is a really maneuverable and versatile airplane to fly. Also, flying glass cockpit with the Garmin 1000 is a plus that does this airplane outstanding! In Costa Rica, we fly the Caravan from the main airports through short runways, ballast airfields, and a lot of destinations all over the country. We carry 12 passengers on each flight sharing in the cockpit between a Captain and First Officer.

What are your career goals?

The first one is done, flying a Cessna Caravan was my dream before I got my Pilot license. My next goals.. Well, new opportunities to fly Airbus A320 and Boeing 737 are coming, but before I take that step in my career I would love to fly this airplane as a Captain.

What is your advice for younger pilots?

Never forget your dreams! If you see yourself as a pilot you can do it. I know it is an expensive career but it's not impossible to achieve it. I started as an Airport Agent at the counter checking-in the passengers on the flights. After that I became a Flight Attendant and did that for almost 5 years. Then I started my flying lessons, and after a couple of years I became the first Pilot in my family. Now I feel like the happiest person doing what I do and seeing the most amazing sunrises, sunsets and landscapes while I work. So your hard work will be worth it!

For more information about Sansa Airlines visit their site flysansa.com


Friday, November 25, 2016

Review - Procedures for Exiting Severe Icing Environment

Procedures for Exiting Severe Icing

Here in the Northern Hemisphere ground temperatures have dropped below freezing over much of the population. So we thought that now would be a good time for us Caravan Pilots to review Emergency Procedures in the icing environment.

Please remember that these Emergency Procedures found below are for the Cessna Model 208B (675 SHP) and no others. If you are flying a different model Caravan, please review your aircraft's FAA approved Abbreviated Checklist or Airplane Flight Manual for that specific model.

As stated in the Pilots' Abbreviated Checklist published by Cessna:  

Procedures for Exiting the Severe Icing Environment (As required by AD 96-09-15) 

1. Immediately request priority handling from Air Traffic Control to facilitate a route or an altitude change to exit the severe icing conditions in order to avoid extended exposure to flight conditions more severe than those for which the airplane has been certificated.

2. Avoid abrupt and excessive maneuvering that may exacerbate control difficulties.

3. Do not engage the autopilot.

4. If the autopilot is engaged, hold the control wheel firmly and disengage the autopilot.

5. If an unusual roll response or uncommanded roll control movement is observed, reduce the angle of attack.

6. If the flaps are extended, do not retract them until the airframe is clear of ice.

7. Report these weather conditions to Air Traffic Control.

If you are a Caravan pilot, I highly recommend that you complete some of Cessna's E-Learning courses on this topic. Courses such as "Caravan Cold Weather Ops" and "Caravan Vodcast Ground Icing Conditions". There are many other interesting courses available, most of which are free and are all available at cessnaelearning.com.

Fellow Caravan Pilots, please remember to Review Often and Fly Safe so that you can continue to Love What You Do!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

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Thursday, August 11, 2016

Hard Point Provisions now available for Grand Caravan EX

As reported by Textron Aviation Inc., Cessna Aircraft Company has announced that it has recently received certification for and is now offering hard point provisions for the Cessna Grand Caravan EX. These hard points expand the aircraft’s versatility by allowing operators additional mission capabilities such as extended range with additional fuel tanks, increased cargo space, agricultural operations and the ability to configure the aircraft for missions that require armament. The company displayed a mock-up of a Grand Caravan EX wing with hard points at the Farnborough International Airshow the week of July 11.
“It’s essential that we continue to tailor solutions for our special mission operators’ needs. The hard point wing structure furthers the Grand Caravan EX’s already legendary versatility by adding more mission flexibility to the platform,” said Tom Hammoor, president, Textron Aviation’s defense company. “The Caravan platform is operating in many special mission roles around the world and accounts for a large percentage of our worldwide Caravan fleet.”
The Grand Caravan EX is particularly well suited for a wide array of operations due to its spacious and easily reconfigurable cabin, high useful load of more than 3,500 lbs. (1,588 kg), large cargo door and the ability to operate from short, unimproved surfaces. These aircraft continue to succeed in a variety of special mission applications, including aerial survey, air ambulance, amphibious operations, surveillance, training and utility/transport.

Friday, July 8, 2016

Mokulele Airlines now offering flights in California

Starting last month, Mokulele Airlines is now offering flights in Southern California.
“We hope residents will take advantage of the introductory fare to experience Mokulele,” said Mokulele’s President Rob McKinney. “What we’re bringing to California is exactly what made Mokulele Airlines Hawai‘i’s favorite Island Hopper – highly competitive prices, convenient schedules, great service, and on-time flights.”

Mokulele has two nine-passenger Cessna Grand Caravans in California. Mokulele will offer 3-4 daily flights between Imperial / El Centro and Los Angeles. Although a single pilot can fly the Caravan, Mokulele operates all flights with two pilots for additional safety. “Safety has always been our top priority. Like everything we do at Mokulele, going above and beyond for our passengers is just how we operate,” said McKinney.
Flights will operate out of Terminal 6 at Los Angeles International Airport, offering convenient connections to partner Alaska Airlines, with American, Delta, and United within easy reach.  Customers with only carry-on bags (up to 40 lbs.) can connect to all Terminal 5 and 6 flights without leaving security.
The introductory offer is valid for new bookings purchased by June 15th and for travel through September 24th. The $30 fare includes all taxes, fees and requires roundtrip travel.  Fare is nonrefundable and voluntary changes are subject to a change fee.  Baggage & other service fees are in addition to the fare. First bag free promotion is valid for California and Baja California residents only. Book your hop at Mokulele.com or call 1-866-260-7070.
Mokulele Airlines 
The family-owned and operated airline has quadrupled its number of flights since 2011 when CEO Ron Hansen purchased the company from Mesa Airlines. Mokulele is based in Kona, Hawai‘i and employs nearly 250 employees. Mokulele operates 16 late-model Cessna Grand Caravans and provides over 150 daily flights between nine airports on O‘ahu, Maui, Moloka‘i, Hawai‘i in addition to daily service between Imperial / El Centro and Los Angeles. To book your flight visit https://www.mokuleleairlines.com/


Thursday, June 16, 2016

Review - Fuel Condition Lever

A question that I receive fairly often is concerning the Fuel Condition Lever in the Caravan. They mainly want to know when or if they should ever use "High Idle".

Let's start with the basics first. The Fuel Condition Lever is connected to the Fuel Control Unit (FCU). The Fuel Condition Lever has 3 positions: Idle Cutoff, Low Idle and High Idle positions. 

The Cutoff position cuts off all fuel to the engine fuel nozzles. The Low Idle position provides an RPM of 52% Ng. The High Idle position provides an RPM of 65% Ng. Low Idle is also known as Ground Idle and High Idle is also known as Flight Idle.

Orange handled Fuel Condition Lever on the top middle portion of the quadrant

When I was trained in the Caravan I was told something that I don't agree with, and that was to never put the Fuel Condition Lever into High Idle and that, "it is not necessary to use". Even though, the Before Takeoff and Before Landing checklists state to put the Fuel Condition Lever into High Idle. 

A lot of Caravan owners will tell pilots, that do not have much time logged in Caravans, to leave it in Low Idle. Because of their fear of an ITT over temperature occurring if the pilot were to accidentally move the lever from High Idle to Cutoff (after landing) and then back to Low Idle.

Another reason that owners do not want low time Caravan pilots using High Idle is because if they forget to put it back to Low Idle after landing, they will be taxiing very fast and they might plow into something or somebody. 

Keep in mind that these are reasons that I've heard that owners tell new Caravan pilots not to use High Idle, that does not mean that I necessarily agree with them.

Once you are comfortable flying the Caravan you should feel free to use High Idle. It allows for a faster throttle response, which you would want in a go around situation. As stated in the Cessna 208B Caravan Information Manual, "The higher gas generator idle speed for flight provides faster engine acceleration when adding power (from an idle condition) on approach or for a balked landing go-around."

~ Chris Rosenfelt 


Wednesday, March 9, 2016

For Sale: 1988 Cessna 208B Grand Caravan

Cessna Grand Caravan 208B - 1988
  • Newly off Part 135
  • Modified for skydiving
  • Completely refurbished and ready to work
  • Tail Number: N9634B
  • Serial number: S/N 208B0141
To inquire about any of the aircraft for sale or to have your aircraft listed, please contact Chris Rosenfelt at chris@caravanpilot.com

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Caravan Initial Turbine Rating Conversion at Sheltam Aviation Port Elizabeth South Africa

Below you will find a story of a pilot getting his Initial Turbine Rating Conversion in a Caravan at Sheltam Aviation in Port Elizabeth South Africa. They also operate out of Virginia Airport in Durban. For more information about the program at Sheltam Aviation click here.

So there I was, sandwiched on a Greyhound to Port Elizabeth, uncomfortably mashed in the non-flying bus, a dream come true, I was on my way to light my first turbine, my first PT-6. More specifically a PT6A-114A, producing 675shp. Any guess's what that may be? Oh yes.... Caravan.... Cessna's Swiss Army Knife with wing's, and man oh man, was I excited!!!

I don't know why, but I always had an infatuation with turbine's from day one. I couldn't explain it, every time a Pilatus PC-12 started up or spooled down on the apron, where I learned to fly, I would stand there and drool offensively onto the tarmac. I loved the wine and seemingly endless acceleration they had on takeoff, so much more refined and smooth then their piston cousin's. It's funny, a lot of the time when you fly an airplane that you have dreamt of for a while, it let's you down. It's not as cool as you expected it to be, but this time it exceeded my expectations. What a plane!

After the passengers are loaded for the heavy load section of the conversion, a mixture of instructors and student's captured among Port Elizabeth's apron. Rear door closed and latched and load bar removed from under the tail, a final walk around checking hatches and doors closed and prop area clear. A climb up the mini air-stair into the cockpit find's me in a hugely spacious cockpit. Comfy seats and 5 point harness', controls and instruments where they should be. 

Familiar and well positioned, fuel tank selectors both to ON, bleed air switch off, beacon light to position ON, fuel and firewall emergency in the normal position, trim neutral position and elevator trim for takeoff. Control lock's removed, fuel condition lever in idle cutoff position, propeller pitch lever fully fine, power lever idle position, inertial bypass separator normal position. Call for start-up, cleared for start-up from ground control, gauge and instrument check as well as ensuring beacon light is on. All engine control switches in the correct position for a battery start, ensuring ignition switch in the normal position, electronic master switch goes on, electronic gyro's start to spin and a quick check on the voltmeter ensuring that we have 24.5 volts minimum for a battery start confirmed. We are clear left and right, a loud clear prop to anyone around the aircraft, fuel pump to ON, start switch goes on and immediately the loud electric-like whine and woosh of the compressor of the PT6 comes to life. 

A quick check of oil and fuel pressure ensuring ops are normal as you do not want fuel going into the combustion chamber prior to light up. The fuel flow gauge confirm's ZERO, the loud metallic TICK-TICK-TICK of the igniters awaiting the arrival of fuel into the combustion chamber. Back quickly to the Ng gauge or compressor speed gauge, expressed as a %, minimum to introduce fuel into the combustion chamber is 12%. The Ng rises swiftly past 12% and because the higher the compressor RPM, the more smooth the start will be, I let it rise up to 18%. It stabilizes and I smoothly introduce fuel by moving the fuel condition lever from idle cut-off to low idle. A fuel flow indication of around 100pph indicates correctly, the dull woomff of fuel igniting and the immediate smell of burnt jet fuel indicates first stage light-up. 

All of your attention turns now to the ITT gauge. The engine spooling up quickly now and a secondary dull woomf and woosh signals second stage light-up and the ITT soars rapidly towards the maximum limits. With one hand on the fuel lever and one hand on the start switch ready for a possible hot-start, you hope and pray that the volatile cocktail of jet-fuel and air stabilizes before it reaches maximum temperature limits, which is 1090C. For 2 seconds on start-up, all of a sudden, the swiftly rising ITT needle stops its ascent and decreases back to a stable 650C. All engine perimeters checked, all stable and you are ready to rock. 

Start-switch to off, standby power to armed position, ensure generator is charging the battery, fuel switch to norm and avionics master 1 and 2 both on and you are ready to taxi-out. Get the air conditioning on for your passengers and test the electronic master warning system prior to taxi. All this happening in less than a minute. I cant tell you the smile on my face after that little sequence. Call me easily pleased!

Once started, a turbine is very simple to operate and the caravan is one of the nicest flying aircraft around. A pleasure in all conditions, with its beautifully harmonized controls. It really is a pilots dream machine, incredibly capable. With reverse thrust, huge flaps, de-icing, weather radar and a full auto-pilot it is capable of operating anywhere in almost any weather. I loved my conversion and I can not wait for the opportunity to fly the aircraft operationally in the very near future!

- CaravanPilot.com

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Article - Stories from a Night Express Caravan Cargo Pilot - Romance by Bob Tilden

Stories from a Night Express Caravan Cargo Pilot

by Bob Tilden

I walked through shallow puddles of water as I made my way to the airplane. The sky was dull but not at all disagreeable, with passable visibility under a low overcast. For the first time in almost a month the temperature was above freezing, but a barely perceptible drizzle dampened the thrill. I regarded our two airplanes as I walked towards them in the fading light of late afternoon, and thought "there is no romance today".

The morning had dawned with the same gray sky that now hovered overhead, but the morning's drizzle froze to the airplanes and the taxiways. For the second time in the week, I had been stranded in Rochester for the day because of freezing rain, and that fact alone had made me a bit grumpy.

Sunset view from the cargo Caravan

I don't know if I subconsciously edited my thoughts about romance, but after the thought had passed through my mind, I was glad that I hadn't thought "the romance is gone". The thought of "gone" would have been ominous, but a temporary loss is understandable. Still, it was an alarming thought.

It had been a long time since a flight had made me feel like a little kid at Disneyland. It seemed that there had been an unending string of days where the earth disappeared shortly after takeoff and reappeared only a few minutes prior to landing. Some of those flights had been on top of the clouds, in starlight or bright sunlight, but maybe just a few minutes a day of sunshine aren't enough to keep my batteries charged.

This was sort of an unusual flight because we would be flying our planes empty, back to Elmira to pick up the evening load and return to Rochester with it. I thought that it was kind of neat to be able to jump into the plane and go, without waiting for loading or paperwork. It was almost as though I was in my own plane.

The last light of day had all but faded into night as I left the ground and climbed into the clouds. There was no romance; I just sat there doing some paperwork and watching the temperature drop as I gained altitude, expecting icing temperatures at any moment. After climbing through a mile of murky gray, just as the temperature dropped to freezing, I broke through the tops into a clear sky.

I had climbed from night into twilight. Above the layer of clouds was the last few minutes of the day's sunset, orange and red along the horizon and fading rapidly through the blues into black. To my left, a big orange moon had just cleared the cloud deck, and shined its light across the gleaming ocean of white below me. Orion the hunter, an evening constellation in the early fall, but a sunset constellation in the late spring, was almost overhead.

The sight of the day's last colors is something that we start to see in April, with our usual eight o'clock departure times. This evening was sort of an early preview, a reassurance that winter is not forever.. With Orion overhead at sunset, there was no mistaking February for April, but perhaps the spirits were sending me a small morsel to tide me until spring.

The seasons and their weather are a continuous ebb and flow, but the worst is past. The days are starting to gain strength and the force of each new winter blast will be dulled and shortened. Grass will green, birds will sing, and flowers will bloom. The world will be a safer place for romance.

*The author Bob Tilden flew a Caravan for a Night Express cargo company for 10 years and has also written a book, Gone Flyin'. To order it, visit goneflyin.com or search Gone Flyin' on ebay.com


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

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Hello Caravan Nation! If you haven't already, feel free to follow us on Instagram to find more interesting information and THE best Caravan gallery on the internet! Click the following link to find us @Caravan.Nation