Friday, November 03, 2006

 

Double trouble, continued

Hello Hans

About the other 206 I only repeated what I was told about their take-off. It is possible to bounce like that if you force the plane to fly too early.
With the heavy load even in ground effect it will not accelerate properly or worse, once you get out of ground effect (happens quite early with the high
wing) it will come down again.
I know that you can put a lot in the 206 and it will still fly. I am just not very comfortable when it is too heavy because you put a lot of strain on the undercarriage and tires on these rough runways. Even in Bangassou there are some ruts now since the Antonov 12 has landed there a few times. On top of all that the plane does not take a lot of load with full tanks (at least officially). Six people (male adults), full tanks and no luggage will already put you about 150 kg over the max TOW. The CoG will also be dangerously close to the rear limit, more likely beyond. And you know what it means when people tell you that they do not have much luggage. They have usually got more than what they would be allowed on the Air France plane.
In M´boki I took of with 4 passengers with quite a lot of luggage and about 230 litres of fuel (hundred litres less than full tanks). It is quite a long runway there with a little down gradient towards the east but I still came over the trees very low at a lower speed than usual. Granted, it was quite a warm day as well, but when is it not warm here? In general you are usually at density altitudes between 2500 and 3500 feet. With the cargo pod you have to add 10% to your take off run because you can not use the 20 degrees of flaps with a weight over 3450 pounds (roughly 1570 kg; max TOW is 3600 pounds or 1633 kg). Of course the climb to altitude (at least to 6000 feet to avoid head winds in the rainy season) takes forever. So that does put extra strain on the engine and uses lots of fuel. Of course the cruising speed with the same power setting is lower as well. I found it to be at least 10 knots less (indicated speed) than when I am alone in the plane.
That will cost you more fuel again. So in the end result I think that it will cost you more in the long term to load the plane too much. But we all know that from time to time we take off over with higher weight than published max TOW. But that we do on our own risk because nobody will cover our behind even if it is just a burst tire and nobody gets hurt. Insurance will not cover you and a new plane is costly.
For the coming hunting season I doubt that there will be a lot of hunters with this security situation in the country at the moment. Most of the hunting areas are to close to hot spots. The northern and north-eastern parts of the country are too close to Chad and Sudan. With the situation in DRC not yet clear we do not yet know what to expect there. If Kabila wins the election that was held last Sunday, which is likely, (official results are to be presented on the 19. of November) Bemba will probably retreat to his stronghold which is the northern part of DRC. From there he does not have access to any seaports. Since Bemba and Patassé seem to be close there is a chance that Bemba might assist Patassé in another coup d.état. In exchange he could gain access to the seaport via CAR and Cameroon. This is of course my personal speculation. But you remember my last speculation about the shooting in Gabdolite. It was in fact Mobutus son rallying on behalf of Kabila when they were attacked by followers of Bemba.
Idris Deby seems to be battling in Chad as well and we know what the situation in Sudan is like. CAR is now unfortunately more or less surrounded by countries with a very fragile political and security situation. Allegedly Deby said that if he should be thrown over at noon, Bozize will follow at 2 o.clock.
A few days ago an anti-aircraft missile was fired at a French (I assume) reconnaissance plane in southern Chad, not far from the border to CAR. It did not hit but shows that the rebels are equipped well.
The trip to La Gounda is not happening due to the grounded plane and because Sr. Noella broke a leg and is flying to France this coming Saturday.
I will keep you up to date on the situation here. I have got time now to listen around and look what is going on.

Regards

Mario

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