Blue Chip Flight School hosts Fly In’s and cross country trips that provide the Pilot in Command with unique opportunities to be exposed to a non-home based environment, for example grass/gravel runways, uncontrolled airfields and complex airspaces, where instructors are close at hand for guidance.
Trans Agulhas Trip
Blue Chip Flight School was a co-sponsor of the annual Trans Agulhas Inflatable boat race 2012/2013. The inflatable boat challenge is the toughest in the world. Over 800 km in 5 days along the rough and dangerous untamed, South African coast line. This is an annual event held every December and the race is from Plettenberg Bay to Strand, near Cape Town.
This year Blue Chip decided to make it a joint venture between personnel and students to follow this amazing race from Mossel Bay to Strand with a fleet of Cessna 172’s.
Our goal, is to lead our Captains beyond the known boundaries of Wonderboom & Gauteng and to enjoy the thrills, spills and beach action of the Western Cape.
“Trans Agulhas; a dearing trip for fresh PPL students who only knew the out skirts of Gauteng…
It all started with the planning, fifty three pages of detailed information and a pieced together map that most likely was bigger than the Cessna 172 itself.
We took off out of Wonderboom on the 26th of December for breakfast – yet due to bad weather that soon turned to lunch. Once we got there the spirits where high as we were well on our way! On the same day we ventured to Beaufort Wes- a place quite unknown to the city boys among the bunch of us.
The sleep over that night was something out a comic horror story but that was not going to defeat our spirits as the next morning we knew that the coast was our next stop.
Arriving in Plettenberg Bay, felt like seeing the sea for the very first time, from there we travelled to Mossel Bay for our first night of camping. The food was divine, as we had worked hard to get there and setting up camp in the dark, created many moments of laughter. From inside the tent point of view it was impossible to get sleep as the snored echoed through the camp site and laughter was the only resort. The camping throughout didn’t change much but what was ahead in terms of flight is something we’d never forget.
From Mossel Bay we flew to Stillbaai where the beaches gave us some time for swimming and experiencing the inflatable power boats in real shore line action. Then we flew to Struisbaai and it was very small – yet with a very tired crew we resorted to the night that highlighted the trip- Pizza and tent humor of 8 people in a three man tent.
We spent our new years in Hermanus- we enjoyed the sunset with some drinks accompanied with some pool table challenges that had every one back in spirit for the last stretch. Only three of us survived midnight to see the fireworks shoot across the ocean with the full moon as a back drop.
Coming back from Strand- we all were ready to enjoy the comforts of home…
I guess from the point of view from a student- you never know the value of flight and the gift of learning, until you put yourself out there. You learn that no two pilots are the same and that you need to trust, more than anything else, that your team will have your back every step of the way. It was tiring but something any one of us would do again in a heartbeat. 20 hours of flight, a life time of memories…..”
At first Botswana was one of my Bucket list destinations, which just patiently waited to be ticked off.
On the 15th of May this dream came true; we went on an AMAZING fly away all over Botswana on our way to the Botswana airshow.
Seven students, one instructor and the director, all very excited for this trip, got into our 3 Cessna 172, we took off at 08:25 local time from Wonderboom airport, flew to Pietersburg to clear immigrations and customs, from there we flew over the Limpopo river on our way to Francistown to clear customs, immigrations and we refuelled the C172’s and on our way we were to Maun our first destination for the trip. We flew over the Makgadikgadi salt pans. We landed just before sunset, and what an amazing view, the sunset was unbelievable. We stayed the night at Makoro lodge. We as a team got together for some refreshments and dinner!!
Next morning 16th of May before sunrise we got together for the second day of adventure. Our transport arrive, we thought that two trips to the airport would take too long, so we squeezed in! As they would say in a taxi, there is always space for one more! We went to the aircrafts to pre-flight, and once again experienced an amazing sunrise. Botswana is just one of the places in Africa where you can experience this. From Maun we flew formation all over the Delta to Chief’s Island and all along the Chobe River to our next destination Kasane. Over the Delta we saw a lot of animals like Elephants, Buffalo, Giraffe and Hippo’s. The Chobe River is just something that is undescribeable. We landed in Kasane, waited for our transport to Chobe Safari Lodge, 10 Botswana minutes which end up to be African time, 1.5 hours later they ARRIVED. What an incredible place Chobe Safari lodge end up to be, worth the entire wait! We were welcomed with a drink, relaxed and went on a boat cruise on the Chobe River. What an experience, the view from the boat is great, came close in contact with elephants, hippo’s, buffalo, crocodiles and more. We had so much fun, laughed until our tummies hurt. The guide had to come and ask us to be a bit quiet! We watched the sunset from the boat which was just breath-taking!!
That evening we tried to arrange some transport for us at 06:00am to be able to go and fly over the Victoria Falls, but as we all know it’s Africa, and everyone need to take their beauty sleep until 08:30am, so finally we left the lodge at 08:30 and was on our way to Kasane airport.
On the 17th of May we flew back to Francistown for fuel and thereafter to Matsieng which is a private strip close to Gaborone where the airshow was held.
That evening they had a braai next to the airstrip and everyone camped next to their aircrafts. Saturday, 18th of May, we watched the airshow, afterwards that evening there was another braai, which give you a great opportunity to meet other great pilots.
Sunday the 19th of May, we were welcomed with an ice cold breeze and some low clouds. Flew low level to Gaborone, refuelled the aircrafts and we tried to get the weather for our route but Africa is Africa, lucky Air Express just landed and we were able to ask them how the weather was.
We took off to Pilansberg where we had to clear immigrations and customs. What can I say we were welcomed by real South African humour!
After all we took off from Pilansberg back to Wonderboom where you just feel at home! Best airport to do training at an incredible, GREAT school!!
What an unforgettable trip this was, can’t wait for the next!!
Thanks Blue Chip and the team for the opportunity to be able to fly international and by doing so getting that great experience!