Sunday, 16 June 2013

Lake Bol by diesel 182

So to give you an idea of what it is like in operation last month I had a chance to fly to Bol on Lake Chad with Andrew to pick up an amazing lady who works as a mid-wife in this area.

This last few weeks we have had the opportunity in the UK to show off the latest gift from MAF's loyal and generous supporters, a diesel powered 4-seat Cessna 182, MAF's newest and smallest tool to be added to our toolbox. Hard to believe we have around 135 aircraft operating in over 30 countries all involved in bringing help, hope and healing to whoever needs it. In fact this is our 6th diesel powered Cessna182, the others being stationed in Madagascar, Chad, Angola (2) and DRC. This airframe is the same age as the Chad aircraft having been built in 1979 so it's hardly new, yet it has a beautiful paint job, is really well equipped but best of all has a diesel engine built by SMA - Societe de Motorisations Aeronautiques.

Petrol when sold for piston aircraft is called av-gas, for our piston engined aircraft we use a particular brew called 100LL (low lead), made to a specific fomula, it is expensive and difficult to find in some of the remote places we fly.  However Jet fuel, called Jet A-1, kerosene/paraffin to lesser mortals, the same stuff our turbine Caravan burns, as does your favorite wide bodied jet, is very much cheaper, more plentiful and hence easy to find in most countries of the world, is the stuff burnt in diesel engines. 

So Jet fuel-paraffin is cheap compared with Av-gas, more environmentally friendly and a safer fuel. This machine 227hp machine burns about 2/3rd of the fuel of the avgas powered version so fully fuelled it can carry a bladder busting 9.5hrs of fuel travelling at 110kts (110nm an hour) you can go a fair old distance in this machine and because aircraft, subject to pilot, go in straight lines that makes for a lot more economy, than your average Toyota or Land Rover bouncing on a circutous routes at 30mph on the nearest track below you!

So this will be jaunting around the UK in June and July before heading for Juba in South Sudan.