Flying Safaris

UK registered Cessna 182 flying over the Saharan dunes of Algeria

UK registered Cessna 182 flying over the Saharan dunes of Algeria - Credit: Archant

Prepare2Go, Flying Safaris: Organised trips with a group of aeroplanes or helicopters, making the whole process easy, fun, and cost-efficient. Safaris are either regulated by professional companies, club run weekend fly-outs or you can even set up one yourself.

A Group preparing to depart from the dusty tarmac in North Africa

A Group preparing to depart from the dusty tarmac in North Africa - Credit: Archant

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Fly Further on a Flying Safari!

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The Akakus of southern Libya/northern Niger spectacular!

The Akakus of southern Libya/northern Niger spectacular! - Credit: Archant

Fact: 50 percent of new PPL holders never fly again.

Whilst this volume of desertion is a tragedy, it is perhaps not too surprising- if the costs remain high the fun or challenge factor shrinks or indeed evaporates completely. Indeed, of the remaining 50 percent, probably half again abandon within two years. The pressure of ‘keeping current’ coupled with weather and financial constraints can quickly turn a fun hobby into a chore. And if it’s not fun, why do it?

Wherever you can get it, get it!

Wherever you can get it, get it! - Credit: Archant

So, what to do? Initially of course, the short trips such as the infamous $100 hamburger run (the price of the burger gives lie to the age of the saying) helps. Quickly though, the need to leave the comfort zone gains momentum – whilst the anxiety of doing exactly that also becomes more strident. How to fly further, do more, learn, improve and enjoy – without the stress?

A Helicopter Safari in Turkey near the Armenian border

A Helicopter Safari in Turkey near the Armenian border - Credit: Archant

The answer: Flying Safaris. Organised trips with a group of aeroplanes (or helicopters) and pilots making the whole process extremely easy, fun, and even cost-efficient with group rates on hotels and transport. Be your destination the arctic circle in Norway, across the Atlantic to New York or even to Cape Town and back – suddenly routes that seemed impossible become entirely feasible even, dare I say it, easy. The organisers are either professional companies (usually offering bigger trips further afield) or clubs organising weekend fly-outs. Or, of course, you can organise one yourself.

A Crashed DC3 in the deep north of Canada thorough research of destinations can produce many sights

A Crashed DC3 in the deep north of Canada thorough research of destinations can produce many sights like this - Credit: Archant

The primary considerations are weather (so choose your dates carefully), and fuel availability. You would be surprised how soon you get into a world where Avgas is in short supply – and it’s a difficult problem to solve after you’ve already landed close to your reserve. But once you’ve established the best time of year, and that you can find the go-go juice of your choice, everything else becomes much easier (though still time-consuming). Perhaps first, check the AIPs for your destinations, particularly if flying something unusual – don’t ever assume that ‘our’ rules are also ‘theirs’. Link this in with interesting things to do/see on the ground - the passengers only see flying as a means of transport, not an activity in itself. Whilst time spent planning is never wasted, don’t do so much you give up – find the right balance and you’ll have a great trip with only a few surprises!

Actual tracks of a Trans-Atlantic Flying Safari

Actual tracks of a Trans-Atlantic Flying Safari - Credit: Archant

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The leading Flying Safari company is Prepare2go, and whilst their main trips tend to be fairly large undertakings (think flying across to New York by microlight, or landing at the North Pole) they also do shorter, cheaper trips up into Norway and Sweden or across to Turkey. Whatever the trip, they do all the preparation beforehand and all the running about en route – they also have satellite tracking and messaging for everyone. All of this adds up to your needing do nothing more than fly and enjoy the view.

If you are prepared to do a year’s worth of flying in just 10 days or more then consider a Flying Safari – much better than 30 hamburgers!

Fly Safe, Fly Further!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=116mtfTSNh0

Sam Rutherford learnt to fly helicopters with the army, and then left to set up Prepare2go – a company speciailising in logistics to ‘difficult’ places. Flying Safaris run by Prepare2go combine his passion for flying with love of the world’s more inaccessible places!