Online Community of Zenith Builders and Flyers
I guess that we are a bit like a 'sensible Santa' in our part of the world... we fly over the African Bush and look for communities that need some health education and then drop them a package! (no chimney, no reindeer, no toys)... our Rotax 912iS powered 701 works really hard... and today we dropped over 100 packages to rural communities - some which have never had even a motorcycle to them!
Yup, it is the biggest drop run we have ever done.... and we are exhausted - but very happy to achieve it this week as the Harmattan is filling our sky with sand particles and reduced visibility!
We have been asked about the Rotax 912iS installation before, and we can tell you that the Rotax 912iS is actually the easiest engine we have ever installed - you just need to think differently, and be aware that you must work a different approach to fuel, electrics and cooling (oil and coolant). Once you start from that perspective, it installs quicker than any other engine I have dealt with - AND - this engine provides fantastic in flight feedback on engine condition (we use the Stock EMU instrument) and is a breeze when it comes to maintenance - just like the 701!
Do remember the planet surface temperature this morning was over 35C / 95F) and we operate between 200' and 500' agl, apart from crossing lakes and ridges as you look at the performance graph!
We drop to about 200' agl, then climb to 500' agl, then drop to the next community, and so on and so forth! It requires a lot of power changes - and the engine is worked very hard, at low levels with a lot of dust in the air!
Most exciting is that we have reached, today, in 3.5 hours, thousands of people without roads - and covered about 350km (220miles) of flight track. To do the same with a good off road 4x4 would have taken at least 2 weeks, driving 8-10 hours per day!
To see the kids running to pick up their packs, and waving, knowing that the lady flying the plane grew up in similar village to theirs! Patricia Mawuli flew brilliantly - spotting villages, school fields, fishing groups and avoiding terrain and some really tall trees - all with a sand filled sky with closing visibility. By the time we got back to the airfield, visibility was down to 5km (3miles) - and the ground temp into the high 30's C (about 100F)
Whilst Patricia handles the plane (with special permission to operate at lower levels and also to drop items!), I get to be the drop master - it can be disorientating at times - but you also get some special views through the drop hatch!
Village life can be very interesting! Helping them to live a healthier and better educated life is a fantastic gift - perhaps we should rename Patricia Mawuli as 'Santa Patricia'!
Thank you Zenith for such a wonderful aircraft! (and Rotax for such a brilliant engine!)
You really do help us to CHANGE LIVES, ONE FLIGHT AT A TIME!
(For the animal lovers out there, please note that no reindeer were used in this mission, and we avoided hitting the many large birds that operate in the same airspace as we do!)