25 January 2017

Long Legs and Intelligence - What a Dream

The Kodiak is a very capable aircraft in many aspects especially in terms of load and range. Perhaps we can just tell you of two things that have impressed us as we have now been operating it for over three years.

A recent picture of the display in the Kodiak shows two green circles or range rings which equate to where we can get to with the fuel load we have on board - dotted line is with 45 mins fuel left and the solid line indicates maximum range.
North is up to the top right and Cape Town is to the left. We had already flown about an hour when the photo was taken but you can see we still had enough to reach just about anywhere in southern Africa with a range at this point for almost another 1000nm. You will also notice that we had just over 3/4 tanks and a slight quartering head wind at the time.

The Garmin 1000 is clever and works out the wind speed and direction and takes that into account when displaying the range. A strong wind would give you quite an oval green 'circle' as in the pic below.
This above flight was helped by a hefty 32kt tail wind and helped us work out that we didn't need to stop in Pretoria (WB) for fuel as we could make it easily to Nelspruit (FAKN) and could even continue to Maputo, Mozambique if we wanted without going into our reserves. Without knowing the wind and the range it might have been a different call and would have cost us time and money for landing fees etc.

Another clever thing the Garmin does is give you terrain awareness. The middle screen in the cockpit has a map showing you where the hills are. Red is within 100ft, yellow between 100ft and 1000ft and black is far enough away it shouldn't be an immediate problem.

The pic below shows we are in a valley that opens out 4nm ahead.
The synthetic vision on the main screen also shows this...
How handy is that!
.. and a glance out of the window proves it all the be very true.
There's a stack of other things it does also but before anyone asks, no, it does not make coffee and no, you can't get satellite TV on it - there are limits!
General cockpit view.
So why a blog post about this - it's not a trip report about how we have helped some people in a far off country or even an impassioned plea for funding for a worthwhile cause?

It's really a thank you to those many people who in some way, large or small, helped Mercy Air obtain the Kodiak in the first place. Because with it, we can now not only do what we were doing before - and more, but we can do it more efficiently and with a greater margin of safety.

Thank you.

The Mercy Air team

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