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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Back from Europe

Well I (Rob) have been back from my trip to Europe for almost a week now and things here are busy busy busy. You probably know from the last post that there is a new (to us) aircraft on it's way here to Madagascar inside of a 40 foot container. This aircraft is the reason that I had to travel to France, it is a very special aircraft and we are very excited about what the future will bring in regards to its technology. The aircraft itself is not all that special but what makes this aircraft so unique is that it has new engine technology on it, this engine doesn't burn the typical Avgas but instead has been designed as a diesel cycle piston engine running on Jet fuel.

To sum it up, basically it operates on easily available and relatively inexpensive Jet Fuel which costs about $1.50 US per liter, rather than Avgas which is much harder to find and can cost up to $5.00 US per liter. The great thing is that it will allow us to transport 1 or 2 people for a lot less expensive than using our turbine powered Caravan.

So what does France have to do with getting an aircraft in Madagascar? The engine that is on it is manufactured by SMA engines in France and I had to travel there to take a course and receive certification to be able to maintain this new engine. Also while in Europe I was able to go over to Straubing Germany where the propeller is made and take a course on that as well. The best part about going to Germany for the propeller course was that it gave me certification to disassemble and reassemble it for shipping purposes. The implications of just that ability alone will save MAF thousands of dollars just in shipping costs alone.

So for now while we wait for the container to arrive (which is supposed to be around the end of April) we are being kept busy with updating all our manuals, writing new maintenance schedules, starting the paperwork with the Civil Aviation Authority here for registering it in Madagascar, preparing our hanger for another aircraft, making or gathering all the tools that we will need to reassemble it once it arrives and so on.

I was also very happy that out of the two weeks away I managed to have one day off to go into Paris and see some sights.

More to follow later