I can check off being a co-pilot off my bucket list. On my Tanganyika Flying Company’s flying taxi from Arusha to Northern Serengeti and Olakira Camp, Captain Cody let me sit in the front and control the plane. Okay, kidding but how fun getting to sit in-front with the captain!
He gave me a ‘crash course’ on how small Safari related planes work in Tanzania.
First, they don’t really rely on a control tower but rather the pilots talk amongst themselves for who gets to land first, flight path to small air-strips, etc. That is why they really are taxis. If they get a call from the main office they have a client on their route, they will fly down and swoop them to the next destination.
Second, it was technical. What gauge to pay attention to, some details on buttons, what to do when the alarm rings. These pilots have to clock in 1000 + hours before they can fly the plane on their own. Safey first. They are carrying precious cargo.
Thirds, watch out for birds. Birds follow the migratory animals and they run the risk of bumping into them. They try to swerve around if they can. Watch out birds – don’t fly into the engine.
Four. Even though I took my co-piloting duty very seriously [cough cough], my main job was to enjoy the view below.
This was the best one on this leg – Ol Doinyo Lengai, the Mountain of God for the Maasai tribe. It is a volcanic mountain that continues to spew gas. Many people still climb it though they should be aware of the risk. But from my flying taxi, I was safe to capture this great mountain.