Share your experience, by J Jankovich

My story starts by getting in touch with L'Aviatore. They offered me the opportunity to assist as a ferry pilot into Africa, and this was too good to say no to. The trip was from Thabazimbi up to Livingstone, via Botswana.

Our day started at approximately 04:00 am on Friday the 22nd of December 2017 with a drive to Thabazimbi. After two hours in the car, we arrived at our destination. There we found our machine, and an hour later we were airborne and on our way to Pilansberg (FAPN) where we were to begin our first customs clearance. This part of South Africa is one you need to see from the sky. It is breathtaking. 

After landing at Pilansberg and clearing customs, we were well on our way, very much into unfamiliar territory. Well, that was at least the case for me. Not so much for the Captain.

Anyway, to carry on we were now crossing over into Botswana and man that is a sight to see. Just endless amounts of beauty in all directions. This was a long stretch, but worth it given the hours plus the experience. You wouldn’t want it any other way. 

After much time flying, we found ourselves in Francistown (FBFT), where our first international stop would take place. Here we cleared customs to remain in Botswana as we were flying further North and staying over due to clearance issues, which we were issued the following day.

After clearing customs, we were well on our way to our next and final stop for the day, Kasane Airport (FBKE). This is where we were to shut down and spend a night on the Chobe river. This last leg was just as beautiful as the first, if not better. You could see thundershowers all around and experience Africa from its best vantage point, the sky. 


Finally, on landing in Kasane, we had shut down and called it a day. Luckily for us, our very friendly air traffic controller gave us a lift to the lodge we had booked. On arrival, we were treated to a lovely dinner and an awesome breakfast to come.

The next morning around 05:00 am we were up and ready for the day, and luckily for us we had received our clearance first thing which brought quite relief. After breakfast, we were well on our way to the airport where we would preflight and clear customs.

Unfortunately, after preflight and take off we experienced a mechanical problem, and due to that, I had to end my trip there.

None the less, I still got to experience an incredible flight and managed to learn some great flying lessons of how to clear customs and handle cross-border flights.

An experience that cannot be taken away!

Herewith a summary of my experience:

  1. Flying in Africa does come with its challenges, accept these challenges and accept that it is Africa and nothing happens fast.
  2. Plan your fuel stops and calculate using higher fuel burn values when busy with your route planning.
  3. Expect mechanical problems, they are very difficult to predict, but they do happen.
  4. You are always delayed; very seldom do you arrive at your planned time. Include delays in your planning.
  5. Take the weather into consideration, the climate is not very forgiving. Rain is also an issue in summer as it is a summer rainfall country and heat becomes a problem.
  6. Always be prepared to find other means of transport, this became a reality after our mechanical problem.
  7. Make sure your paperwork is correct, always!

Yet these issues arise and because you are a pilot and trained to adapt and overcome you will always get by. I hope someone can read this and hopefully be enough prepared for their African adventures.


We would like to thank Mr. J Jankovich for taking part in our empty leg initiative and hope that the valuable experience and knowledge gained during the ferry will assist you in your future aviation career.

We also invite all pilots and aviation enthusiast to follow our Facebook, Instagram and Website page.

By following us, not only do you get to see and experience all our great products and service offerings, but you also get to enjoy reading the #shareyourexperience stories and all the interviews that we will be conducting in 2018 with the #aviationgreats of our industry.

We wish you all a prosperous 2018.