It has to be done!
It all began with a trip to Tanzania in early 2021 that first took me to the northern safari curcuit in the kilimanjaro region. It was the time when the covid fear first struck the world seriuosly and it became obvious that the old ways of living were bound to cease. So I was looking for new ideas and inspiration and traveled westward. After a seriously adventurous trip through the jungles between Tabora and Mpanda I ended up at the Lake Shore Lodge close to Kipili. This is where the story began. Never I had thought to come back from there with a fascinating project idea and the option to bring unique experiences and possibilties to travelers, nature-lovers, adventurers and even scientifics alike.
The Company founded in 2021 is called Air Tango as a tribute to the Lake Tanganyika and Aviation spirit.
The project idea came up when watching one of the spectacular sundowns. First it sounded like a an unrealistic idea, but as we discussed it back and forth it turned out to be a idea with enormous potential. So we came to the conclusion “it has to be done!” – and started the endeavor.
Converting the Pilot-Licence
I set the licence conversion of my german PPL to a fully approved tanzanian licence as the first milestone of the project. I discovered ZRP-flight shool in Zanzibar directed by Cedrick Mottequin, a pioneer in ultralight flight in Tanzania who spends most of his lifetime in the sky. Best choice. After a series of flights over the island I passed the general flight test (GFT) and the theoretical test in Dar es Salaam.. Each flight has been a wonderful small adventure with great views such as watching the kite surfers òn the shallow waters of the lagoon abeam paje.
Flying in Zanzibar is a breeze – especially with an experienced and professional pilot as Cedrick.
Building the plane in Zanzibar
We figured that the best way to get a plane capable of the planned operations would be to import a kit and build the plane by ourselves. We chose a Nynja Skyranger manufactured by the UK based company Best Off and an amphibious kit by puddle jumper from Canada. The boxes arrived in august 2021 at the built site As Salaam hangar in Zanzibar. Here is a quick gallery of the building process that took 4 months in total up to the first flights.
Hard to imagine that from these tubes on the floor a complete aeroplane would emerge. But the Nynja kept growing every day and the structure became more visible week by week.
Total built time was 4 month. Thanks to the excellent kit provided by Best Off with many pre-assembled parts and a clear documentation – let alone the personal support provided by Paul 😉
First flight land version
The Nynja flies like an angel! It is a very special experience to look down from a self-built plane.
Going from a normal plane to a Seaplane
Converting the Nynja from the land- to the seaplane-version took around one week. It is equipped with retractable gear to render ground and water-landings possible as well.
The seaplane training in Biscarosse / France at Le Vol des Aigles Flight School was another milestone on the way to the goal. The low-level flights over water are a fantastic experience! After a first lap around the lake at just 300 ft we performed the first water landings and takeoffs. In fact, approaching, landing and launching is relatively easy because there are no space limitations on water. Flying at Lake Tanganyika will not only be very “uplifting” for guests, but also a safe experience. Wonderful days here in the south of France!
First flight of the Nynja as a Seaplane
This test flight went also very well. The Nynja shows a little more inertia and expectedly reduced climb rate. More tests will show the exact the parameters.