What is an Air Safari?
What’s included with my Air Safari?
How much time do we spend in the air vs. on the ground?
What happens if the weather affects our schedule?
How many people are in each plane?
Do I have to be a pilot to enjoy an Air Safari?
What if I’m traveling alone?
What kind of aircraft do you provide?
Are there any other qualifications that I need as a pilot?
Is there any training I should do prior to arriving?
I’m a fairly new pilot. How many flying hours should I have?
What does the Lead Pilot do?
Do the aircraft have a GPS?
Are there any Navaids?
How much do I have to fly with the group?
Can I do extra, non-scheduled flying?
What about insurance?
What clothes should I bring on the air safari?
What are the documentation and check flight requirements?
An Air Safari is an unforgettable guided, self-fly adventure vacation. Up to 8 aircraft, flown by you and your fellow tour members, follow a pre-planned route with some great sightseeing along the way. As PIC, you choose the altitude at which you wish to fly and if you wish to make a minor diversion, that’s fine too. The entire group is supported by a Lead Pilot, a local CPL, and a Tour Director flying together in a lead plane. The Lead Pilot is responsible for the aviation aspects of the trip, and the Tour Director for the ground portion. Hotels, meals, ground tours and all logistics are taken care of so that you can relax and focus on enjoying the vacation of a lifetime.
Please click here to download our Inclusions/Exclusions file in PDF format.
The price of your Air Safari includes:
- Guidance and assistance in obtaining the necessary licence and clearances
- Accommodations and meals (a few meal exceptions are indicated in the itinerary)
- Ground tours and events as described in the itinerary
- Transportation to and from airports, hotels, and events
- C172 or equivalent as dry rental for the flying time as per the Flight Plan. Please note that avgas is not included.
- Standard check ride (1)
- ATC, landing and parking fees
- Tour Director and CPL Lead Pilot support
- Flight materials as needed (charts, airfield directory etc.)
- Waypoints for GPS navigation.
- Loan of emergency survival kit
- Airplane kits including tie-downs, windscreen cleaner, rags, oil etc.
One of the unique aspects of our air safari vacations is that while we do log quite a bit of flight time, we also spend enough time on the ground to get a real appreciation of the people and the country.
A typical flying day starts with wheels up about 9:00am. After 2 ½ hours of flying we stop for a lunch, re-fuel and have a leg stretch. We then fly for another 2 1/2 hours to arrive at our overnight destination. We are usually in the hotel no later than mid-afternoon, which gives you time to settle in before joining the tours and events that we have scheduled.
In France the days tend to be single legs only, due to the shorter distances.
Unlike many other flying trips you may have taken, we frequently have non-flying days so you can relax and spend more time enjoying the local points of interest. We’ve been told by past customers that not only do they like the chance to rest a bit, but the non-flying days spent on the ground greatly deepens their experience, understanding and appreciation for the country being visited. This combination has made our air safari the best they ever taken!
Unfortunately bad weather can happen. If we are delayed, the action taken will depend upon a number of factors, but our goal will be to provide at least a comparable experience to the one planned. Fortunately our Lead Pilots, Tour Director and participants exude fun and adventure, and the rare occasions when we’ve been grounded by weather have sometimes turned into a highlight of the tour! While we will make every effort to mitigate any extra costs arising from weather delays, some additional costs may have to be borne by the tour participants.
Each plane typically has 2 tour participants, one of whom is a pilot. If both are pilots they can share the flying as they wish.
For non-pilots, we have a number of options to consider, so please contact us to find out more.
If you want to have 3 or 4 in the same plane, we can arrange that too! Please contact us to discuss options.
Definitely not! Our tours are ideal for anyone with a sense of adventure who enjoys getting off the beaten path and seeing the country from a unique perspective. The pacing of each tour has been established with the non-pilot in mind, and the ground tours and events have been selected to provide an amazing, possibly even life-changing, experience that is appreciated by everyone.
What if both you and your fellow travellers are non-pilots? No worries, we’ll provide you with your own pilot! Please contact us so that we can explain the options that are available.
It’s not a problem as we have a variety of options for you.
For example, we can match you up with another participant who is also travelling alone. Air Safari participants tend to be like-minded adventurers, so don’t be surprised if you and your flying partner become lifelong friends or vacation buddies!
Prior to departure from home, we can put you in touch with your new travel companion if you would like.
If you wish to fly alone or have your own room, please contact us to find out the additional costs for this arrangement.
Our standard aircraft is a C172 or equivalent. If you want to fly something other than a C172, just ask and we will do our best to find the type of plane that you want. Please note that an additional charge may apply.
Prior to the start of each tour, our aviation partners ensure that each plane is in suitable condition and that there are a sufficient number of open hours for the trip.
While each plane is unique, all planes typically have a standard traditional panel, including a panel-mounted GPS. Some aircraft do have glass panels – please let us know if you would prefer this option.
A PPL with and a current medical is all that is needed. On arrival in country and prior to launch you will need to complete a check ride on your aircraft. If don’t regularly fly the type of aircraft you will be flying on tour, then you must get checked out at home and have the check out recorded and signed in your log book.
If you are the sole pilot of the aircraft you will be flying, we recommend a minimum of 250 hours.
In preparation for your trip, we also recommend that you do a bit of cross-country flying at home in combination with some map reading and dead reckoning nav work, if you haven’t done that in a while. A good practice session would be to fly to an area that you don’t know so well and then navigate home without use of your GPS. Throw in a diversion or two just for fun.
As mentioned above under the “new pilot” and “what qualifications” questions, some cross country experience will enhance your enjoyment of the trip.
Regardless of your level of experience, please ensure that you are familiar with the type of aircraft you are going to fly. For experienced pilots this may require a few hours at home flying an aircraft that you haven’t flown for years.
Please note that it is your responsibility to do whatever training you require to be able to pass the check ride.
You are also encouraged to spend a little time refreshing those ground-to-map skills. We recommend a practice flight of at least 2 hours into a less familiar area with your GPS off and navigation by charts only.
Because our tours are led and supported by an experienced local CPL and because we only fly under Day VFR conditions, even low-hour pilots can manage quite well. However, we do recommend that you take some extended cross country flights prior to arriving in country. While on tour there may be days where you have to fly up to 3 hours before lunch and another 3 hours after lunch before landing at an unfamiliar airport. If you have done this a few times at home, then you will be better prepared for it on tour. If you are the sole pilot, then we do recommend at least 250 hours of PIC time.
The lead pilot is there to take on as much of the aviation workload as possible so that you only need to fly the plane and can focus on sightseeing and exploring. For example, when you arrive for breakfast the Lead Pilot will already have checked the weather, prepared and submitted a flight plan and will give you a printed copy of the flight plan for your aircraft. He or she will also give you a briefing on the day’s flight.
If there are any equipment problems, they will be addressed by the Lead Pilot and the Tour Director while you relax.
En route, the lead pilot is tracking all aircraft and providing in-air guidance if requested.
The Lead Pilot also makes the “go” “no-go” decision if the weather is less than ideal. This decision will of course be made after discussion with the participants, taking into account their skill levels and level of comfort with the flying conditions.
Unless you are advised otherwise, you can assume that your aircraft has a panel mounted GPS.
However, you are strongly encouraged to bring a portable GPS, with which you are familiar and which has be loaded up with the appropriate data base. Then you can use this portable unit as your primary and the panel GPS as your backup.
The answer to that depends on where we are flying of course. But since we are often flying in less populated areas Navaids can be few and far between. This situation often arises on the Australia trips.
In general we rely on GPS and our charts while on tour.
Not much if you don’t want to. We do not require or generally even request visual contact.
As PIC you can pick your cruise altitude and make deviations from the flight plan as you wish. However, since the Lead Pilot is concerned with the overall safety of the tour, it is important that you communicate any deviations from the plan that you wish to make so that we know where you are and when you will arrive at the next waypoint.
If we do happen to have a day with less-than-ideal weather or a flight in an extremely remote area or in challenging conditions, the Lead Pilot may, in the interests of safety, make some suggestions and recommendations with regard to flying arrangements.
Yes – we will make every effort to accommodate these types of requests. If you wish to fly on a non-flying day, or if you wish to do a significant diversion from the planned route, please discuss it with the Lead Pilot ahead of time. He or she will go over the route with you to help avoid any unpleasant surprises. Please note that there will be an extra charge for this flying if your total time exceeds the budgeted hours for the trip.
The aircraft are fully insured under the owner’s policy. You will be liable for the deductible portion in the event of damage due to pilot-error. You may be asked to sign a form to this effect. If the plane is provided by a flying club, you may be required to become a member of that club to ensure that you are covered by the club insurance. This fee will be paid by Air Safaris International.
We recommend that you purchase appropriate personal medical and travel insurance. This is a good practice whenever traveling internationally.
It is important to travel light as you will be flying a single engine aircraft, sometimes over long distances with full fuel on takeoff. You may also be carrying an emergency kit which, on some trips, can add significant weight. Because of the variety of trips offered and the different dates, please contact us for more specific details.
If you have extra luggage with you, that you do not need on the tour itself, we can arrange for these extra items to be stored at the aeroclub until you return.
Each country we fly in has different requirements. We will guide you through the process and do follow-up as necessary to ensure that all your paperwork is in order.
You can assume that you will be required to do a check ride before being cleared to fly as pilot in command.
The tour schedule does not allow for re-training time prior to launch. You are responsible for doing whatever preparation is needed to be able to pass a standard check ride of not more than 2 hours. We therefore recommend that you complete a full check ride at home, recorded and signed off by the instructor, in a model similar to what you will fly on tour to demonstrate your familiarity with the aircraft.
If re-training is not an issue, you will still be required to show that you have completed a flight review sometime in the 24-month period prior to the start of the air safari. This review must be recorded, signed and be in the log book you bring with you on tour. A photocopy from a logbook at home is not acceptable.