Home Credit Card ‘Take the jumpseat’: My Kenya flights got here with an sudden AvGeek delight

‘Take the jumpseat’: My Kenya flights got here with an sudden AvGeek delight

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‘Take the jumpseat’: My Kenya flights got here with an sudden AvGeek delight

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I simply returned from a five-night safari in Kenya, and whereas I’ve already reviewed the brand-new JW Marriott Masai Mara Lodge, what stunned me most about my journey was how I bought to the property.

That is as a result of my itinerary included two flights on AirKenya Categorical, a neighborhood provider that gives scheduled flights to and from Masai Mara Nationwide Reserve.

Whereas I had no concept what to anticipate from AirKenya Categorical, the expertise turned out to be a spotlight for this aviation fanatic.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

It began once I arrived at Wilson Airport (WIL) in Nairobi, Kenya, and gawked out the glass window close to the check-in counter. Parked simply steps away was a De Havilland Canada DHC-7 — or Sprint 7, for brief — an extremely uncommon aircraft that is flying for under a handful of carriers worldwide.

Having by no means seen or skilled a flight on certainly one of these almost 50-year-old jets, I approached the check-in counter and requested if I might get a tour.

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After a little bit of back-and-forth, the agent fortunately agreed and took me to see the aircraft, registered 5Y-BMP, which was first delivered to Henson Airways (now referred to as Piedmont Airways, a completely owned regional subsidiary of American Airways) again in 1982.

After I stepped inside, it instantly felt like a blast from the previous.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

From the ashtrays on the armrests to the flight deck with nearly no digital screens, this aircraft instantly transported me to a different period.

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I am undecided if I’ve ever been on such an previous plane. Even the previous U.S. Federal Aviation Administration registration certificates was stuffed in a scratched-up show window behind the flight deck door.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

As for the cabin itself, I used to be stunned to see that the exit row had each rear- and forward-facing seats.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

One other amenity I did not essentially anticipate however was happy to see was a rest room. It was truly fairly spacious so far as regional jet toilets go.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

However what makes the Sprint 7 distinctive is that it has 4 turboprop engines — a rarity for regional jets.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Although I believed that my fast tour of the Sprint 7 could be the spotlight of my AvGeek expertise in Kenya, I used to be flawed.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

When it lastly got here time to board my flight to the sport reserve, which was operated by a De Havilland Canada DHC-8 — aka a Sprint 8 — the captain observed me taking a lot of footage and movies of the cabin, together with the uncommon five-seat final row.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

He approached me and requested what I used to be doing.

I defined that I’m an aviation fanatic and wished to doc my expertise on this considerably obscure airline.

His response was one thing I would by no means hear again residence: He invited me to experience within the jumpseat with him and the primary officer.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

I enthusiastically stated sure and proceeded to observe because the Sprint 8 took to the skies from what’s undoubtedly the most effective seat on the aircraft for an AvGeek.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

I’ve sat within the jumpseat as soon as earlier than, on an El Al Boeing 787 Dreamliner, however the AirKenya Categorical expertise wasn’t in any respect just like the El Al one.

On the Sprint 8, the pilots virtually solely flew the aircraft by hand with out utilizing autopilot. Plus, the Sprint 8 solely options a couple of digital screens within the flight deck.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

This was very completely different from my jumpseat expertise on the Dreamliner, the place sitting within the flight deck felt like I had entered a futuristic movie show.

Earlier than lengthy, it was time to land within the nature reserve, however as I’ve skilled earlier than on different safaris, this would not be a standard touchdown.

As a substitute, we would be touchdown on a 4,200-foot-long gravel airstrip constructed instantly into Masai Mara Nationwide Reserve.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

There have been no air visitors controllers to speak with nor any taxiways to make use of. As a substitute, the aircraft taxied to the tip of the runway, made a U-turn after which dropped us off in a small pullout close to the middle of the runway.

That made for some unbelievable photographs of the aircraft itself, capping off certainly one of my most uncommon aviation experiences thus far.

ZACH GRIFF/THE POINTS GUY

Simply moments later, the Sprint 8 taxied out once more, heading onward to the subsequent distant airstrip, the place it will drop off some extra safari-bound vacationers.

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