"Right now, there is simply no other single engine aircraft in the category of a Caravan which is better suited for the work in South Sudan" (Roland Sedlmeier, MAF pilot)
Operated by MAF International, the Cessna 208 Caravan carries up to 13 passengers or 1,150kg of supplies and cruises at a speed of 170 mph.
This single engine turbo-prop aircraft is fitted with sturdy landing gear, able to take abuse from the rough airstrips on which it lands. The larger tyres, mud flaps, rubber scraper for the nose tyre, and slighter longer nose gear help prevent mud and rocks being thrown into the propeller on landing.
The simple design and construction and the reliable Pratt and Whitney turbine engine combine to keep maintenance time and costs to a minimum.
Fully equipped for instrument flight, with Global Positioning Systems (GPS), weather radar and Stormscope,, the Caravan is reliable and can still operate safely in more challenging conditions, such as storms and during the rainy season.
The large cabin enables the transportation of bulky items such as timber, prefabricated doors, corrugated iron sheets, fuel drums, and even motorbikes.
The cargo pod fitted underneath the plane enable the loading of freight and the separation of certain types of freight from passengers.
MAF operates the Cessna 208B Grand Caravan in Kenya, Sudan, Mongolia, South Africa and Tanzania. This is a larger model of the C208 with a more powerful engine, a longer airframe, a bigger cargo pod, and higher maximum take off weight. The Grand Caravan can carry up to 1,250kg and cruises at a slower speed of 165mph.
In Mongolia, where ground temperatures can drop as low as -40ºC in winter, the Grand Caravan is fitted with full de-icing equipment.
With an impressive range, the Grand Caravan is capable of covering over 900nm and still land with the required reserve of fuel. This is especially important for operations in South Sudan where fuel is often in limited supply. Pilots regularly carry 200 litre fuel drums to supply the camps they fly to, and also to supply our own aircraft when they land.