I think I know where some African bush pilots learned to fly

I’ve mentioned the LET 410 Turbolet transport aircraft in a few previous posts, particularly its use as a bush aircraft in Africa, where its toughness and reliability have made it very popular.   I’ve flown on a few of them, and whilst I can’t say I enjoyed the experience, that wasn’t because of the plane.  Rather, it was because of the pilots, who often appeared to be refugees from Eastern European pilot zoos!  Their knowledge, skills and technique frequently left a certain something to be desired . . .

When I came across this video of a LET 410 attempting to land, and (sort of) succeeding at last, I was irrepressibly reminded of African bush flying.  I think I now know where at least some of those pilots learned to fly!

Oops . . .  I think the technical term for that is “throwing the plane at the runway”!



  1. Holy Mazola! He did nothing right on that approach, too fast, too steep, no flare, pilot induced oscillation, and most importantly NO go around! YGBSM!

  2. I couldn't tell from the video – did he actually stop on the runway, or just off it? I can;t think of any other reason for the dirt he throws up once he actually stays on the runway!

  3. a craftsman makes it all appear easy, seamless, there's an economy of motion that even an untrained eye can recognize and appreciate.

    and then there's that guy.

  4. Six landings, each worse than the one before it.
    But he could walk away from them so I guess they were good enough.


  5. Wow, nice demonstration of porpoising. Lucky for him the nose gear didn't collapse with all that oscillation and his slamming it down like that.

  6. Jonathan,

    I think the debris cloud is possibly shredded tires. Might be why he ends up sitting off the edge of the runway, and doesn't move, despite the yelling by the ATC.

  7. Poor fella simply couldn't quite make up his mind whether to UNDER-control or OVER-control…so, he settled for half-and-half, yes?…

  8. With apologizes to Waylon.
    As the pilot walked away he was heard to say:

    Tell me one more time just so's I'll know.
    Are you sure OLD NFO done it this a'way.

  9. I don't claim to be a pilot. My experience consists of a couple of hours in Cessnas with a handful of take offs and landings, a little ultralight flying and waaaay too much time in realistic flight sims like Falcon 4.0, BMS, Flight Simulator etc. That said, why in the world would you not abort a landing like that? When I've screwed up my landing I just powered up and tried again. First time I landed a decrepit, ready for the scrap yard Cessna on my own I had to go around twice because the wind was weird and I was way out of shape. The second time a cow was on the grass strip of all things. That guy must've been on fumes or had some major mechanical issue to force a landing like that.

  10. Reminds me of the name my wife and I observed on the back window of an SUV in Pensacola, Florida today. Must've been the same driver shown in the video. Drivers name was "Ho Lee Chit."

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