Original Post: ATC News by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang H. Thome
This last 3 months has been the longest time that our pilots have not flown hot air balloons since they qualified as pilots, and some of them qualified a very long time ago!
So, in the name of safety, they are now in Serengeti, conducting what we call ‘base checks’. These are a re-examination of their flying skills and a test of their preparedness for all eventualities that may occur during a balloon flight, normally conducted every 6 months. All this under the beady eye of Captain Abeid Soka, our Director of Flight Operations and Chief Pilot. The maintenance team is also thoroughly inspecting each envelope, basket, burner and fuel system this week too, it’s an exciting prospect, to be able to start flying again soon.
And let’s not forget the rest of the team, polishing, painting and cleaning, in a Seronera that’s full of wildebeest!
So, when will we start? We do need to have sufficient guests to keep us busy enough and the enquiries are starting to come in, so we will be open for bookings from 15th July but we could easily open earlier if we have enough enquiries to make it viable.
We have also implemented some biosafety protocols, to keep our guests and staff as safe as possible, these include:
- Staff temperature check at the start of each day.
- Hand Sanitisers available in each vehicle.
- All staff, including pilots, to wear facemasks.
- Guests to be issued with disposable facemasks if they don’t have their own.
- Vehicles to be disinfected after each day.
- Baskets to be disinfected before passengers board.
- Guest temperature check when met for transfer.
- All guests to have window seats in vehicles, no middle seat.
- More space per person at breakfast.
- Waiters to wash hands every 15 minutes during breakfast and Champagne toast.
- Hand washing stations available at Breakfast and Toast.
For flights that take place before September 2020, we will reduce the number of guests per basket compartment, unless they are all from the same party, in order to provide some social distancing but it must be understood that, like all aviation, 1.5-2m social distancing will not be possible.
We will monitor the situation and official advice from IATA and other authorities, where relevant, and will update you as to any changes.
We can’t wait to be able to enjoy the wonders of Serengeti from the air again!