The flying in the Maldives is by far some of the best flying anyone could do. At Maldivian Air Taxi (MAT) we are operating 18 DeHavilland Twin Otter’s exclusively on CAP 12000 floats. The Twin Otter on floats itself is one of the best airplanes to fly and when you couple that with operating in and out of small lagoons you can get some very interesting and challenging flying, especially during the monsoon season.
Typically, we fly around 75-100 hours per month and can do up to 20 cycles per day. If you stay here long enough you may even have a day where you do 23-24 take offs and landings. Most trips are between 3nm and 82nm with the average being around 30nm. It’s all VFR flying but good instruments skills do come in Handy when the weather comes down. Currently, we are flying to over 26 different resorts located on seven different Coral Atolls. Each resort has a different landing area with its own unique challenges. Some may have lots of Coral Heads hiding beneath the water that must be avoided. Other landing areas get very rough with high tide; steady wind and/or lots of swell. This does make it interesting and challenging. On these rough we are really earn our money.
Operating in salt water with such high humidity is very hard on the aircraft and Corrosion can be a real problem. In the past Air Taxi would ferry the aircraft back to Kenn Borek Air’s Facilities in Canada every couple of years to get a complete overhaul. Now, we have an overhaul facility at our float base in the Maldives and complete overhauls in country. From what I understand, this has dramatically improved the condition and ultimately the safety of the airplanes.
The life style in the Maldives is very different than one might expect. When I tell people where I work most think that I am living in the ultimate paradise. Most pilots here will tell you that this is not entirely true. For the most part life here is pretty good; we are provided accommodation at the company’s expense and do not need a car so expenses and the cost of living is very low. Eating in a restaurant is reasonable and the food and service is decent. Most pilots are based in the capital city of Male (pronounced 'MALLEE') while some are based at a couple of the larger resorts. Male has a population of approximately 80,000 and is about 3 sq km in area. It is very densely populated and the streets are very busy. There is also a lot of construction going on in Male; it seems that tourism is really helping in raising the standard of living here.
At MAT we have a very diverse employee population. Currently there are employees from Australia, America, Bangladesh, Canada, Denmark, Hungary, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Sri Lanka, India, and of course the Maldives. There are a lot of good people here which makes it a lot easier to live so far from home. There are usually some good parties to go to where we get together and drink beer. Twice a week we play road hockey and we also enter a football team into a local tournament so there some activities to get involved in outside of work.
Flying here has been great and I am glad to have had the opportunity to work here. Who knows what’s next for me down the line; maybe the Antarctic, we go there too!
Good luck in your Aviation Career!
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