The Cessna 208 Caravan has become the backbone of MAF’s fleet and provides a great combination of range, capacity and flexibility.
The simple design and construction, along with a reliable Pratt and Whitney turbine engine which runs on Jet fuel, combine to keep maintenance time and costs to a minimum.
To suit rough airstrips, the Caravans are fitted with sturdy landing gear, larger tyres, mud flaps, rubber scraper for the nose tyre, and slighter longer nose gear to help prevent mud and rocks being thrown into the propeller when landing.
Fully equipped for instrument flying, with GPS, weather radar and Stormscope, the Caravan is reliable and can still operate safely in more challenging conditions such as storms or during the rainy season. In Mongolia, where ground temperatures can drop as low as -40ºC in winter, the Grand Caravan is fitted with full de-icing equipment.
The large cabin can fit 13 passengers or be adapted to carry bulky items such as timber, prefabricated doors, corrugated iron sheets, fuel drums, and even motorbikes. Cargo pods fitted underneath the plane ease loading of freight, and mean dangerous goods such as fuel can be carried without endangering the passengers in the cabin.
MAF also operates the larger Cessna 208B Grand Caravan which has a more powerful engine, a longer airframe, a bigger cargo pod, higher maximum take-off weight and a longer range, albeit with a slightly slower cruise speed.
'The Cessna Caravan is a highly reliable and efficient aircraft. It is one of the very few single-engine aircraft certified almost worldwide for passenger-carrying commercial air services under Instrument Flying Rules. A very versatile aircraft... flight missions can carry about one tonne of freight or combination of both freight and passengers with enough fuel for up to two hours flying plus reserve. It can handle short and rough airstrips well enough for most flight operations.'
Michael Dupuis, MAF pilot, Papua New Guinea