Paramaribo, Suriname – June 1, 2014
This will be my final trip to Paramaribo during my posting to Guyana. Because of that, I decided to change things up a little bit on my flight. I usually take the first single-seat as soon as I board. Selecting that seat allows me to be the first off the plane in Paramaribo. This time I sat directly behind the pilot. That brought back memories of my days as a pilot. I do miss them.
Today we boarded at about 08:25 for our 08:30 departure. We were maybe ten minutes late taking off. We taxied to the south end of the single runway and turned around. There was another plane ahead, which had just lifted off. We had to wait for a minute or two to let that plane clear the area. When it was our turn, the pilot gently moved the throttle forward on the single-engine Cessna Caravan. We lifted off at 75 knots (about 86 miles per hour) on a heading of 330°. At about 250 feet (76 meters) in altitude, we turned right to a heading of 040°. At that point, we were climbing at 500 feet (152 meters) per minute at a speed of 110 knots (126 mph).
We flew directly over Enmore at about 3,000 feet (914 meters). I visited the sugar factory there in October 2013. It was quite hazy, and the visibility was poor, I estimate five miles (eight kilometers) or less. Regardless, the flight was not bumpy.
Climbing through 5,000 feet (1,524 meters), we topped the first layer of clouds. At 7,000 feet (2,134 meters), we made it past the thin layer of clouds; after that, neither the ground nor ocean was visible, just the white clouds below. Based on the heavy rain at home earlier that morning, I thought most of the flight would take place in clouds and rain. I was wrong.
We leveled out at 10,000 feet (3,048 meters). Frankly, I thought that was a little high since the plane was not pressurized. I believe most of the larger commercial planes pressurize their cabins to about 8,000 feet (2,438 meters).
In level flight, the pilot maintained about 130 knots (149 mph). I noticed a placard on the instrument panel read “143 knots maximum weight maneuver speed.” As long as we were flying straight and level, that was not an issue. I noted the actual redline of the plane was at 175 knots (201 mph).
About midway during the flight, we flew through some cloud tops at about 9,500 feet (2,896 meters). There were a couple of minor bumps and a very slight mist on the windscreen. Almost as quickly as it had begun, the flight was smooth and clear again.
Roughly 50-minutes into our flight, the pilot changed our course slightly to a heading of 010°.
The flight was only to have been 1:15 in duration. At 1:21, we began our descent at about 500 feet per minute. Our airspeed was 145 knots (166 mph). At one point we were traveling at 160 knots (184 mph), descending at 1,000 feet (305 meters) per minute.
At 7,000 feet (2,134 meters), we entered the cloud tops. By 6,300 feet (1,920 meters), we had zero visibility, some bumps, and a little rain. We emerged from those clouds at 5,800 feet (1,768 meters). Between 5,500 feet and 5,000 feet (1,676 – 1,524 meters), we went through more clouds and rain. That happened again between 4,300 feet and 3,800 feet (1,311 – 1,158 meters). At 1:34 into the flight, at 2,000 feet (610 meters), we finally made it below the clouds.
At 1:35, I spotted the runway ahead.
At 1:36, we were at 1,000 feet (305 meters).
At 1:37, we were at 600 feet (183 meters), slowed down to 120 knots (138 mph).
At 1:38, we were at 250 feet (76 meters), slowed down to 90 knots (103 mph).
We touched down after 1:39, flying at 80 knots (92 mph). Our average ground speed during the flight was 126 knots (145 mph).
Luckily, the pilot did not know how much of a backseat pilot I had been!
I made it to my hotel, the Royal Torarica, and checked in to my room at about 11:45. Coincidentally, the room was next to the room Leslie and I stayed in during my previous visit to Paramaribo.