Flying in the desert world of Namibia isn’t for the faint hearted, rugged terrain with high mountain chains and dune fields combined with unpredictable weather conditions, including strong winds, powerful downdraughts and fog are some of the typical conditions. It is also one of the least populated countries on earth, so experiencing the vast wildernesses from above is often a solitary affair. Being aerial wilderness and adventure photographers we were looking for a high wing aircraft that was reliable, spacious, rugged and versatile from a photography perspective. It needed to have endurance and the capacity to land in obscure locations like sand river beds, salt pans and rocky plains.
Our Maule has had many incarnations. She was originally purchased from a biologist in Alaska by Dr Flip Stander that founded the Desert Lion project, and then used as a research plane to radio track the illusive desert lion across some of the most remote locations on earth.
We purchased the M6-235 (manufactured in 1983, serial no 7410C) from the Desert Lion Project in 2011 in partnership with a good friend of ours Dr Henk Koster, and she is now hangered in the small desert town of Swakopmund where the icy Atlantic ocean meets the ancient dune fields of the Namib.
We use her for leading self-fly safaris through Namibia for pilots from around the world that want to experience Namibia from above and for aerial wilderness photography….. and of course just for fun! There are few things in life more sublime that starting up that engine and taking off at sunrise and gliding through cool desert air over the golden dune fields of the Namib.