The Aircraft

"Skubie" the Shadow microlight taking off from Sigurwana, at 4500 ft, off a 300 metre strip

The Shadow is a tandem, two seat microlight, capable of flying at speeds of up to 100 Knots, and a cruise of 70 to 80 Kts. With long range tanks fitted, it has an endurance 5.5 hours, carrying a pilot and observer. It runs on ordinary unleaded car fuel . Operational costs are typically as low as £15 ($25 US) per hour.

An incredibly rugged microlight, it has been flown (twice!) from London to Sydney Australia, and has been used in an anti-poaching role in Africa, notably with the Botswana defence forces, see:

and by the WWF in Namibia plus the Indian Defence forces, who purchased several of them for flight training. It has an enviable safety record, in that, for 20 years of operation there were no fatalities; a very good record, no doubt due to the fact that it cannot be made to stall or spin.

It has good short takeoff and landing performance, easily capable of operating from dirt and grass strips, or even dirt roads, and is a safe, reliable platform for aerial survey and anti-poaching operations. With the long range tanks, the aircraft can fly to remote areas, carry out a 3 hour survey mission and return to base without any ground support whatsoever. Where it will be operating, the Limpopo, many airfields are over 4000 ft in altitude, not a problem for an aircraft with a maximum altitude capability of over 25,000 ft! (on just 65 HP!).

This aircraft has a range of up to 400 miles so it can reposition quickly and cheaply, without the need for dis assembly and time consuming road haulage. However, for longer journeys, it can be quickly dis assembled and stored in it's trailer, for road haulage, or container shipping.

Wikipedia has more information on this type of aircraft and this is the actual aircraft pictured in Wikipedia