View Full Version : Flying South America
11th Jul 2011, 13:50
Hi, We're planning to purchase a C182 in USA in the Autumn and fly down to Argentina over a couple of months. The aircraft will be "N" reg and I have a FAA PPL IR and abt 1000 hours. We'll take our time and don't plan on pushing the weather envelope.
Our planned route down is ex Florida and across to Guyana - Brazil - Uruguay. Any advice on routes, procedures, overflights, airports, restrictions and dealing with officialdom would be most welcome.
Sorry to ask, what is your Ferry range? I realy do not know for the 182.
I do a lot of Ferry flights up and down. From Guyana, I'd recomend Belem as AOE, there is a good imigration there, the we can work your way down in Brazil.
If you want sight seeing, go via seashore because it is beautiful, but will increase your Trip in at Least one day. I'd say it Worths!
If you wanna make it faster you may fly Belem, Palmas, Belo Horizonte, Sao Jose dos Campos (easy transit close to Sao Paulo), Florianopolis, Porto Alegre, Montevideo (Carrasco) and Aeroparque... Just a guess, i am thinking in a 800NM range or so. If it is less, we can work it out.
Remember, this is a suggestion and you are the solo responsable for your Planning. (no liability for ME here, ok?)
All the best,
11th Jul 2011, 22:15
Hello Dusty, et al,
We're planning on what sounds like the same trip beginning just before Christmas, or thereabouts. We're in Carson City NV. I've got a 64 Mooney, and have flown down to the Caribbean about 15 - 18 times (lost count). The Mooney has slightly more than 5 hours of fuel, so I plan no more than about 600 NM legs, and less when I'm flying in areas with few alternatives, such as over the ocean, and South America.
I've not been past Nevis (near St. Kitts, but have little concern about getting down to Guayana. Frankly, I think I'd rather take the western course though Central America, Columbia, and either down the west coast or straight over the top. Not spotting a lot of airports along the central route, however, and the girlfriend says she wants to take the island and Brazilian coastal route, so there we go. I am somewhat curious about Manaus and central Brazil, but that may have to wait until we take the float plane down.
I have serious doubts that a 182 has an 800nm range, unless it is uniquely equipped. I'm pondering the 88 gallon (total) STC) for my just to avoid that sweat that starts breaking out around 4 hours 30 mins.
I haven't had much luck locating good charts, but have only begun the search.
When do you guys plan to go? Might form a group.
12th Jul 2011, 01:47
What can you share about Suriname and French Guiana? I expect Georgetown-Belem to be out of my range, and probably the 182 as well. Macapa is within range of Georgtown, Guyan (just barely with a good wind and no detours), and Belem is just barley reachable from Paramaribo. Cayenne in French Guiana makes them both usable AOE for Brazil.
12th Jul 2011, 16:04
Thanks for the 2 replies. It would be great to share any information, access to charts and experiences on clearances.
I suppose our initial attraction to the east coast route is driven by a number of considerations. These include the issue of a Cuba overflight, the complexities of taking in so many Central America states (Mexico, Honduras, Panama, etc) and the nature of the terrain around the entry airports in Colombia and Equador. The other is previous experiences in commercial flights in Peru and Chile. Much of the west coast that we have flown over is inhospitable and the airports are few and far between. For the northernmost 1000 miles or so of Chile, the desert and cliffs just tumble into the Pacific. It is beautiful but the cities are etched into the seashore. That said, the Pan-America highway is an almost continuous emergency landing strip.
Our instinct is to island hop down the east side. One reason is the current aeronautical data for the French islands and former French territories is readily available on line. I had been thinking of coasting in to South America just east of Venzuela airspace and landing in Rochambeau, the international airport of Guyane. If the final leg was Grenada to Rochambeau would be 742NM (Google calculation). This route passes virtually overhead both Georgetown and Paramaribo so there are diversion options. This link should take you to the full area and approach chart set (VFR/IFR) for Rochambeau https://www.sia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/aip/enligne/uk/..%5CPDF_AIPparSSection%5CAIP%20CAR-SAM-NAM%5CAD%5C2%5C1108_AD-2.SOCA.pdf and this one is the low level (FL195) airways chart. https://www.sia.aviation-civile.gouv.fr/aip/enligne/uk/..%5CPDF_AIPparSSection%5CAIP%20CAR-SAM-NAM%5CENR%5C6%5C1108_ENR-6.3.pdf It takes you all the way to Belem which is exactly 399NM further south-west.
Our aircraft choice is a lot to do with the local flying we'd like to do in Argentina and Chile. A lot of the strips the are "unimproved" and would not suit the SR20 I've flown for the last 5 years.
Hope we can stay in touch on this!
12th Jul 2011, 16:08
Yes we'd be looking at a max no reserves of 800NM so I need to plan a lot less than that. I'd like to stay in touch as I plan this. Are there any overflight permission issues for Guyana and Surinam?
The permits I have a dispatcher that gets it for us. It is a contract with my company.
Guys, route georgetown, cayena, Macapá and Belem (whatever you decide) you have to Plan for detours. A lot of CBs N Brazil. I will start from soca.
As you desire short legs, I thought of a new route. Let's if you like it:
soca-sbbe (Belem)- 439NM (I will use direct distance, pls Plan for awys);
Sbbe-sbpj (Palmas) - 534NM;
Sbpj-sbgo (Goiânia) - 384NM (transit here is faster than Brasilia-sbbr)
Sbgo-sbrp (Ribeirão Preto) - 282NM (Nice fuel stop)
Sbrp-sbfl (Florianopolis) - 394NM
Sbfl-sumu (Montevideo-Carrasco) - 575NM
Option: sbfl-sbpa(Porto Alegre)-sumu - 196+380NM
Sumu-saez (Ezeiza) - 124NM
This is just an example of you can do. If you go via seashore the Planning will be quite different. Any Place in this list is a good overnight stop.
12th Jul 2011, 19:57
You can also do, Macapa - Maraba - Goiania as an alternative to Belem.
Good points, but Belem is a nicier AOE than Macapá (IMHO).
Marabá-Goiânia is 675NM, Streetching a bit tôo much their ranges. It is an option anyway.
14th Jul 2011, 04:37
Thanks for the suggested alternative route. All these distances are very good for us. You mention Aeroparque as your AOE for Argentina. Is it possible to land there in a single engine GA aircraft? If yes, is it necessary to use a a handling agent or FBO?
14th Jul 2011, 05:36
My friend who flies for Astral says no single engines allowed at Aeroparque. The rules may have changed but that was his last comment last November.
Glad you liked the route!
I do think DPeterson is right. Aeroparque will not take SE acft in there.
I have no suggestion for you about AOE in Argentina in an 182. Sorry.
All the best,
14th Jul 2011, 14:28
I've sent a note to Pablo and will let you know airport options around BA shortly..
15th Jul 2011, 09:54
In Buenos Aires area a good option for GA used to be Don Torcuato (SADD). Take a look.
17th Jul 2011, 05:42
Looks like this field has been closed to fixed wing since 2006!:ugh:
19th Jul 2011, 16:51
A friend of mine thinks San Fernando is good for single engine international arrivals. It appears on Google as an "International Airport", but clearly one would want to research the actual availability and rules for international arrivals.
19th Jul 2011, 19:20
SADF is an option, VOR approach and a long enough runway. Ezeiza is close too if needed (Buenos Aires international airport).
20th Jul 2011, 00:00
You should plan to fly from SUMU (Montevideo) to SAEZ/Ezeiza over a visual corridor via SUCA/Colonia and then SADF (San Fernando).
If I were you I would not try to fly direct from SUMU to SAEZ because it is around 80 NM over the water.
You should also check if there is Customs Service at SADF at the time you are arriving.
SADD/DonTorcuato has been closed to all aircraft operations since 2006.
21st Jul 2011, 15:06
Good morning Liam,
Lady friend doesn't want to go as early as November, so we'll be following you.
80nm over water!!?? Ha! The Caribbean route that I use and recommend has over 500NM over water.
You didn't say if you were already familiar with the Caribbean portion of the trip, but here's my recommendations for part of it.
Ft. Pierce - Grand Turk. You can also land at Providenciales, but GT puts you a little farther along for the next day. Check to make sure GT has avgas before going there. Provo always has gas.
GT - Nevis. Long stretch, but after a while you have plenty of detour options if problems arise. We used to have a house on Nevis, and in spite of the 4 Seasons hotel its still a very special place. I recommend staying at the Golden Rock hotel if you can get in.
If Nevis doesn't appeal, you can always go to St. Maarten or St. Kitts for good service and overnight.
Whatever you do, avoid Puerto Rico. Not a bad place to visit, but why would you? Plus, the worst customs agents I have ever encountered. It breaks up the trip from Grand Turk onward, but will add far more time on the ground than it saves in the air.
21st Aug 2011, 00:19
I've been working on planning our trip down - which largely parallels Dusty's but at a later date. It would appear that several places no longer have 100 AVGAS, and information is hard to come by. Thus, I've ordered the long range tank mod for my Mooney giving me upwards of 12 hours range if I care to do it - which I won't. It will, however, give us more options along the way.
I think I can get as far as Antigua with reliable AVGAS sources. After that, it's not so certain. I had assumed I would go into Trinidad, but what little news I've found makes it sound like they are downright hostile to people who land at their airport. Any comments on Trinidad?
We can make it to Georgetown Guyana from Antigua, but what is Georgetown like? 100 AVGAS? I've read some notes regarding very high prices and conflict between the FBO and the airport authorities.
Suriname requires a visa to enter, so we'll try to avoid that.
Cayenne is located in a good place - but again I can't find info regarding AVGAS.
Can someone suggest sources for up-to-date info on fuel for the southern Caribbean and down to Uruguay? I'm betting Brazil has it on hand, but it would be nice to have a contact to confirm.
Thanks to all
23rd Aug 2011, 16:54
General aviation flying in South America is generally a great experience. Beautiful scenery, friendly people, less traffic than in the US or Europe. Service at most of the larger airports is great. Most larger airports have good weather service. Keep in mind there's always possibility of convective weather around the equator.
Having said that, there is a fair amount of bureaucracy. I recommend using a handling agent to take care of landing permits, overflight permits, etc. You can do all that yourself, but in my opinion not worth the time and hassle.
If you want to take the really scenic route you could fly down via the Caribbean and Brazil, and return via the West side of S. America. In a C182 you can comfortably go Miami - Montego Bay - Cartagena - Cali - Guayaquil - Trujillo - Lima. All those places have avgas.
Lima to Miami by Cessna 182 « Contract pilot tales (http://contractpilot.wordpress.com/2011/05/29/lima-to-miami-by-cessna-182/)
I remember Trinidad having avgas many moons ago, best check but I think it still has it. I believe Manaus as well as some other interior airports in Brazil have avgas.
Feel free to PM me for further discussion.
24th Aug 2011, 02:06
Doing immigration and customs at Iguazú Airport is a good option as well...you gotta be careful for some convective activity in that area beginning mid september but other than that, it's ok. You fly down into the BA area and then can continue all the way to the south.
You also need to take the appropriate precautions regarding The Puyehue volcano that has been sending quite an important amount of ashes in the air for the last 3 months now in continuous fashion. The volcano is located near Bariloche SAZS and even tho their emmissions have weakened significantly lately, some airports still have VA deposited on the ground and whenever the wind blows a bit, it goes back in the air. This happened in comodoro rivadavia yesterday (SAVC) Airports that have been affected the most by the eruption are sazs, sazy, sazn, sazr, savt, savc, sazb. Bariloche is still not being served by the two major airlines here since the volcano started smoking june 4th.
A good source of data for the volcanic activity (and weather in Argentina) is our national weather service. Servicio Meteorológico Nacional (http://www.smn.gov.ar) Go to where it says "información aeronáutica" and then VAAC Buenos Aires, right at the bottom. They issue ASHTAMS every 6 hours I believe. Also most Flight Service Stations (ARO-AIS for ICAO) will show you a plot of the actual plume. You can also try to locate it yourself via satellite imagery but it will be hard to see, as emmissions are very weak. The volcano's elevation is about 7000 feet and the plume rarely exceeds 10K in altitude, not big a deal for airlines, but it could be a factor for a 182.
Let me see if I can give you quick set of tips for flying in Argentina.
You can't fly VFR at night in Argentina.
You are required to file a flight plan every time you depart out of a controlled airport, and you MUST close it either by phone or radio if you land at an uncontrolled field. Towered airports will close it for ya.
Every time you land at a controlled field they´ll normally ask you to stop by the FSS to go show them your licenses etc.
Some (most) airports close at night, there's no such thing as a towered airport that becomes uncontrolled when the tower controller checks out.
I recommend you stay within airports served by the airlines, there are quite a few of them well within the range of a 182. The reason for this is because at most places they will speak some english and if you have any problems you can quickly fly to BA to go get a spare. You can always find a good mechanic wherever there's a flight school. Controllers proficient in english anywhere besides airline served airport is something absolutely not guaranteed.
There 's a publication called MADHEL which is basically an Airport Facility Directory that you can buy for a good deal of info. You can also check notams and other info at ANAC - Administración Nacional de Aviación Civil (http://www.anac.gov.ar) Make sure you type in the local indentifier, ICAO codes won't do there. Local identifiers will normally agree with the VOR identifier if the airport has one. Good news is most airports do.
While enroute, at the altitudes normally used by a 182 you will, at some point lose contact with "center" (the ARTCC). If that's the case you can try to call any airline flight and they´ll be glad to do and air to air for ya at no charge ;-) Airlines also monitor 121.5 on VHF 2 so if you ever need it, you can try calling there.
Wind does become a factor in the patagonia, say from Viedma and south. Most runways have an east west layout and usually winds blow from the west, fairly straight down the rwy at nothing short of 20 kts. Western airports like Esquel and Calafate can have winds of more than 30 kts at times. A lot of fun, but keep that in mind when you park the airplane as well.
Places you DON'T want to miss from North to South: Salta, Mendoza, Bariloche (volcano allowing) Esquel, Calafate, Rio Gallegos, Ushuaia (careful there tho) and Puerto Madryn, where you can visit the Valdez Peninsula and check out the whales.
If there's anything I can do for you, contact me at alternate51@<hidden>
24th Aug 2011, 15:16
SW and WWEL,
Just the sorts of info that will help to fill in the gaps. Any suggestions for handling agents? I've never used that approach before, and generally had no problem just popping into various countries and trusting that we could sort out the paperwork. A friend commented upon using a handling agent, but his exact term was "ridiculously expensive handling agent". We're not ferrying an aircraft for a fixed fee, so if it takes a little extra time that is probably preferable to a large fee. Plus, our schedule may not be set in stone, so flexibility is helpful. Anyway, I'd be curious to check out what they do if I had a lead to contact one.
We were in Bariloche last November, and had a great time. Shame it's been so disrupted. Beautiful place. Maybe the volcano will temporarily reduce the inflated property prices?
Thanks for any and all details. You never know when one will be something we overlooked.
BTW, is 406mh ELT required anywhere in South America? It's on hold in the US and Caribbean.
25th Aug 2011, 01:27
You won't need handling agents within Argentina. Tower will call the fuel truck for ya, or they'll approach your airplane. You'll be able to do just about anything for yourself.
25th Aug 2011, 17:33
I have not had a chance to visit this thread for about 10 days and some of the recent information is really helpful. Is the fuel tank mod to your Mooney a big cost? I think it'll pay off in Argentina as some of the flights to south are big milage. On the AVGAS issue the position in Cayenne seems to be OK. The airport information for Rochambeau contained in the French AIP says:
JET A1 : Hydrant system 1500 at 2300 l/mn 1 fuel truck 30 m3
AVGAS 100 LL : 1 fuel truck 1800 l : 400 l/mn
Extension pour vols réguliers programmés / Extension for scheduled regular flights.
PPR 24 HR 0(594) 35 62 10 - FAX : 0(594)35 80 92
Probably best to phone ahead. I've also looked at all the airports I mentioned in the planned Brazil and they are all listed as having 100/130 available.
I share your view on handling agents. I think I'd be happy to take the time to sort things locally.
:ugh:My big issue is still insurance. I've only had one quote and for what was quoted we could fly down and up several times in 1st class. I think it was their polite way of telling me to :mad:!!! I can really only give this about another week before I revert to plan X. We do need to be in BA by mid-November and I want to allow about a total of about 20 days after we fly from Dublin to the US.
26th Aug 2011, 01:29
The long-range tank mod for the Mooney costs $3,000 plus an estimated 60 hours of labor. Yikes. Fortunately, I'm an IA so can do and sign off the work myself. I've found a helper at a reasonable rate to do one side while I do the other, and we should have it wrapped in 2 - 3 weeks from start. Total of 88 gallons usable with max of 10gph consumption, and down around 8gph on longer legs.
There is what is described as a very nice 182 here being sold by the estate of a deceased fellow. Not being actively marketed. If you haven't bought yours yet and are interested I can check into it for you.
What's the hiccup on the insurance? Foreign ownership or just South America? I haven't checked into mine yet, but I'm going anyway.
What does "400 l/mn" mean? Does that mean minimum purchase is 400 litres? That's more than my airplane holds by a long shot.
26th Aug 2011, 11:07
What does "400 l/mn" mean? Does that mean minimum purchase is 400 litres? That's more than my airplane holds by a long shot.
This indicates the maximum pumping rate of the tanker - a delvery rate of 400 litres per minute. Probably useful if refueling a DC3. It's not a minimum. I'll contact you directly about the C182.
12th Apr 2012, 03:30
The date has finally arrived. All work completed on the Mooney, various paperwork items completed, insurance reluctantly extended by my carrier, grandson excused from school. We take off from northern Nevada on Saturday, April 21. First couple of weeks will be visiting relatives along the way and enjoying the Caribbean.
Current plan is to fly Barbados - Caryenne - Belem. From what I've read, I'd rather not spend the night in Cayenne, but based upon the weather maps I've been tracking, getting from there southward is better undertaken early in the day - on a good day.
My biggest concern is availability of 100LL/100 fuel. I now carry about 10 hours on board, so have some options if I get somewhere and they are out. Rather avoid that, of course. Anyone have a good source for fuel availability through South America?
Most legs will be 3+ hours, and I'm tempted to stretch those to 5+ if weather is favorable. Current route would be Belem, Palmas, Brasilia, Campinas -Amaraina, Foz Iguacu, Colonia, Mercedes.
Any recent updates of interest most appreciated.