Any experience of Portuguese ATC on here? I am considering flying a non-HF equipped twin from mainland Europe to Madeira and then onwards to the Azores and have a couple of questions about enroute comms. The Lisbon FIR extends all the way down to Madeira, with no HF frequencies promulgated, and so I figure HF is not required for this part of the journey. However I suspect I would be out of VHF range for a significant portion of this leg (to be flown at approx FL200). Is operating out of comms range just an accepted fact of life on this route?
From Madeira to the Azores I would obviously need to deal with Santa Maria Oceanic. I can find nothing in the AIPs that mandates carriage of HF in this FIR (unlike, say, Shanwick). I assume that Madeira are used to obtaining oceanic clearances by landline and passing them on VHF? Again, there is a short gap in VHF coverage in the middle of the route - another fact of life, or is this route a no-go for me without HF? (I did note that the HF comm fail procedures in the NAT docs are pretty permissive - essentially allowing you to fly the oceanic route regardless, with a couple of different options for selection of altitude depending on what clearance you had already obtained).
I would be deeply embarrassed to get turned back so am hoping to get the definitive answer that I have yet to find in the publications - and some idea of the likely VHF coverage, beyond the approximate diagrams that are available on the www.