Technicalities behind our sudden departure
My message on Thursday was very quick, so I’d like to take a few steps back in this post -which I am writing in the air between Brasilia and Belem- to expand on all that happened before our relatively sudden departure.
Just a few days ago, several loose ends were preventing us from leaving:
- The plane was undergoing its annual check-up and we did not know exactly when it would be ready: before they lift the hood, you don’t know what they’ll find…
- We were awaiting the consent of ANAC (Administracion Nacional de Aviación Civil) to be able to do maintenance outside of ANAC approved service centers for the duration of the trip. Indeed, there are not many of those outside of Latin America and the US, so we would not be able to go around the world with an Argentine tail number given that at least an annual inspection is required.
- We found out on Monday February 22th, when requesting permission to enter Brazil, that we needed the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) proficiency exam. In hindsight, this is a very reasonable requirement for pilots from non-English speaking countries, but we had entered Brazil before without it, so it slipped our mind. The issue was then to find a flight center that had the qualifications to take the exam, so we called about 10 places: none of them had exam slots available and most of them had waiting lists as a result of the pandemic and no clarity on when the next slot would be. On Tuesday February 23rd, thanks to Alex’ pilot friends and perseverance, we finally found exam slots for the next day because the original students had cancelled! So, on Wednesday February 24th, we sat through our exams via zoom, first Alex and then me, with 1 examiner and 2 ANAC inspectors present. Once the tests taken, they needed to be registered with ANAC so that our English level would show officially on our licenses, and we had no idea how long that would take.
- Finally, we were also waiting for the proof of the extension of the airplane insurance beyond Argentina and Brazil.
All of a sudden, everything came together: the plane got released on Monday March 1st and on Wednesday March 3rd, the insurance certificate appeared and we were able to get a meeting at the ANAC where we got to know various people who had been helping us through the process, including the Head of airworthiness, the Head of operational safety and the Head of the ANAC herself who all wished us well. After all, we are the first Argentinian single engine plane to fly around the world!
This is the backside of my license: it's the "XIII) Observations" part that makes all the difference!
Since we had been in the starting blocks for quite some time, we decided to just go the next day and reach Foz de Iguacu in Brazil.
It’s hard to believe that a few weeks ago we were still in Patagonia and that last weekend we were relaxing on the Tigre Island next to Buenos Aires that you can only access by boat. We were in waiting mode anyway so decided to check that island off our bucket list, no regrets, it was wonderful.
The boat we borrowed:
The Airbnb we rented:
Alex taking Carmen and her friend Florencia back to shore
The Interisleña public transportation
And yesterday we left Foz for Brasilia!