Thursday 25th April, 2002
Is this the way around the World?
At the moment, I am at FL080 over the Atlantic headed for Brazil in fine and beaut conditions and with a 20 knot tail wind. It is a 2000 NM leg and I hope the good conditions continue.

My airport helper Mr Williams, was a second Ambrose, (Karawari man) charming and helpful. Yesterday he helped me with lots of things and without help when unable to speak French, it is very difficult. They want everything paid in US$ cash. And if you don't have cash, it is hard to get it. They would not take travellers cheques or Visa.

Mr Williams arrived by Taxi at 1:30 am as arranged. I find sleep the night before a big flight impossible. All sorts of dumb things going around in the head. So I was tired before I started.

Mr Williams helped me through the paperwork and I launched out at about 3:00am. By dawn I was very tired. My coffee machine worked overtime and a great gadget for such a trip.

Halfway across the Atlantic, now at FL100 the forecast cloud and embedded CB's kept me busy. In a way it was good exercise to get out of the auto pilot and use the feet. I kept thinking about Greg Goulding and his bout of DVT

The last 500 NM was stressful. I could not raise anyone on HF but I realised it was not just me. Other pilots could not raise ATC either. Eventually someone with very strong accent came up and I thought he said to contact "Quartro" on 5545.


I said I cannot find "Quartro" on my charts. He said "Quartro, Quartro" 5545. I said OK! OK!  I will call "Quartro" on 5545. He said yes, you got it right now.  

I'm Pleased that lots behind me
I spent the next hour going through the charts trying to find Quartro without success. At the allocated time, I got back to my friend that I would now go to "Quartro" 5545. A new voice with not such strong Portuguese  accent said good. Squawk code 5545. I turned the HF off, the transponder on and had a big chuckle. So now it all made sense and I had my first lesson in Portuguese.

By now the weather was lousy at 10,000 feet. I did not want to descend because I thought I would not see the embedded cells. At 150 NM out, I asked for surface conditions because I feared what I was in, went all the way to the ground. It took me ages to get someone to give me the TAF. It was fine and beaut. So down I went through the murk into F & B weather. I had been battling away and could have descended into clear sky.

First Glimpse of Recife, Brazil
Over the city of Recife (they would not let me go to Natal as planned) and into a very large Airport shared with the military.

A helpful handler has brought myself and two Italian's flying an Aerostar into a very modern Hotel on the beach.  

P.S. I forgot to mention that I have gone to Recife instead of Natal as planned. I always new that the authorities preferred entry at Recife but Natal was possible. Because Natal was slightly less distance and also closer to an emergency landing Island, I planned to amend the flight details in the air and ask for landing at Natal. As it turned out, the CB's looked worse in that direction, so I took the easy way out and went to Recife. 
Flight time: 13 Hrs 8 Mins
Distance flown:
2,042 NM
Fuel used:
551 litres
Average ground speed:
155.5 kts
Average fuel consumption:
42.0 litres per hour
Olinda Group
Olinda Group

P.S. I took a photo of my 4th Equator crossing. Guess what? Not much to see other than water. Also gained 3 hours making it a 27 hour day.

 Friday 26th April, 2002

Spoke to Margi and Gerard Moss on the phone. They live in Rio de Janeiro and are experienced "Earth Rounders"

I am impressed with Brazil or at least the little bit I have seen.  

I have enjoyed a big walk along the beach and a four hour tour of Recife and Olinda, drank Coconut milk and ate Tapioca. 


Friday 26th April, 2002

A nice leisurely departure at daybreak in fine and beaut conditions. (a little bit of IMC at Fotaleza) The country side below is very much like home and I could easily think I was flying up the coast from Sydney. I found Recife to be very similar in lots of ways. The people are friendly and not expecting tips for bad service. No bribes either. Great!

Approaching the mighty Amazon, I was in IMC again and a VOR approach to Macapa. On final, I noticed the engine ran rough and required quite a bit of extra power to keep it going. Then on landing, I found oil along the LH cowls and fuselage. A local found the rocker cover screws loose and declared all OK. But I decided to take the rest of the day off and test fly in the morning.

Another local, found me a nice cheap hotel. The Macapa "Palace". I decide that I will probably never be here again and to get out and see what I can. A short walk to the water and a jetty out to a cafe in the Amazon River where I really pigged out on the waiters choice of steak and salads. Almost no English is spoken and the menu is impossible.

 MACAPA - Saturday 27th April, 2002

Test flew TYE over the Amazon and found that the rough engine on landing problems still exists. I was very lucky to meet a local pilot who made it clear that I could not get the plane fixed here. I will go backwards tomorrow to a GA airport at Belem/Brazil. Hopefully the problem is not too serious. I had lunch with the local pilot (Floriano Waldeck) and his family. A treat of shrimps and fish with vegetables overlooking the great river.  

Sunday 28th April, 2002

An early start for the tricky arrival into Julio Cesar Airport and a sick engine. This little airport is right under and alongside the International Airport and you must enter at 700 ft in a special corridor. Of course at 700 ft I had scattered cu below and I had to duck and weave to find the airport. I have made a good decision because a great little mechanic has found a broken valve cylinder and bent push rod. He thinks that it was caused by a stuck hydraulic tappet. Now I have to find out what causes stuck tappet? All of this happened on the flight AFTER the big Atlantic crossing.

The problem
The Problem
It was a big relief to have confidence in the mechanic and the fact he had the parts required to fix the problem. At 3:00 pm I tried to depart for the International Airport to clear customs for the next day. But the paperwork takes 4 men 1.5 hours to complete for a 2 minute flight and by then the departure has to be postponed due rain.

This happened after I realised that I have lost my passport. Not to bother too much because the copy is in it's special place... Isn't it?? No it is not. I feel sick.

Amazon Wilderness

Tomorrow I have three countries to over fly and a new one to land in and no passport or copy. But it finishes good. A young pilot who has befriended me because it allows him to practice his English, has found the passport with the broken bits from the engine. So I treat him and his friends to a great BBQ and too much to drink. I decide I need another day to recuperate. 

The BBQ restaurant is something I have not been to before. The waiters bring all sorts of BBQ meats and fish on skewers to the table and you just keep pigging out till you cannot move.

Great night and I really appreciated the friendship of the Brazilian's and in particular Fabricio Schuber, my pilot friend.


Monday 29th April, 2002

Catch up day. Planning for the next leg to Caracas