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Flight from Brasília to Foz d'Iguaçu, Brazil

22 December 2007

I filed a VFR flight plan at 6500 feet, from Brasília (SBBR) to Foz (SBFI). 2 hours and 10 minutes is my estimate to the Curitíba boundary, with an overall flight time of 4.5 hours. I list Londrina as our alternate, SBLO.

10:28 local Gregg starts her up on the right tank. We let her get hot and do the run-up. Everything checks out. 18 minutes later we are cleared to SBFI at F065, instructed to turn right after take-off and squawk 4152. As we make the long taxi to runway 11R, I listen to ATIS India: visibility greater than 10km, altimeter 1019, temperature 19 Celsius, ILS 11R being used for departures.

10:52 and we are instructed to contact 118.45 after take-off. 10:59 we are airborne. 11:19 we are told to change the squawk code to 2100, and communications cease as we go VFR.

We are being naughty, dodging clouds between 6500 and 8500 feet. 11:52 Gregg switches to the Left fuel tank.

12:13 and the engine is rough again. The combination of building clouds and rough engine seems too much so we descend to 4500 feet for best visibility. 12:51 Gregg switches to Right fuel tank. She is running ok now.

13:52 and it is time to switch to the Left tank again. Three minutes later she starts running really rough, and we turn to land at Andradina, a little strip close by. 14:03 I put the gear down and 7 minutes later Gregg has her on the ground on a nice paved little strip.

We have the great fortune to meet a neat guy, Walter Longo, who drops what he is doing to help us, even hopping in his truck at one point and driving to his house to look for a deep socket to pull the spark plugs. He fished up the telephone number for the nearest large airport, and even called them himself, to cancel the flight plan for us. He wanted to ensure that we would not get hammered with charges for search and rescue teams.

Walter used to fly planes in and out of gold mining areas, and now manages a business that owns a bunch of agricultural planes. All of their crop planes have Lycoming engines converted to run alcohol. He says the alcohol costs about 1 Real per liter as opposed to the 4.50 Reais per liter we are paying for Avgas. Luis is an employee of his and was also very helpful. The fees guy for the state-run airport got excited immediately when we landed, and started writing up the fees right away. I guess they don't get too many revenue opportunities other than the local agricultural planes.

Andradina with Luis and Walter
in Andradina, with Luis and Walter

We cleaned the fuel servo filter again and yeah there was crap in it. Using the fuel sample cup I pulled more water out of the left tank - during the preflight I had already all of the water out of the tank, or so it seemed. Somehow now there was more. Gregg paid 90 reais (about US$50) for the privilege of landing and checking things out, and Walter helped us cowl her up and get going after a photo op.

16:40 We start her up on the Right fuel tank, and 9 minutes later we are airborne from Andradina. She sounds good. 17:27 we switch to the Left fuel tank again. No problems. An hour later we are back on the Right fuel tank.

19:00 I reach Foz approach and they have us on radar. I file and activate a flight plan, and we are assigned squawk code 0101. 10 minutes later we are back on the Left tank, and at 19:22 we are on final for Foz. Down at 19:25 we taxi to the overnight parking and get ready for the adventure at Foz.