Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Flying Lima, Peru to Liberia, Costa Rica (by Jack)

January 24, 2017

[I have noticed that the links to YouTube videos do not always come through in the email versions of these blog posts.  I will try to include "raw" links (not the YouTube graphics) and see if they come through.  Otherwise, just click on the link to the post to view it on the website and you can see them.]

Almost home!

The flight for today is from Lima, Peru (SPJC) to Liberia, Costa Rica (MRLB).  It should be a routine flight of 1,493 NM. However, it holds special importance in that we will make our westernmost equatorial crossing on this flight which is the last of the four control points needed for the FAI polar circumnavigation diploma.

Note at the FAI link above it says "...Polar (no holder yet)..."  We hope to change that soon!

The route for the day...


Josh was in the right seat today and ready for action...


On climb-out the top of Andes just north of Lima were completely snow covered...


The air was clear and smooth at cruise.  We had our HF radio repaired at Santiago, so when Lima turned us over the CENAMER control (CENAMER is an abbreviation for Central America) and gave us both HF and VHF frequencies, we were not concerned. But, we tried both VHF and HF with no luck.  There were airliners overhead that relayed for us, so no big deal.  I later tested the HF back home with good results, so I expect CENAMER just was not listening to HF that day.

The big excitement of the flight was crossing the equator again and checking-off our final control point. As is my custom, I made a video of one of our navigation computers as we crossed...

https://youtu.be/J7fTmFo8vg8


Our actual crossing longitude was 083 32.29 west which give us a solid 92 degrees from our easternmost equatorial crossing at 008 29.01 east on January 8. The easternmost crossing...


This comfortably meets the 90 degree FAI requirement.  

Becky made a picture of me making the video...a Russian nesting doll sort of thing...


Giuseppe made a video (with narration) from the back...

https://youtu.be/YDYebGPBkTs


And, of course, the ladies photographed the big, bright line across the ocean...


With all the control points completed, now all we need to do is get back to Jackson Hole, WY to close-the-loop for the whole trip which began there on August 11, 2016.

Descending into Liberia, Costa Rica (MRLB), the landscape looked familiar to Carolyn and me as we flew N575PC there for a vacation way back in May, 2012. It is a beautiful part of the world...


Carolyn made a short video of the landing...




Once on the ground, the immigration and customs process was unusually thorough.  We understood that if we had arrived from the US, the process would have been minimal. But because we were coming from the south, they hand searched every piece of luggage...


The handler said it was "too hot" to refuel (it was about 90 F) which did not make sense. I think the real issue was Liberia has become a major tourist destination from the States and there were about six airliners at the commercial terminal needing attention (including good ole Southwest Airlines).  In any event, we agreed for the the second day in a row to be refueled the next morning before departure rather than our preferred fueling upon arrival.

After a good rest at the Liberia Airport Hilton Garden Inn (everything here feels much more like home), we will blast off for Austin tomorrow morning. We are like horses headed back to the barn, but the pilots need to stay focused and make sure we do not foul-up at this late stage of the trip.